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Idea: Stopping Spammers with Sandbox

  • Avatar of Asynaptic
    Asynaptic
    Participant

    @synaptic

    I don’t know if this functionality exists already through a plugin but this is an idea to identify spammers and stop them before they affect a buddypress community:

    Every new member is placed in a probationary ‘sandbox’ where all of their activity and interaction with the website is displayed only to them and the admin. Once the admin approves them as non-spammers, their activity is shared with the rest of the site and other members.

    Think of it like a temporary shadow ban, the user doesn’t know that they are in a sandbox because they will see their own activity reflected on the site. But only admin and they are the ones seeing the activity.

    So you are getting them to tip their hand, in a way, and give themselves away as spammers before they can pollute the site.

    Or think of it as when a regular WP blog holds comments in a moderation queue. Except this is not just comments but all activity on a WP+BP site. And once the member is approved, then their future posts will not go into the moderation queue but be automatically approved since they have already shown themselves to not be spammers.

    What do you think of this idea? does it exist already? look forward to your thoughts

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Avatar of bp-help
    bp-help
    Participant

    @bphelp

    @synaptic
    BuddyPress Registration Options is similar to this idea but it only allows a user to fill out their profile and upload an avatar until the admin approves their account. It doesn’t allow posting to the activity stream however. IMHO if a user doesn’t take the time to fill out their profile then it is a good indicator that they are a spammer but I can see the value in your idea and would I would like to see this functionality in a plugin.

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/bp-registration-options/

    Avatar of shanebpdev
    shanebp
    Participant

    @shanebp

    Too complicated, imo.

    Harnessing the membership for these kinds of things is a tried & proven technique.

    In this context, provide a flagging system to bring activity to the attention of admins.
    And provide content sweeping and IP blocking via htaccess for repeat offenders.
    Not difficult to write.
    I’ve done it for large BP sites and no doubt so have others.

    Avatar of Asynaptic
    Asynaptic
    Participant

    @synaptic

    @bphelp thanks, I’ll take a look at that plugin but it lacks this specific functionality as you already mentioned

    @shanebp how is this ‘too complicated’? I also like using the community to flag spam but that only finds spam after the fact, what if you could ID spammers *before*? wouldn’t that be even more valuable? or why not both?

    Avatar of shanebpdev
    shanebp
    Participant

    @shanebp

    >how is this ‘too complicated’?
    Can you code it?
    How would you explain it to membership?

    >the user doesn’t know that they are in a sandbox
    lol, and that won’t lead to a flurry of support submissions?

    For public sites, there has to be a balance between driving membership numbers and ‘protecting’ existing members.
    An abuse / spam flag system strikes that balance & members will recognize it & admins only deal with flags. If admins handle the flags in a timely fashion, the membership response will be very positive.

    Your idea is kinda interesting, but dev’ing a generic solution will be impossible.
    If you release it as a plugin, damn near everyone using it will ask for some kind of tweak.

    That said, prove me wrong, please!

    Avatar of Asynaptic
    Asynaptic
    Participant

    @synaptic

    @shanebp the very nature of the functionality is that it is *not* explained, the user doesn’t know they are in a sandbox! (like a user being ‘shadow banned’) otherwise the benefit that this would confer is totally erased.

    please explain why would this result in a flurry of support submissions? the new user sees their own activity being reflected on the site, for what reason would they ask for help? they write, comment, etc and it is shown to them on the site as normal, so nothing is wrong as far as they are concerned. except it is only shown to them, not everyone (until the admin approves them and removes them from the sandbox)

    having said that, I do appreciate your feedback and criticism, that is why I shared the idea in the first place, to get some reaction and ideas so we know if this is feasible and perhaps to improve upon the original idea

    Avatar of @ubernaut
    Ben Hansen
    Participant

    @ubernaut

    i can give you a scenario, say person a signs up for your site and tells his/her friend hey this is a cool site check it out. person b goes onto the site to look at the activity or profile of person a and says hey i don’t see you on there whats up? person a responds, i don’t know maybe the site doesn’t work, person a and b both leave never to return the interesting but apparently broken site.

    it is an interesting idea but i’m starting to think the flagging thing is the way to go and maybe something that should be considered for core (in addition to throttling) if we are trying to up our game. i think it’s important to remember that there is no perfect solution for spamming but as long as we can make the spammers lives more difficult and less profitable without impaction ux for normal visitors we will win this war by attrition.

    Avatar of Asynaptic
    Asynaptic
    Participant

    @synaptic

    @ubernaut the scenario you outline is possible. that I can agree with. but I don’t think any reasonable person would respond by ‘leave never to return the interesting but apparently broken site’ if they didn’t immediately see their friend on the site.

    to clarify, the (new) member would be shown and included in the membership directory – if there is one – but their activity would not be for a short time, say 1 day, assuming the admin are active and flag or approve users immediately upon the new user having some activity to flag or approve in the first place

    Avatar of @ubernaut
    Ben Hansen
    Participant

    @ubernaut

    i do like the notion of having a moderation tank as an option at least i’m just saying that i agree there could be some issues that wouldn’t arise in a simple comment scenario maybe a moderation message would handle that not sure.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

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