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devel / comp.lang.c++ / Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

SubjectAuthor
* (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...Kenny McCormack
+* Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...Mike Terry
|+- Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...Chris M. Thomasson
|`* Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...David Brown
| `* Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...Kaz Kylheku
|  `* Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...David Brown
|   +* Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...Mike Terry
|   |`- Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...David Brown
|   `* Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem..Kenny McCormack
|    `* Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on theDavid Brown
|     +* Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on theKenny McCormack
|     |+* Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on theRichard Damon
|     ||`- Re: advantage of a web interface (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musingsMichael S
|     |`* Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problScott Lurndal
|     | `- Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings onMichael S
|     +- Re: Response to "David Brown"Keith Thompson
|     `- Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings onMichael S
+- Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...Chris M. Thomasson
+* Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...Japanese Spammer Here
|`- Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...The Doctor
`- Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...Lynn McGuire

1
(comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

<ujcr73$3m8q4$1@news.xmission.com>

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From: gaze...@shell.xmission.com (Kenny McCormack)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2023 11:23:15 -0000 (UTC)
Organization: The official candy of the new Millennium
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Originator: gazelle@shell.xmission.com (Kenny McCormack)
 by: Kenny McCormack - Sun, 19 Nov 2023 11:23 UTC

The good news: The spam problem (both the so-called "Thai spam" and the
"mushroom spam") is gone from clc and clc++, because Google has (for
reasons of its own) banned both groups. What's funny about this is that
normally people on these groups would be p*ssed off at Google for banning
them, but in this instance, it is a happy coincidence that it stops the
spam. So, we're good with it.

The bad news is that it is still alive and well in many of the other
groups. Right now, comp.editors is getting slammed - about 1 spam per
minute, 24/7.

So, the question becomes, is there any way we can get Google to ban all
newsgroups, not just these 2?

--
The randomly chosen signature file that would have appeared here is more than 4
lines long. As such, it violates one or more Usenet RFCs. In order to remain
in compliance with said RFCs, the actual sig can be found at the following URL:
http://user.xmission.com/~gazelle/Sigs/FreeCollege

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

<RL-dnc89H-XC3sf4nZ2dnZfqn_udnZ2d@brightview.co.uk>

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Subject: Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
References: <ujcr73$3m8q4$1@news.xmission.com>
From: news.dea...@darjeeling.plus.com (Mike Terry)
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2023 17:18:23 +0000
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 by: Mike Terry - Sun, 19 Nov 2023 17:18 UTC

On 19/11/2023 11:23, Kenny McCormack wrote:
> The good news: The spam problem (both the so-called "Thai spam" and the
> "mushroom spam") is gone from clc and clc++, because Google has (for
> reasons of its own) banned both groups. What's funny about this is that
> normally people on these groups would be p*ssed off at Google for banning
> them, but in this instance, it is a happy coincidence that it stops the
> spam. So, we're good with it.
>
> The bad news is that it is still alive and well in many of the other
> groups. Right now, comp.editors is getting slammed - about 1 spam per
> minute, 24/7.
>
> So, the question becomes, is there any way we can get Google to ban all
> newsgroups, not just these 2?
>

I don't see disconnection from GG as a Good Thing in the long term. Many groups have the core of
their followers using GG, and how many will be persuaded to migrate to Usenet? But the real problem
as I see it is for long term survival groups need a stream of NEW users, and I'd guess close to 100%
of those come via GG, and hopefully they're persuaded later by regulars of the advantages of Usenet.

When I started using the internet my ISP provided the connection obviously, and a document
explaining how to configure my computer to connect to their email and USENET servers. So email,
Usenet, and WWW were the 3 motivations for "getting the internet", and newsgroups were the place you
went for general discussion. Those days are long gone, and whilst my current ISP still has a Usenet
service (subcontracted to Giganews) there's absolutely no mention of it in their advertising, legal
contracts, etc. and you have to hunt hard, knowing what you're looking for, to find any help pages
for it. So no new internet users are going to think "Right, now how do I get a Usenet client, and
where's my Usenet server?!" If they eventually find Usenet it will likely be via GG.

Disconnection from GG will cut off the supply of new users - a kind of "kiss of death" for the long
term health of the group. Groups with an essentially static membership could obviously continue as
they are for years, dieing slowly as their members age and finally depart the group. It's like
these groups are slowly dieing anyway, so another nail in the coffin for long-term Usenet health is
hardly a problem - they want the SPAM gone NOW...

It would be better long term if Google could apply some better SPAM filtering technology, perhaps
leveraging all their clever AI technology?, to block the spam entering the system in the first
place. It's at the point of initial entry that SPAM can be handled with minimum hassle; once it's
circulating around the system it's an order of magnitude more effort to deal with. [Yeah, I get that
Usenet SPAM is not Google's priority!]

