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jQuery Dev Bemoans Overwhelming Spam On Google Groups

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the discount-llama-pelts dept.

Spam 251

angryrice tips a blog post by John Resig, lead developer for jQuery, about the failure of Google Groups to manage spam, declaring attempts to use it as a public discussion system "completely futile." Quoting: "The final straw was placed upon my patience with the Google Groups system a few weeks ago. Spammers are now spoofing the email addresses of existing group participants to sneak their messages through. Previously you would've seen a delightful 'FREE MOVIE DOWNLOADS' spam from 'freemovies123@gmail.com' — but now you'll see it coming from existing group users — or even the group moderators themselves. This cheat completely bypasses the moderation system since the spammers are pretending to be pre-moderated users. The Google Groups system is completely fooled. The spam message comes in claiming to be from an existing group participant — and according to the Google Groups interface there is no difference. If you click the user's name you'll be taken to a full listing of that user's posts (with the spam messages delightfully interspersed)."

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251 comments

Time to DIY (1, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897487)

Looks like a good time to learn to admin a mailing list.

What do you expect? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897503)

You get what you pay for.

Re:What do you expect? (-1, Flamebait)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898713)

[SARCASM]
Is that why Windows and MacOS infinitely better than Linux and FreeBSD?
[/SARCASM]

Re:Time to DIY (2, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897791)

And then have to deal with spam from Gmail accounts.

Re:Time to DIY (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898147)

So?

First off, I think the guy writing the article is exaggerating. I routinely visit rec.arts.tv on groups.google.com and there's maybe one spam message per two pages (100 messages). Not a big deal.

Second: I honestly don't know why people are so bothered by spam. Back in the day of 2 kbit/s modems, yes it was a pain because it would take a full minute to download a single message, but in today's 1000+ kbit/s world, these messages just ziiiiip right past. I mentally-filter out the spam same way I filter-out commercials on the TV, radio, or web ("Slashdot has advertising? I don't see it."). Maybe the author of the article should learn to apply his own neural network to filter out the crap he doesn't want to see.

Re:Time to DIY (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898173)

Back in the day of 2 kbit/s modems, yes it was a pain because it would take a full minute to download a single message, but in today's 1000+ kbit/s world, these messages just ziiiiip right past.

I use Vodafone UK, you insensitive clod!

Re:Time to DIY (3, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898385)

1. Spam is theft of service.
2. Spam is theft of service.
3. The spam in Google Groups absolutely ruins many groups because the boards are inundated with spam to the point that a real message is like a needle in a haystack. The stock discussion boards have gone to hell in the last few months.

Re:Time to DIY (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898503)

Definitely. I used to spend a bit of time on the finance.google.com discussion boards. OMG it's just a complete mess now to the point that Google no longer displays the most recent conversations on each stock's main page. There is simply a link to the discussion. It's horrible. How Google can have one of the best e-mail spam filters out there but not be able to block this message spam is beyond me.

Re:Time to DIY (1, Insightful)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898613)

1. How can you steal a service that's provided to you for free?

2. How can you steal a service that's provided to you for free?

3. As many of these groups are simple mirrors from Usenet, how do you propose Google control servers that they have no control over?

Re:Time to DIY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898573)

"Spam's fine just ignore it" got modded as insightful? WTF, Slashdot.

Re:Time to DIY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898437)

Even better. The main JQuery site runs Drupal, so they can simple install and configure Organic Groups. Now they have a way to moderate and get rid of the spam a lot easier than on that messed up Google Groups.

Perhaps a new mail header? (2, Interesting)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897525)

Maybe if we created a mail header with the pgp signature of the message in it we could train our spam filters to filter on that. Google could silently inject the header into its mail clients... no one would need training. Email would look the same. Clients unaware what to do with the header could ignore it. Inside systems like Groups you could see "verified" or not on the email.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (1, Interesting)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897631)

sounds like a good idea, it seems. For this to work, can the correct signature be made only by the users private key, on the text in the email message, so someone couldnt just take the public key or whatever and spoof the signature?

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897681)

Gawd, you PGP/GPG faggots see encryption or digital signing as the answer for every problem.

It won't help at all in this case. For instance, nothing stops a spammer from signing up for a GMail account that generates such a header, and sending out spam that your spam filter happily allows through. And it would be trivial for a spammer to spoof a legitimate user's signature.

