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  1. #1
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Official Discussion: Recent Spamm Attacks

    Some important information about the recent spate of spamming.

    This was clearly not an effort by any 'rival' community. Some thought it would be a good opportunity to do their own spamming, sure, but overall it was obviously a coordinated effort by some sort of commercial group.

    Report the spam - DO NOT POST INTO SPAM THREADS
    Because we bulk delete and ban all persons in those threads, if you are posting in them you may get caught up in the fall out. If you think you were hit with this, please file a ban appeal. We'll clear them up as quickly as possible.

    Why did those posts stay up so long?
    Usually a notification system triggers when posts are reported. When that notice hits a threshold it's supposed to work a bit like a fire alarm. That didn't happen. So there was a lack of 'all hands on deck' attention. This has been resolved.

    We're looking at ways to mitigate this further and prevent similar actions. As a result, some of you might have reduced posting ability and access while we tweak the forum settings to lock things down a bit more. If this happens you should first log out, wait 2-3 minutes, and log back in. If you are still having the issue after that, wait about an hour. It should all have cleared up by then.

  2. #2
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    Thank you very much Sapience your actions are greatly appreciated by me and I am sure the entire community as well. Kudos!
    Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

  3. #3
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    Whatever you can do to prevent this is greatly appreciated. I don't envy you guys for the cleanup you have/had to do.
    I'd explain it to you, but I'm all out of Puppets and Crayons.
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  4. #4
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    I agree that the accusations being thrown around about rival sites being responsible were completely ridiculous.

    What is alarming however is that noone at Turbine, save Sapience, appears to read the forums.

  5. #5
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    Hi, Sapience--

    Thanks for the hard work y'all have done to take out the "trash", and I apologize for my part in making it harder for clean-up to take place. What was acceptable for reporting the occasional spammers clearly wasn't the right approach to the avalanche situation of the weekend, we just didn't know it at the time.

    For future reference--are you saying the more spam reports the better in a siege situation, in order to hit that "alarm threshold"?

    In other words, should we not assume that a view translates to a report and generate our own report, since we're not going to mark future spam posts with /reported replies? I'm thinking specifically in terms of the more egregious spam situations like we had this weekend, rather than our usual "click fraud" sports spammers. Those are rank amateurs compared to the voodoo zombie love-guru law expert astrologist spambots.

    Belle

  6. #6
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBelle0927 View Post
    For future reference--are you saying the more spam reports the better in a siege situation, in order to hit that "alarm threshold"?
    Yes, since it helps us ID a problem as it is happening. Assuming everyone who read a thread reported it very often results in the thread never actually having been reported.

    It doesn't take any more work on our end, because all of the reports of a given thread stack up, so we can see X thread was reported Y times.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Yes, since it helps us ID a problem as it is happening. Assuming everyone who read a thread reported it very often results in the thread never actually having been reported.

    It doesn't take any more work on our end, because all of the reports of a given thread stack up, so we can see X thread was reported Y times.
    *makes note* Got it!

    See you and Hadacar when you visit Meneldor!
    Last edited by SouthernBelle0927; Jan 21 2014 at 01:45 PM. Reason: evicted extraneous punctuation

  8. #8
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Also, in the "reason for reporting" field, BE DESCRIPTIVE. "Should be obvious" isn't helpful. Tell us exactly why you're reporting. We see this before we see the thread.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Yes, since it helps us ID a problem as it is happening. Assuming everyone who read a thread reported it very often results in the thread never actually having been reported.

    It doesn't take any more work on our end, because all of the reports of a given thread stack up, so we can see X thread was reported Y times.
    This is very good to know and I greatly appreciate both this and the overall announcement. I tend to over-analyze situations and end up over-thinking everything. The last thing I would want to do is create more work for you guys. I'm sure you have more than enough as it is. I will make a personal policy to report them.

