502s, Spam and Staff Turnover

avatar of Ikani

Posted by Ikani

1 November 2019 at 04:10:25 MDT

Hi Everyone! I know this hasn't been updated in a while, so have some updates!

First off, I'd like to announce that with some clever code updates, our devs have managed to make the intermittent 502 errors go away! This is a longstanding issue with the site, so it's nice to have that working.

Secondly, I'm sure everyone has noticed the flood of spam bots. To put it bluntly, it has been a problem, but our devs have been hard at work to try and combat that issue as well. There are a few new spam filtering methods in place, and we'll be tuning those to try and combat the bots while we clean up the existing mess they've made.

And that brings us to our third item. Staff Turnover. I know a lot of you have been reporting the spam issue to have your tickets sit open for a while. Over the past year, we have had several of our staff have to step away from the site. This is something that happens to everyone, especially in volunteer roles. This also means that we could use some new volunteers to fill the ranks.

So! If you're interested in helping out with moderation, send me a note and we'll go from there.

If development is more your speed, our code is open-sourced, and you can peek into our kitchen at https://github.com/Weasyl/weasyl . Patches are welcome.

That's it for now, though I will try to keep updates coming more regularly, here. Thank you all for your patience!

Comments

  • Link

    Is there any word on the errors when trying to post art? I keep getting something like request-id: 7aeff32cb9da480c80d91f9801abce4d-g2gJSHF1 no matter what I post, or what browser I use, or what network I use

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      Oh! Yes that is another thing that is being worked on.. Actually, I did make a change about 30 minutes ago that in theory should have fixed that. I'd say go ahead and try posting again, though definitely let me know if it's still happening.

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        I just tried, and got

        An unexpected error occurred and your request could not be fully processed.

        If you wish to contact support (on the forums or by e-mail) about this error, please include the following information:
        request-id: 362529e44c2f4dd08309451a806e73fe-nwWWnbaX

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          Butts! Alright, thank you for testing it at least! I'm tossing it back to the devs then.

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            I have the same problem as well.

            I tryed to post a picture in 3K 3 times... then the same picture in 2K, and I got this with the picture in 2K:

            request-id: 0f98c86aba744689853bc56f48aaffe5-GTJKC62t

            (Same problem with the 4K picture, but with another request ID, of course...)

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            It's happening to me right now too. Eek! :D

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    I just sent my email a little bit ago about why i couldn’t submit art. This site was very slow earlier and I noticed all the “free movie” spam which I reported one of them. Thank you very much for bringing this up! :)

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      And I of course forgot to post about the slowness! I made a fix to that about 30 minutes ago, which should have fixed the submitting problem as well. :) Let me know if not though!

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        Unfortunately I still cannot do that.

        request-id: 5416acbce0d44051b46c3437daeaf5b7-yQedTjiD

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    Thanks for the update and the acknowledgement that there's some issues here with the spam. Been reporting them as I see them.

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    I'm getting it too, that same upload request ID issues.

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    Posted this on Gitter, but figured it'd be good here as well;

    Thank you for taking the time to post publicly about it all. I know very few people know that this Gitter site exists too, so letting us know on the site itself does so much more to ease everyone's minds than not doing so when there's a serious issue such as the bots and 502 errors.
    If I trusted myself to be more impartial on matters, I'd offer to help with moderation, but I know I've had issues in the past with such things.
    Good luck getting more mods in the future though!

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    Ah, it's good to see some info on it. I know it's not the site's fault that these pirated movie spammers and such keep popping up, but it can be frustrating to keep reporting them and have no idea if it's doing any good or not.

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    Glad you on top of the spam bots, it's been getting a bit nuts with the "Watch (movie) online for free" ones.

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    This site deserves more attention, it's far better than that unencrypted shithole FA. The staff here actually care.

