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Increase info required on registration to make life more difficult for spammers
Thread poster: Marie-Hélène Hayles

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
Italian to English
+ ...
Jun 17, 2009

There seems to be an ever-increasing flow of spam e-mails from empty profiles created on Proz. In addition, a new user wih an empty profile has recently posted a discussion which has all the signs of being spam (I won't link to it as I'm not sure if it would violate site rules in this case).

Perhaps if more stringent conditions were brought in for new users, we might be able to keep the number of spammers down?

I suggest as a minimum, that native language, a language pair and a specialist field must be entered on registration - this is a site for translators, after all, so anyone registering ought to be able to provide this information. (Student status could be included in the specialist fields list, perhaps). My (perhaps naive) idea is that if registration becomes more time-consuming, fewer spammers would bother.

I'd also suggest that new users be prohibited from contacting other users and/or posting discussions for a given time period - say 30 days for contacting users and 7 days for posting in the forums. Anyone registering as a corporate user and providing full contact details could be excluded from this restriction, perhaps.

What do other people think? Would something like this be workable? Do you think it's necessary or are the site's current reactive (as opposed to proactive) spam control methods good enough?

My own view is that spam e-mail is currently manageable (and perhaps always will be) and not particularly irritating, thanks to the one-click spam reporting system implemented by staff. But it would be even better if we didn't get it at all.


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
But we should avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water Jun 17, 2009

The proz profile is the only web site many site members have. Just last week a translator friend received a job offer through proz from a former student who found her on line at her profile. This student had a real job offer, as do many of the other individuals who have a one-time need for a translator.

The trick, then, is to welcome these sincere non-linguist newcomers offering bona fide work and keep out the spammers.


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 13:17
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Agree with Jessica Jun 17, 2009

Hello Marie-Hélène,

I agree with Jessica. New comers might not feel like filling up their newly created profiles out of many reasons, because they have no time at that moment, don't know much about the site (yet) or simply do not feel comfortable. Spammers are not new to ProZ.com, got an odd message this morning as well (profile now already inactive, thank you, staff) even Nigerian scam was sent from time to time, but in all these years I got fewer spam messages via ProZ.com than from my service provider;-)

Giuliana


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:17
Member
French to English
+ ...
Not a bad idea Jun 17, 2009

I find Marie-Hélène's proposal interesting and in any case think that there would be no harm in site users having more complete profiles, be they spammers or not!

Giuliana has a point, though, about new users not necessarily wanting to fill out too much information when they're just learning the ropes of the site (although really, things like working languages and native language should never be up for discussion, even when setting up a profile!).

Perhaps a combination of the two suggestions is possible: profiles which do not contain a minimum amount of information should be unable to contact other members/site-users through their profile pages. I'm not sure how the "mass emailing" system works when spammers use the site, but we might be able to allow newbies to send direct email to one person (via their profile), but not to several members at once.

I don't know if limiting forum use is a great idea. I did see the post that you refer too, but I don't think that it happens often enough to worry too much about - plus there are still a few moderators around. I think that the forums are often quite important for new users.

@Jessica - I don't think that visitors need to be registered to contact people through their profiles, do they? As such, what Marie-Hélène is suggesting would not, in my opinion, interfere with the example you give.

Best,
Jocelyne


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Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 08:17
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Not a problem in forums Jun 17, 2009

This should not be a problem in forums, as forum posts from non-members who don't have a verified identity require previous approval by a moderator of staff member to become visible.

Regards,
Enrique


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:17
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Completely support it! Jun 17, 2009

Indeed! Good idea.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Then what are they doing here? Jun 17, 2009

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:
New comers might not feel like filling up their newly created profiles out of many reasons, because they have no time at that moment, don't know much about the site (yet) or simply do not feel comfortable.


They can browse part of the site without logging in. If they have no time or desire to leave more than just a nick, why litter Proz with it? Just to say that we are more than we really are?

On the other hand, I'd add a whole list of information items required before anyone can post a job here.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:17
French to German
+ ...
Seconded... Jun 17, 2009

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:
Perhaps if more stringent conditions were brought in for new users, we might be able to keep the number of spammers down?