There is only one solution to spam, and that is to make it completely unprofitable to send. The only way that'll happen is if people stop buying products advertised that way. If spammers don't make any money, then there won't be any incentive for them to spam.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897987)

There is only one solution to spam, and that is to make it completely unprofitable to send. The only way that'll happen is if people stop buying products advertised that way.

An amazingly common misconception. People don't actually buy things advertised by spam. But enough gullible bidnessman believe this for spammers to keep making money off of them.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (5, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898095)

An amazingly common misconception. People don't actually buy things advertised by spam. Err, [citation needed]?

Here's mine: http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2009/07/12-of-e-mail-users-try-to-buy-stuff-from-spam-e-mail.ars [arstechnica.com]

Slightly less than half (48 percent) said that they have never clicked on a spam e-mail. That's the good news, but that means the other half have clicked on or responded to spam. But why? The answers will undoubtedly horrify you. A full 12 percent said that they were interested in the product or service being offered—those erection drug and mail order bride ads do reach a certain market, it appears.

Seventeen percent said that they made a mistake when they did so—understandable—but another 13 percent said they simply had no idea why they did it; they just did. Another six percent "wanted to see what would happen."

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898539)

Another six percent "wanted to see what would happen."

That explains why you shouldn't store Drano in the baby's room, but for adults? *shudder*

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898051)

In this case, the problem is people faking existing "trusted" users, so yes, it would work to require the mail to be signed before the user would be "trusted".

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898195)

The idea is that the key identifies with that particular e-mail. Signing up for "IRn0tFagg0t@gmail.com" would get you a key proving the identity of the author. Copying this key and trying to use it as "Emmanuel.Stewart@gmail.com", wouldnt fool the system at all (because it would look like it is coming from ES, but authenticating as IR).

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898215)

It won't help at all in this case. For instance, nothing stops a spammer from signing up for a GMail account that generates such a header, and sending out spam that your spam filter happily allows through.

Thats trivial to solve, just hold any message whose key is younger then a few days or which isn't trusted enough for moderation.

And it would be trivial for a spammer to spoof a legitimate user's signature.

Unless they hack into a users account it will be pretty much impossible to fake a signature.

The only way that'll happen is if people stop buying products advertised that way.

Good luck with that. Sending spam is virtually free and making a free thing unprofitable ain't gonna work.

The only way to solve the spam problem is to add accountability into the system and PGP signatures would be one way to do it.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (4, Interesting)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898297)

If a spammer can easily spoof a legitimate user's cryptographic signature on a given block of text I would be very surprised. The only practical way that could happen would be if the user's private key was compromised - if that's the case you just issue a revocation certificate for the compromised key.

Requiring users to sign up using their public key and then requiring all posts to be signed isn't completely ridiculous. It may be a OTT for most groups and possibly beyond the ken of a lot of users, but it could be done. You would just have to parse the all incoming mail to make sure they had a valid signature and that the signature was made using a key that matched a register group member. Although I couldn't comment on how much processing overhead that would create.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (2, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898439)

For instance, nothing stops a spammer from signing up for a GMail account that generates such a header, and sending out spam that your spam filter happily allows through.

That's why, while authentication is an excellent thing to do, it's only half of a solution. The other half is to have reputations tied to identities. Sign your spam, get known as a spammer, and now people know to ignore your messages just like they ignore unsigned messages.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897691)

Ummm, Google Groups [wikipedia.org] is an archive and Web interface for Usenet. [wikipedia.org] Email is irrelevant.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898361)

It's that, and also a collection of mailing lists that are not mirrored to Usenet. People interact with those mailing lists using email (the group discussed in the summary is a mailing list that is not mirrored to Usenet...).

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898669)

HEAR, HEAR!

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (3, Insightful)

Straker Skunk (16970) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897841)

PGP/GPG is overkill. Just drop messages that fail an SPF check. Spoofing is part of the problem here, and SPF was tailor-made to address spoofing.

If you do use PGP/GPG, you don't need an extra header for the signature; it's usually added as a small attachment, and better mail clients already pick up on that for verification.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898125)

SPF would only work on the domain level, and has to be implemented by the ISPs, etc. Since google would have to allow many isps send mail as if it were coming from a google user, it would kinda defeat the purpose. Better would be to allow google groups to only get messages from gmail, and set gmail up to not allow alias addresses for gmail accounts that the user doesn't own.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898463)

Maybe if we created a mail header with the pgp signature of the message in it we could train our spam filters to filter on that.

