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mikey
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:20 pm    Post subject: Forum Spam or Relevant Info Reply with quote

I'm wondering if there isn't some medium ground for dealing with spam here.

It seems to me that this forum might benefit from devs announcing their legit wares here.

Now, of course, I'm not suggesting that rogues be allowed or the usual spam fest...just announcements about new products or services that are truely relevant to the pri/sec community.

Please don't think that I'm trying to suggest policy. I truely do not see why there can't be a middle of the road here and it makes the question ring in my ears.

Just curious JMO Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point, Mikey. I'm working on a definition of sorts of what we consider spam on the forum. There always has to be some flexibility because a definition, policy or rules cannot cover every possibility that might arise.
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goldengreek
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. I like to try out new security apps, and if the software writers can't present them here because they might be considered spam, they will just make us last on their list, and stick with Wilders and Beta News. IMO Confused
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paperghost
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I assume we're talking about this?

You know, there's a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

I saw this same identikit post pasted on a whole bunch of forums, some of which were quite a bit earlier than the post on here, and some of which hinted at various issues related to "its been pulled....now its back....now its been edited....now its gone, but now its back again with a big "PERMISSION GIVEN BY.." underneath it.

Clearly there have already been issues surrounding the way this has been promoted on forums, so with that in mind, cutting and pasting a generic "hi this is our new program" is likely not going to go down too well on any forum. I notice the guy who posted this does go back to some of the forums he's posted this on, so he should be aware at this point how to post (and not post) something promoting his new program.

For that reason, the post was left open and he wasn't flagged as a straight up spammer, lest he came back and added some further thought to his original post.

But you know, generally if someone turns up and (with their first post) immediately promotes (in quite a heavy fashion) a whole bunch of links to some program we've never heard of, links to support and a bunch of "download now" links, then with no idea as to whether the thing is a rogue, or suspicious, or otherwise generally not too good, then there's no choice but to (at the very least) remove the links to prevent anyone downloading something they shouldn't have.

He had plenty of time to come back and see if there'd been any additions to his post (indeed, he was floating around on Castlecops last night while posts were filling up in here), but after a while, you have to wonder if a first post, combined with "download this", combined with a message thats been cut and paste across a whole bunch of forums, combined with him not coming back to see what response (if any) his post got, combined with the fact that it said "as before" (despite the fact that it was his first post on the board) doesn't really put the post in the greatest light.

Even locked, the post was left in full view in case he happened to come back and from there he could have easily sent one of the admins a PM, or made another post in a less "get this now!" fashion and we'd have quite happily listened.

As it stands, its still nothing more than a generic cut and paste spam post promoting a product with little else to it. Was it really so hard to at least PM an admin beforehand to ask permission to post such a thing? Meh.

Just before that post was locked, Lusher said

Quote:
I must conclude that this reaction is not because of the content of the post, but suspicion about something new or from a poster who isn't a well known "name"....


.....so someone popping up with their first post, asking users to "download this" isn't cause for suspicion?

Quote:
I don't think this is very healthy really, seems like the established people are trying to stifle new entries.


Uh, no - "established people"....meaning established forum admins....are doing what they're supposed to do, which is police random one hit and you're done posts from people who spring up out of nowhere, with a whole bunch of links asking people to "download this".

Note that all any admin did was delete the links, leave it open for posting and NOT ban them, label the original poster as a forum spammer OR move it to a hidden section, which is usual protocol.

The post was left open for a further four and a half hours, which was ample time for him to come back and see what was going on, especially as he was apparently on other forums at the time, and the post had been on SWW for a total of nine hours - without him returning - before being locked. In addition, it was a regular poster - not an admin - who openly criticised the thread and the methods involved in posting before any admin got involved.

With absolutely no knowledge of the program, but evidence of a whole pile of identikit posts popping up on other forums, the choice is simple - leave as is and not really concern yourself as to what your forum users are then downloading via a site you're an admin on, or remove the links and see if he comes back.

As it stands, the guy registered on the 21st and made his post, and he hasn't actually been back to the forum yet since he made the post. Will he come back? Who knows.

If there's something funny about the program - and lets not forget, its a beta so who knows what bugs it still has (yet the post made no mention of the fact that you download betas at your own risk etc) - then its our responsibility to make a call and do something about it. Sorry.