    On a side-note, if spambot A posts 30 threads all of the same exact type of thing all at once... should we report each of them? That would mean 30 minutes of reporting spambot threads, and I personally could easily see myself getting confused and reporting one twice or something crazy like that. xD

    PS: You guys just got 2 tweets from me about not being able to post. xD I totally didn't see this announcement when I made my first tweet, and hadn't finished reading (I know, I know, impatient me) before I made the second tweet. I can obviously post again, so disregard them! ^_^

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Also, in the "reason for reporting" field, BE DESCRIPTIVE. "Should be obvious" isn't helpful. Tell us exactly why you're reporting. We see this before we see the thread.
    *embarrassed* Okay, sorry on my part. I wasn't very descriptive in some of my reports, I am sure. Though to be fair, I was running out of spam jokes. ^_^ Is it okay with you guys if I continue with spam jokes if I think of more, or are those just distracting? I tried to be humorous with many of them. I imagine it might get dull after dealing with the same type of spam over and over and over... >.<
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  10. #10
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    Lightbulb

    I have figured a method to report spam bots:
    1. When i notice one, i open all the threads this bot created.
    2. Then copy/paste the description of the offensive action on the report, for each thread.
    3. Then i close the tab after report the corresponding thread.

    I know is tedious waiting 1 minute withing reports, but i hate to see my community forums littered with spam.
    Is this Alternate Character Disorder? :

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  11. #11
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    I understand Turbine needs to be heavy handed when dealing with these types of incidents but to throw out the baby with the bath water (i.e. legitimate posters who may have been caught in the dragnet) and wait for the baby to appeal the banning did not sit well with me. I log on to find I am banned for: SPAMER (whatever that is supposed to mean) and ban will be revoked: NEVER, I was flabbergasted. Was this some joke? Did some nefarious entity get ahold of my account? Did I do something wrong? Maybe I did...scramble to figure it out...change passwords...

    No, turns out I did not do anything wrong. Not even close. Just SOP, so sad you got fried, if you feel this is a mistake, appeal...what?

    NO, that is not how you should treat (your loyal) people and when you do, you should apologize, not EXPLAIN. Sorry but 7 years of being responsible, following the rules and then get summarily nuked in a crossfire with the cryptic message SPAMER with revoke date: NEVER. Not professional.

    Sorry Sapience, that is just how I feel as a long time poster. I realize it is not personal but this did not sit well, and I wager many others feel the same.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Also, in the "reason for reporting" field, BE DESCRIPTIVE. "Should be obvious" isn't helpful. Tell us exactly why you're reporting. We see this before we see the thread.
    This is really good to know - I always assumed that you see the comment before the reason reported. I will give clearer reports from now on.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dotlbeme View Post
    I understand Turbine needs to be heavy handed when dealing with these types of incidents but to throw out the baby with the bath water (i.e. legitimate posters who may have been caught in the dragnet) and wait for the baby to appeal the banning did not sit well with me. I log on to find I am banned for: SPAMER (whatever that is supposed to mean) and ban will be revoked: NEVER, I was flabbergasted. Was this some joke? Did some nefarious entity get ahold of my account? Did I do something wrong? Maybe I did...scramble to figure it out...change passwords...

    No, turns out I did not do anything wrong. Not even close. Just SOP, so sad you got fried, if you feel this is a mistake, appeal...what?

    NO, that is not how you should treat (your loyal) people and when you do, you should apologize, not EXPLAIN. Sorry but 7 years of being responsible, following the rules and then get summarily nuked in a crossfire with the cryptic message SPAMER with revoke date: NEVER. Not professional.

    Sorry Sapience, that is just how I feel as a long time poster. I realize it is not personal but this did not sit well, and I wager many others feel the same.
    I hadn't intended to say anything, but I have to agree with this. I was like, wait, what? I wasn't caught in the crossfire, but I did have to log out and log back in before it would allow me to post. I tend to get trigger-happy when in a panic (really bad habit, I know) and sent two quick tweets to LOTRO in a frenzy, thinking, "What did I do? I've worked so hard on toning back, and I didn't even post any /reported messages over the weekend!" Well, actually, at first I thought maybe the forums had been put into read-only mode to fully deal with the weekend mess, but then I saw the post stamps of other people and realized that couldn't possibly be the case.

