Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

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Lemming
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Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by Lemming »

Many here will remember Notsofasteddie who made no less than 5975 posts between 2011 and 2018. He's still a member but hasn't logged in to the forum for a couple of years now.

Most of his posts consisted entirely of content recycled from other websites. This was a constant issue for me because it looked very spammy and I suspected he was being supplied the material ready-formatted by spammers.

One thing that suggested I might be wrong about that was the complaints I occasionally got from people saying he'd used material without permission. In one extreme case last year a publisher had the whole ACD shut down briefly for a copyright infringement in a Notsofasteddie post (see here).

Even that is not conclusive though because in the past I've actually had spammers contact me asking for their own spam (that I'd missed) to be deleted. This has happened when they've found that their spam was having a negative impact on their ranking, possibly after Google updated its algorithm. It's a murky world this cat and mouse game between Google and spammers trying to get their sites listed higher in search results.

I've always been bombarded with emails from people asking for pricing on 'guest posts' but in recent years a pattern has emerged. They often cite specific Notsofasteddie posts as an example of the kind of thing they're looking for, which suggests that spammers see these as spam posts. I've even had requests for new links edited into these posts. You may have noticed that many spammers make their posts as replies in Notsofasteddie threads.

Many times I've considered deleting all of these spam-magnet posts. It's quite easy for me to do that and all of the posts are at least two years old now. The trouble with any mass deletion of old posts is that it leaves a lot of mess behind. There will be replies to the posts that would no longer make sense if the post they were referring to had gone. Also, not all of the thousands of posts are so spammy.

Any thoughts?


kush0la
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by kush0la »

I only speak for myself, I would say that removing them wouldn't hurt anyone though.
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DaveS
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by DaveS »

If the content or the posts are problematic, Lemming, delete them.

It wouldn't be the first time that there have been gaps appearing in threads - whether it be the OP removing their own posts for whatever reason, or Admin "taking care of business"...

The last thing anyone here would want is for there to be an issue, as you mentioned, that could even temporarily take this website offline..

That's my take on this anyhow...

8)
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notsofasteddie
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by notsofasteddie »

I was surprised to see that you are considering deleting all of my posts as Spam. I am not a Spammer (see definition below).

Spammer
[ˈspamər]

NOUN
1. a person or organization that sends irrelevant or unsolicited messages over the Internet, typically to large numbers of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware, etc.

I viewed myself as a contributor under the Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0 Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.
Here’s one example,


Creative Commons Licensing
StoptheDrugWar.org articles are available for reprinting under a modified version of the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License, under which you are free to copy, distribute and transmit the work; or to adapt the work by excerpting from it, under the following conditions:
 You must attribute the work to the organization StoptheDrugWar.org, and if posting online must include a link to http://stopthedrugwar.org; and you must do so without suggesting that StoptheDrugWar.org endorses you or your work.

 Use of StoptheDrugWar.org articles must be selective, e.g., you should not reprint a large percentage of our articles, nor should our articles make up a large percentage of the content on your site. (However, copies of the Drug War Chronicle newsletter may be distributed by email or in print without restriction, provided they are properly attributed as described above.)

 Online reprinting should make use of "noindex" metatags so that your copies of our articles are not indexed in search engines.

 Your online copies of our articles should not be submitted for indexing to Google News. (Our most recent understanding indicates that this is accomplished by omitting the link to the article to the page you have provided to Google for news indexing.)

 You will refrain from submitting your copies of our articles to social media and content sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

 You may not add new links to our articles, without permission, and may at no time use contextual advertising within our articles.
 StoptheDrugWar.org may revoke any publisher's right to republish our content, and you agree to cease doing so upon our request, and to remove any previously republished content from your web site within a reasonable timeframe after being requested to do so.

With the understanding that:
 Waiver: StoptheDrugWar.org will consider requests to waive above-listed conditions on an individual basis.

 Public Domain: Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by this license.

 Other Rights: In no way does this license affect: Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations; The author's moral rights; or Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.