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    Seems the spam bots have taken to filling out journals/character uploads now as well. there's PAGES of them https://www.weasyl.com/search?find=char
    https://www.weasyl.com/search?find=journal

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    I wish that I had time to volunteer but hopefully you get some quality applicants! I love Weasyl and recently tried to come back, only to be confused by all of the bots posting movie torrents, lol Weasyl is a much needed furry gallery, I'd hate to see it die off like so many others. 💖

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    I'm going to share this news around all over place to reach more folks.

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    What kind of time and tasks commitment are we looking at when it comes to moderation?
    I mean, I could try and help, but my available time is a tad limited. And I don't want to clog the application process if i can't fulfill the needs. :3

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    I would report this if I didn’t have to bloody have a separate account just to write it in a forum, and I certainly don’t like having to email you people since I barely get a response or I never look into my mail. Either way I’ve never seen any of these spam chains as far I’ve seen so far.

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      Sorry, but you haven't been paying much attention then if you haven't seen the spam chains

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    Unable to even post journal entries now. The pirates have overrun the site.

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    oh thank goodness! I was getting worried this site wouldn't be saved!

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    I really keep having this problem myself! D8 I have a screenshot shared to you via Twitter.

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    Well I'm glad someone's on this; I've been reporting and blocking like crazy here.

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    I wish you tons of luck, I don’t have [home] internet or I’d volunteer as much as I can (I have wi-fi while at work)......but I know what a hard and often-thankless job this can be. My workplace also has a volunteer program and we’ve seen lots of turnover too, so I empathize.

    I love this site and it saved me when FA nearly killed me with bullies and harassment and mods who’d do nothing about it. It’s a fabulous site and I don’t regret leaving FA and coming here in 2015. This site has great things and I wish more people would come here and make it their home, too. :)

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    I'm sure others have pointed stuff out like this already, but attempting to submit written art currently gives me this message:
    "An unexpected error occurred and your request could not be fully processed.

    If you wish to contact support (on the forums or by e-mail) about this error, please include the following information:
    request-id: 3bbc02826ab94dda937e3fd45955545e-VDqGL+GP"

    Crossing fingers and rooting for you guys!

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    I've also noticed some parts of the site for finding status updates or to get questions/issues answered seem abandoned. The forums for one, the Twitter accounts for the other. What's plans on those?

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      Gonna Agree, I do think at least the twitter @Weasyl account should be tended to as often as possible. It's one of the best ways outside of the site to try to contact and learn about things going on about this site. The other twitters and Forums feel rather redundant to have right now. (with the forums being broken and all.) I'd like at least @weasyl to be up to date as often as it can.

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    Would somebody mind telling me how all of this has happened? I've just come onto the site after some time away from it and have found that about half of the files in my gallery are not only missing previews, but show a Not Found error when I try to open them. Plenty of other people on this site have had this happen to their uploads as well.

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      Oh, it does look like there's a bit of a Thumbnail and display issue going on today. (i don't think it was like this yesterday) *rasies hand. It seems like my own gallery is also missing thumbs. Ah, but some of my non-thumbnailed art are showing, some are only showing when I click for bigger view, and some are not found.

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        A small part of me wonders if the spam and the missing images/thumbs have some coalition with each other. It's a reach and a half, but perhaps one worth bringing up.

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    Thank goodness you guys are doing something about the spam and other stuff because months ago, I had someone follow me from another site to harass me with spam in the form of threats (including death threats) inappropriate links and swearing on seven different accounts (Which technically means their breaking your rules). I tried reporting them months ago after blocking those accounts and I'll be glad now if you guys are trying to put a stop to it.

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    J'arrive plus a poster mes dessin, ça bug !

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    Be sure to an extensive background checks on all of those who apply for the moderation role. I know you guys are short staffed and really want people to help, but don't accept help blindly or you might end up with people with no experience at all, people with less than savory backgrounds who do not fit the vision of professionalism or people who just want to be a Mod for the sake of power etc and so on.