Mike.

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

<ujdp0b$3u8mv$3@dont-email.me>

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From: chris.m....@gmail.com (Chris M. Thomasson)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2023 11:51:39 -0800
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 by: Chris M. Thomasson - Sun, 19 Nov 2023 19:51 UTC

On 11/19/2023 9:18 AM, Mike Terry wrote:
> On 19/11/2023 11:23, Kenny McCormack wrote:
>> The good news: The spam problem (both the so-called "Thai spam" and the
>> "mushroom spam") is gone from clc and clc++, because Google has (for
>> reasons of its own) banned both groups.  What's funny about this is that
>> normally people on these groups would be p*ssed off at Google for banning
>> them, but in this instance, it is a happy coincidence that it stops the
>> spam.  So, we're good with it.
>>
>> The bad news is that it is still alive and well in many of the other
>> groups.  Right now, comp.editors is getting slammed - about 1 spam per
>> minute, 24/7.
>>
>> So, the question becomes, is there any way we can get Google to ban all
>> newsgroups, not just these 2?
>>
>
> I don't see disconnection from GG as a Good Thing in the long term.
> Many groups have the core of their followers using GG, and how many will
> be persuaded to migrate to Usenet?  But the real problem as I see it is
> for long term survival groups need a stream of NEW users, and I'd guess
> close to 100% of those come via GG, and hopefully they're persuaded
> later by regulars of the advantages of Usenet.
>
> When I started using the internet my ISP provided the connection
> obviously, and a document explaining how to configure my computer to
> connect to their email and USENET servers.  So email, Usenet, and WWW
> were the 3 motivations for "getting the internet", and newsgroups were
> the place you went for general discussion.  Those days are long gone,
> and whilst my current ISP still has a Usenet service (subcontracted to
> Giganews) there's absolutely no mention of it in their advertising,
> legal contracts, etc. and you have to hunt hard, knowing what you're
> looking for, to find any help pages for it.  So no new internet users
> are going to think "Right, now how do I get a Usenet client, and where's
> my Usenet server?!"  If they eventually find Usenet it will likely be
> via GG.
>
> Disconnection from GG will cut off the supply of new users - a kind of
> "kiss of death" for the long term health of the group.  Groups with an
> essentially static membership could obviously continue as they are for
> years, dieing slowly as their members age and finally depart the group.
> It's like these groups are slowly dieing anyway, so another nail in the
> coffin for long-term Usenet health is hardly a problem - they want the
> SPAM gone NOW...
>
> It would be better long term if Google could apply some better SPAM
> filtering technology, perhaps leveraging all their clever AI
> technology?, to block the spam entering the system in the first place.
[...]

I wonder if somebody writes this method A simply trumps method B. The AI
says ahhh shit, trump, and blocks the message? lol.

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

<ujdqv7$3ujr1$1@dont-email.me>

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Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...
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 by: Chris M. Thomasson - Sun, 19 Nov 2023 20:25 UTC

On 11/19/2023 3:23 AM, Kenny McCormack wrote:
> The good news: The spam problem (both the so-called "Thai spam" and the
> "mushroom spam") is gone from clc and clc++, because Google has (for
> reasons of its own) banned both groups.

Afaict, they made them read only. In the past, they actually tried to
ban them wrt reads and writes. Damn it.

> What's funny about this is that
> normally people on these groups would be p*ssed off at Google for banning
> them, but in this instance, it is a happy coincidence that it stops the
> spam. So, we're good with it.
>
> The bad news is that it is still alive and well in many of the other
> groups. Right now, comp.editors is getting slammed - about 1 spam per
> minute, 24/7.
>
> So, the question becomes, is there any way we can get Google to ban all
> newsgroups, not just these 2?
>

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

<uje5qp$qb8g$1@paganini.bofh.team>

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From: inva...@invalid.net (Japanese Spammer Here)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...
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 by: Japanese Spammer Her - Sun, 19 Nov 2023 23:25 UTC

On 19/11/2023 11:23, Kenny McCormack wrote:
> So, the question becomes, is there any way we can get Google to ban all
> newsgroups, not just these 2?
>

Yes just keep posting more spam using google Groups and they will ban as
soon as they come to know of them. Now you can't buy your drugs anymore! Shame on you.

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

<uje7pq$1mft$19@gallifrey.nk.ca>

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From: doc...@doctor.nl2k.ab.ca (The Doctor)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2023 00:04:10 -0000 (UTC)
Organization: NetKnow News
Message-ID: <uje7pq$1mft$19@gallifrey.nk.ca>
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 by: The Doctor - Mon, 20 Nov 2023 00:04 UTC

In article <uje5qp$qb8g$1@paganini.bofh.team>,
Japanese Spammer Here <invalid@invalid.net> wrote:
>On 19/11/2023 11:23, Kenny McCormack wrote:
>> So, the question becomes, is there any way we can get Google to ban all
>> newsgroups, not just these 2?
>>
>
>Yes just keep posting more spam using google Groups and they will ban as
>soon as they come to know of them. Now you can't buy your drugs anymore!
>Shame on you.