One post from a new poster we know nothing about (never mind the program itself) has its links removed and suddenly the sky is falling in and "new entries are being stifled"? Heh.
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paperghost
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd also like to address something Olliver touched upon, which is how much something is worth.

Olliver wrote:
because it clearly demonstrates how little the company respects its prospective customers and treats them as drooling consume maniacs that are too dim to see through their marketing practice.


Not the worth of the product advertised, but the worth of the forum users receiving the message.

When he decided to post across multiple forums, did the original poster consider how much worth he attached to the people that would receive his message?

Well, let's see.

1) Were the users here considered worthy enough of an individual, tailored post that actually addressed them as individual users of this forum? Sadly no, as far as I'm aware, all forums were given the same identikit message. You could have been anyone at all, and the forum actually posted to didn't really matter. So there's that.

2) Did the post actually make sense in the context with which it was presented? Not really, because it wasn't just identikit messaging, but identikit messaging that seemed to address forums that had already taken them under their wing and had already taken part in some sort of previous beta of their product - hence, the rather odd messages in there regarding "as before", the fact that he was thanking people for having "evaluated the first beta" etc.

With that in mind, they couldn't even be bothered to take a few minutes to create a message for these new forums posted to, that would actually make sense in terms of not actually having ever had any dealings with this product directly from the vendor before.

So there's that too.

3) Did they check back in at any point during the nine or so hours the post was live? Not as far as I'm aware. If it was my product, and I was going to make my first post on a forum asking people to try it out, I'd at least maybe stick around a while or keep coming back to see if there were any issues with posting in such a fashion, or if people had questions. I wouldn't just post it and hope for the best, maybe returning in a few days time or something.

That looks more like "post it in a bunch of forums taken from a list of similar forums somewhere and hope for the best, if some take it great but if some don't like it, whatever" and less like continuing to value the worth of the people using that forum.

At that point, you have to ask yourself - where is the worth being attributed here? Is the welfare of users being asked to jump into the second stage of a beta test higher up on your list of priorities, or simply getting as many people as possible to download your beta and become free bug fixers for you?
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Lusher
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

paperghost wrote:
I assume we're talking about this?



Not just that. Also this

Quote:

Clearly there have already been issues surrounding the way this has been promoted on forums, so with that in mind, cutting and pasting a generic "hi this is our new program" is likely not going to go down too well on any forum. I notice the guy who posted this does go back to some of the forums he's posted this on, so he should be aware at this point how to post (and not post) something promoting his new program.


Actually , I have done similar things as well. For exhibit A see here , which is right here on this forum. I also posted across a wide specturm of security related forums (some of which I was an existing member, some that wasn't). I do this manually, instead of using software of course, but it was quite and interesting experience.

My experience is that by and large most security related forums have no problems. Some like Spywareinfo are much more uptight about it (and even they didn't have much problems), but most have no problems or at best add a comment that it's beta or that it isn't endorsed by the the powers that be etc...

Not a pip though from *THIS* forum

Quote:

For that reason, the post was left open and he wasn't flagged as a straight up spammer, lest he came back and added some further thought to his original post.


So he is flagged as a probable spammer? Personally I think some post is either spam or it isn't. If it is spam you kill it. If it isn't you leave it open. Seems strange to leave it (with url removed), but locked...

I also think whether something is spam, does not turn on whether there is a response or not from the original poster... He's still spamming.... even if he answers questions.

Quote:

But you know, generally if someone turns up and (with their first post) immediately promotes (in quite a heavy fashion) a whole bunch of links to some program we've never heard of, links to support and a bunch of "download now" links, then with no idea as to whether the thing is a rogue, or suspicious, or otherwise generally not too good, then there's no choice but to (at the very least) remove the links to prevent anyone downloading something they shouldn't have.


Just before that post was locked, Lusher said

Quote:
I must conclude that this reaction is not because of the content of the post, but suspicion about something new or from a poster who isn't a well known "name"....


.....so someone popping up with their first post, asking users to "download this" isn't cause for suspicion?


It might be. But just because someone "known" (say Me, if I count as "known") , posts about a new product (or even worse just copies the announcement from somewhere), doesn't mean the software is safe either, though you might think that's not spam.

There seems to be two questions here.

1) Is it spam?
2) Is it safe?

They are totally different issues. Even the spyware warrior http://www.spywarewarrior.com/uiuc/index.html has listed malware before, and removed it when someone pointed it out.

