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Spam on answers?

Windell H. Oskay
Can anything be done about the torrent of spam on the Inkscape answers page? (https://answers.launchpad.net/inkscape)




Windell H. Oskay, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Chief Scientist
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
175 San Lazaro Ave, STE 150
Sunnyvale CA 94086
http://www.evilmadscientist.com/


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Re: Spam on answers?

Martin Owens-2
On Tue, 2017-02-28 at 11:37 -0800, Windell H. Oskay wrote:
> Can anything be done about the torrent of spam on the Inkscape
> answers page? (https://answers.launchpad.net/inkscape)

We can close the answers page and redirect people to somewhere new.

Windell, do you work on answering user questions? I could do with some
help deciding what kind of functionality we might need to replace
answers.

Best Regards, Martin Owens

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Re: Spam on answers?

Maren Hachmann
In reply to this post by Windell H. Oskay
No, unfortunately not.

Launchpad staff is working hard on removing spam, and they also have
automated systems in place, but unfortunately, they are insufficient
when the spammers decide to flood launchpad. One can report spam that
hasn't been detected by creating a question in their own answers section
at https://answers.launchpad.net/launchpad - but usually, the spam will
be removed no matter if it's reported or not. Sometimes, they also
accidentally clean out valid questions (happened today), because it's so
much.

There are a couple of long-standing launchpad bug reports about not
allowing arbitrary users to create FAQ items, mark questions as invalid,
or edit question texts - but as far as I can see, they are not being
worked on as a priority.

I'm looking forward to the day when we can redirect the 'Ask Us a
Question' link in the Inkscape help menu to a forum.

The two useful things I can see about the answers section are that from
time to time, a developer looks at questions, and that one can link to a
bug report. The rest is spam and inconvenience (no file upload), in my view.

Maren

Am 28.02.2017 um 20:37 schrieb Windell H. Oskay:

> Can anything be done about the torrent of spam on the Inkscape answers page? (https://answers.launchpad.net/inkscape)
>
>
>
>
> Windell H. Oskay, Ph.D.
> Co-Founder and Chief Scientist
> Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
> 175 San Lazaro Ave, STE 150
> Sunnyvale CA 94086
> http://www.evilmadscientist.com/
>
>
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> _______________________________________________
> Inkscape-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/inkscape-devel
>


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Re: Spam on answers?

Marc Jeanmougin-2
In reply to this post by Martin Owens-2
Mostly Maren answers questions on lp, and sometimes me.

I was tempted to send an email about this topic yesterday, because I'm
really fed up with the spam on lp answers.
I received 2600 spams yesterday, and 3100 spams today (three thousand,
yes), which is a bad day.

Overall, My junk folder contains about fifty-one thousand (51000) spams
from launchpad answers only, since I joined to ask questions in december
2015. I crafted my .procmailrc to filter out most of the spam
automatically, but recently more and more is escaping, since the spam is
now in messages rejecting (marking as "invalid") legitimate (and spam)
questions, or designed to post a question that *looks* legitimate (like
"why ubuntu no virus") only to answer it quickly with spam answers, and
I cannot filter that efficiently.

For now, I'd say the launchpad answers section is not usable.


What worries me most is that spammers have started to invade the
"bugs.launchpad.net" section, which means that if the launchpad spam war
is going to be lost there too, we will have to move to another bug
tracker (maybe the gitlab one ?).


Anyway, to answer you, for the functionalities, ideally we'd need:
-> a search in already existing questions before asking one
-> automatic email updates for a group of people answering questions,
for any activity on questions; and email updates to the people asking
questions
-> status of questions (open/answered/solved/invalid)

--
Mc

PS: I received 95 spams in the time I took to write this message.

On 02/28/2017 09:10 PM, Martin Owens wrote:

> On Tue, 2017-02-28 at 11:37 -0800, Windell H. Oskay wrote:
>> Can anything be done about the torrent of spam on the Inkscape
>> answers page? (https://answers.launchpad.net/inkscape)
>
> We can close the answers page and redirect people to somewhere new.
>
> Windell, do you work on answering user questions? I could do with some
> help deciding what kind of functionality we might need to replace
> answers.
>
> Best Regards, Martin Owens
>
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> [hidden email]
> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/inkscape-devel
>

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Re: Spam on answers?