LOL!
Still GG is banned on this node!
--
Member - Liberal International This is doctor@nk.ca Ici doctor@nk.ca
Yahweh, King & country!Never Satan President Republic!Beware AntiChrist rising!
Look at Psalms 14 and 53 on Atheism ; unsubscribe from Google Groups to be seen
Merry Christmas 2023 and Happy New year 2024 Beware https://mindspring.com

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

<ujf2m4$7suh$1@dont-email.me>

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Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
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 by: David Brown - Mon, 20 Nov 2023 07:42 UTC

On 19/11/2023 18:18, Mike Terry wrote:
>
> It would be better long term if Google could apply some better SPAM
> filtering technology, perhaps leveraging all their clever AI
> technology?, to block the spam entering the system in the first place.
> It's at the point of initial entry that SPAM can be handled with minimum
> hassle; once it's circulating around the system it's an order of
> magnitude more effort to deal with. [Yeah, I get that Usenet SPAM is not
> Google's priority!]
>

I agree with you here. Although most of the regulars in these technical
groups use proper Usenet clients, there are some who - for good or bad
reasons - use GG. And it is undoubtedly the main source of new members
for most groups.

Really, it is absurd that Google are not fixing this issue, because it
is not just a GG/Usenet matter. They need to make it more
time-consuming to open a new google account, involve more user
interaction, and put limits on the numbers of new accounts from the same
IP within a short time-frame. It is far too easy to automate the
creation of new gmail address accounts, and that is a big source of
spam, malware and other problems for all of google. If they stop the
bots getting the new accounts, then a simple decades-old Bayesian filter
is enough to identify these spam posts and close the account.

They could also easily have limits on Usenet postings from new accounts.
No posts for the first 20 minutes, then max 3 posts in the first 24
hours. Combine that with delays, limits and checks on new accounts, and
the problem would be solved without bothering existing users.

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

<20231119235033.683@kylheku.com>

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 by: Kaz Kylheku - Mon, 20 Nov 2023 07:56 UTC

On 2023-11-20, David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
> is not just a GG/Usenet matter. They need to make it more
> time-consuming to open a new google account, involve more user
> interaction,

Just not so demanding of time and interaction that it becomes easier to
set up Linux and run tin

Just not that it's easier to install Linux and run tin.

> and put limits on the numbers of new accounts from the same
> IP within a short time-frame.

"Same IP" only works against the pure amateurs who do not harness large
numbers of different IP addresses by using botnets or their own IP
blocks.

Before we blame everything on Google, the first step is getting
Microsoft to fix the problem that millions of Windows machines are under
the surreptitious control of bad actors.

--
TXR Programming Language: http://nongnu.org/txr
Cygnal: Cygwin Native Application Library: http://kylheku.com/cygnal
Mastodon: @Kazinator@mstdn.ca
NOTE: If you use Google Groups, I don't see you, unless you're whitelisted.

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

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 by: David Brown - Mon, 20 Nov 2023 12:33 UTC

On 20/11/2023 08:56, Kaz Kylheku wrote:
> On 2023-11-20, David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
>> is not just a GG/Usenet matter. They need to make it more
>> time-consuming to open a new google account, involve more user
>> interaction,
>
> Just not so demanding of time and interaction that it becomes easier to
> set up Linux and run tin
>
> Just not that it's easier to install Linux and run tin.

Why would anyone choose to run tin, unless they have been using it for
the last three decades? There are many free Usenet clients available,
for Windows and Linux (and I guess also for Macs). They are not
particularly difficult to install or use, and no one needs to use an OS
that they don't want to use.

Pretty much any human who wants to use GG to access Usenet will already
have a google account - extra hurdles on making new google accounts
won't affect them. For the tiny proportion that need to make a new
account, it should not be an issue if they have an extra step or two of
captchas, SMS codes, or whatever.

>
>> and put limits on the numbers of new accounts from the same
>> IP within a short time-frame.
>
> "Same IP" only works against the pure amateurs who do not harness large
> numbers of different IP addresses by using botnets or their own IP
> blocks.
>

The spammers are amateurs. Any professional spammer group would know
perfectly well that flooding technical Usenet groups with Thai casino
adverts is useless.

> Before we blame everything on Google, the first step is getting
> Microsoft to fix the problem that millions of Windows machines are under
> the surreptitious control of bad actors.
>

I don't blame /everything/ on Google - but this one is most certainly
their fault.