Quote:

Quote:
I don't think this is very healthy really, seems like the established people are trying to stifle new entries.


Uh, no - "established people"....meaning established forum admins....are doing what they're supposed to do, which is police random one hit and you're done posts from people who spring up out of nowhere, with a whole bunch of links asking people to "download this".


Quote:

If there's something funny about the program - and lets not forget, its a beta so who knows what bugs it still has (yet the post made no mention of the fact that you download betas at your own risk etc) - then its our responsibility to make a call and do something about it. Sorry.


It seems you are too busy to do research? BTW Safespace has being mentioned here before..... And it was indeed stated it was a beta.

And the whole "you need to tell the whole world what beta means" refrain even after stating it....

I don't know why you guys seem to assume that people reading your forum are idiots and need to be told what beta means.

In a more open forum like Wilders, you will be surprised how quickly bad products are identified and yanked.

But it seems that in these circles, people have a siege mentality,
and are afraid that people reading all this are noobs.

Quote:

One post from a new poster we know nothing about (never mind the program itself) has its links removed and suddenly the sky is falling in and "new entries are being stifled"? Heh.


Not just new entries. Also people who aren't in your cosy little in group... Like the SAS people.... Clearly there are different rules for the "cool kids" and the "uncool kids".

BTW I'm not naive, I know that post clearly had some advertising content , but it's no worse than the self-advertising that goes on here by all the big names here who like to talk about their discoveries...

All in all, you have a decision to make. Do you want to be more open like Wilders Security, where admins expect users to be grown ups and make their decisions on their own, or do you want to be a closed insecular group?

I'm betting on the later.
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paperghost
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lusher wrote:
It seems you are too busy to do research?


It seems you don't seem to recognise that admins don't spend every second of every day on the forum and might only (in some cases) have five minutes or less to make a decision on whether a one off post from a newcomer asking users to download something is safe or not, before then going back to whatever they were doing previously.

In that case, the post had already been live for some hours before it was edited - if it was truly something dubious and / or rogue, it was already way past needing to be deleted. As it was, he was given the benefit of the doubt and the post was allowed to remain live for a good number of hours afterwards, simply minus links. I think that's a fair trade in absence of

a) any other admin at the time to cross-check with and
b) the fact that I myself had to go off for a while after editing the post.

Indeed, I fired a quick link of the post to Suzi who was herself just ready to go off to work, but the general consensus was that it appeared to be driveby post + new poster + asking people to download something = do something with it to be on the safe side.

Again, I really don't see the big deal here.

He was floating around Castlecops at time of edit, and still hadn't come back to check his post. And he still hasn't been back, either.

So I'm seeing even less of a problem at this point.

Quote:
So he is flagged as a probable spammer? Personally I think some post is either spam or it isn't. If it is spam you kill it. If it isn't you leave it open.


....lol, so in other words we either flag as spam and immediately remove (and then someone will complain that we hosed an otherwise "legit app" post), OR we remove the links as it doesn't appear to be a "rogue app" but *might* have some worth to someone here and so we give him the benefit of four more hours to return.....and then someone is still going to complain.

can't please everyone I guess, but then i'm not trying to.

Quote:
And the whole "you need to tell the whole world what beta means" refrain even after stating it....

I don't know why you guys seem to assume that people reading your forum are idiots and need to be told what beta means.


If you don't like that some forums don't assume everybody knows every last thing about every term used on the internet, that's too bad for you. Does it harm, hurt or otherwise cause you problems in any way, shape or form if we don't assume everyone that comes here is an expert? This is a help forum, after all.

Also, you complaining about my so-called "refrain about telling people about the dangers of beta testing" is pretty rich when you have a post here saying BE CAREFUL, MOST OF THE ENTRIES IN THIS THREAD ARE BETA. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! in large capital letters.

Quote:
But it seems that in these circles, people have a siege mentality,
and are afraid that people reading all this are noobs.


....and here's me pointing to your capital letter tirade above.

Quote:
Not just new entries. Also people who aren't in your cosy little in group... Like the SAS people.... Clearly there are different rules for the "cool kids" and the "uncool kids".


If there was more to the post than "we discovered this, our program removes it and here's two links to our website" then maybe it wouldn't have caused any problems.

