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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2010

    Every now and then some spam gets through the filters on the forum. Toby and I can remove it from public view (it stays in the database so if it turns out that it wasn't spam it can easily be deleted). Also, I can set the user account which was used to "banned" to prevent it being used again. Other useful information, such as IPs and email addresses, is also logged. But to keep the place clean, we need to be aware of the spam occurring. I, in particular, don't read every post made here on the forum. So if you spot some spam, please alert someone. Use this discussion if you like.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2010

    Andrew wrote in part:

    it stays in the database so if it turns out that it wasn't spam it can easily be deleted

    I suppose that the last word should be ‘undeleted’. So far, I've only deleted/hidden something while also explaining what it was, to prevent any nasty surprises.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2013

    The two recent comments on homotopy colimits on this forum is spam. I do not have access to delete it, so can someone who has such do so.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeJul 6th 2013


    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2013
    • (edited Jul 12th 2013)

    Forum spam at thread Stanford Enc, of Philosphy; quantum mechanics.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2013

    And at Schur functors

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2013
    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2013

    Deleted. (And I deleted your comment as well since it was no longer relevant and potentially confusing.)

    I’m starting to wonder if allowing anonymous comments is worth it. We haven’t had any genuine anonymous comments for some time, and since the reCaptcha broke there’s no obvious barrier to spammers. It doesn’t do them any good, though, since guest comments are fully escaped so there are no backlinks created (which is what they want, I believe).

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2013

    Forum spam at entry ’N=4 D=4 super Yang-Mills theory’.

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJul 20th 2013

    Forum spam at Goodwillie Calculus

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2013
    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2013

    I’m tempted to disable the anonymous posting facility.

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2013
    • (edited Jul 29th 2013)

    … and at (

    Looks similar.

    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2013

    And some more at the thread “Stanford Enc, of Philosphy; quantum mechanics”

    • CommentRowNumber15.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2013

    I’ve deleted those (and the posts saying “Please delete the above spam”). I’ve also turned off the anonymous commenting stuff for the time being. I’ll turn it back on if I can think of an unobtrusive spam splatter.

    • CommentRowNumber16.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2013

    It looks as if the forum has been spammed by ericafinger!

    • CommentRowNumber17.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2013

    Splat that spam!

    • CommentRowNumber18.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013
    • (edited Dec 31st 2013)

    Forum Spam ahoy! Look at Schur functors and also Goodwillie calculusThe first has clear spam from obd2work and that same source has made a strange comment in the second of those.

    … and Happy New Year everyone.

    • CommentRowNumber19.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013

    Deleted and banned.

    (I also deleted a comment by Zoran that was pointing out the spam on the Schur functors discussion. I do this when the following comment refers back to the spam comment since when I delete the spam comment then it appears to refer to a different comment, so long as the following comment contains nothing of significance. Zoran did ask a question there: in answer, all that’s needed to get an account here is to have an active email address. Thus far, we haven’t needed anything more stringent than that.)

    • CommentRowNumber20.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2014

    Andrew: look at the forum entry at Goodwillie calculus #34. It looks as if mister clever-clever has tried again!

    • CommentRowNumber21.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2014

    Thanks Tim.

    • CommentRowNumber22.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2014

    There is new activity from obd2life. Look at children’s drawing and sheafification. (in the forum)

    • CommentRowNumber23.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2014

    Thought I’d banned that little whatsit. Anyway, banned now.

    • CommentRowNumber24.
    • CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2014

    Little whatsit is at it again.

    • CommentRowNumber25.
    • CommentAuthorDavid_Corfield
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2014

    More spam on the forum here.

    • CommentRowNumber26.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2014

    Dealt with.

    • CommentRowNumber27.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2014

    Thank you, Andrew!

    Tim: greetings from your neighborhood, from Swansea (leaving in a couple of days).

    • CommentRowNumber28.
    • CommentAuthorDavid_Corfield
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2015

    There’s spam on the Forum from Tina168.

    • CommentRowNumber29.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2015
    • (edited Jan 30th 2015)

    At torsion theory, quotient category. Is there any other place with similar Spam?

    (Later: Yes: at Wirthmüller context, Grothendieck context and at Homotopy Type Theory – Univalent Foundations of Mathematics .)

  1. What was the "torsion theory, quotient theory" spam? Can you link to it?

    I removed the spam at the other three discussions (and the pointless "Oh look, some spam" posts that inevitably follow.).
    • CommentRowNumber31.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2015

    It looks not to be there (now). It was also a Tina168 spam with similar content. (I do not understand where it could have gone!)