    I honestly don't know what other way it could be handled, but it did certainly worry me. I was enormously relieved when I found this thread. I realize, considering what Sapience had said the other day about not posting in spambot threads because it makes it harder to get rid of them in bulk, that there had been a little warning, but until this recent attack, I'm not sure anyone was at all aware of the consequences. Having those consequences dumped in our laps so abruptly was unsettling.

    I do appreciate the hard work Sapience and co. have put in to getting this situation rectified, but still... it was quite alarming for me personally. Though that may just be a sign that LOTRO-withdrawal can set in within seconds...
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  14. #14
    I'm just glad that something is done at all... it was very annoying to check in those last days.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Yes, since it helps us ID a problem as it is happening. Assuming everyone who read a thread reported it very often results in the thread never actually having been reported.

    It doesn't take any more work on our end, because all of the reports of a given thread stack up, so we can see X thread was reported Y times.
    So actually in our try to keep the number of reports down (as we didn't want to bury you beneath reports) we did just the opposite, as in staying beneath that threashhold? *facepalm to self*

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Also, in the "reason for reporting" field, BE DESCRIPTIVE. "Should be obvious" isn't helpful. Tell us exactly why you're reporting. We see this before we see the thread.
    Is a simple "spambot" enough? Of course, with the flood of the last days I like the idea someone had to add a hint that it ain't a single thread but a whole flood of them.
    ~ Huntress reincarnated ~

  15. #15
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    Thank you Sapience for addressing this issue. Much appreciated.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dotlbeme View Post
    I understand Turbine needs to be heavy handed when dealing with these types of incidents but to throw out the baby with the bath water (i.e. legitimate posters who may have been caught in the dragnet) and wait for the baby to appeal the banning did not sit well with me. I log on to find I am banned for: SPAMER (whatever that is supposed to mean) and ban will be revoked: NEVER, I was flabbergasted. Was this some joke? Did some nefarious entity get ahold of my account? Did I do something wrong? Maybe I did...scramble to figure it out...change passwords...

    No, turns out I did not do anything wrong. Not even close. Just SOP, so sad you got fried, if you feel this is a mistake, appeal...what?

    NO, that is not how you should treat (your loyal) people and when you do, you should apologize, not EXPLAIN. Sorry but 7 years of being responsible, following the rules and then get summarily nuked in a crossfire with the cryptic message SPAMER with revoke date: NEVER. Not professional.

    Sorry Sapience, that is just how I feel as a long time poster. I realize it is not personal but this did not sit well, and I wager many others feel the same.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mar-Evayave View Post
    I hadn't intended to say anything, but I have to agree with this. I was like, wait, what? I wasn't caught in the crossfire, but I did have to log out and log back in before it would allow me to post. I tend to get trigger-happy when in a panic (really bad habit, I know) and sent two quick tweets to LOTRO in a frenzy, thinking, "What did I do? I've worked so hard on toning back, and I didn't even post any /reported messages over the weekend!" Well, actually, at first I thought maybe the forums had been put into read-only mode to fully deal with the weekend mess, but then I saw the post stamps of other people and realized that couldn't possibly be the case.

    I honestly don't know what other way it could be handled, but it did certainly worry me. I was enormously relieved when I found this thread. I realize, considering what Sapience had said the other day about not posting in spambot threads because it makes it harder to get rid of them in bulk, that there had been a little warning, but until this recent attack, I'm not sure anyone was at all aware of the consequences. Having those consequences dumped in our laps so abruptly was unsettling.

