Thread: Honey pots

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    Honey pots


    Prompted by the latest dimwit to bump a thread.

    Has anyone considered creating honeypot threads?

    These are threads which have a few interesting properties (I'm sure it could be done with a few hacks to the forum s/w).

    Features include
    - being invisible to regular members (only newbies and crawlbots see them, and perhaps some mods),
    - have several posts, but packed with lots of buzz words and catch phrases,
    - have implausibly large 'view' counts to make it seem like they're really popular,
    - any posts (after the honey) are purged automatically after say 2 hours (or when the poster leaves).

    Basically,
    the regulars would never be bothered with such threads (we can't see them),
    anyone intent on spamming would be drawn to them (keywords baby),
    the high view count would add further sugar (I'm sure to get lots of exposure by posting on this thread!),
    they get the warm fuzzy feeling of success, because their reply is initially visible (but not for long).

    Further hacks would include keeping the honey nice and fresh, and not letting the honey post dates slip way into the past (not that that seems to deter many).
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    I like the idea. I'd be more inclined to auto-mute anyone who posts in a honeypot thread for an hour until a mod can review their post and ban them. We can probably even write at the top of the honeypot thread: "Do not post in this thread or you will be banned" and I'll bet we'd still get a lot of spammers posting in it.

    (Obviously if we couldn't tell whether or not they were a spammer, they wouldn't be banned, but at least we would know to watch out for them)

    Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between someone who has only a simple grasp of English and someone who isn't putting any effort into the post. Obviously, we don't want to impact that first group.
    Last edited by E-Oreo; March 11th, 2013 at 01:59 PM.
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    - The posts would definitely need to be pruned after a short time, otherwise Google might start punishing us for having spammy content
    - There should be a header somewhere that indicates to real people that the forum/thread is a honey pot

    A similar concept is "hellbanning": the user doesn't know they're banned and all their threads/posts are hidden from the rest of the site. Note that it doesn't work for bots because the key concept is making the user frustrated so they won't come back: bots will simply see their content stays around and invite all their friends to the party.
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    Could you guys so define one of these type of threads please? I would like to see clearly what you feel is one of them?

    Update: I followed the above link and found the thread in question, and I felt it was kind of strange, but What if the person truely meant what he asked?

    I am new here myself and have openned threads in a bunch of different sections myself all to the point of asking questions about different things. Now also I have openned two threads in the Other section and in the area of Dev Shed Lounge

    Now that areas description and what it is for is dined as: Dev Shed Lounge forum discussing anything that doesn't fit into the other forums. This is a place to relax, talk, and even have some friendly debate. Walk softly and carry a big wiffle bat.

    So in there I have two threads, One about AMC's The Walking Dead and SyFy's Continum TV shows. Each week I write a update about what happened and some folks reply. I do it to blow off steam and it is in the Off-Topic section of this board too. Are these to be considered Honey pots threads? I am a real person and I do add comments and ask questions in other sections and threads as well on topic too. Am I to be sanctioned to called a dimwit as well because I happen to post in a Forum Area that is meant for non-Tech stuff and topics too?

    I feel you guys might be coming down a little hard on someone that did post in a given area that is set up for just that, off forum topics. If you don't want that type of stuff, then why have that Thread area in the first place? Now me I read most threads, and only comment in areas where I feel I can have something constructive to say or help someone. Ok for these two Non-Techie threads I express what happened in both of these TV shows and give my own heart felt feelings about what is happening and where they are going

    Also being a IT guy for over 20+ yrs, most of the folks that I work with are SciFi fans, Gamers (RPGers), folks that think out of the box, and like stuff like this. I don't force anyone to read my threads at all, and I think I make it pretty clear what the threads are all about and I do believe I place them in the sections that they should be placed. It is up to the person themselves to choose weather they want to read the thread or not. Now also you can see that I have like 137+ posts to the Board myself, and not just 10-20, and I only joined in August 2, 2013 and have like Time spent in forums: 4 Days 9 h 5 m 17 sec...so I am obviously here every work day for a few hours logged in.

    So I guess I am trying to say guys, don't be so hard. Please review the issue first before you make some sweeping change or judgement call on a thread/member/issue.

    Just my 2 cents worth of Wisdom from a newbie...!
    Last edited by ByGoneYrs; March 11th, 2013 at 03:09 PM.
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    People like who?