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

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From: news.dea...@darjeeling.plus.com (Mike Terry)
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2023 18:06:06 +0000
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 by: Mike Terry - Mon, 20 Nov 2023 18:06 UTC

On 20/11/2023 12:33, David Brown wrote:
> On 20/11/2023 08:56, Kaz Kylheku wrote:
>> On 2023-11-20, David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
>>> is not just a GG/Usenet matter.  They need to make it more
>>> time-consuming to open a new google account, involve more user
>>> interaction,
>>
>> Just not so demanding of time and interaction that it becomes easier to
>> set up Linux and run tin
>>
>> Just not that it's easier to install Linux and run tin.
>
> Why would anyone choose to run tin, unless they have been using it for the last three decades?
> There are many free Usenet clients available, for Windows and Linux (and I guess also for Macs).
> They are not particularly difficult to install or use, and no one needs to use an OS that they don't
> want to use.
>
> Pretty much any human who wants to use GG to access Usenet will already have a google account -
> extra hurdles on making new google accounts won't affect them.  For the tiny proportion that need to
> make a new account, it should not be an issue if they have an extra step or two of captchas, SMS
> codes, or whatever.
>
>>
>>> and put limits on the numbers of new accounts from the same
>>> IP within a short time-frame.
>>
>> "Same IP" only works against the pure amateurs who do not harness large
>> numbers of different IP addresses by using botnets or their own IP
>> blocks.
>>
>
> The spammers are amateurs.  Any professional spammer group would know perfectly well that flooding
> technical Usenet groups with Thai casino adverts is useless.

So what do you believe is "the point" of all the current spam?

That's a serious question - if you believe it is hoping that someone reads a particular spam post
and sees some online betting web site link and thinks "aha, I was just thinking about doing some
online gambling, and as luck has it I've just come across a link. I might as well use that one!"
then indeed the spammers would be worse than amateurs - they'd be idiots, and nobody would pay them
for that! :)

So I'll suggest another reason: the intent of the spam is to pervert the Google search weighting
algorithms in an attempt to move particular sites up the rankings, aiming at an ideal outcome of
appearing on the first page of a search. Individuals have been claiming to be able to do this for
almost as long as search engines like Google have become financially important to buisnesses, and it
seems 100% plausible to me that it can be done - of course you would need to have a good
understanding of how Google rankings work [which I don't!], but then you exploit that knowledge to
"trick" Google into thinking particular sites are more popular than they really are. Probably it
would involve injecting document for Google to scan (Usenet articles?) containing lots of mentions
of the keywords of interest in association with links of interest. It wouldn't be particularly
relevant what human readers made of those documents.

So an indicator of this going on might be articles consisting primarily of long lists of links to
promoted websites. Like you say, who is going to actually read and absorb such a "silly" list of
links? Perhaps Google ranking algorithms? (I don't know, but that's all I can think of - anyhow,
such lists of links is exactly what 99% of the spam consists of...)

Seems we're on the same page regarding Google needing to fix their account creation process so it is
more expensive in human manpower. While there is no cost using some automated process, banning
users for spamming achieves very little. I can see that Google fixing this isn't going to be
instant, but there's also the route of simply identifying spam on prima facae grounds and blocking
it at entry. Google don't seem to like that approach for some reason. Perhaps they see it as just
escalating the spam war requiring constant investment to keep up with spammers, and Google want a
zero on-going effort (on their part) solution.

Regards,
Mike.

>
>> Before we blame everything on Google, the first step is getting
>> Microsoft to fix the problem that millions of Windows machines are under
>> the surreptitious control of bad actors.
>>
>
> I don't blame /everything/ on Google - but this one is most certainly their fault.
>

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

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From: david.br...@hesbynett.no (David Brown)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...
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 by: David Brown - Mon, 20 Nov 2023 20:01 UTC

On 20/11/2023 19:06, Mike Terry wrote:
> On 20/11/2023 12:33, David Brown wrote:
>> On 20/11/2023 08:56, Kaz Kylheku wrote:
>>> On 2023-11-20, David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
>>>> is not just a GG/Usenet matter.  They need to make it more
>>>> time-consuming to open a new google account, involve more user
>>>> interaction,
>>>
>>> Just not so demanding of time and interaction that it becomes easier to
>>> set up Linux and run tin
>>>
>>> Just not that it's easier to install Linux and run tin.
>>
>> Why would anyone choose to run tin, unless they have been using it for
>> the last three decades? There are many free Usenet clients available,
>> for Windows and Linux (and I guess also for Macs). They are not
>> particularly difficult to install or use, and no one needs to use an
>> OS that they don't want to use.
>>
>> Pretty much any human who wants to use GG to access Usenet will
>> already have a google account - extra hurdles on making new google
>> accounts won't affect them.  For the tiny proportion that need to make
>> a new account, it should not be an issue if they have an extra step or
>> two of captchas, SMS codes, or whatever.
>>
>>>
>>>> and put limits on the numbers of new accounts from the same
>>>> IP within a short time-frame.
>>>
>>> "Same IP" only works against the pure amateurs who do not harness large
>>> numbers of different IP addresses by using botnets or their own IP
>>> blocks.
>>>
>>
>> The spammers are amateurs.  Any professional spammer group would know
>> perfectly well that flooding technical Usenet groups with Thai casino
>> adverts is useless.
>
> So what do you believe is "the point" of all the current spam?