As it is, there wasn't and it did and the general consensus of the admin staff was that it was spam. Cry me a river.

Quote:
BTW I'm not naive, I know that post clearly had some advertising content


...so the problem is? There was nothing much besides advertising content, that's what caused the issue in the first place. Nick is free to post what he wants, when he wants, as much as he wants, as long as it isn't likely to cause one or more of the admins to feel warranted in taking action in some way, and that goes for everybody who ever posts here, ever. There's enough admins here, from enough sites, backgrounds and forum practices in general to thrash out what they feel sucks and doesn't suck in private then agree to act upon it.

Quote:
no worse than the self-advertising that goes on here by all the big names here who like to talk about their discoveries...


See above. If Nick had posted something a little more interesting than turning up out of the blue simply to tell us his product removes something they just found, then nobody would have had a problem with it, would they?

Quote:
All in all, you have a decision to make. Do you want to be more open like Wilders Security, where admins expect users to be grown ups and make their decisions on their own, or do you want to be a closed insecular group?

I'm betting on the later.


One forum post with links removed and locked does not a secular forum make.
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Nightmaretony
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it was someone established and active in the forums like you or Mikey or Oldfrog, any of you talking about a new software would carry a much bigger weight and trust BECAUSE you are all known as real people, as warriors. A drive by newby? Spammer.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgot to mention this, but

Lusher wrote:
Actually , I have done similar things as well. For exhibit A see here , which is right here on this forum.


There's a world of difference between someone with a vested interest - and you can't get any more of a vested interest than someone who owns, or runs, or works for, or is associated with, or (fill in the blanks here) posting something that does little than serve as an advert for a product of their own making, or ask them to download a beta of a program they made, and someone posting up some info about a program and asking others "what they think of it", as you did.

Unless you work for runscanner or something, in which case you might want to mention it. Otherwise I don't see the problem with your post.
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Lusher
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

paperghost wrote:
Lusher wrote:
It seems you are too busy to do research?


It seems you don't seem to recognise that admins don't spend every second of every day on the forum and might only (in some cases) have five minutes or less to make a decision on whether a one off post from a newcomer asking users to download something is safe or not, before then going back to whatever they were doing previously.


A 5 minute google would have gotten you information that it is probably safe.

Of course, I'm still not sure if your objection is that it is dangerous, or because the intent is to advertise.

The later gives you more room to squirm of course.


Quote:

He was floating around Castlecops at time of edit, and still hadn't come back to check his post. And he still hasn't been back, either.


Which leads me to wonder why he isn't back HERE, but is at Castlecops.... You say you don't have time to do research, yet you have sufficient time to track his movements in Castlecops???

Quote:

Quote:
So he is flagged as a probable spammer? Personally I think some post is either spam or it isn't. If it is spam you kill it. If it isn't you leave it open.


....lol, so in other words we either flag as spam and immediately remove (and then someone will complain that we hosed an otherwise "legit app" post), OR we remove the links as it doesn't appear to be a "rogue app" but *might* have some worth to someone here and so we give him the benefit of four more hours to return.....and then someone is still going to complain.


Remember I'm not the one who started this thread.... Smile

I'm not sure why you borther to remove the url but leave the whole post there... If it is SPAM, the post still accomplishes it goal of advertising, sinch you can usually google to get the url anyway.

I mean if you know for sure the url is malicious, then removing it makes sense, so no-one will acidently click in, but as it is, it makes little sense.

I think the best approach would be to post a reminder that the powers that be of this forum have not tested or tried the product in question and for users to use it at their own risk, or something like that...

When you get confirmation from someone trusted it is fairly safe (perhaps a reply from someone known saying that someone has tried it and it looks good), you can just remove that post to avoid
prejudicing the product's reputation.

That would be a nice compromise if your concern is that the product is malicious.

If your problem is spamming, then it becomes tricky, since this is somewhat subjective really and depends a lot on what you can guess about intent..

For example, if you asked me, whether the spammer replies or not to posts in the thread is immaterial to whether he is spamming or not... But you seem to disagree?

I also suspect it is hard to avoid bias given the conflict of interest involved with many admins. If someone regular here started to talk about his own product, i doubt many admins would call that spam....



Quote:

Quote:
And the whole "you need to tell the whole world what beta means" refrain even after stating it....

I don't know why you guys seem to assume that people reading your forum are idiots and need to be told what beta means.


