Spammer Insurgency For some time now, I've been engaged in an ongoing battle with a high level spammer network. I'm quite sure some of you have noticed this. Spammers have been registering for this forum, making a post or two, and going quiet. Theirs is a numbers game, they join thousands of sites and make a single post, and if the site in question doesn't ban them quickly, they will return in time and use the existing profile to make hundreds of follow-up posts hocking their product(s). Unfortunately this is a simple reality of running a discussion board with open registration these days. My mornings generally consists of checking the Forums for spam posts, binning them, and banning the offenders. This is a daily occurrence, with most registrations coming from India, but originating from many other nations as well. Here is some insight into the ongoing spammer bloodbath: Fortunately, the admin team has been doing a good job removing these registrations, and recently we've activated LRusso216 as another Moderator to help prosecute our anti-spam warfare. I'm sure some of you might ask: What about CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) or other spam defenses? In fact we do have these systems implemented, and I've been turning the dials on the server side of things to make things more difficult for spammers. CAPTCHA systems actually do a decent job telling humans apart from automated bots, but the problem is that commodity spam networks operated on a pay-per-registration system, and often use actual humans to register for websites. Commodity spam networks employ vast arrays of low pay employees, rotating email domains, and proxy locations to conduct their business. The anti-spam system we use here is robust, and the same one as implemented by our sister site WW2Talk.com, but we are unfortunately dealing with live humans who complete the CAPTCHA section. Even if you haven't heard of the term "CAPTCHA" you are probably very familiar with CAPTCHA systems. Many websites implement these systems to verify a human is sitting at the keyboard. If you've spent any time at all online, I'm sure you've seen the "I'm not a robot" button somewhere. What we've used at WW2F.com is a CAPTCHA system that requires the user to discern specific images from an array. This is something that machines cannot (yet) do very well, and if this is being bypassed, we can be fairly certain an English-speaking human is completing the task. Another good question is: Why do they keep registering if they keep getting banned? The answer is simple: The spammers have been contracted to complete a given number of registrations. Once they register, they hand the account over to other parties and move on. What we are experiencing is commodity spam advertising at it's best/worst. To combat these spammers, I've blocked vast swathes of the internet, including a large portion of India, as well as banned countless email domains that the spammers use to register for the Forums. This purpose of this minor diatribe is to convey that I understand that seeing spam posts is detestable & cumbersome. However if you are seeing one spam post, this means the admin team has exterminated dozens before this. Spammers are very much like cockroaches, seeing a couple means there are many. We will continue to summarily execute spam registrations as we see them. If you do see any of this spam content, please ignore it and know that a surly WW2F admin will be along in short order to exterminate the spam with extreme prejudice. Otto's Workload In an effort to alleviate some possible questions about my responsiveness, I should mention I'm really quite busy these days. I say this as I've had so very many direct requests for assistance, comment, and feedback that I'm felling a bit overwhelmed. As you might imagine, I receive ongoing requests via email & WW2F Private Message, all of which I'd like to respond to but there are only so many minutes in a given day. I simply cannot respond to everyone that contacts me. This is in addition to the demands of my two children of five years and 18 months, a still incomplete move to our new home in Texas, maintaining WW2Talk, developing WW2.org, and my recent appointment as curator of HyperWar. Here is a look at my PM message box as it stands ten minutes ago: This is not a complaint in any way. I really do enjoy the work we do here, and I willingly accept the incumbent demands. I just want to convey that if you've reached out to me recently and I haven't gotten back to you, I'll do my very best, but I might not get back to you immediately. There may be a couple other items on my plate. Armadillos in Texas Armadillos in Texas are not a surprise. Ever since my move to the Lone Star state, I've been seeing them on my front lawn every few days, usually as I looked out the window of my study during late night work sessions. Yesterday while doing some yard work, I discovered what appears to be an Armadillo burrow directly beneath the window to my study! Today I purchased a cheap trail cam and installed it in an over-watch position. I'll posts the results of my scouting operation as the photo reconnaissance comes in. Hopefully I don't get leprosy. Next Week... I'll have a rather lengthy HyperWar update. I'm the new curator of this massive research enterprise, and I stand upon the shoulders of giants, giants to who we owe a massive debt of thanks.