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NextGEN Gallery Voting
Bots are voting on my images (22 posts)

  1. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Hello,

    my issuse of today is because i found out that a lot of votes on my images are from bots, crawlers and spiders.

    When star-voting is active, then it is possible to block bots with the robots.txt using

    #blocks all URL with a "?"
    #(the ngg-Voting-Links contain a "?")
    Disallow: /*?

    But only the good bots do what i tell them in the robots.txt. The evil bots will ignore the robots.txt and ceep voting. And some of the good bots dont understand the Disallow: /*?

    When using drop-down voting i get less votes from bots (between 5 and 10 a day). How can i get rid of them completely?

    force_login = 1 might solve the problem with the bots but then i have the new problem that the visitors of my page cant vote either and i doubt that many will register in order to be able to vote.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nextgen-gallery-voting/

  2. shauno
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    You can try add a rel="nofollow" to the links too. But that's not going to stop 'bad' bots either.

    Anyone have any suggestions for stopping non-human clicks?

  3. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    the good old captcha might help. But it will annoy human users, too.

    One other possibility might be to ban certain IP´s from voting. Here is how it might work:

    -the Webmaster can add bot-ip´s manually in the backend and votes from that IP will not be counted any more and all old votes from that IP will be deleted.
    -the plugin checks, if this IP has allready voted in the past. If yes, it checks when and how the vote has been cast.
    Example: I have one "visitor" with the IP 188.40.65.130 coming to my website every night, casting 3-5 votes with ~20 minutes between two votes and then leaving. this makes me think that this "visitor" is a bot.

  4. shauno
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    You can already limit by IP by allowing 1 vote per image or gallery. If that option is not selected, the plugin must count all votes from an IP. What's to say they aren't legitimate votes?

  5. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    i mean those votes:
    1. One IP, coming to my site every day, at completely random times (day and night), voting once or twice and then leaving.
    id gid pid vote user_id ip proxy dateadded
    1849 0 707 20 0 78.46.90.27 2011-12-18 00:49:21
    1855 0 630 100 0 78.46.90.27 2011-12-18 03:49:55
    1865 0 624 80 0 78.46.90.27 2011-12-18 23:37:39
    1869 0 626 100 0 78.46.90.27 2011-12-19 01:34:03
    1871 0 623 80 0 78.46.90.27 2011-12-19 03:46:32
    1904 0 619 80 0 78.46.90.27 2011-12-20 18:58:08
    1908 0 628 20 0 78.46.90.27 2011-12-20 22:53:38
    1913 0 620 100 0 78.46.90.27 2011-12-21 06:16:38

    2. One Ip, voting on many pictures within ONE second.
    1719 0 625 40 0 176.9.0.13 2011-12-13 10:09:05
    1737 0 621 40 0 176.9.0.13 2011-12-13 10:09:05
    1784 0 622 40 0 176.9.0.13 2011-12-13 10:09:05
    1786 0 619 100 0 176.9.0.13 2011-12-13 10:09:05
    1803 0 702 60 0 176.9.0.13 2011-12-13 10:09:06
    1829 0 633 40 0 176.9.0.13 2011-12-13 10:09:06

    They are obviously NOT cast by humans. There must be a way of finding and deleting these votes automatically.

  6. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    i forgot to say merry x-max. and sorry for adding so many items to your to-do list.

  7. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    one other possibility is:

    i have Piwik - Web analytics running on my server. It tracks the IP´s of all my human visitors. I need a programm that compares the IP´s of the votes to the IP´s in my piwik-database...

  8. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    i finished writing this program in VBA for excel. are you interested in the code?

  9. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Happy new year!

    Here is another suggestion on how to solve the bot-issue:
    "Trapping "Dumb Submitter Bots"" read it on:
    http://www.kirsle.net/doc/submitter.html

  10. shauno
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    Those are honey pots. They work with submitting forms. The star and (dis)like voting are links.

  11. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    nice to hear from you.

    I currently use the drop-down and the honey-pot would help me. would it be much work to implement this?

  12. shauno
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    Done in 1.9.3. Not perfect, but should stop 'dumb' bots accidentally voting on your images.

    http://shauno.co.za/donate/

  13. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    thanks for the update. I will tell you, if i get less spam-votes now.

  14. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    i still get plenty of spam votes.

    an other way to filter out spam votes might be to check if the user who is casting a vote is currently using a browser. Bots usually dont.

  15. matzelchen
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Hi,

    I have the same problem (crawlers and bots voting on images) and would recommend to change the way voting works: change the regular http links to small HTTP forms. I suppose there are much less bots and almost no crawlers who use HTTP forms.

    You could add honeypot hidden input fields - only bots could fill in values. This behavior could be used with blocking these IPs.

    What do you think?

    Greetings,
    Mathias

  16. shauno
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    Honey pots with the drop down voting has been implemented as per my last post in this thread. Apparently, it didn't help.
    Changing the other voting types to forms is a lot of work, and it seems it wouldn't really help.

    The best way to stop spamming is force users to be logged in. But I understand that is terrible for conversions.

    Anyone have a better way of stopping bots?

  17. matzelchen
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Ok, I see your point.

    Maybe the rating could be ajaxified a little bit more: A lightbox with a captcha could pop up after a user clicks on an image. This would stop bots for sure.

  18. shauno
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    Bots don't use javascript. The plugin was built to work without javascript, and then upgrades to ajax if the client supports it. :)

    I realise this is becoming a problem for some people, I just don't really know a good solution yet...

  19. c-schaefer-foto.de
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    i wrote a litte excel-program that compares the Ip´s of the votes that were cast to the Ip´s in my Piwik-visitor-log.
    It identifies the Ip´s that have cast a vote but are not in the Piwik-log. Votes cast by these Ip´s can the be deleted with a sql-command.

  20. shauno
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    That is a great solution for you, but that cannot be implemented into the plugin.

  21. matzelchen
    Member
    Posted 3 years ago #

    Maybe you could add an option "Bot safe voting (requires JavaScript)".

    It would deliver star images with an ID or an HTML5 data-* attribute, which would be transformed dynamically by JavaScript on page load to links with corresponding href.

    Thus you could leave the decision if JavaScript should be mandatory for voting to the blog owner. The blog owner could, for example, decide to put a message on the blog like "voting requires JavaScript".

  22. shauno
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 3 years ago #

    That's actually a pretty good idea. I personally am not a fan of javascript being a requirement for functionality to work, but it might be worth the tradeoff to limit spam.
    I would need to change quite a bit of code, possibly loading in the stars with ajax. That means it's quite a big job, and I will need to find the time (which is in short supply right now).

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