 Notice: For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.

 If you typically pay for your use of material, we request to also be paid.


CC / Attribution / Commercial Reuse Permitted on Request


Should you decide to delete my posts, obviously you can as the website is your creation, as I have said before. I would ask that you preserve my travelogues as they are the most obvious cases of non-spam since they are my creations. Also they bring back many memories of numerous trips to Amsterdam starting in the late 1990’s as well as trips to Colorado beginning in 2015.

I also wonder if it is necessary to delete posts like these, Amsterdam Coffeeshop Directory Forums. While somewhat dated they do bring back fond memories for many ACDers and certainly are contributions and not SPAM.
Jesscass
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by Jesscass »

I clearly remember when this topic was brought up some years ago, "It's a murky world these SEO companies!"

Back then the problem indeed wasn't solved as the thread, "Guest posts", was deleted because one miscarriage went nuts.

However, I echo Kush0la's and DaveS' opinions so better get rid of them. Would even suggest to delete complete threads if this is possible as I agree otherwise it would cause too much confusion with leftovers. Shame such practices to say the least!
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Lemming
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by Lemming »

Ahh, purified!
I finally tackled this and deleted thousands of spammy posts.
It was quite cathartic. I feel cleansed :D

Rather than just deleting every post, I ploughed through tons of crap, often deleting whole topics/threads. This also removed lots of other old spam that was posted as replies to Notsofasteddie posts.

This does mean that I've deleted a few posts by real people like you but they were all several years old and I don't think you'll miss them.

Apparently the current trend in the SEO world is to try to get into old topics. Presumably this is thought to fool Google's algorithms better. Tactics seem to be to add a bland post in reply to an old thread and then edit it later to insert a link to somewhere.

Many of the Notsofasteddie posts were very off-topic. They were things like restaurant lists in the Food forum and obscure museums in Other NL. Such material was very attractive to spammers.

In the process of looking through all of the sections and forums I began to wonder about rationalising and reorganising it all a bit. If and when these thoughts solidify I'll post them here.
worldcitizen1723
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by worldcitizen1723 »

notsofasteddie wrote: Sun 21st Mar 2021 08:37 pm I was surprised to see that you are considering deleting all of my posts as Spam. I am not a Spammer (see definition below).

Spammer
[ˈspamər]

NOUN
1. a person or organization that sends irrelevant or unsolicited messages over the Internet, typically to large numbers of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware, etc.

I viewed myself as a contributor under the Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0 Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.
Here’s one example,


Creative Commons Licensing
StoptheDrugWar.org articles are available for reprinting under a modified version of the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License, under which you are free to copy, distribute and transmit the work; or to adapt the work by excerpting from it, under the following conditions:
 You must attribute the work to the organization StoptheDrugWar.org, and if posting online must include a link to http://stopthedrugwar.org; and you must do so without suggesting that StoptheDrugWar.org endorses you or your work.

 Use of StoptheDrugWar.org articles must be selective, e.g., you should not reprint a large percentage of our articles, nor should our articles make up a large percentage of the content on your site. (However, copies of the Drug War Chronicle newsletter may be distributed by email or in print without restriction, provided they are properly attributed as described above.)

 Online reprinting should make use of "noindex" metatags so that your copies of our articles are not indexed in search engines.

 Your online copies of our articles should not be submitted for indexing to Google News. (Our most recent understanding indicates that this is accomplished by omitting the link to the article to the page you have provided to Google for news indexing.)

 You will refrain from submitting your copies of our articles to social media and content sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

 You may not add new links to our articles, without permission, and may at no time use contextual advertising within our articles.
 StoptheDrugWar.org may revoke any publisher's right to republish our content, and you agree to cease doing so upon our request, and to remove any previously republished content from your web site within a reasonable timeframe after being requested to do so.

With the understanding that:
 Waiver: StoptheDrugWar.org will consider requests to waive above-listed conditions on an individual basis.

 Public Domain: Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by this license.