If Google at least supported S/MIME, that would be a start.

Re:Perhaps a new mail header? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898647)

There's a much simpler solution: start sending out "Free Penis Pills" ads, and mail everyone that buys them rat poison. Hopefully, after a couple hundred people die from being spam-buying fucktards, the rest will get the idea.

Alternatively, find the spammers (they have to have real addresses to sell stuff, right?) and shoot them in the face. This is WAY past the point of, "let's fine them" or "let's send them to prison". Time to put those expensive drones we've bought to a better use...

Cue Spam (0)

shashark (836922) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897527)

Cue Spam Comments in 3...2...1

Re:Cue Spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897895)

Spam from TFS:

Spammers are now spoofing the email addresses of existing group participants

the spammers are pretending to be pre-moderated users

The spam message comes in claiming to be from an existing group participant

I think we got the point.

Tragedy of the Commons (5, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897539)

I used to be an avid newsgroup participant way back in the day. The flamewars were legendary, and the amount of technical information exchanged on some of those groups was beyond description.

If there were a way to use spammers for fuel, I'd have no qualms solving our energy woes that way ...

Re:Tragedy of the Commons (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897819)

> I used to be an avid newsgroup participant way back in the day.

I still am. Competent news services such as Newsguy are able to remove enough of the spam to make it tolerable.

No Tragedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898185)

Usenet continues to be a wonderful source of binaries and technical info.

It is still the source for most of the releases I see on p2p networks.

It is no worse than the political pap and S/N ratio say on a site like Slashdot.

Usenet simply requires a thick skin and the willingness to self-manage your experience. Those unwilling to do so have been complaining of "tragedy" since the 2nd week of Usenet's existence.

And sadly they are bringing their puckered asses and regulatory sensibilities to the rest of the Internet, turning it into a suburban picket-fenced nowhere.

 

Re:Tragedy of the Commons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898495)

I, on the other hand, have also participated in many Usenet discussions, but always have welcomed spammers. People who are against spammers are in my opinion not better than Nazis. and while we're at it: Never forget that Hitler was a vegetarian and non-smoker! Is that really what you want to have in our society? Non-smokers, vegetarians, NAZIS?? I for one have chosen to stay on the side of the spammers.

Good opporunity for GPG / PGP? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897545)

Isn't GPG / PGP email signing perfectly suited to handle this?

All you need is a way to build a tree or chain of trusted signatures. The root of the tree could be the person who created the group.

Re:Good opporunity for GPG / PGP? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898155)

Given it's a moderated group, you could easily create a web of trust between moderators, and then have the moderators add the keys of valid participants to their chain. From then on, anyone 'pre-moderated' (whatever that means) would only be able to send an email to the list if the mail was signed with a key a moderator had already accepted.

But, of course, you'd need people to actually use PGP/GPG, which seems like an uphill battle...

Re:Good opporunity for GPG / PGP? (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898455)

Of course. It solves the general email spam problem as well. But can you imagine trying to get your local PTA membership to use this or even understand what it is?

Re:Good opporunity for GPG / PGP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898765)

well, it's not a knitting group, they are supposed to be developers

Re:Good opporunity for GPG / PGP? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898473)

The root of the tree could be the person who created the group.

No, the root of the "tree" (and by that I mean, "not a tree") should be whoever is reading it.

Yahoo chats have had similar syndromes (2, Interesting)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897551)

Yahoo chat as well seems to be overtaken by this spamfest. They have tried to address it with captchas, but the spammers simply go ahead and entire the captcha code and keep spamming. They could require credit card verification to make it harder to open massive numbers of accounts, i suppose. Maybe they could have some sort of scanner that would look for sequences that could identify common patterns in spam messages and flag these messages for moderation. Even moderation itself is ripe for abuse with moderators who abuse that power that they have. Perhaps another solution is a voting system on particular messages like that on slashdot, in this case, simply as to whether the message is spam or not, the messages which are voted to be spam are basically collapsed but could be opened with a click, or can be shown with a show "spam marked messages" feature. Could be useful both on chat and also on message boards.