I really don't know.

>
> That's a serious question - if you believe it is hoping that someone
> reads a particular spam post and sees some online betting web site link
> and thinks "aha, I was just thinking about doing some online gambling,
> and as luck has it I've just come across a link.  I might as well use
> that one!" then indeed the spammers would be worse than amateurs -
> they'd be idiots, and nobody would pay them for that! :)
>
> So I'll suggest another reason:  the intent of the spam is to pervert
> the Google search weighting algorithms in an attempt to move particular
> sites up the rankings, aiming at an ideal outcome of appearing on the
> first page of a search.

That would have made sense with the page ranking algorithms from the
early days of search engines, but not now - mass spamming of links and
adverts does not boost your ratings on google. But you could be on to
something here - perhaps the spammers don't understand the page ranking
systems and /think/ that it will boost them, or perhaps it still works
on some less sophisticated search engines (there are many used around
the world - google is not dominant everywhere).

>  Individuals have been claiming to be able to do
> this for almost as long as search engines like Google have become
> financially important to buisnesses, and it seems 100% plausible to me
> that it can be done

Nah - there is no need to be able to provide any results in order to
/claim/ you can boost rankings. The ones that actually work are simply
buying sponsored phrases at google, and charging people more than google
charges them.

> - of course you would need to have a good
> understanding of how Google rankings work [which I don't!], but then you
> exploit that knowledge to "trick" Google into thinking particular sites
> are more popular than they really are.  Probably it would involve
> injecting document for Google to scan (Usenet articles?) containing lots
> of mentions of the keywords of interest in association with links of
> interest.  It wouldn't be particularly relevant what human readers made
> of those documents.
>
> So an indicator of this going on might be articles consisting primarily
> of long lists of links to promoted websites.  Like you say, who is going
> to actually read and absorb such a "silly" list of links?  Perhaps
> Google ranking algorithms?  (I don't know, but that's all I can think of
> - anyhow, such lists of links is exactly what 99% of the spam consists
> of...)
>

I don't think that would actually work at all, but I can't be sure (I am
not privy to the details of google's algorithms). And certainly if the
spammers believe this would work (whether or not it /actually/ works),
it would be a rational reason for targetting Usenet groups. However, I
am still inclined to suspect that this is all either a mistake, an
unintentional side-effect (with Usenet posts instead of email posts), or
a spamming subcontracter scamming a spamming customer.

> Seems we're on the same page regarding Google needing to fix their
> account creation process so it is more expensive in human manpower.
> While there is no cost using some automated process, banning users for
> spamming achieves very little.  I can see that Google fixing this isn't
> going to be instant, but there's also the route of simply identifying
> spam on prima facae grounds and blocking it at entry.  Google don't seem
> to like that approach for some reason.  Perhaps they see it as just
> escalating the spam war requiring constant investment to keep up with
> spammers, and Google want a zero on-going effort (on their part) solution.
>

Maybe google gets advertising revenue from the websites, and so doesn't
mind the spam?

Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)

<ujhtba$3oqli$1@news.xmission.com>

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Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 09:30:18 -0000 (UTC)
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 by: Kenny McCormack - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 09:30 UTC

In article <ujfjn2$ae10$1@dont-email.me>,
David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
....
>> Just not so demanding of time and interaction that it becomes easier to
>> set up Linux and run tin
>>
>> Just not that it's easier to install Linux and run tin.
>
>Why would anyone choose to run tin, unless they have been using it for
>the last three decades? There are many free Usenet clients available,
>for Windows and Linux (and I guess also for Macs). They are not
>particularly difficult to install or use, and no one needs to use an OS
>that they don't want to use.

I think you misunderstood his point. The point is that it is too easy
(currently) to automate the process of signing up with Google. This makes
it easy to mass-spam the newsgroups.

The whole point of his post is that we want it to be more difficult to
automate the process of signing up with Google. But there is a limit as to
how far to go on this road, since at some point (if you keep making it
harder and harder to sign up for Google), it becomes easier (for the
spammer/automater) to use some other newsreader (such as tin).

Got it now?