I suggest as a minimum, that native language, a language pair and a specialist field must be entered on registration - this is a site for translators, after all, so anyone registering ought to be able to provide this information. (Student status could be included in the specialist fields list, perhaps). My (perhaps naive) idea is that if registration becomes more time-consuming, fewer spammers would bother.



José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
They can browse part of the site without logging in. If they have no time or desire to leave more than just a nick, why litter Proz with it? Just to say that we are more than we really are?

On the other hand, I'd add a whole list of information items required before anyone can post a job here.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:17
French to English
+ ...
exception Jun 17, 2009

Enrique wrote:

This should not be a problem in forums, as forum posts from non-members who don't have a verified identity require previous approval by a moderator of staff member to become visible.

Regards,
Enrique


I guess one slipped through the net earlier today, then?


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Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 08:17
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Not enough information Jun 17, 2009

Angela Dickson wrote:

Enrique wrote:

This should not be a problem in forums, as forum posts from non-members who don't have a verified identity require previous approval by a moderator of staff member to become visible.

Regards,
Enrique


I guess one slipped through the net earlier today, then?


Without knowing the case it is hard to judge if it was spam or not. I would advise to submit a support request including the relevant link, in order to have this issue evaluated by staff.

Regards,
Enrique


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:17
French to English
+ ...
... Jun 17, 2009

Enrique wrote:

Angela Dickson wrote:

Enrique wrote:

This should not be a problem in forums, as forum posts from non-members who don't have a verified identity require previous approval by a moderator of staff member to become visible.

Regards,
Enrique


I guess one slipped through the net earlier today, then?


Without knowing the case it is hard to judge if it was spam or not. I would advise to submit a support request including the relevant link, in order to have this issue evaluated by staff.

Regards,
Enrique


The post seems to have been deleted already so I cannot provide a link. I imagined Marie-Hélène was talking about the same posting.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
forum posting Jun 17, 2009

Angela Dickson wrote:

The post seems to have been deleted already so I cannot provide a link. I imagined Marie-Hélène was talking about the same posting.


I expect so. It does seem to have been deleted. To be fair to staff, it wasn't immediately obvious that it was spam and it was dealt with very quickly once this was established. In fact, I have no complaint at all with Proz's reactive spam control - I was just wondering if there were a case for implementing some pre-emptive measures.


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 13:17
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
A chance... Jun 17, 2009

Come on, José Henrique, why call it litter?

When I first landed here, about 10 years ago, I registered with a nick and didn't enter much at the beginning, actually not because I didn't feel comfortable, but simply because I didn't know yet whether I wanted to stay and if the site was something for me.

As soon as I realized that many used their names, I entered mine. Once I was sure that the site was interesting, I added a few things about myself.

There are also beginners, just out of school, eager to learn and improve, gather experience, who really have no clue about what is OK, what not, what's reccommended and what ought not to be done. Let's give them a chance! They might become the next generation perfect professionals. (A friend and a colleague hires regularly freshly baked translators for translation office work: I have met a couple, extremely efficient and valuable people, not really ready for the stuff the office translates, but breathing that air could only develop their potential).

As to native language and real names: there are many people, who do not show their real names for various good reasons; the same apply to the native language...

Let's presume good faith, one of ProZ.com recurrent themes.


On the other hand, I'd add a whole list of information items required before anyone can post a job here.


I fully agree on this point and after several years Jobs moderation I can say that the site requires quite a bit of data (even if they are not all visible to members). Improvements are always welcome, of course.

Giuliana


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Because of this... Jun 17, 2009

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:
Come on, José Henrique, why call it litter?


Have a look at http://www.proz.com/profile/99111

The "translator's" name is:
Maria Gustava dos Prazeres e Morais
Each of the four elements is a normal name/surname in Portuguese.

However if read aloud, especially with European Portuguese accent, it means exactly:
"Mary Liked the Imoral Pleasures"

Okay, the Proz staff will probably purge it now (though it's funny!) , but one way of avoiding such entries to become "one more Proz user" is to require at least some very basic infornation on the individual.


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 13:17
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
OK, there were other examples Jun 17, 2009

Hi José,

OK, there were other examples... now gone for good. Simply submit a support ticket, as I did (noticed actually a worse nick about liking illegal stuff some time ago, submitted a support ticket and the nick was gone pretty quickly) and others do.

Giuliana


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