Re:Yahoo chats have had similar syndromes (2, Interesting)

weaponx71 (524109) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897947)

The Yahoo groups aren't all that bad. I belong to a few and over the past two weeks we got a few infected links from members that got infected. Straight spam has been like maybe one every three months or so. Now the Yahoo chat, well.. that is just unusable as I use to remember it. When I became wise and got rid of AOL, Yahoo chat was a great replacement. You could actually have conversations with real people. Then the script kiddies were flooding the rooms with their booters and such. The bots were easily spotted and ignored. Now... Take any given room, even with the captcha and you will have over 60% bots. As soon as you log into the chat room you get flooded by spam adds to your list and spam chat windows. It IS completly useless compared to what it was a bunch of years ago. Yahoo is the ONLY one to blame for this. Sure they use captcha, and sure there are admins in ever room. But they obviously do NOTHING. I now only pop into those chat rooms once a month, maybe. My wife just said she couldn't right click and it was due to Yahoo's new toolbar, even though she doesn't use the new toolbar. So all of that just spells out to me that is that only Yahoo email is worth anything. And even that hasn't been my main email for 5 some years. I figure it will very slow or maybe not even at all that Yahoo will try and make all of that better. I would go for a guess that now that Google has been called out on it, something will be tried to fix the problems very soon. But... that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Re:Yahoo chats have had similar syndromes (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898615)

Just pass all messages through SpamAssassin. Unfortunately, you lose the header checks with non-email, but the body will often fail in spammy URIs, plus match a number of other rules.

SpamAssassin is awesome. My personal email address gets around 1000 spam messages per day. All but two or three get blocked by SA.

Do more about spam (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897579)

The spammers Behavior are really destructive in many ways, this is just one of them. It really should be seen as sabourtage against infrastructure and a bigger efford should be made to follow the trail of money and take down those people who makes the money.

Re:Do more about spam (2, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897995)

The problem is that the trail of money ends at a Western Union or Moneygram branch.

Re:Do more about spam (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898359)

When I find scammers I like to have fun with them. I like to scam the scammers the way Robin Hood scammed the illegal usurper Sheriff of Nottingham

It's not entirely legal, so I'll shut up now.

Re:Do more about spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898555)

No, no... tell us your techniques so that we may do the same.

Re:Do more about spam (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898415)

Online vigilantes need to go into meatspace with a baseball bat. After two or three spammers get beaten to something resembling a fruit pie filling outside of Western Union, maybe they will get real jobs.

Re:Do more about spam (4, Funny)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898637)

The problem is that the trail of money ends at a Western Union or Moneygram branch.

That's not a problem! We can safely assume that said spammer lives in a 10 KM range of said branch office. A small tactical nuke should take care of it. Sure, it'll cause some collateral damage, but we're talking about spammers here.

and Blogger too (3, Interesting)

GameGod0 (680382) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897617)

Google's really dropped the ball on spam blocking with Blogger too. I host a couple of random blogs on there, and they've all been hit with a ridiculous amount of spam in the last year. Blogger doesn't even give you something like Akismet... :(

Re:and Blogger too (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898341)

Are these spammers the same people that were duped into paying some fee to "learn how to make thousands of dollars" by posting ads on web sites?

Time to bring back the cancelbots? (5, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897641)

If this is a Usenet group that Google Groups is just providing an interface to, I guess it's time to bring back the cancelbots. UDP against Google. It's come close before.

If this is one of the Google Groups that's a web forum, then they need to require that you actually log in before posting.

YOU INSENSITIVE C7LO(D! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897645)

fanatic known that *BSD 0wned. Itself. You can't fatal mistakes, claim that BSD is a Do, or indeed what corpse turned over

Put yourself at the mercy of The Cloud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897647)

... and you can expect to get rained on.

Google Groups shouldn't act like Usenet (1)

MaraDNS (1629201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897657)

The problems described in the article: Having it so it's not completely obvious a group is moderated, having a choice of either moderation of every post or no ability to control spammers, flamers, and trolls, and no protection against forged moderation sound like issues caused because Google groups tries too much to be like Usenet.

Usenet was a very good idea in the 1980s and early 1990s, before the internet became anonymous and spammers started moving in. My favorite thing about Usenet is that it's easy to read it offline (Google "Leafnode") for people who do not have a continuous connection to the internet--this was the norm in the UUCP-dominated 1980s, when just about nobody had a direct internet connection.

I recently posted a blog about the death of Usenet:

http://maradns.blogspot.com/2009/07/memories-of-usenet.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Google Groups shouldn't act like Usenet (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898221)

Usenet has always been anonymous. Back in 1988 when I first got my account I used my real name, but did not have to. I could have just as easily used the handle" I have now. Or spammed up a storm if I felt like it. (In fact some of my early posts about trading Star Trek TNG tapes were labeled "spam" by the members... I learned not to do that anymore.)