Windell H. Oskay
In reply to this post by Martin Owens-2

> On Feb 28, 2017, at 12:10 PM, Martin Owens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> We can close the answers page and redirect people to somewhere new.

That seems a bit drastic, but if launchpad doesn't offer appropriate tools for dealing with it (keyword blacklist, letting users flag/delete, hiding suspected spam, etc), then you may be right.

I imagine that www.inkscapeforum.com (as the "official forum") would be a natural place to direct people?

> Windell, do you work on answering user questions? I could do with some
> help deciding what kind of functionality we might need to replace
> answers.

I'm not a core-level developer, but answering questions is one of those ways that I can be helpful to the project. Whenever I find myself on launchpad I always make a point of scanning new questions for ones that I can answer.


Windell H. Oskay, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Chief Scientist
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
175 San Lazaro Ave, STE 150
Sunnyvale CA 94086
http://www.evilmadscientist.com/


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Re: Spam on answers?

Marc Jeanmougin
In reply to this post by Martin Owens-2
Mostly Maren answers questions on lp, and sometimes me.

I was tempted to send an email about this topic yesterday, because I'm
really fed up with the spam on lp answers.
I received 2600 spams yesterday, and 3100 spams today (three thousand,
yes), which is a bad day.

Overall, My junk folder contains about fifty-one thousand (51000) spams
from launchpad answers only, since I joined to ask questions in december
2015. I crafted my .procmailrc to filter out most of the spam
automatically, but recently more and more is escaping, since the spam is
now in messages rejecting (marking as "invalid") legitimate (and spam)
questions, or designed to post a question that *looks* legitimate (like
"why ubuntu no virus") only to answer it quickly with spam answers, and
I cannot filter that efficiently.

For now, I'd say the launchpad answers section is not usable.


What worries me most is that spammers have started to invade the
"bugs.launchpad.net" section, which means that if the launchpad spam war
is going to be lost there too, we will have to move to another bug
tracker (maybe the gitlab one ?).


Anyway, to answer you, for the functionalities, ideally we'd need:
-> a search in already existing questions before asking one
-> automatic email updates for a group of people answering questions,
for any activity on questions; and email updates to the people asking
questions
-> status of questions (open/answered/solved/invalid)

--
Mc

PS: I received 95 spams in the time I took to write this message.

On 02/28/2017 09:10 PM, Martin Owens wrote:

> On Tue, 2017-02-28 at 11:37 -0800, Windell H. Oskay wrote:
>> Can anything be done about the torrent of spam on the Inkscape
>> answers page? (https://answers.launchpad.net/inkscape)
>
> We can close the answers page and redirect people to somewhere new.
>
> Windell, do you work on answering user questions? I could do with some
> help deciding what kind of functionality we might need to replace
> answers.
>
> Best Regards, Martin Owens
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Check out the vibrant tech community on one of the world's most
> engaging tech sites, SlashDot.org! http://sdm.link/slashdot
> _______________________________________________
> Inkscape-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/inkscape-devel
>

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Re: Spam on answers?

Maren Hachmann
Am 28.02.2017 um 21:37 schrieb Marc Jeanmougin:

> Anyway, to answer you, for the functionalities, ideally we'd need:
> -> a search in already existing questions before asking one
> -> automatic email updates for a group of people answering questions,
> for any activity on questions; and email updates to the people asking
> questions
> -> status of questions (open/answered/solved/invalid)
>

- Additionally, I'd like to have an option to upload files directly, and
to mark as 'needs information'.

Files situation:

It's almost impossible to successfully explain to the average user that
email attachments do not work in the launchpad answers section, and what
a file sharing webservice is.

I do it every time I need to take a look at people's files to make sense
of their question or issue, and in 30% of the cases, people still attach
files to their answer by email, and I need to tell them that it didn't
work, and ask them kindly (again) to upload those to either dropbox,
google drive, or framdrop.org or any other file hosting web service of
their choice.

This makes it an unsatisfying experience for the user (who needs just an
easy-to-use interface), and delays answering of questions.

Also, I can't give visual explanations easily (for a graphics program!),
while it would be very helpful to be able to do so, without linking to
imgur or another image hoster, which I currently do and where
(potentially useful) images may be lost with time.

More Info:

The forum at inkscapeforum.com comes with all the options Marc pointed
out (aside from the marking, which I haven't missed on the forum yet),
plus a whole lot of wonderful community members who are becoming better
and better at explaining tricky stuff to users, and most of whom are
real experts at some area or other.

