Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Sep 2012

SITE NEWS: Spam Issues

You may have notice that FO has been attacked by spammers the last few days. (The FOA 2012 discussion board is now basically unusable.) We're working hard to fix this problem going forward. One of the problems is that the spammers are actually registering as users. This means that even registered users may have to enter CAPTCHA for comments if our filter thinks your comment is possible spam. It's also possible that comments may not appear or be blocked; if you have that problem, please leave a comment in this thread or e-mail us through the contact form above.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

ANNOYING SPAMMER UPDATE: In an effort to kill this thing off, as of Wednesday, we've set the discussion boards so that the FO staff has to moderate the creation of new threads. So if you go to create a thread on the fantasy board, for example, and it doesn't immediately appear, that's what's going on. When we see it, we'll approve it and it will appear.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 12 Sep 2012

28 comments, Last at 10 Jan 2013, 11:49am by Arsamiea Çiğköfte


by dbostedo :: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 11:03pm

I just tried to post to the MMQB thread and got a "spam blocked" message.

by Jerry :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 5:16am

I posted one to the Audibles thread with a similar response. FO folks, will those be pulled out of moderation, or should we try reposting? And best of luck fixing this problem.

by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 9:19am

Unfortunately, I think you need to try reposting.

by Jerry :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 6:45pm

I've tried unsuccessfully a couple times. Unfortunately, I have no idea what's setting the filter off.

by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 9:46pm

E-mail us at mailbag-at-footballoutsiders.com with the comment; we'll try to figure out what is going on.

by Jerry :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:49am

Done. Thanks.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 6:32am

Hey ma, I'm done with my segment!

Picture many spammers kive like J. clayton

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 9:06am

Is this a problem with the spam?

Have you tried the spam with spam or the spam, spam, spam and spam?

by Sergio :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 12:29pm

I say FO creates some sort of "verified identity" program, like CAs do for those EV certificates (the ones that color your address bar green).

If you don't give out address, phone, blood sample, and fingerprints, you don't get to comment, dammit! There might be a single exception for RaiderJoe, though.

-- Go Phins!

by RC (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 1:38am

They can't even keep the website from spewing out database schema information everytime you post. Do you really want to give them any real info?

by merlinofchaos :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 5:22pm

If you're willing to have someone manually do it, you can probably assign a role to users who comment that you know aren't spammers so they can bypass the captcha. This is pretty common for boards. Particularly if you can create a view of users with > x comments who don't have the role and do a quick scan to see if they deserve that role. It's some maintenance hassle but works.

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 6:19pm

There's a spam filter out there that works like a charm. You simply ask the users a question that no bot can answer, such as: What is the name of this site? Or, what year is it?

Might be tiresome to use on every post, but at least it would keep bots from registering.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by tuluse :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 6:29pm

I don't think bots can answer captchas, they're paying some kid in China $10 to answer them all day.

Still, a plain English question weeds that out too. I would make it something FO related like what does the V in DVOA stand for.

by andrew :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 8:16pm

Bots have solved simple captchas. Thus they need to keep inventing more and more annoying ways to display their text.

I'd rather it have some kind of intelligent question database that the kind of people who post here would know.


"who is the greatest special teamer of all time?" "Robo-Punter"
"what team most famously invoked the curse of the message boards"? "Falcons"


by Paddy Pat :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 11:45pm

2 can play at obscure trivia though, it needs to be something more down to earth, like which company paid for the most expensive Super Bowl commercial to date? And which Super Bowl gave the MVP award to a player on the losing team/who was that player?

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:48am

It could be something even easier than that, like "What is the last name of the Chargers starting QB?" Easy for us. Near impossible for some guy in Wuhan.

by Eddo :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:54am

I never thought Chuck Howley, Super Bowl V, was particularly obscure trivia...

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 7:44pm

Howley derseving of Super Bowl 6 MVP too. Had recovery L. Csonka fumble. Also pick off pass. Would have scored on run back if did not trip on turf monster. Howley already have good Hall of Fame profile. If win back to back Siper Bowl MVPs probably would be in hall of fame already.

Super Bowl 6 MVP was Staibach. Staubach nice in game 12 for19 with 2 td throes and some yards. Think 119 but do not have stats at moment. Someone can look up if desire. D. Thomas 19 carries for 95 yards. Know those numbers for sure. Pretty sure he ran one carry in for TD. L. Alworth and M. Ditka catch TD passes. Thomas and Howley probably 2 best Cowobiys in game but voters went safe route and give Roger the Dodger MVP. Were too scared Thomas would say nothing or would say something weird if get award.

by Alaska Jack :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 8:37pm

Or just make posters translate Raider Joe words.

lllll AJ

by Joseph :: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 11:52am


by erniecohen :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 8:56am

How about a test of general football understanding, to get rid of not just spammers but also uninformed fans? Ask questions like what to do on 4th down, whether SB wins is the best measure of QB ability, etc.

by evenchunkiermonkey :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 2:42am

You guys may have to resort to requiring an account to post and dropping the ban-hammer on both the user and the IP address when spam happens. I haven't seen much if any spam in the article comment threads, so maybe its just a message board thing.

by Paul R :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 8:48am

I say it's a good thing.
F.O. has always been my source for intelligent football analysis. But now, it's also my source for meeting attractive, wealthy single women in my area! At no extra cost!

by dharrell :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 3:51pm


by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 3:31pm

I've been denied a few times; can't find a reason some of my comments trigger the spam filter and some don't. I've sent both of these to you guys.

by db :: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 11:59am


by BaronFoobarstein :: Fri, 09/14/2012 - 2:35am

Thanks for your efforts. It was getting pretty difficult to use the site there for a while, the commenting portion anyway, with all the spam.

by Arsamiea Çiğköfte (not verified) :: Thu, 01/10/2013 - 11:49am

I say FO creates some sort of "verified identity" program, like CAs do for those EV certificates (the ones that color your address bar green).
If you don't give out address, phone, blood sample, and fingerprints, you don't get to comment, dammit! There might be a single exception for RaiderJoe, though.