Mygaffer wrote:Are we really to believe that people are writing programs to make nonsensical forum posts? That seems a lot less likely than someone with a very poor grasp of English trying to make themselves understood. Do you guys have some way of telling for sure that it is a bot?
"Forum spambots surf the web, looking for guestbooks, wikis, blogs, forums and any other web forms to submit spam links to. These spambots often use OCR technology to bypass CAPTCHAs present. Some spam messages are targeted towards readers and can involve techniques of target marketing or even phishing, making it hard to tell real posts from the bot generated ones. Not all of the spam posts are meant for the readers; some spam messages are simply hyperlinks intended to boost search engine ranking."
Most of the time it's pretty easy to tell a bot post from someone who is a human with a poor grasp of english. Every now and then we report someone by accident, but Brian does a really good job of catching those mistakes. I'd say that about three quarters of the posts we see that are in broken english come from actual people. The rest usually end up being bots. Still, bot spamming is on the rise.
Usually, reporting the post and stating 'it's probably a bot' and such is probably the least offensive mistake you can make should the 'bot' turn out to be someone with poor english skills. The simple fact is that this is a forum hosted by a US based company. The primary language spoken here in english. We of course welcome people from all around the world but they should understand that if their english is poor, people might have trouble understanding them or confuse them for bots.
We really try not to. Personally, I usually assume it's a person, unless I see that the account has ten posts and there just happen to be ten new posts bumping existing topics to the top and there are a dozen links in each post.