Only it's not officially 'ours', aside from the domain name, suffers
from spam issues itself (not visible to normal users like me, though)
and developer attendance for the really tricky questions is a rare event.

The link in 'Ask us a question' in 0.92 goes to the inkscape.org
website, and can be redirected any time. The link in previous versions
is hardcoded to go to launchpad. There is no option to set a different
URL or write a note on launchpad (the features were intended to be
there, but they aren't fully implemented, i.e. they just don't work).

Regards,
 Maren

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Re: Spam on answers?

Bryce Harrington-3
On Wed, Mar 01, 2017 at 12:12:24AM +0100, Maren Hachmann wrote:

> Am 28.02.2017 um 21:37 schrieb Marc Jeanmougin:
>
> > Anyway, to answer you, for the functionalities, ideally we'd need:
> > -> a search in already existing questions before asking one
> > -> automatic email updates for a group of people answering questions,
> > for any activity on questions; and email updates to the people asking
> > questions
> > -> status of questions (open/answered/solved/invalid)
> >
>
> - Additionally, I'd like to have an option to upload files directly, and
> to mark as 'needs information'.

Yeah that seems like a critically important feature.

> The forum at inkscapeforum.com comes with all the options Marc pointed
> out (aside from the marking, which I haven't missed on the forum yet),
> plus a whole lot of wonderful community members who are becoming better
> and better at explaining tricky stuff to users, and most of whom are
> real experts at some area or other.
>
> Only it's not officially 'ours', aside from the domain name, suffers
> from spam issues itself (not visible to normal users like me, though)
> and developer attendance for the really tricky questions is a rare event.

Well, if anyone ever manages to get a dump of the forum data for us, we
can look into addressing those problems.

Until then, probably not a great idea to send an influx of questioners
there.  And in any case, probably best to doublecheck with that
community that they'd be welcoming of the traffic first.

> The link in 'Ask us a question' in 0.92 goes to the inkscape.org
> website, and can be redirected any time. The link in previous versions
> is hardcoded to go to launchpad. There is no option to set a different
> URL or write a note on launchpad (the features were intended to be
> there, but they aren't fully implemented, i.e. they just don't work).

That's good to know, I was wondering if that was the case.

Think it would be worth doing point releases for 0.48 and 0.91 to change
the link in preparation?

Bryce

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Re: Spam on answers?

maren

> Until then, probably not a great idea to send an influx of
> questioners there.  And in any case, probably best to doublecheck
> with that community that they'd be welcoming of the traffic first.

- I agree, asking is a must. But in terms of traffic, it's negligible.
There are between 0 and 5(-8) questions a day. Usually, it's 1-3. I
don't expect anything like an influx, more a trickling ;-)

(I imagine that some people who would otherwise ask, are deterred by the
overcomplicated registration process via Ubuntu One. So changing that
could potentially give us more 'askers'.)

> Think it would be worth doing point releases for 0.48 and 0.91 to
> change the link in preparation?

- I can't imagine why someone using 0.48.x would want to update their
version just to get a new link.

If someone is using such an old version, I think it's either because
they don't know that a newer one exists (and then - how would they know
that a new point release exists?), or because they're long-time users,
who can't update because of a bug that would impact their workflow.
Those users probably already know where they can find help. Or they're
stuck with an old version because their distro doesn't update the
Inkscape version (I don't know if they would update for this, that's
more your area of expertise - if they would, then this could be a reason
for updating 0.91 for affected distros).

So, no, with my current knowledge, I personally don't think it would be
worth making extra releases.

Regards,
 Maren

Am 01.03.2017 um 04:24 schrieb Bryce Harrington:

