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Are their AI chat Bots posting on the forum?

Old 09-07-21, 08:59 AM
  #1  
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Are their AI chat Bots posting on the forum?

Anyone here ever suspected that some of the posters here are AI chat bots? Just as someone who is spending too much time on the forum, I occasionally notice when a new user makes 10 "I like bikes" posts and then puts some sort of link up to a revenue generator, or some other wonkyness. I'm not a mod or have any wish to act like one, but I have also seen some "posters" make 10 or more posts a day that are predominantly the same "I like bikes" posts but maybe fleshed out to "Grant Peterson, I know right, just saying" "Triples are faster" "+1", and become a high post count "Senior Member" pretty quick, with out actually adding content or engaging in a discussion, I've actually Gotten irate enough to accuse marginally coherent non contextual thread spammers of being robots, and I dont believe I've been rebuffed, but I do worry that laying that on some one with out English or who is not neurotypical is kind of terrible. All Bots present please raise you appendage.....
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Old 09-07-21, 09:00 AM
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well that would be the way to do it and it happens so most likely it was a bot. Now what? :-)
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Old 09-07-21, 09:05 AM
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I've found the Ignore List feature to be pretty useful when a poster does nothing but raise my blood pressure. Of course, I have to wonder if I'm also on anyone else's...
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Old 09-07-21, 09:07 AM
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This is how AI writes.
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Old 09-07-21, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
Anyone here ever suspected that some of the posters here are AI chat bots? Just as someone who is spending too much time on the forum, I occasionally notice when a new user makes 10 "I like bikes" posts and then puts some sort of link up to a revenue generator, or some other wonkyness. I'm not a mod or have any wish to act like one, but I have also seen some "posters" make 10 or more posts a day that are predominantly the same "I like bikes" posts but maybe fleshed out to "Grant Peterson, I know right, just saying" "Triples are faster" "+1", and become a high post count "Senior Member" pretty quick, with out actually adding content or engaging in a discussion, I've actually Gotten irate enough to accuse marginally coherent non contextual thread spammers of being robots, and I dont believe I've been rebuffed, but I do worry that laying that on some one with out English or who is not neurotypical is kind of terrible. All Bots present please raise you appendage.....
For every suspected "AI chat bot" on BF, I think there are at least a few possibly intelligent posters in a BF Kool Kidz Klique who use their bicycling knowledge/experiences to occasionally post interesting or useful responses, but for the most part, spend their time taking potshots and sniping at newbies and posters who don't share their version of the Conventional Wisdom. The Kidz post far more insults, than any AI bots, at other posters who dare post about a subject which has been discussed in the past or on a topic that doesn't interest the Kool Kid anymore. Thus the the incessant goofing on numerous threads (especially in the General Discussion list) in order to kill the thread and insult other posters, posting of popcorn gifs and the like, In Before the Lock snark, or references to posts in other threads by which they hope to embarrass the allegedly unworthy poster; all of course followed by likes/and cheering on by the usual suspects from the Klique.
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Old 09-07-21, 10:38 AM
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Old 09-07-21, 11:04 AM
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From my own experience running forums, it's less likely to be a bot and more likely to be a third-world link farm, probably employing child labor. They're more pervasive than bots these days, since the bots are (mostly) pretty easily thwarted. Humans are wilier.

Writing a bot specifically to target a bicycling forum seems pretty high-effort/low return to me, especially an AI bot. That's not really what bots are good at.

And never attribute to bots what someone can just pay someone slave wages to do.
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Old 09-07-21, 11:08 AM
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In, before the lock...
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Old 09-07-21, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
In, before the lock...
I knew it! beep boop
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Old 09-07-21, 11:17 AM
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I like bikes. (Post #10)

Oh, and I also ride gravel.
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Old 09-07-21, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by skijor View Post
I knew it! beep boop
whirrrrr... beep beep... whistle. pop pop... whirrrrrr. Clunk.

or as my old friend says...


Quite the conversationalist, eh?
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Old 09-07-21, 11:38 AM
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You can tell them by their e-bikes with electric shifters.

The 5-a-day limit for newbies and 10-post limit for links and other bbcode has been pretty effective in blocking the link farmers, though clearly inelegant and really chafes the new people who really do want to join in.

This forum is probably not worth the effort of anyone who knows how to create such a thing. It's too small, insular. We do definitely have some spoof members - in the parody, not false-flag sense. The best ones are entertaining and sometimes plausible. Writing that way is a skill that requires familiarity with the forum's culture, several cliques and their tendencies, being clever enough to fool some of them and set the others on each other. For the people who do that, it's its own reward. The overlap with both the knowledge or desire to make such a bot, something artificial that actually engages in dialogue, seems pretty unlikely.