>The spammers are amateurs. Any professional spammer group would know
>perfectly well that flooding technical Usenet groups with Thai casino
>adverts is useless.

As another poster has suggested, I think something more nefarious is going
on. We should not assume that this is just another instance of the usual
"some poor schmuck in some god-forsaken third world shithole trying
desperately to make a few bucks so that they don't have to spend their
lives in grinding poverty" case.

In fact, I think Google is somehow in on it - i.e., from their POV, this
mess is a feature, not a bug. I make no assertion as to the details of
this, and I don't think we do ourselves any favors speculating about it.

>> Before we blame everything on Google, the first step is getting
>> Microsoft to fix the problem that millions of Windows machines are under
>> the surreptitious control of bad actors.
>>
>
>I don't blame /everything/ on Google - but this one is most certainly
>their fault.

Just to be clear, my underlying suggestion that I want Google to ban (i.e.,
make read-only) all the newsgroups is obviously a "not optimal, but perhaps
practical" sort of solution. They either can't or won't actually fix the
problem, so getting them out of the mess is the best we can hope for.

By the way, actually when you think about it, the idea of Google making
newsgroups read-only might actually be a good long-term solution. That
would allow newcomers (which as the other poster notes, we need to have a
steady stream of) to sample the wares w/o being able to post. They would
be encouraged to look around, decide they like it, then be instructed on
how to get setup with a real newsreader and news server. Works for
everybody!

--
"Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS
crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in
TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in
bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither."

Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)

<ujijeg$sq9h$1@dont-email.me>

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From: david.br...@hesbynett.no (David Brown)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the
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 by: David Brown - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 15:47 UTC

On 21/11/2023 10:30, Kenny McCormack wrote:
> In article <ujfjn2$ae10$1@dont-email.me>,
> David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
> ...
>>> Just not so demanding of time and interaction that it becomes easier to
>>> set up Linux and run tin
>>>
>>> Just not that it's easier to install Linux and run tin.
>>
>> Why would anyone choose to run tin, unless they have been using it for
>> the last three decades? There are many free Usenet clients available,
>> for Windows and Linux (and I guess also for Macs). They are not
>> particularly difficult to install or use, and no one needs to use an OS
>> that they don't want to use.
>
> I think you misunderstood his point.

Perhaps.

> The point is that it is too easy
> (currently) to automate the process of signing up with Google. This makes
> it easy to mass-spam the newsgroups.

Yes, that's what I wrote.

>
> The whole point of his post is that we want it to be more difficult to
> automate the process of signing up with Google. But there is a limit as to
> how far to go on this road, since at some point (if you keep making it
> harder and harder to sign up for Google), it becomes easier (for the
> spammer/automater) to use some other newsreader (such as tin).
>
> Got it now?

It is already extremely easy to use a newsreader (other than tin). But
it typically involves a few google searches to find a free server :-)

Fair enough, however - I now see the point of Mike's post.

I don't think Google really see GG as a major part of their services.
They probably like having the Usenet archives, because they like all
sorts of information, but they certainly don't put much effort into
caring for the GG interface. It would take very little to make it much
more attractive to Usenet regulars, if they were interested in competing
for users.

>
>> The spammers are amateurs. Any professional spammer group would know
>> perfectly well that flooding technical Usenet groups with Thai casino
>> adverts is useless.
>
> As another poster has suggested, I think something more nefarious is going
> on. We should not assume that this is just another instance of the usual
> "some poor schmuck in some god-forsaken third world shithole trying
> desperately to make a few bucks so that they don't have to spend their
> lives in grinding poverty" case.

I am assuming incompetence or accident until I have reason to believe
there is a cunning conspiracy here. I am not ruling out something
intentional and evil, but I haven't yet seen convincing evidence. (I'm
also not sure it really matters very much - it makes no difference to
how annoying it is, or how little we can do about it.)

>
> In fact, I think Google is somehow in on it - i.e., from their POV, this
> mess is a feature, not a bug. I make no assertion as to the details of
> this, and I don't think we do ourselves any favors speculating about it.
>
>>> Before we blame everything on Google, the first step is getting
>>> Microsoft to fix the problem that millions of Windows machines are under
>>> the surreptitious control of bad actors.
>>>
>>
>> I don't blame /everything/ on Google - but this one is most certainly
>> their fault.
>
> Just to be clear, my underlying suggestion that I want Google to ban (i.e.,
> make read-only) all the newsgroups is obviously a "not optimal, but perhaps
> practical" sort of solution. They either can't or won't actually fix the
> problem, so getting them out of the mess is the best we can hope for.
>

Agreed.

