I don't recall ACC ever having a captcha. I don't think it would make much difference in this case though - there are only a few accounts doing the spamming at any one time, which suggests to me that the perpetrator is creating accounts manually anyway.
If I had to guess, the main problem is that they have mastered the arcane art of, uh, waiting until all the mods are offline.
There's no place like 192.168.0.0/16.
"which suggests to me that the perpetrator is creating accounts manually anyway"
I've read some of the spam posts and they look like a waste of time for a real person to be posting. They advertise some company in India that nobody here is ever gonna bother with. There are smarter ways to spam if you don't have the limitations of a bot.
I agree, but equally, if it were a bot, I would expect there to be far more accounts - as it is, there are only about three or four a day. So it's pretty baffling. I'm wondering if maybe the spammer is not fluent in English and genuinely thinks they don't stand out.
edit - No, wait, but then how would they know when the mods were offline? Gah, it doesn't make any sense.
There's no place like 192.168.0.0/16.
I was unfortunate enough to come across these 'spam posts' yesterday (I haven't come across today's lot yet).
If I recall correctly, they were posted in the morning, and when I logged on in the afternoon they had been locked but were still showing on the board. They should have just been removed straight away, but they were left on the boards for several hours where members could see them. The content in the posts was removed but the titles of these threads were kept visible. In my opinion, this is quite concerning as we don't appear to have an 'emergency option' when it comes to this sort of thing and we seem too vulnerable. I recall a bad spam attack a few years back where a new user posted loads of spam threads, however these were of a much more offensive nature. I was online at the time that occurred and I recall them taking a while to be removed.
I most certainly don't blame the mods, admins, or anyone else for this occurrence and I certainly don't expect for the site to be monitored on a 24/7 basis, but it does seem that we're not fully prepared for when spam attacks occur. It certainly leads to a few questions that we need to ask ourselves; "do we have enough moderators?", "should we have more people who can intervene to prevent this sort of thing happening?", "should boards be community-moderated?", "should new member restrictions be tightened?". I just feel we're too susceptible at the moment and it doesn't give off a good impression, especially to newer members.
As a Mod, I'm unable to comment on anyone's accounts/threads, except the user in question & fellow Mods. A lot of you have asked questions specific to a series of threads, but I'm unable to say anything on that. Furthermore, I can't say anything ACC will/won't do when it comes to enforcing rules. So if you feel your point was ignored, please don't -- every post here is being heard.
That being said, there are two posts here that aren't specific, that I can address:
"I've read some of the spam posts and they look like a waste of time for a real person to be posting."
It's not a waste at all. Let's say someone posted "free tax consultation by email [email address]". Obviously nobody on ACC is going to email a blatant scam. But, they want people who will search on Google "free tax consultation by email" to find them first. The best way to do that, is to post on forums that already appear high on Google.
If you ever Google keywords used by spammers, you'll see just how widespread they are. You might find car forums, fitness forums, gaming forums, even FB events, that are all titled the exact same thing as what they put on ACC. They're doing everything they can to get on Google -- they couldn't care less about what the users of ACC think about it.
Obviously, ACC Mods lock the spam threads, then they later vanish, so they won't be getting those threads onto Google. But, again, the spammers don't care -- because, if they post the same message to 100 boards, and 98 of them get rid of the post, that's still 2 results that have a shot to appear near the top of Google, without spending a penny.
Reporting a thread always helps! It helps a moderator see it faster. Typically, staff won’t be scrambling the boards for the sole reason of finding bots. However, when an attack does happen, it does help when a member reports it.
If I had my own world
I’d build you an empire
from here to the farlands
to spread love like violence
Right -- sending in a UT shows up to me like a new Private Thread/Flagged Thread/FC Request does for others. So, if I'm looking at "All Public Threads", I might see the spam right away, but if I'm composing a reply or reading through a thread, I won't notice until someone reports it or I happen to go back to "All Public Threads". So always report, even if a Mod is online.
i still think it was bots, but i think its bots that someone has designed to post during the day in india, which is why it happens when the mods are offline. not sure what made it stop suddenly or why there wasnt more, but thats just my guess as to why it happened when the mods were offline. i dont even think they were intnetionally trying to do that, its just usually daytime in india when none of them are online