And yes some people do sometimes post drivel. Even people who try not to always post drivel. I'm sure you could find some of mine without trying too hard. Popcorn smileys or inside jokes or scare quotes or even Sarkastic Kapitalized Mizspelling.
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Old 09-07-21, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
I've actually Gotten irate enough to accuse marginally coherent non contextual thread spammers of being robots, and I dont believe I've been rebuffed,
Please do not do that. Simply report the post and let the mod staff look into it.
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Old 09-07-21, 01:24 PM
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Get many robots reported?
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Old 09-18-21, 08:20 AM
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most definitely yes!...... but mostly in the "politics an religion" section....
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Old 09-18-21, 09:39 AM
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A beer bot would be great.
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Old 09-18-21, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
A beer bot would be great.
How's this?

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Old 09-18-21, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Love it! You don’t wanna be the goofball that drops a beer. lol.
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Old 09-18-21, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
Love it! You don’t wanna be the goofball that drops a beer. lol.
Or the goofball that steps right in front of the machine, just as it launches one...

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Old 09-18-21, 02:44 PM
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Yes. Those bots are not good for us nor mal hu mans. We are having good conversation of hu man and then bot come to make our nor mal conversation not buying generic penis pill.
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Old 09-18-21, 11:37 PM
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Oh man, you finally found me out. Wanna chat?
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Old 09-19-21, 07:53 AM
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I was a mod on a couple of hobbyist forums when bots were occasionally being used to spam us, about 10 years ago. There are a few telltale differences between spam bots and human spammers.

The bots usually harvest text from the thread and regurgitate it in odd ways. Pretty much like AI since Eliza decades ago. Cleverbot is a little better. Check it out and you'll get an idea of how spam bots work.

Most of the spammers I see on this site seem to be human, same as the sites I used to moderate. They're mostly well educated folks from countries where they can't earn a living doing what they studied and trained for. They're fairly easy to spot for mods and admins. They generally use the same IP or IP range. Some will use proxies if those IPs haven't been banned by the target site.

They assume every forum has a posting limit they have to overcome before they can post spam links, so they'll follow one of a few posting patterns to build up their post count. They're working from a checklist assigned by their employers, so the patterns are fairly consistent:
  • The most obvious ones will try to hit that post count immediately, randomly choosing a thread from every forum, and posting generic stuff like "Wow, great, thanks," or "Good info!" Nothing too obvious, but zero content. After reaching the assumed post count they'll usually select a few seemingly relevant threads to embed spam links. They really bad ones are obvious -- they'll revive zombie threads. (But that doesn't mean all zombie thread revivers are spammers. Sometimes folks have valid reasons to add onto an old thread.)
  • The clever ones will have dozens of spam links from many different sites, which makes it a bit less obvious. If the thread is about bicycle headlights or panniers, they might post a link to a seller of flashlights or camping gear, something vaguely related. If it's in training and nutrition, they'll post links to sellers of supplements, etc.
  • The really clever ones won't even say "Check out this place." They'll just post a generic but appropriate reply and embed the link in the text. That's enough to boost the spam link's Google ranking, at least temporarily. Google is always alert to these tricks and if it's overdone it'll backfire and the linked site will be downgraded.
  • The really, really clever ones won't try to reach that post count immediately. They'll stretch it out for weeks or months. And they won't flood the forum with multiple spam links in a single session. It's laborious but often escapes the attention of mods, admin and savvy users, so those posts may go unnoticed for weeks, months or years.

The most entertaining I ever saw was about 10 years ago on a photography site where I was a mod. A pro photographer in LA was trying to boost his profile and hired someone via a Craigslist ad to pump up his name recognition. The intern or consultant was a bit too eager and went way overboard, flooding the site with too many mentions of this photographer. But the best was one particular thread in which the intern created about a dozen sockpuppet accounts under various names and aliases and had them all conversing with each other about this fantastic photographer. As the thread went on the sockpuppets began bickering with each other, which drew in some of the forum's real members who didn't realize it was all a spampaign. The combination of fake-bickering and drawing in real members quickly boosted the thread -- and the photographer's name -- in the Google rankings. Just as planned.

It was hilarious. I spotted it around midnight that night -- the intern used the same IP for every sockpuppet -- but let it ride overnight just to see how it developed. After we finally shut it down I screencapped everything, including the Craigslist ad used to hire this person, and posted it to our off topic forum to give members an idea of what goes on behind the scenes and how admin tries to deal with this stuff.

Most spam isn't nearly as entertaining. Mostly it's just pest control, while trying to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and trying not to alienate potential real members.

Can't say I miss that chore. It's mostly volunteer work, a labor of love by longtime members who just want to help, and in return you catch a lot of snark and abuse by some members with oversized senses of entitlement.
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Old 09-19-21, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
Anyone here ever suspected that some of the posters here are AI chat bots?
It doesn't much matter whether this junk being posted is automatic or not.

Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
I occasionally notice when a new user makes 10 "I like bikes" posts and then puts some sort of link up to a revenue generator, ...
Report these posts using the "HAL eyeball". That's one reason it's there.

Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
Get many robots reported?
I've reported a few. And they seem to "go away".

Last edited by njkayaker; 09-19-21 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 12-31-21, 08:08 AM
  #24  
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Just sayin'...............
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