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Statement Against Support for Spammers (14 posts)

  1. brainwidth
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I haven't been a member of this community for very long, but I already feel strongly about WordPress. I think WordPress is a great piece of technology, and despite a few bugs here and there, it is an excellent way to run a website. However, WordPress is difficult for some new users to learn to use, and that's where these Support Forums come in. The quality and quantity of support available here is amazing, especially considering that it's all offered by volunteers.

    I'm also impressed that the community is dedicated to eliminating spam. The availability of plugins to combat spam and the assistance available here in implementing solutions is a testament to the integrity of the community. Consistent with those goals, I think we need to be careful about offering support on this forum. In two different cases in the last two days, I've come across spammers seeking support on this forum.

    In the first case, a user named chillythecat asked a question about his site, but did not offer a link. Curious to see if I could help solve his problem, I did a quick google search on his username to see if I could find his site. Instead, I uncovered evidence that he was building online casino spam blogs to try and game google. He hasn't commented on the site since I pointed it out.

    In the second case, a user named mikeherman asked a question about validation, and offered a link to his site. Unfortunately, the site in question turns out to be a linkfarm, offering dozens of useless identical interlinked pages about credit info. Look at the numbers along the footer of the blog, and follow a few of the links. Like I said, useless. A quick google search on the names of the authors of some of the posts quickly reveals that the same authors are responsible for linkfarm articles on a number of different sites on different topics.

    I'm an enthusiastic volunteer of information when I think I can help fellow WordPress users get their blogs up and running. However, I will not knowingly assist spammers in setting up linkfarms. The solution is simple: when you ask for help, offer a link to your site. Not only does a link ensure that you're asking for help about a legitimate site, it will also help us diagnose and assist with fixing your problems. Who's with me?

  2. Kafkaesqui

    Posted 9 years ago #

    There's a problem with your solution. Not every request for help lacking a blog link will be due to nefarious reasons. Sometimes a blog is hidden behind a firewall or resides on an intranet. Sometimes it's installed locally or on some other inaccessable server. And sometimes, for a variety of quite legitimate reasons, the person doesn't want to make their site public.

    I'm very much with you in theory, but in practice it'll be hard to demand of everyone.

  3. moshu
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I guess I have to be with Kafkaesquí.
    (The other day I was struggling with a query_posts problem on my local XAMPP install and thanks to Kaf's brilliant code it was solved, though I couldn't provide a link :)
    On the other hand - death penalty for spammers ;)

  4. tomhanna
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I'm not sure about the second case. I didn't click every link, but the few that I did click each had different information. Is it a commercial site? Absolutely. Is it spam? No. I think what you're objecting to is that he has each of his articles linked from the front page of his site in the footer. But they are, from a brief reading of a few, good content articles. Certainly written with an eye to selling something, but unless you want the license changed to "free for noncommercial use" that's no great sin.

    If he's not out leaving spam comments on other people's sites or sending spam email, I'd be inclined to say that he's using the software appropriately. Simply the fact that he creates a single post per page with a different topic on each page and thoroughly interlinks them doesn't make it a "link farm". There is content on his site. And based on the fact that Google has given him a PR of 2, they apparently don't consider it a link farm either.

    Finally, I don't say this to criticize WordPress because I didn't think there was anything wrong with it, but the WP site itself had something similar up about a month ago that caused a great stink.

    Bottom line, someone who is antibusiness will have a different take than someone who isn't, so the best bet is to leave it up to individual supporters who they feel like supporting.

  5. brainwidth
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    You make an excellent point, Kafkaesquí. I don't mean to exclude support from those trying to fix a local installation. I don't really mean for my statement to be a hard and fast rule, and I don't want to require anyone to give a link to their site. I only think that we should be wary of helping potential spammers.

    Re: the second case. It's definitely a linkfarm. The numbered links all lead to pages with only marginally different content, all of which looks to be automatically generated and is linked to the bfast ad service. Also, at the bottom of each of those pages is a huge block of links to nearly identical pages with slightly different names Also, do a google search on the author names. Many of them come up with results at EzineArticles.com. That's a service that specializes in writing fluff articles geared toward optimizing search results. Finally, the front page has at least 4 blocks of google ads and 2 blocks from other ad services. It's a classic example of a linkfarm. I bet its page rank is gone the next time google refreshes its index.

  6. mikeherman
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    brainwidth,

    it certainly is not a link farm. # I don't know what a link farm is and # number 2. I don't have the expertise or knowledge to build a link farm. If anything, my sites just aren't quality sites. If there is something I should or shouldn't do with links please let me know.

    That is what has been great about forums such as these. So many people willing to help.

    Mike

  7. graemep
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Mike,

    your site seems to be rather short of orignial content. For example compare:

    http://www.creditandcreditreports.com/IdentityTheft/inaccuracies.html

    to

    http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/recovering_idt.html

    and this
    http://www.creditandcreditreports.com/articles/misconceptions.html

    to the results of this search:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Your+score+will+drop+if+you+check+your+credit+-+Fortunately%22&hl=en&lr=&start=20&sa=N&filter=0

    You also have 66 slightly different versions of your home page, why is that?

    tomhanna,

    Firstly, toolbar page rank is known not to be reliable or uptodate

    Secondly what his positive PR shows is that Google can still be gamed.

  8. Jinsan
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    66 flavours of the same content - maybe it's like a credit card info ring that' sreally keen to help people use their credit cards more wisely., and they all just happen to have a similar page rank because they all jus thappen to be equally popular?

  9. Denis de Bernardy
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I tend to agree with Tom: The GPL says you can use the tool for any purpose. Now, I would hate to assist a comment spammer or a trackback spammer who is reverse engineering WordPress to spam better. But beyond that, I really see no reason why a user should not get help. If he is feeding noise to Google, let him feed noise to Google.

  10. jwurster
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    We, as the good samaritans that we are, have no way to know who we are helping. Each one of us perceives something different in the "words" that we read based upon our experience. I would guess that 95% of the WP users would never have done the research you did, nor wanted to. I applaud you for your diligence.

    I would suggest that although we can't control the use of WP, with the help of gurus like yourself, we can certainly build a database of potentially problematic users. This is not a good use of our time. We should be doing ...

    Thank you for keeping a watchful eye.
    jim

  11. tomhanna
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    "your site seems to be rather short of orignial content."

    As if blogs were noted for original content.

  12. Michael Bishop

    Posted 9 years ago #

    So if I've created a site meant to be primarily "original content" with WP, is that a case of using WP as CMS, not a blog?

  13. If that's the case, then most news sites are simply blogs, since you'll be hard-pressed these days to find a news site with "original content".

  14. Back to the original subject of this thread, this is a volunteer-powered community forum. And, the volunteers will choose who they want to support. If you come here saying, "I need help," we (the volunteers) will probably help you, because the answer is probably within arm's reach and we just don't want to take the time to do any lengthy background checks before giving you that help. Now, if you stop by with a username like "r8pist" and say, "Help, my blog ('Repeat Child Offender') is displaying an error," that's a different story.

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