    I do appreciate the hard work Sapience and co. have put in to getting this situation rectified, but still... it was quite alarming for me personally. Though that may just be a sign that LOTRO-withdrawal can set in within seconds...
    With spam of that volume it just isn't realistic to expect them to go post by post, if you are going to feel offended by that, you need to get some perspective.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reximus View Post
    With spam of that volume it just isn't realistic to expect them to go post by post, if you are going to feel offended by that, you need to get some perspective.
    Neither of us included the word offended, so please don't put words into our mouths. But it isn't dissimilar from being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting thrown into jail during a raid. If something like that had happened in RL, it'd be grounds to take legal action. Obviously, this is a whole different kettle of fish, which would make those actions stupid and illogical. But it doesn't take away from the almost casual injustice, however unintended it was.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Also, in the "reason for reporting" field, BE DESCRIPTIVE. "Should be obvious" isn't helpful. Tell us exactly why you're reporting. We see this before we see the thread.
    I usually always start my spam reports out with:
    *** SPAM ***

    And continue from there. Usually gets the point across quick without having to read the entire report. I may note the number of posts they have at the time, too, if it's more than just a couple.

    Sometimes I will even make suggestions on what to do with them, but only when there are not storms of them coming in like this last weekend. Things like tar and feather. Boil in oil is good but might be a bit pricey. Sending angry mobs with torches and pitchforks after them. And one of my all time favorites for spammers, drawn and quartered.
    "Everyone's got one. Better to be a smart one than a dumb one." - me
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penter-Kar View Post
    And one of my all time favorites for spammers, drawn and quartered.
    and fried! or made into fritters.
    [COLOR="#DDA0DD"][CENTER][B]Peralda[/B] - Minstrel - 100 - The Numenorean Guard - Landroval~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[B]Yvandriel[/B] - Minstrel - 100 - Extraordinary Adventurers' League - Laurelin[/CENTER][/COLOR][COLOR="#EE82EE"][CENTER]And the minstrel sang to them……”and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.”[/CENTER][/COLOR]

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calta View Post
    and fried! or made into fritters.
    My favorite: spam sandwiches. What's that rhyme about opening up and down the hatch (throat) it goes?

    I'm not sure it would have applied this last weekend, though. There was enough spam to make a herd of pigs... O.o Is that right, though? In large bunches of pigs, is it called a herd? Hm...

    And yeah, this is super late for me (was bothered by this, couldn't sleep, so got up and pulled out my laptop again), but I did want to emphasize my earlier statements regarding my appreciation for all the hard work the staff members have put in, and not just under normal operating procedures. If any previous comment in this thread by me seems harsh, it's unintended. The whole "fixing" process just came with almost more shock and alarm than this poor LOTRO-luvin' peep could handle. The whole "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" rung very true. While those certain images needed to go posthaste, the majority of them were posted in 100% legit threads. Porno-spam, basically. So even while those had (IMO) top priority on the delete/ban list, I surely hope blanket-bans were not placed on threads they were present in, simply because of how many of those threads (and other posters) were legit.

    And then for the genuine spam (love potions and the such), it just doesn't seem like it would have done any more damage than it already had by leaving it up a little longer so that more thorough and careful banning/deleting could have taken place. I surely may be wrong about this and have no problem admitting it, but I got a horrid picture in my mind (albeit not as horrid as that other picture... -.-) of a spreadsheet/chart thing listing the reports, all with checkboxes next to them for deleting and banning. Sapience said they see the reports before they see the threads. And in this mental image, I certainly hope they weren't just checking all those boxes and hitting submit indiscriminately. :/ Accidentally catching someone in the cross-fire may be one thing, but they apparently knew the probability was high, considering they even posted an official notice regarding the matter, and specifying that such members should file a ban appeal. If someone could enlighten me on the finer details, I'd appreciate it, but anyway, that's just the impression I received. I know that was a lot of spam (and porn) to wade through, but still... I dunno. Perhaps there was no better way. I just don't know.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mar-Evayave View Post
    My favorite: spam sandwiches. What's that rhyme about opening up and down the hatch (throat) it goes?

    I'm not sure it would have applied this last weekend, though. There was enough spam to make a herd of pigs... O.o Is that right, though? In large bunches of pigs, is it called a herd? Hm...

