The update is available on all servers
This update addresses a quite widespread problem that causes considerable inconvenience to many uCoz users. As you can see in the title, the update includes new anti-spam tools, as well as the tools to prevent spam. You will also find some information on effectiveness of anti-spam measures in general.
Unfortunately, as a rule any protection measures have only a temporary effect, and spammers quickly adjust to the new conditions, use various workarounds and new tactics. All this resembles an actual war - an informational war where one side (site and e-mail owners) has to hold the defense, and the other side (spammers) looks for loopholes and attempts to attack unprotected websites.
And of course uCoz, being a very popular service, attracts spammers, and we have to actively participate in this war, user websites being the battlefield.
It's too early to talk about complete destroying of the enemy, but I would like to tell about individual episodes that help us approach our common victory.
Anti-spam filter for comments and Guestbook entries
Some of you have already noticed the operation of this functionality that was launched not so long ago, but for the majority of the users it remained in the shadows. This is an automated system that checks comments and Guestbook entries. Before we proceed to the details, let's have a look at the statistics data of one of the previous weeks.
As you can see there are tons of spam posts in comments and Guestbooks. If we didn't filter them, in a month we would have 25 million of unnecessary posts on our servers, and in a year the number would approach 300 million.
The spam filtering system works according to a fairly simple principle. Each posted entry goes through a large number of simple rules - and the posts that do not match any of them are recognized as normal and are not blocked. Triggering of a rule depends on whether the checked post has certain features. For example, words from the list of banned words or certain links.
Rules are constantly being added and improved, learning from examples of the added spam posts. This system allows to effectively, and most importantly quickly, check large volumes of entries. Surely no system is perfect, and sometimes we get complaints from our users that the system removes normal posts. The best solution in this situation would be to contact our support team and to request restoration of the deleted comments. Analysis of mistakenly deleted comments and entries helps educate the filtration system and reduce the number of similar situations in future.
The above-described mechanism of the filtration system works post factum - comments and Guestbook entries are checked after they have been published on a website. This reduces the efficiency of the system and leads to the next logical step.
Instant spam filtering
This is a completely new mechanism of spam filtering that has already been launched. The operation principle of this system is built on instant ("on the fly") analyzing of posted messages and making a decision whether it is spam or not. The system is closely connected to the mechanism of pre-moderation and therefore the risk to lose normal comments by mistake is really low, as they are simply sent for pre-moderation. The site owner can mark a normal comment as "not spam", and thereby train the system and prevent similar situations.
Configure the spam filter on your website
For site owners to be able to configure the filtering system, we provide four new settings in the user group permissions.
How they work:
- Report spam posts - This setting determines which groups can mark entries as spam.
- Disable automatic spam check of posts - This setting tells the filtering system entries of which user groups must not be checked for spam signs.
- Mark posts as not spam automatically - This settings marks entries of the selected groups as not spam automatically.
- Manage spam statuses of posts (the possibility to forbid reporting certain posts) - This setting activates the ability to control statuses of posts for the selected groups (the ability to mark them as spam or not spam, change the status set by the filtering system).
We are constantly working to fight spam and spammers, and will keep fighting spam in all its forms and implementations in order to protect users' websites from unwanted content. One of the directions we are working in is new captcha types. Follow the news!
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