> By the way, actually when you think about it, the idea of Google making
> newsgroups read-only might actually be a good long-term solution. That
> would allow newcomers (which as the other poster notes, we need to have a
> steady stream of) to sample the wares w/o being able to post. They would
> be encouraged to look around, decide they like it, then be instructed on
> how to get setup with a real newsreader and news server. Works for
> everybody!
>

Even better would be to combine this with a decent web interface to
Usenet from someone other than Google (since Google can't seem to do it
properly). While many people (including me) find real newsreaders much
better than any web interface would be, there are still legitimate uses
for some people to use web interfaces.

Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)

<ujimh3$3p8ne$1@news.xmission.com>

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From: gaze...@shell.xmission.com (Kenny McCormack)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the
spam problem...)
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 16:40:03 -0000 (UTC)
Organization: The official candy of the new Millennium
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X-Newsreader: trn 4.0-test77 (Sep 1, 2010)
Originator: gazelle@shell.xmission.com (Kenny McCormack)
 by: Kenny McCormack - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 16:40 UTC

In article <ujijeg$sq9h$1@dont-email.me>,
David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
....
>Even better would be to combine this with a decent web interface to
>Usenet from someone other than Google (since Google can't seem to do it
>properly). While many people (including me) find real newsreaders much
>better than any web interface would be, there are still legitimate uses
>for some people to use web interfaces.

Just out of curiosity, is there any advantage to a "web interface" (e.g.,
GG) vs a GUI (Windows/Mac/whatever) newsreader (Thunderbird, Claws, Forte,
etc) ? Isn't it pretty much the same thing?

(Of course, I understand the difference "under the hood", but I'm talking
here about what the typical naive user sees and understands)

--
"Everything Roy (aka, AU8YOG) touches turns to crap."
--citizens of alt.obituaries--

Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)

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From: rich...@damon-family.org (Richard Damon)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the
spam problem...)
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 11:49:02 -0500
Organization: i2pn2 (i2pn.org)
Message-ID: <ujin1u$1igar$1@i2pn2.org>
References: <ujcr73$3m8q4$1@news.xmission.com> <ujfjn2$ae10$1@dont-email.me>
<ujhtba$3oqli$1@news.xmission.com> <ujijeg$sq9h$1@dont-email.me>
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 by: Richard Damon - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 16:49 UTC

On 11/21/23 11:40 AM, Kenny McCormack wrote:
> In article <ujijeg$sq9h$1@dont-email.me>,
> David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
> ...
>> Even better would be to combine this with a decent web interface to
>> Usenet from someone other than Google (since Google can't seem to do it
>> properly). While many people (including me) find real newsreaders much
>> better than any web interface would be, there are still legitimate uses
>> for some people to use web interfaces.
>
> Just out of curiosity, is there any advantage to a "web interface" (e.g.,
> GG) vs a GUI (Windows/Mac/whatever) newsreader (Thunderbird, Claws, Forte,
> etc) ? Isn't it pretty much the same thing?
>
> (Of course, I understand the difference "under the hood", but I'm talking
> here about what the typical naive user sees and understands)
>

One advantage is it doesn't need to be "installed" or "updated" since it
doesn't actually live on the users computers.

It also automatically get shared with all your "devices", even if they
are using different operating systems. The programs you listed won't
work on a Phone or Tablet (at least not any of the popular ones), so
wouldn't be usable by a person who is largely "mobile".

Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)

<yc57N.42677$cAm7.10374@fx18.iad>

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Sender: scott@dragon.sl.home (Scott Lurndal)
From: sco...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal)
Reply-To: slp53@pacbell.net
Subject: Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
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Organization: UsenetServer - www.usenetserver.com
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 16:49:34 GMT
X-Received-Bytes: 1558
 by: Scott Lurndal - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 16:49 UTC

gazelle@shell.xmission.com (Kenny McCormack) writes:
>In article <ujijeg$sq9h$1@dont-email.me>,
>David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
>...
>>Even better would be to combine this with a decent web interface to
>>Usenet from someone other than Google (since Google can't seem to do it
>>properly). While many people (including me) find real newsreaders much
>>better than any web interface would be, there are still legitimate uses
>>for some people to use web interfaces.
>
>Just out of curiosity, is there any advantage to a "web interface" (e.g.,
>GG) vs a GUI (Windows/Mac/whatever) newsreader (Thunderbird, Claws, Forte,
>etc) ? Isn't it pretty much the same thing?

Yes. A web interface can be often used when the outbound NNTP port is
blocked, for instance.