    People like mapitinc and pressurewashing are serial posters of 1-line "me too" posts that add bugger all value to any thread they infest. Those that make it past 10 posts seem to invariably have a bunch of signature links or profile links to whatever it is they're pushing.

    Some examples
    High on opinion, but sod-all on facts, and almost to a post, all one-liners.

    Seriously, how much weight would you give to "I use foomangler 4.2" from some 1-post drive-by from several years ago. They're all just yappy little dogs who found a lamp post to piss on and then moved on.
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    @ByGoneYrs Nothing you have ever posted would fall into the category of posts that salem is talking about.

    In the first antivirus thread that salem linked to, there are actually no fewer than 12 deleted posts in it (they were soft deleted so only mods can still see them, but there might have been more that were hard deleted). The deleted posts are even more useless than the ones that are still in that thread.

    The second antivirus thread that salem linked to has no fewer than 7 deleted posts in it (again, those are the posts that are even more useless than the responses already in the thread).

    Certain threads literally become spam magnets for people who are trying to boost their post count. This is because they:
    1) Have a data set of very simple topics with pre-written replies for the topic
    2) Use Google to search for forum topics asking about that simple topic
    3) Spam the pre-written response into the found topics

    If they're lucky, their pre-written responses will seem enough like legitimate responses that their account won't be banned for spamming. Eventually they'll have enough posts that they're able to attach a signature, and then they put their spam links into their signature. At that point, their spam links show up in every thread that they've posted in, and the chance of mods seeing it is a lot lower because they're no longer making new posts.

    However, there are a number of factors that can be used to identify these types of people:
    1) They have a tendency to bump old topics for no reason
    2) Their replies are usually simple, one line replies that are barely on topic
    3) They are often from IPs located in India, Asia or Eastern Europe
    4) They often discuss topics like SEO or antivirus software
    5) They never respond to you
    6) Their usernames often look computer generator
    7) They often are newly registered and post a lot of posts in a short period of time

    I felt it was kind of strange
    There is no hard and fast rule for identification, but "it feels kind of strange" is the best way to put it. Unless the person is obviously spamming they usually don't even get warned for it, the post is just deleted.

    What if the person truely meant what he asked?
    It's always a possibility, but in the case of that facebook thread it's extremely unlikely:
    1) The first three posters posted almost exactly 20 minutes apart
    2) All three posters share IP addresses
    3) The IP addresses are from India (a major source of the spam on this board)
    4) All three posters have names consisting of simple words and numbers
    5) All three posters have less than 20 posts
    6) All three posters registered within the past 3 months
    7) All three posters have a substantial history of one-line posts that don't contribute anything
    8) The topic is keyword loaded (social networking, facebook, twitter)
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    Originally Posted by Spad
    Ah USB, the only rectangular connector where you have to make 3 attempts before you get it the right way around
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    Yikes!!!

    I didn't actually know all of that, but I thank you for making it crystal clear for me and all. I see all your points and have to agree. I am sorry I objected to the banning issue, I guess my newbie point of view was wrong in my thoughts, and I salute you one and all.

    Also I have no idea why anyone would bother to spam a board that simply is out there to help others...what is the point in that. It gets you nothing, so why waste the time and effort???
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    Originally Posted by E-Oreo
    It's always a possibility, but in the case of that facebook thread it's extremely unlikely:
    1) The first three posters posted almost exactly 20 minutes apart
    2) All three posters share IP addresses
    3) The IP addresses are from India (a major source of the spam on this board)
    4) All three posters have names consisting of simple words and numbers
    5) All three posters have less than 20 posts
    6) All three posters registered within the past 3 months
    7) All three posters have a substantial history of one-line posts that don't contribute anything
    8) The topic is keyword loaded (social networking, facebook, twitter)
    1. Actually it is 4 posters. There's a fourth one I found as well.
    3. A lot of the new generation seems to come from Makati city in the Philippines too.
    5. The reason they have less than 20 posts is because I nuked a few while cleaning up their spam. I edited quite a few posts and delinked stuff as well.
    7. More precisely, all three posters have a history of posting one after another in the same thread, all contributing one liners. They also are pimping the same couple of sites in some of their replies :-). That's why I banned all of the accounts bar one. If that one continues to spam, it will disappear as well.
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