 Other Rights: In no way does this license affect: Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations; The author's moral rights; or Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.

 Notice: For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.

 If you typically pay for your use of material, we request to also be paid.


CC / Attribution / Commercial Reuse Permitted on Request


Should you decide to delete my posts, obviously you can as the website is your creation, as I have said before. I would ask that you preserve my travelogues as they are the most obvious cases of non-spam since they are my creations. Also they bring back many memories of numerous trips to Amsterdam starting in the late 1990’s as well as trips to Colorado beginning in 2015.

I also wonder if it is necessary to delete posts like these, Amsterdam Coffeeshop Directory Forums. While somewhat dated they do bring back fond memories for many ACDers and certainly are contributions and not SPAM.

hey @notsofastfreddie - nice to hear you speak up
hope all is okay in your world

take good care
<sigh>
everything changes
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Lemming
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by Lemming »

There are possibly some early signs that cleaning out all of that spam has revived our reputation with Google a little so that's good.

I'm now considering merging all of the individual country sub-forums because they're not achieving much and seem to be mostly used by spammers. At one time I hoped that we could document the loosening of cannabis laws around the world in these sub-forums but it didn't really work out that way. There's very little in most of them and by merging them all into one forum it will make it easier to spot the spam.

Regarding Notsofasteddie, has anyone actually met this person?
I see some may be lamenting his absence.
It's always possible that I'm getting paranoid but it seemed to me that the account was just a front for a sophisticated spamming operation.
In particular there was the supposed travelogue of a visit to Amsterdam consisting entirely of pictures lifted from other web sites.
worldcitizen1723
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by worldcitizen1723 »

Yes. I met notsofastfreddie he shared his leftover smoke because he was leaving and had an overstock. We had a very nice meetup at coffeeshop 137. He is a real person and a genuinely good guy with a good heart. Btw we communicated and hooked up thru pm’s on this website, so I have no doubt he was not an imposter
Last edited by worldcitizen1723 on Tue 1st Jun 2021 05:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bifton
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by Bifton »

Lemming wrote: Tue 1st Jun 2021 02:55 pm Regarding Notsofasteddie, has anyone actually met this person?
Yes Lem, over 10 years ago but did bump into a guy claiming to be NSFE in Voyagers before the smoking rooms. If this is the same guy, like World Citizen says he was a nice guy. American with a bit of a Chong (sorry dude, no disrespect) hippy stone head look but came across as genuine.
I must say that I did find his posts annoying because there were so many and it bumped other posts off the active list but also remember there were some that enjoyed his posts. I often thought he should just have a NSFE page that he could update... but you know how things slip your mind.
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Lemming
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by Lemming »

Interesting.
Dunno what that means then.
Maybe he really believes we need the full details of all the top 10 seafood restaurants according to top10restaurants.com.
Maybe he thought we don't all have Google and need the whole internet republished on these forums just in case.
Maybe his account was hijacked - that's happened before.
Maybe he was tempted by mammon from somewhere.
Maybe he was exploited or manipulated.
Maybe he'll turn up somewhere sometime and explain.
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Lemming
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by Lemming »

From offline discussions.
Idea that nsfe was spending his time surfing the net and reproducing every page he liked in its entirety.
That is the obvious explanation. Maybe by doubting it I'm being paranoid
But, reproducing a web page, complete with pictures and formatting, as a forum post takes a little bit of translation.
It's not rocket science but, seems to me, not a casual activity.
There were thousands of them.
My suspicion is that they were supplied, ready formatted, from somewhere nefarious but I could easily be wrong.
[apologies, stream of drunk consciousness :)]
worldcitizen1723
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by worldcitizen1723 »

Weed is making you paranoid
He was an elder gentleman, retired, time on his hands and a love for everything Amsterdam
I can not imagine anything nefarious in his intentions
IMHO He thought he was being helpful

But go ahead spin a conspiracy theory 😎
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Lemming
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Re: Spam and the notsofasteddie threads

Post by Lemming »

:lol:
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