If you don't like that some forums don't assume everybody knows every last thing about every term used on the internet, that's too bad for you. Does it harm, hurt or otherwise cause you problems in any way, shape or form if we don't assume everyone that comes here is an expert? This is a help forum, after all.

Also, you complaining about my so-called "refrain about telling people about the dangers of beta testing" is pretty rich when you have a post here saying BE CAREFUL, MOST OF THE ENTRIES IN THIS THREAD ARE BETA. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! in large capital letters.


Yes, and guess why I do this now? Because from experience I know there are a few fussy pots like yourself, who will have me for lunch if I don't do that! Making them in caps is extreme enough to deflect all such problems....

And despite what is generally believed by some, I do try to avoid unnecessary runins if possible.

I have never done so (telling the world what beta means) in the past, and i have never seen someone download a beta and then come and berate me for not explaining what "beta" means...

Really I find it unnecessary given the audience here., but i guessed (correctly it seems) that people here operate under a siege mentality, so there is no point leaving an opening for something trival like this.

Quote:

Quote:
Not just new entries. Also people who aren't in your cosy little in group... Like the SAS people.... Clearly there are different rules for the "cool kids" and the "uncool kids".


If there was more to the post than "we discovered this, our program removes it and here's two links to our website" then maybe it wouldn't have caused any problems.

As it is, there wasn't and it did and the general consensus of the admin staff was that it was spam. Cry me a river.


Yes exactly... different rules for different people.

No different from you posting about your new discovery and linking to your blog...
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only difference I think is a degree of paranoia we MUST have in order to do our security watchguarding. Simply put, everyone on here who participates to help fight is paranoid and WILL ask the question of an unknown new poster foisting what may possibly be malware as compared to a known name talking about their new discovery or their latest work project.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lusher wrote:
A 5 minute google would have gotten you information.


Yes, it got me lots of information - unfortunately, all pretty useless.

A google for safespace gave me lots of incredibly useful information about wallpadding, children with autism, salvation army, victims of something or other and merseyside police.

A google for safespace beta gave me lots of results pointing to....the same, driveby posting across various forums that ended up on here.

Neither of the above were particularly useful in the short time available, and I chose to do something vaguely more productive like PM the site owner as a result.

Quote:
Which leads me to wonder why he isn't back HERE, but is at Castlecops....


Perhaps because it just so happened that the first reply to his post here was Olliver who was suspicious of the methods used with regards posting and the general way he went about it? Maybe if he'd approached posting here with something that actually addressed the users here instead of reposting something designed to be posted on forums that were already running with his beta it might have got a less frosty reception?

Who knows. Luck of the draw, time of day, direction the wind was blowing in.....who knows.

Quote:
You say you don't have time to do research, yet you have sufficient time to track his movements in Castlecops???


While posting here and removing links, I also had castlecops and a bunch of other forums open - because I leave them permanently open and refresh often - and he was sitting there in the "currently active" userlist. Considering Olliver had already alerted us to the fact that the guy was posting a similar thing over there, it wasn't exactly hard to both spot the thread AND him as an active user, right there at the top of the page.

Quote:
I'm not sure why you borther to remove the url but leave the whole post there... If it is SPAM, the post still accomplishes it goal of advertising, sinch you can usually google to get the url anyway.


.....is this not actually acting out the "moderate middle ground" mentioned by Mikey? Like I said, hose it and someone complains. Keep it (and rightfully remove download links to prevent someone who doesn't understand the full implication of what a Beta entails, combined with the fact that in the five minutes available we didn't have enough info available on the product at hand or indeed know anything about the person that posted it), and someone still complains. If someone still wants it bad enough that they then go and google it, dig out the site (from amongst the wall cladding, autism and police websites) then that is, eventually, finally, down to them.

Quote:
I think the best approach would be to post a reminder that the powers that be of this forum have not tested or tried the product in question and for users to use it at their own risk, or something like that...


This may well be something that we do in future. I'd still expect live links to be removed (and possibly have a thread locked, deleted or something else) in a case where someone posts some generic, not really applicable to the forum in question message promoting some product we might not have heard of, though.

They can STILL then come back and argue their case and explain why they posted like they did, and then everyone is (possibly) happy, links get restored and all is right with the world once more.