Re:Google Groups shouldn't act like Usenet (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898683)

Some of usenet is dead. But not all of it.

But please - keep spreading the meme that usenet is dead - thanks to that, many of the spammers have left, as well as many of those with no sense of netiquette, and the groups that are still active now have a good signal-to-noise ratio. It's almost like it was before The September that Never Ended.

It's also unfortunate that web boards have never learned the long lessons of discussion group user interface design. Even tin of 1993 has a better user interface for threading than any version of phpbb or vBulletin.

Brilliant (NT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897671)

Clever, too.

Finally, someone important points out the obvious! (4, Insightful)

fsterman (519061) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897685)

Why the hell haven't they put the same spam filters that they use for Gmail on the discussion lists?

Re:Finally, someone important points out the obvio (3, Interesting)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897937)

Why the hell haven't they put the same spam filters that they use for Gmail on the discussion lists?

Maybe it's because they want to encourage you to use Gmail, which they control and can extract some income from, instead of Usenet, which they have only a passing acquaintance with and can't squeeze a penny out of.

Re:Finally, someone important points out the obvio (4, Interesting)

baxissimo (135512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898389)

Google Groups serves as a face to Usenet, yes, but it also advertises itself as a place to create new groups [google.com] which are hosted by Google, as an alternative to setting up your own mailing list. I suspect the jQuery folks are using a Google hosted group. The spam situation is indeed ridiculous, and Google could indeed do something about it. They even have "report spam" buttons on all the messages, but so far as I can tell clicking on those buttons has no effect. At the very least it should hide the messages from me that I mark as spam. But no, it doesn't even remember which messages I've marked as spam from login to login. They've just dropped the ball for some reason.

Re:Finally, someone important points out the obvio (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898759)

At the very least it should hide the messages from me that I mark as spam. But no, it doesn't even remember which messages I've marked as spam from login to login. They've just dropped the ball for some reason.

The reason, at least to me, seems abundantly clear: Google has the attention span of a three year old. They fixate heavily on something for a while... then their attention drifts and they are off to the next shiny thing. They've got a lot of products, but no clear vision or effective management.

Re:Finally, someone important points out the obvio (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898255)

Maybe they pool their resources in Google Wave and ditch Google Groups as soon as Wave is ready.

Join the 21st Century (4, Insightful)

Horn (517263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897689)

Time to move away from the antiquated system of mailing lists. Web based forums are much easier to control and a far, far better way of sharing information with users. I hate coming across an otherwise useful site and then having to go to a mailing list to see what other users are talking about.

Re:Join the 21st Century (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897845)

Web-based forums are a decidedly 20th century invention. Don't get me wrong; they are the best way to go for online discussion, but let's not make them out to be newer than they really are. They only seem newer because they've matured along with our lovely "Web 2.0" buzzword progression, whereas mailing lists don't really have too much that they CAN improve on, so they've stagnated for the past decade.

Re:Join the 21st Century (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897851)

Except forums are locked into the crappy UI of whatever forum package the admin happened to pick, whereas mailing lists let you use any email client you want.

Oh, and forums still get spam.

Re:Join the 21st Century (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897879)

> Time to move away from the antiquated system of mailing lists. Web based
> forums are much easier to control and a far, far better way of sharing
> information with users.

No local control over filtering and sorting, forced to use your weird UI and editor instead of my own? "Forums" suck. And "easier to control" is not a feature.

Re:Join the 21st Century (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898135)

No local control over filtering and sorting, forced to use your weird UI and editor instead of my own? "Forums" suck. And "easier to control" is not a feature.

Uhm - then why are you posting on Slashdot?

Re:Join the 21st Century (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898273)

Nope. I belong to the AVS (audio-visual science) forum for awhile, and stated matter-of-factly that digital TV has reception problems and the converter boxes from Dish are junk. I was banned.

You can't have free speech in a system where the Sysop is like a dictator - deciding what can or can not be said. Even a benevolent dictator can be bad. Usenet offers a place that is libertarian in nature - people police themselves - and nobody gets censored even if they are whackjob KKK members.

Re:Join the 21st Century (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898375)

cry me a fucking river... spammer!!!!