    And yeah, this is super late for me (was bothered by this, couldn't sleep, so got up and pulled out my laptop again), but I did want to emphasize my earlier statements regarding my appreciation for all the hard work the staff members have put in, and not just under normal operating procedures. If any previous comment in this thread by me seems harsh, it's unintended. The whole "fixing" process just came with almost more shock and alarm than this poor LOTRO-luvin' peep could handle. The whole "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" rung very true. While those certain images needed to go posthaste, the majority of them were posted in 100% legit threads. Porno-spam, basically. So even while those had (IMO) top priority on the delete/ban list, I surely hope blanket-bans were not placed on threads they were present in, simply because of how many of those threads (and other posters) were legit.

    And then for the genuine spam (love potions and the such), it just doesn't seem like it would have done any more damage than it already had by leaving it up a little longer so that more thorough and careful banning/deleting could have taken place. I surely may be wrong about this and have no problem admitting it, but I got a horrid picture in my mind (albeit not as horrid as that other picture... -.-) of a spreadsheet/chart thing listing the reports, all with checkboxes next to them for deleting and banning. Sapience said they see the reports before they see the threads. And in this mental image, I certainly hope they weren't just checking all those boxes and hitting submit indiscriminately. :/ Accidentally catching someone in the cross-fire may be one thing, but they apparently knew the probability was high, considering they even posted an official notice regarding the matter, and specifying that such members should file a ban appeal. If someone could enlighten me on the finer details, I'd appreciate it, but anyway, that's just the impression I received. I know that was a lot of spam (and porn) to wade through, but still... I dunno. Perhaps there was no better way. I just don't know.
    Through the teeth, over the gums; lookout, stomach, here it comes!

    On topic, I hope folks caught in the crossfire get things sorted out quickly. I was blessedly absent during most of the spammage, so I got to miss out on the worst of it. It's too bad that troublemakers do this stuff. Better to build up than to tear down, in my book.
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  22. #22
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    It's pretty standard practice all over the web NOT to go and reply to spam threads.

    I was rather surprised to see posters doing this very same thing even though Sapience himself had requested only a couple of weeks back(maybe less even) that typing /reported in those type of threads or even responding to them at all was not the way to go about it.

    Perhaps less trying to play forum police, and more tolerance with other members next time folks?

    Heck, there was even infighting amongst posters when replying in these spam threads!

    Hopefully some valuable lesson's have been learnt by all after this exercise.

    PS. I most certainly hope the poster/s responsible for posting those disgusting and maliciously named threads are caught and appropriately dealt with.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Also, in the "reason for reporting" field, BE DESCRIPTIVE. "Should be obvious" isn't helpful. Tell us exactly why you're reporting. We see this before we see the thread.
    Is "Spambot" descriptive enough?
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  24. #24
    I appreciate the work it takes to keep a forum clean (i've built and run many, albeit not this big) and that you cant always have someone online checking for spam.

    However, I was quite disapointed to see those disgusting pictures stay up for so long. No forum, especially one this size that represents a company in an official capacity, and that is often a place of heated debate that can get out of hand, should be unattended for 3 or more days.

    I would suggest you appoint some forum moderators who are not representatives of the game and cannot speak for Turbine, but who's job is simply to keep the forum spam/porn free and keep an eye on those heated debates. Have maybe 2 in the US and 2 in Europe to cover the times zones. Hell you wouldn't even need to pay them, I bet there are plenty of long standing members with a reputation for fairness and respect who would happily volunteer to help keep the forum they love clean. Every forum I have run has used volunteer moderators and it works very well because they are invested only in keeping the peace and not in a pay cheque.

    (BTW I'm not fishing for myself)

    This forum is often the first port of call for new players. It needs to be clean, respectful, and properly moderated, or you put off new players, simple as that.
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  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    Also, in the "reason for reporting" field, BE DESCRIPTIVE. "Should be obvious" isn't helpful. Tell us exactly why you're reporting. We see this before we see the thread.
    What do you consider descriptive? I know I reported a thread that was very 'nice' about you and said something like "Title says it all" F.e. do you see the title/name of a thread?

    And is saying "SPAM" or "This is SPAM" enough description for spam-threads?
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