> On Wed, Mar 01, 2017 at 12:12:24AM +0100, Maren Hachmann wrote:
>> Am 28.02.2017 um 21:37 schrieb Marc Jeanmougin:
>>
>>> Anyway, to answer you, for the functionalities, ideally we'd
>>> need: -> a search in already existing questions before asking one
>>> -> automatic email updates for a group of people answering
>>> questions, for any activity on questions; and email updates to
>>> the people asking questions -> status of questions
>>> (open/answered/solved/invalid)
>>>
>>
>> - Additionally, I'd like to have an option to upload files
>> directly, and to mark as 'needs information'.
>
> Yeah that seems like a critically important feature.
>
>> The forum at inkscapeforum.com comes with all the options Marc
>> pointed out (aside from the marking, which I haven't missed on the
>> forum yet), plus a whole lot of wonderful community members who are
>> becoming better and better at explaining tricky stuff to users, and
>> most of whom are real experts at some area or other.
>>
>> Only it's not officially 'ours', aside from the domain name,
>> suffers from spam issues itself (not visible to normal users like
>> me, though) and developer attendance for the really tricky
>> questions is a rare event.
>
> Well, if anyone ever manages to get a dump of the forum data for us,
> we can look into addressing those problems.
>
> Until then, probably not a great idea to send an influx of
> questioners there.  And in any case, probably best to doublecheck
> with that community that they'd be welcoming of the traffic first.
>
>> The link in 'Ask us a question' in 0.92 goes to the inkscape.org
>> website, and can be redirected any time. The link in previous
>> versions is hardcoded to go to launchpad. There is no option to
>> set a different URL or write a note on launchpad (the features
>> were intended to be there, but they aren't fully implemented, i.e.
>> they just don't work).
>
> That's good to know, I was wondering if that was the case.
>
> Think it would be worth doing point releases for 0.48 and 0.91 to
> change the link in preparation?
>
> Bryce
>


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Re: Spam on answers?

Bryce Harrington-3
On Thu, Mar 02, 2017 at 02:07:08AM +0100, maren wrote:
>
> > Until then, probably not a great idea to send an influx of
> > questioners there.  And in any case, probably best to doublecheck
> > with that community that they'd be welcoming of the traffic first.
>
> - I agree, asking is a must. But in terms of traffic, it's negligible.
> There are between 0 and 5(-8) questions a day. Usually, it's 1-3. I
> don't expect anything like an influx, more a trickling ;-)

Ah ok, didn't realize it was so little.  Well that simplifies the issue
considerably.
 

> (I imagine that some people who would otherwise ask, are deterred by the
> overcomplicated registration process via Ubuntu One. So changing that
> could potentially give us more 'askers'.)
>
> > Think it would be worth doing point releases for 0.48 and 0.91 to
> > change the link in preparation?
>
> - I can't imagine why someone using 0.48.x would want to update their
> version just to get a new link.
>
> If someone is using such an old version, I think it's either because
> they don't know that a newer one exists (and then - how would they know
> that a new point release exists?), or because they're long-time users,
> who can't update because of a bug that would impact their workflow.
> Those users probably already know where they can find help. Or they're
> stuck with an old version because their distro doesn't update the
> Inkscape version (I don't know if they would update for this, that's
> more your area of expertise - if they would, then this could be a reason
> for updating 0.91 for affected distros).
>
> So, no, with my current knowledge, I personally don't think it would be
> worth making extra releases.

Ah, very good points.  Alright, I'll not worry about that then.

Thanks,
Bryce

> Regards,
>  Maren
>
> Am 01.03.2017 um 04:24 schrieb Bryce Harrington:
> > On Wed, Mar 01, 2017 at 12:12:24AM +0100, Maren Hachmann wrote:
> >> Am 28.02.2017 um 21:37 schrieb Marc Jeanmougin:
> >>
> >>> Anyway, to answer you, for the functionalities, ideally we'd
> >>> need: -> a search in already existing questions before asking one
> >>> -> automatic email updates for a group of people answering
> >>> questions, for any activity on questions; and email updates to
> >>> the people asking questions -> status of questions
> >>> (open/answered/solved/invalid)
> >>>
> >>
> >> - Additionally, I'd like to have an option to upload files
> >> directly, and to mark as 'needs information'.
> >
> > Yeah that seems like a critically important feature.
> >
> >> The forum at inkscapeforum.com comes with all the options Marc
> >> pointed out (aside from the marking, which I haven't missed on the
> >> forum yet), plus a whole lot of wonderful community members who are
> >> becoming better and better at explaining tricky stuff to users, and
> >> most of whom are real experts at some area or other.
> >>
> >> Only it's not officially 'ours', aside from the domain name,
> >> suffers from spam issues itself (not visible to normal users like
> >> me, though) and developer attendance for the really tricky
> >> questions is a rare event.
> >
> > Well, if anyone ever manages to get a dump of the forum data for us,
> > we can look into addressing those problems.
> >
> > Until then, probably not a great idea to send an influx of
> > questioners there.  And in any case, probably best to doublecheck
> > with that community that they'd be welcoming of the traffic first.
> >
> >> The link in 'Ask us a question' in 0.92 goes to the inkscape.org
> >> website, and can be redirected any time. The link in previous
> >> versions is hardcoded to go to launchpad. There is no option to
> >> set a different URL or write a note on launchpad (the features
> >> were intended to be there, but they aren't fully implemented, i.e.
> >> they just don't work).
> >
> > That's good to know, I was wondering if that was the case.
> >
> > Think it would be worth doing point releases for 0.48 and 0.91 to
> > change the link in preparation?
> >
> > Bryce
> >