Re: advantage of a web interface (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)

<20231121220304.0000059f@yahoo.com>

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From: already5...@yahoo.com (Michael S)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: advantage of a web interface (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings
on the spam problem...)
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 22:03:04 +0200
Organization: A noiseless patient Spider
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 by: Michael S - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 20:03 UTC

On Tue, 21 Nov 2023 11:49:02 -0500
Richard Damon <richard@damon-family.org> wrote:

> On 11/21/23 11:40 AM, Kenny McCormack wrote:
> >
> > Just out of curiosity, is there any advantage to a "web interface"
> > (e.g., GG) vs a GUI (Windows/Mac/whatever) newsreader (Thunderbird,
> > Claws, Forte, etc) ? Isn't it pretty much the same thing?
> >
> > (Of course, I understand the difference "under the hood", but I'm
> > talking here about what the typical naive user sees and understands)
> >
>
> One advantage is it doesn't need to be "installed" or "updated" since
> it doesn't actually live on the users computers.
>
> It also automatically get shared with all your "devices", even if
> they are using different operating systems. The programs you listed
> won't work on a Phone or Tablet (at least not any of the popular
> ones), so wouldn't be usable by a person who is largely "mobile".

More so, "device" or computer does not even have to be yours.

Re: Response to "David Brown"

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From: Keith.S....@gmail.com (Keith Thompson)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: Response to "David Brown"
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 12:09:16 -0800
Organization: None to speak of
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 by: Keith Thompson - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 20:09 UTC

David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> writes:
[...]
> I don't think Google really see GG as a major part of their
> services. They probably like having the Usenet archives, because they
> like all sorts of information, but they certainly don't put much
> effort into caring for the GG interface. It would take very little
> to make it much more attractive to Usenet regulars, if they were
> interested in competing for users.
[...]

For example, Google could set up an NNTP server. But it's hard to
see how that would make money for them, and Google is not a charity.
(Possibly they could insert unobtrusive ads into the NNTP feed, but
the audience likely isn't big enough for that to be worthwhile.)

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) Keith.S.Thompson+u@gmail.com
Will write code for food.
void Void(void) { Void(); } /* The recursive call of the void */

Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)

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Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on
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Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 22:16:26 +0200
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 by: Michael S - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 20:16 UTC

>
> Even better would be to combine this with a decent web interface to
> Usenet from someone other than Google (since Google can't seem to do
> it properly). While many people (including me) find real newsreaders
> much better than any web interface would be, there are still
> legitimate uses for some people to use web interfaces.
>

That's what https://www.novabbs.com/devel/ is.
Not the whole usenet, not even a major part of it, but most groups that
I am interested in are there.
By chance comp.editors that was mentioned in original post of this topic
is not there.
I am afraid that sooner rather than later spammers will find this
particular portal. I don't think that they will be able to spam through
it, but in attempts to do it they could easily degrade the quality of
service.

Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...)

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Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: Response to "David Brown" (Was: (comp.lang.c) More musings on
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 by: Michael S - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 20:23 UTC

On Tue, 21 Nov 2023 16:49:34 GMT
scott@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

> gazelle@shell.xmission.com (Kenny McCormack) writes:
> >In article <ujijeg$sq9h$1@dont-email.me>,
> >David Brown <david.brown@hesbynett.no> wrote:
> >...
> >>Even better would be to combine this with a decent web interface to
> >>Usenet from someone other than Google (since Google can't seem to
> >>do it properly). While many people (including me) find real
> >>newsreaders much better than any web interface would be, there are
> >>still legitimate uses for some people to use web interfaces.
> >
> >Just out of curiosity, is there any advantage to a "web interface"
> >(e.g., GG) vs a GUI (Windows/Mac/whatever) newsreader (Thunderbird,
> >Claws, Forte, etc) ? Isn't it pretty much the same thing?
>
> Yes. A web interface can be often used when the outbound NNTP port
> is blocked, for instance.

eternal-september.org can serve via HTTP port.

Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

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From: lynnmcgu...@gmail.com (Lynn McGuire)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.c,comp.lang.c++
Subject: Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 14:42:44 -0600
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 by: Lynn McGuire - Tue, 21 Nov 2023 20:42 UTC

On 11/19/2023 5:23 AM, Kenny McCormack wrote:
> The good news: The spam problem (both the so-called "Thai spam" and the
> "mushroom spam") is gone from clc and clc++, because Google has (for
> reasons of its own) banned both groups. What's funny about this is that
> normally people on these groups would be p*ssed off at Google for banning
> them, but in this instance, it is a happy coincidence that it stops the
> spam. So, we're good with it.
>
> The bad news is that it is still alive and well in many of the other
> groups. Right now, comp.editors is getting slammed - about 1 spam per
> minute, 24/7.
>
> So, the question becomes, is there any way we can get Google to ban all
> newsgroups, not just these 2?

Ray Banana (E-S admin) blocked a back door that somebody had installed
this morning that GG spam was coming through. He may have gotten the
rest of it. The spammers will be looking for more back doors though.

Lynn


devel / comp.lang.c++ / Re: (comp.lang.c) More musings on the spam problem...

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