    • CommentRowNumber32.
    • CommentAuthorDavid_Corfield
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2018

    Some nForum spam. It seems not on the nLab.

  2. Can delete later, and block the user. At least the spam is not visible unless one is signed in.

    • CommentRowNumber34.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2018
    • (edited Oct 2nd 2018)

    [ wrong thread, sorry ]

    • CommentRowNumber35.
    • CommentAuthorRichard Williamson
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2018
    • (edited Oct 2nd 2018)

    I have deleted the spam now, from the database as well (I kept the recent discussions on this in mind, but here it is clearly uncontroversial). Have also deleted the user (blocking would be trivial to circumvent). I could block the IP address, but this is easy to circumnavigate as well, so I think we can just see how it goes, it might just have been a one off.

    For future record, the UserID was 1756.

    • CommentRowNumber36.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2019
    • (edited May 20th 2019)

    Someone using a name Aly Chiman has put a spam message on both the Forum and the Lab. In both cases the name of the thread / page has also been changed. The page was called contact manifold or similar as that is the subject matter. This has effectvely deleted the content. I will roll back and rename, but this ’contributor’ needs blocking. (I think he has spammed before.) Later: this is proving harder than I expected and my efforts may need ‘cleaning up’ by Richard!

    A quick search found a page on the web listing forum spam attacks, with the foillowing: appears in our database 147 times

  3. Thanks Tim! I have now cleared up this and the other attack a couple of days later that Urs tidied up.

    You are correct that we had an attack by ’Aly Chiman’ in March. More generally, we have had a series of attacks following the same pattern. Unfortunately, these spammers seem somewhat sophisticated. They vary their IP address, so I cannot block them. I did add something to the spam filter previously to try to prevent future attacks, but, worryingly, it seems that they figured out how to get around it; if that is not a coincidence, I can only assume that they checked the codebase, in which case even the spam filter will not help. But I have added a few more things to the spam filter now to try to help.

    In the long run, I think that either some machine learning algorithm or some log-in/signing mechanism, or both, is the only robust way to tighten things up.

    • CommentRowNumber38.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2019

    I suspect that some of the recent activity by Rita Slade on the Forum may in fact be spam.

  4. Thanks! Am on holiday and cannot delete just now, will try to remember to do so next week.

    • CommentRowNumber40.
    • CommentAuthorDavid_Corfield
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2019

    Yes, Rita Slade here.

    • CommentRowNumber41.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeOct 14th 2019

    More forum spam at contact instanton.

  5. I have finally now removed the spam mentioned in #38 and #40, and banned the user; and have removed the page that led to the nForum spam mentioned in #41, as well as the nForum spam itself. (Creation of pages are outside of the ’new’ spam filter; the new spam filter appears to be successfully stopping this kind of spam on page edits. Unfortunately the same algorithm cannot work on page creation, but there are a couple of other things we could try when I get a chance).

  6. Actually I just checked the logs and the new spam filter is blocking quite a lot of spam on page edits, more than last time I checked; there were several examples just in the last month.

    • CommentRowNumber45.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeJan 6th 2020
    • (edited Jan 6th 2020)

    That link just goes around in a circle getting me back here (because of the empty bracket pair at the address part of the post?), but there is spam at

  7. Removed now, and user banned.

    • CommentRowNumber47.
    • CommentAuthorAlexisHazell
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2020

    Removed some forum spam at, and the account that posted it.

    • CommentRowNumber48.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeSep 21st 2020

    There is some Spam today. trying to push some certificate. Can Richard (or whoever) block the user and permanently remove this spam?

  8. Done :-).

    • CommentRowNumber50.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2020
    • (edited Sep 30th 2020)

    The ’Hello Guys’ in the entry ’Is the nLab down?’ looks spamish to me. Perhaps this should be deleted so as not to encourage ‘wiseguys’.

  9. I agree, I’ve deleted it now.

    • CommentRowNumber52.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2020

    Yet another bit of doubtful comment at gravity - contents in the Forum.

  10. Deleted now.

  11. The spam has been added again to that discussion, I will deal with it later.

  12. Deleted again, and banned the user.

    • CommentRowNumber56.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2020

    New spam on Forum: here

  13. Deleted now, and banned the user, removing some spam from the user account details as well.

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