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Well, I wasn’t actually going to post this one, but the Spam in question is still alive and well… It hasn’t been removed yet... so some publicity on the matter couldn’t hurt.

Anyway, did some one spam Sphinn just because they can? Or did some one think they’d actually get some love from it? In the end, it does highlight the nature or Social Media’s woes and possibly a call for more Mods around here. It could certainly get ugly.
Comments19 Comments  

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from fantomaster 2578 Days ago #
Votes: 2

When link spam of this ilk is rolled out, the thing to realize is that it’s a) generally automated to a great extent if not totally, and b) it’s about short term effects more than anything else.Of course the traffic generated will be minimal - but if all it costs you is two minutes’ effort, it may still be worth it.And sure, the link won’t be sticky on the home page as none are - but if it takes more than say 24 hours to be removed, it’s achieved what it could hope for, especially if viewed within a greater context. E.g. game Digg to push StumbleUpon to push Sphinn to push Propeller to push Reddit, etc. etc. Auto-referential daisywheeling, preferably automated, actually IS worth the effort when you’re calculating page rankings in mere days or a handful of weeks at best. Which is what black hats generally do. A simple number game.What’s more, if I were that spammer (and in case you’re wondering: no, I’m not. Not that I’d admit to it if I were lol.) I could tell you all about it and you still couldn’t do a lot to ward it off. IOW: It’s a losing battle across the board. That’s because it’s a systemic issue, strategic rather than tactical, if you will: As long as links of any kind pass on traffic, link juice or anything else of perceivably monetizable value, they’ll be targeted. Successfully.The real irony being that behind many if not most of the shittiest, dumbest spam posts out there (anywhere, really) you’ll find some of the brightest minds analyzing the system’s vulnerabilities in a whiffy and slapping up solutions to game it. (Much like virus developers, in a way, though they’re an entirely different crowd, even though their technical mindset may be pretty similar.)

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from Sebastian 2578 Days ago #
Votes: 1

And nobody will delete it from cached feeds etc ... I bet it paid.

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from theGypsy 2578 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Aye - I know the game. I am actually suprised though, that it lasted this long without getting turfed... I am also curious how they faked the Sphinns on it. That seemed kinda neat. I didn’t see a lot of value, but I didn’t figure it would still be up there... so they may get something out of it in the end. I thought it might have beem some silly fisher having a laugh .... whoever it was may still get the last laugh on it ... ack! 

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from fantomaster 2578 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Not having seen let alone analyzed the post in question: What makes you say those Sphinns were fake? @Sebastian: Good point about the feed caches - will probably number in the tens of thousands by now.

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from theGypsy 2578 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Well nothing really except it never went HOT .... I don’t know butkis about the Sphinn sys - but figured if it had that many it would have been more visable.. that’s allADD - here’s the post http://sphinn.com/story/7566

Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 2578 Days ago #
Votes: 0

36 minutes after submission it was sphunn by 42 new accounts. Looks like automation at least. I’m curious whether the standard pligg spam script will work here. I saw a guy a while ago testing an autosubmit script for sphinn for hours on the new list. Maybe that one was self developed, but I doubt it.

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from Sebastian 2578 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Well, it went hot:  Finally, A Way to Watch Thousands of TV Stations Legally, without the monthly satellite tv expenses Went Hot: September 29, 2007 - 1:38 am Posted By: TyrellF 1 hour 26 minutes ago Topic Type: News Story (Jump to http:// ilikegardening. blogspot.com) view profile Category: Google AdWords This is great news!  

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from tamar 2578 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Just a heads up - when a story on Sphinn is discarded, the page can be reached from the URL but it disappears from the user’s Submits, What’s New, and Hot Topics.So yes, the URL still works, but the story is dead.

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from TimDineen 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’ve heard that before - spam will stay on the page but no big deal since it disappears from submits, what’s new and hot, etc...But why no go a step further and delete the thing?  It’s not hard to remove the content from a database.For those who ended up with this garbage in their feed readers or etc they may not know that that Sphinn has taken any action against it unless they scroll all the way down to the last comment. Many might just click the link to see what got so many Sphinns so quickly.

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from fantomaster 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Checked out a handful of those autogen users - they’re still in the system, i.e. no bans.Don’t know if they’re actually functional but an outright ban would have been the thing one would have expected to happen first.

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from theGypsy 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yes, it was mentioned on the original post I believe. There are a few holes at this point it would seem - he he - I would imagine an expliot like this one wouldn’t be all that tough to sort out.  BTW ... I posted a few follow up notes.. thanks for the input.. :0)

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from tamar 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@TimDineen: mods only have access to remove the URL with the software that powers Sphinn.

Avatar Moderator
from graywolf 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Actually we killed this story from public view within 2-3 hours of it being in the system, but if you know the original URL you can still find it in the system. Yes it was pretty obvious to everyone that this was the work of voting bots.  We aren’t going to catch everything here right away but we are going to catch it before long, and  lets just say some of the mods are pretty familiar with spotted automated voting bot behavior.  However if anyone does catch something "fishy" before we do I don’t mind and I’m sure none of the other mods will mind either if you dropped us a PM pointing it out to us.  

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from TimDineen 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@tamar - I didn’t mean to suggest that you have that ability now, just that you should.

Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

To follow-up graywolf’s comment, there’s a new "Contact" link down in the footer and you can use that form to let us know if you find spam. Be sure to choose "Report Spam" from the dropdown menu and it’ll send to the entire moderator team.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Eventually, the URL itself will go away. The Pligg software doesn’t allow for this, thinking that just "discard" a URL from view is enough. We don’t. If it’s spam, we want to nuke it off the face of Sphinn entirely. After we upgrade to the latest version, we’ll be making that change. We’ll also add in some additional things to make it harder to fake accounts. These won’t be foolproof, of course -- someone will always try to game the system. But we do have a number of mods watching for oddities that so far stand out well, plus users will be able to help more in the future.

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from theGypsy 2577 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Thanks Michael, Matt and Danny. I’d certainly get a ’nuke’ button set up... as GW said "some of the mods are pretty familiar with spotted automated voting bot behavior" --- I am sure you’ll be fine.

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from TimDineen 2576 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@danny@tamarFYI amd by the way - I’d be willing to provide you a little (like 3 lines) of code that’d enable the moderators to use the label of ’abuse’ for application by moderators for a full deletion of offensive articles. It’s really be a simple bit of code.  I’ll provide it vi IM if you are interested.

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from Gamermk 2563 Days ago #
Votes: 0

When I follow the link to this story it says I have to log in to view the content... is this for real? How did this get 20 Sphinns?

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