Once again, that seems more than fair and more than doing our part for the "middle ground", instead of just deleting it. As I already said, from a quick check the program seemed like it might have some worth to someone, somewhere. But as I also said....apparent driveby post = links removed till they either come back, or we can be sure its safe.

I wouldn't say potentially legimate applications tend to be promoted like this on forums too often, though. This smacks more of a one off to me, or maybe a two off if we're unlucky.

As Suzi said, every time is different.

Quote:
Yes, and guess why I do this now? Because from experience I know there are a few fussy pots like yourself, who will have me for lunch if I don't do that! Making them in caps is extreme enough to deflect all such problems....


Once again, it comes down to whether or not you have some vested interest in the product you happen to be linking to. Someone turning up and asking people to go join in the second wave of a beta test for a product they're involved with on their very first post, is a little different from a regular user of the forum asking, debating, talking and interacting on a daily (or even semi-daily) basis where, if someone else isn't sure, they will ask and another regular forum user will usually step in and answer a question.

someone turning up as a rep of a company, or a CEO, or a developer, or anything else, and asking people to "try this" carries with it a certain amount of authority and yes, total noobs will often be sucked in by this.

Quote:
Yes exactly... different rules for different people.

No different from you posting about your new discovery and linking to your blog...


Here's a post where a forum member found something and I said I'd go take a look at it, then posted my findings as it was, you know, relevant to the conversation at hand.

There's a steaming great difference between that as an everyday interaction between forum members here and some driveby post, or a one-post spam message for something in beta from a one post member.

I'd say there's quite a difference. And it wasn't long ago that I was defending posts to Digg by Jurgita on the basis that they had some worth and relevance to them and contained useful information beyond a product pitch.

But wait, according to you, only the "cool kids" get a free pass here. And here was me thinking Jurgita was down as some sort of "mortal enemy to SWW' or whatever. Apparently not.

Like I said....each case is different. And despite your allegations, that goes for anyone you deem to apparently not be in the "cool kids" pile.
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Lusher
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paperghost wrote:
Lusher wrote:
A 5 minute google would have gotten you information.


Yes, it got me lots of information - unfortunately, all pretty useless.



For future reference you might want to tag the word security when searching generic sounding names. Or better yet, search wilders... there's a fairly long thread about the very first beta there...

If it doesn't even appear on Wilders, then we are talking about a really new one... since they always seem to have people posting and trying the weirdest stuff ever.

But again here we are talking about whether the product is "safe"... it still doesn't defend the charge of spamming.... I mean SAS is safe, but they can still be charged with spamming as they found out....

Quote:

Quote:
Which leads me to wonder why he isn't back HERE, but is at Castlecops....


Perhaps because it just so happened that the first reply to his post here was Olliver who was suspicious of the methods used with regards posting and the general way he went about it? Maybe if he'd approached posting here with something that actually addressed the users here instead of reposting something designed to be posted on forums that were already running with his beta it might have got a less frosty reception?


Funny how he didn't get a frosty reception at castlecops... Maybe you have your reasoning backwards? The first post here turned him off?

Castlecops is in exactly the same situation as SW, the only prior posting about it was by myself...

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Quote:
I think the best approach would be to post a reminder that the powers that be of this forum have not tested or tried the product in question and for users to use it at their own risk, or something like that...


This may well be something that we do in future. I'd still expect live links to be removed (and possibly have a thread locked, deleted or something else)


So you actually think you didn't go far enough? So on top of what you did, you are going to add a further stern warning?. Might I remind you that Mikey started this thread, to appeal for a softer touch... Personally, I would keep the links, and just add the warning...

Quote:

They can STILL then come back and argue their case and explain why they posted like they did, and then everyone is (possibly) happy, links get restored and all is right with the world once more.


Well I don't see how this is going to work. Sure, you can be easily (hopefully)
convinced that the product is not malicious, but how would one defend against the charge that it was spamming if you are convinced it is spamming? I'm lookin at the SAS case, and you can see how well it ended up.

What mikey is saying I think is that if you want to use a strict standard of spamming, stuff like this would be killed for sure no matter how useful or informative the post is (except maybe if it was from someone trusted).

I mean of course the guy is trying to drum up interest in the product. Never mind if some users might find that information useful....

I mean even when a fan posts about something he just found , it's also to drum up interest ....