Re:Join the 21st Century (5, Insightful)

doconnor (134648) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897903)

This is an issue that really bugged me. The move to web based forums from Usenet and mailing list was a giant step backwards in functionally.

Advantages of Usenet and mailing lists over web based forums:

The user can control the interface
killfiles
threading
discussion on issues where centralized in one place rather then across multiple web forums
better searching
better archiving
less bandwidth

More advanced web forums, like Slashdot, do a better job of supporting these features, but most people still use very primitive forums.

Re:Join the 21st Century (3, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898643)

Killfiles and regex-controlled score files that can both sort and enhance/block messages based on reader-defined criteria. Very very powerful, something the DOS-based SOUP reader I used to use (Yarn) did back in the early 90's, and something which I've not yet seen even roughly approximated in a web-based forum.

Folks who say that USENET is "antiquated" have no idea of its potential, or how experienced users were able to utilize it in practice.

Re:Join the 21st Century (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897913)

Or time to move away from the broken Google Groups to a real mailing list that doesn't have these problems?

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Re:Join the 21st Century (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897919)

This is why most mailing lists have archives you can easily read in your web browser. Mailman even automatically makes the web archives for you.

Re:Join the 21st Century (1)

doconnor (134648) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897949)

Web based forums are much easier to control

One man's control is another man's tyranny.

Re:Join the 21st Century (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897969)

I hate coming across an otherwise useful forum and then having to sign up and log in to view certain topics and download files from it.

Not that I use mailing lists or newsgroups...

Re:Join the 21st Century (3, Insightful)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898711)

USENET has always been far more than a "mailing list", and I could do things to control/filter/sort messages to my liking with Yarn and slrn that I can't even touch with the web-based forum software I've seen (and I've seen a lot of it).

I really wish web-based forum software would catch up. Even USENET in the early 90's far surpassed it in many respects. Most web forums are nice for posting pictures, but horrible in terms of threading and controlling what actually shows up in your reading list.

Upgrade the Captchas (2, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897707)

Google has some of the weakest around. And whats more is becaue Google uses domain keys it is a desired domain because that stuff gets through the spam filters better.

I wish Google had an automated honey pot system where you could drop a google address, and any google account would instantly get shut off for sending mail to it. The idea is you plant the email address in a place where automated spambots will harvest it and poof! no more spammer.

Of course it could be used for abuse and if passed off as a legit account, so there needs to be some registration and tying of spam honey pot accounts to their owners for accountability.

Google already has a solution in Labs (2, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897729)

Google Mail has a feature in Labs whereby they identify social groups within your email contact so that if you exchange a lot of emails between a certain group of people and suddenly add a new recipient it will flag a possible problem. Surely it would be possible to apply a similar methodology to Google Groups only with the IP addresses messages originate from - send from a new IP assignment and the message gets moderated, no matter how many successful posts you've made from elsewhere.

Well, advertising _is_ Google's business... (0)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897747)

But maybe this will kill Google Groups and thus eliminate 99% of the spam on Usenet. We can hope, anyway.

Free Sh0es Now! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897785)

Buy one pair get one free! Our selection catalog beats all others hands down, and feet down! freeshoes@bargain99.com

Unusable indeed (1, Interesting)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897803)

I've been wondering if/when Google would make some sort of effort to deal with the problem. You'd think that a company that's gone out of their way to hire brainiacs could come up with *some* sort of solution. I'm a little surprised they've let it spin this far off into the weeds.

Google Beta (5, Insightful)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897833)

I see a lot of Google's products needing the oh so familiar Beta label again.
Seriously, Google's offering is not without it's serious drawbacks, and I suspect that the good stuff is to be had from actual paid services. However, this kind of letting crap slip where people can spoof the name of a valid member is a serious Alpha quality flaw. What's the point of identifying anyone, if everyone can pretend to be everyone else? I mean that is the actually concept of identity, to uniquely label something as different as other things.
I think Google is trying to take on more than it can handle and it is beginning to really show now that they've removed the excuse of "Beta".

Report spam (2, Informative)

nkh (750837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897965)

Google Groups was a good idea with a bad implementation. Last time I checked, there was no fast way to report a spammer, you have to click 3 or 4 times and be redirected to different pages before having just one message successfully reported.

Re:Report spam (2, Informative)

MWojcik (859959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898253)

Last time I checked, there was no fast way to report a spammer, you have to click 3 or 4 times and be redirected to different pages before having just one message successfully reported.