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Re: Spam on answers?

Brynn
In reply to this post by Bryce Harrington-3
Hi Everyone,
        Sorry to be late to this discussion.  I had a bad case of the flu.
        I agree with pointing Answers questions to the forum.  And it was my
understanding that was the plan, which would be a year or so away from
happening.  At least that's the last I heard.  (I mean the part where the Ask a
Question item in the  Help menu can redirect to the forum.)  Or....well
actually, I think it was going to be sort of a gradual change in some ways, that
might be finished within a year or so.  Something like that.
        But I don't think it should be done until we have the new forum up and
running.  I think we probably need a new powwow on the forum issue.  I mean with
the board, developers, and any of the original committee who might still be
interested.  My patience is growing thin, and I really want to get it moving.  A
decision needs to be made about the hosting situation, so we can take some real
action on it.
        Getting a dump from IF is meaningless unless we have a server ready to
accept it.  Of course we could use a preliminary dump, just so we can make a
test installation, to make sure we know how to do it.  But it would be better to
practice on the new server, and have only a couple of weeks expire between
preliminary dump and final dump.  (Mostly I'm thinking that way, because of the
inavailability of the owner/admin to give us the dumps.)
        (And migrating to the new server will just be the first step.  We will
still need to either convert InkscapeForum to SMF or Inkscape Community to
phpBB.  Not to mention hopefully bringing Inkscape Cutting Design into the fold
too.)  There's just SOOooo very much work to do, and almost nothing can start
until we have the server.

All best,
brynn

-----Original Message-----
From: Bryce Harrington
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:24 PM
To: Maren Hachmann
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Inkscape-devel] Spam on answers?

On Wed, Mar 01, 2017 at 12:12:24AM +0100, Maren Hachmann wrote:

> Am 28.02.2017 um 21:37 schrieb Marc Jeanmougin:
>
> > Anyway, to answer you, for the functionalities, ideally we'd need:
> > -> a search in already existing questions before asking one
> > -> automatic email updates for a group of people answering questions,
> > for any activity on questions; and email updates to the people asking
> > questions
> > -> status of questions (open/answered/solved/invalid)
> >
>
> - Additionally, I'd like to have an option to upload files directly, and
> to mark as 'needs information'.

Yeah that seems like a critically important feature.

> The forum at inkscapeforum.com comes with all the options Marc pointed
> out (aside from the marking, which I haven't missed on the forum yet),
> plus a whole lot of wonderful community members who are becoming better
> and better at explaining tricky stuff to users, and most of whom are
> real experts at some area or other.
>
> Only it's not officially 'ours', aside from the domain name, suffers
> from spam issues itself (not visible to normal users like me, though)
> and developer attendance for the really tricky questions is a rare event.

Well, if anyone ever manages to get a dump of the forum data for us, we
can look into addressing those problems.

Until then, probably not a great idea to send an influx of questioners
there.  And in any case, probably best to doublecheck with that
community that they'd be welcoming of the traffic first.

> The link in 'Ask us a question' in 0.92 goes to the inkscape.org
> website, and can be redirected any time. The link in previous versions
> is hardcoded to go to launchpad. There is no option to set a different
> URL or write a note on launchpad (the features were intended to be
> there, but they aren't fully implemented, i.e. they just don't work).

That's good to know, I was wondering if that was the case.

Think it would be worth doing point releases for 0.48 and 0.91 to change
the link in preparation?

Bryce

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Announcing the Oxford Dictionaries API! The API offers world-renowned
dictionary content that is easy and intuitive to access. Sign up for an
account today to start using our lexical data to power your apps and
projects. Get started today and enter our developer competition.
http://sdm.link/oxford
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