Quote:

I wouldn't say potentially legimate applications tend to be promoted like this on forums too often, though. This smacks more of a one off to me, or maybe a two off if we're unlucky.


Yes, they tend to give you a miss. Not sure why...

Quote:

Once again, it comes down to whether or not you have some vested interest in the product you happen to be linking to.


Which is impossible to determine really. If you are going to say "if you are an employee you are immediately suspect" , then people will just pretend to be a normal poster... Some might even invest some time trying to be a normal user for a while and then start posting about the product.

If we are going to go strictly by the rule that if you are associated with X, you can't post about X, I think a lot of people here will be hit...

I do expect disclosure though. But in the safespace case, it seemed obvious that the poster was an employee anyway.

Quote:

someone turning up as a rep of a company, or a CEO, or a developer, or anything else, and asking people to "try this" carries with it a certain amount of authority and yes, total noobs will often be sucked in by this.


But if the same person spends some time posting here first (e.g Tokar), then it's not spamming?
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paperghost
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lusher wrote:
For future reference you might want to tag the word security when searching generic sounding names. Or better yet, search wilders... there's a fairly long thread about the very first beta there...


At the risk of repeating myself, five minutes or less available, quick search, multiple instances of the same post and not much else in the way of objective information, so I PMd the site owner.

and tagging "security" on gave me the same collection of forum spam and download sites with a link to the program (except in a different order) so that wouldn't really have helped much given the timespan involved.

Quote:
So you actually think you didn't go far enough? So on top of what you did, you are going to add a further stern warning?


As an admin, I reserve the right to do whatever is decided to be needed either on my own or based upon a group decision as and when the situation requires it.

Quote:
I'm lookin at the SAS case, and you can see how well it ended up.


It ended up locked with warnings not to do something similar in future. As has (again) already been mentioned, Mikey did point out that a simple "sorry, won't happen again" would have been more productive than trying to deflect criticism of the posting.

Quote:
Yes, they tend to give you a miss. Not sure why...


You're not sure why people who post here in a manner that looks like driveby spam "give us a miss"? You say it like that's a bad thing.

On the basis that legitimate applications aren't usually promoted via means that make it look like they used a spamming tool to post, I can't say I'd be crying in my beer if such posters didn't bother coming here in future. Unless of course you would actually prefer impersonal, generic posts that seem to have emanated from a spamatron 3000 machine, as opposed an actual person saying "hello, I am such and such, I have this product, would it be alright if I....."?

Yes, that kind of poster can continue to "give us a miss". I don't think we'd lose any sleep over it.

Quote:
But if the same person spends some time posting here first (e.g Tokar), then it's not spamming?


....ho hum, here we go again - every case is different, case by case basis, etc etc. Of course it can be spamming even if they've been here for a while, but its usually fairly obvious to determine if someone is only on here to do little else than pimp their product of choice or actually say some useful things about stuff.

I don't know much about Tokar anyway, other than that they were posting here for some time with occasional references to whatever program it was, can't remember, until someone had to say to them in public "perhaps you'd better actually disclose your affiliation to x". I do know that they've posted some useful information here, and the same goes for Nick, too. But that didn't automatically remove the issues for a good chunk of the admins based on the post he made.
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suzi
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's one definition of what makes a forum spammer.

Quote:
A forum spammer is someone who joins a forum and posts a link to an external site or to an external product with no desire to help anyone else on the site. They are there for only one thing and one thing only..self promotion.


That could also apply to someone who's been a member here for a while but occaionally drops in to post a link to their site or product with no other information or discussion that's helpful to users. There might be exceptions to that definition -- there are always exceptions because as Paperghost said, every situation is unique. It can certainly depend on the content of the post, or lack of content, as the case may be. Several things I look at in deciding if a post is spam:

Did the user register here for the primary purpose of promoting their product or website? Usually that's pretty obvious when it happens. They may be promoting it with a direct link in a post, or in their sig.

Did they make the same posts in several different forums/areas here? In that case, definitely spam.

Is the user posting in the appropriate forum? For example we've had spammers post in the HijackThis forums with either advice to try a certain product, with a link in the post or a link in their sig. Our policy makes it very clear that only helpers can post replies in the HijackThis forum.

Often I will google the username. If I get a lot of results showing the same user has made identical posts in multiple forums , that's a red flag.

We probably have become less tolerant of spam and spammers over the last 3 years because we've seen so much.
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