That must have been long time ago. Now you have "report spam" link right by the thread summary (you don't have to even open the thread) and at each message that doesn't result in opening new window/following the link.

Ebarassing for group admins (4, Interesting)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897967)

I created and admin a Google group for my son's high school team. We have coaches about 120 parents in the group.

Even though it's a pain in the ass, I chose to moderate messages for new members. Still, spam gets through. As the group's admin, it's embarrassing to see graphic messages and know that all the parent's on my kid's team are seeing it. Also, moderation means that some messages may not get through in a timely manner.

I'm looking to migrate the group to an alternative now.

No shit !! WELCOME TO THE BRAVE NEW WORLD !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898121)

Welcome to my nightmare
I think you're gonna like it
I think you're gonna feel... you belong
A nocturnal vacation
Unnecessary sedation
You want to feel at home 'cause you belong

Welcome to my nightmare
Welcome to my breakdown
I hope I didn't scare you
That's just the way we are when we come down
We sweat and laugh and scream here
'cuz life is just a dream here
You know inside you feel right at home here

Welcome to my breakdown
Whoa
You're welcome to my nightmare
Yeah

Welcome to my nightmare
I think you're gonna like it
I think you're gonna feel... you belong
We sweat laugh and scream here
'cuz life is just a dream here
You know inside you feel right at home here
Welcome to my nightmare
Welcome to my breakdown
Yeah

Well, (1)

pdxp (1213906) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898139)

As a concerned legitimate user of /. I must offer these words...

FREE V1AGRA!!
FREE MOVIE DOWNLOADS!
UNLIMITED P0RN FREE!!



(pdxp is no longer with you. the spambots are now infesting his brain, and you are all next)

Spammers are spoofing Google Groups (2, Interesting)

farnsaw (252018) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898205)

I manage a moderated google group and I have received spam "from the group" from someone who is not a member. This makes me think that they sent it directly to me and just spoofed the headers to make it appear to come from google to get past my local spam filter. I wonder if this is what is really happening?

my settings (4, Informative)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898467)

We were having some problems with this on the wimax hacking google group.

About a month ago I set all posting options to members only (read is still public, the group is listed in the directory, and there is no moderation). I then set it so people need to request an invite to join. The signup page says "Sorry, about the inconvenience, but spam was starting to ramp up, so now users have to request membership manually. Anyone who is human is welcome, and encouraged to join."

There has been zero spam since the change.

It would be nice if there was an option to just let people solve a captcha to join the group, but until then this solution is working fine.

Block posts to Usenet via Google (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898543)

Maybe the answer is to block posts to USENET that come in via Google. That seems to be the source of the trouble.

Looking at the newsgroup "comp.lang.python", all the spam seems to be coming in via "posting.google.com" with GMail return addresses. Bulk-created phony gmail accounts [gmailaccountcreator.com] are such a source of spam that they should be blocked until Google gets their act together. At this point, we have to view GMail like Hotmail, another free email account system made useless by spammers.

Hotmail is widely blocked. Next, Gmail?

Digital Signature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898659)

Why don't they set up an option for the admin to require all posts to be validated by a digital signature?

guess he subscribes to the wrong groups... (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898689)

I use google groups, and maybe i'm lucky, but I don't get spam hardly ever in my groups.

I get more spam in my mail then I do in groups, and I probably get less emails then I do new group posts a day.

(i get maybe 10 new emails a day, and 100+ new messages in my fav groups)

All well and good, but I have to wonder (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#29898701)

...how exactly do the spammers know which users are pre-moderated on which groups ?

Just blasting all addresses, regardless of validity may be a good tactic for standard mailboxen, but it seems to me that the ratio of pre-moderated to not-even-subscribed on any given group would be pretty prohibitive. Coupled with the presumably already reasonably low positive feedback on spam (which is not to say that the roi is bad, mind you), and you *should* get only fragments of percents of successfully inserted mails - UNLESS you have prior knowledge of which addresses will work on which groups.

So the problem is spam, then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29898737)

So, let me get this straight. The purpose of this article is to complain that there's a popular public service for communication, and ohnoes it gets spam!!1!1!!! HALP HALP HALP And what's more, *gasp* a developer of at least a semi-popular library of sorts doesn't like spam! This changes EVERYTHING! My entire perception of the internet itself has changed FOREVAR!

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