    Also you should really address the status of the forums as well (are you ever going to remove them?), along with what's happening behind the scenes with emails to support desk and if (or even when) users can expect replies as I imagine service desk has an inbox list over a mile long by now.

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    Hoping the issues get fixed. I'd like to keep submitting stuff here, but I'm worried information will get lost. Even my avatar has broken, and the front page is nothing but spam. I'd like to help out, but I'm not sure y'all need volunteers for this. It sounds like you need someone regularly able to commit more than an hour or two of time each day. ^^;

  • Link

    Yep... as others, no updates, no new submissions turning up on the "Submissions" page. Nothing new to view! Even checked my own account, and only one of my own submissions is viewable.

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    Ignore function works well enough filtering out spam profiles, just not certain of the ignore list limit. Have we determined how these bot accounts are being created? I'd hate to see the use of re-captcha, but thinking a verifiable multipart registration process might prove at least a little useful in stemming the tide of these irritating spammers. If there were perhaps a way to MAC ban without impacting innocent users ...

    Haven't a clue what to suggest or how to help, but I do wish the mods, devs, etc much luck in dealing with this spam BS.

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      reCAPTCHA – =( – was already being used. A second verification step, halfway going back to when Weasyl was invite-only, was deployed today. I hope it works as a good compromise for now.

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    That's great news about the spam bots!

    As for the volenteer issue. I hope you get lots of help! If my paws weren't already so full, I'd jump on that myself! I do enjoy contributing where I can to this wonderful community! Best wishes dear Ikani.

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    I appreciate your efforts to go after the spammers, but they seem to be multiplying. The last new legit post on the Weasyl front page I get after slapping an "Ignore" on as many spammers as possible is from yesterday. They have frozen the community out. Where can we go to get more information on what is being done to combat this?

  • Link

    Woah some shit is broken. Some of the images broke, and I can't upload.

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      Goddamn I didn't even see how bad it actually was. I feel like the best solution would just be to shut down for a few days.

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    Soo is something being done about the whole errors when trying to upload anything and thumbnail previews being gone and like entire image display issues where most of people's gallery's seemed to be gone but the spammers seem perfectly fine which all these problems seemed to pop up soon after this journal went up? or what's going on now.

    • Link

      Uploading things and thumbnails (and writing journals and other files) are broken because half of the Weasyl servers are down. It let the spammers take over the front page because they just keep trying until it randomly works, I think.

      The servers being down stops us from doing anything about the spam issue, too. It’s mostly up to the site’s hosting to get things back up now, and then we can block new registrations for a bit to sort things out. :(

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        thank you for replying and letting me know what was going on, super appreciate it. Sorry if my comment came off as pissy I've been having just the worst time lately and coming online to all this had me just extra angry mode and I apologize. thank you again

  • Link

    Same as everyone else. Can NOT post a thing!

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    Thanks know I don't have to wear out the F5 button anymore

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    Thank you so much for the update. As I'm typing this, there isn't a single art piece in the front page. It's really frustrating.

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    I have not been able to post any submissions as well. I've tried several times and I get the same error message that's listed above, but with a different ID number. Also, thumbnails and submissions are still missing.

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    Not sure if it helps, but I'm also getting the upload error still.
    Error ID:829ed6199f5f46e3b7c3540b0e0e762f-lvIcc66f

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    Well I am glad there is a public closure on the situation. Though while I am usually peaking in a few times a day to see if anyone interested/upload/etc, I can certainly lend a hand to combat spammers mostly because I am done with seeing them and reporting the whole gallery, as much as everyone else is.

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    There's a bunch of people on this site posting links to illegal movie sites. It's getting out of control, and needs to stop.

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      That is exactly a contributing reason behind the search for new staff, and anyone is welcome to apply by contacting Ikani. If you'd like to see something done in addition to things behind the scenes, you're welcome to ask about joining the team :)

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    i haven't been on the home page for weasyl in... well, months now but HOLY gods it's a mess. Oh my actual gods. Thank you for providing an update regarding that D':

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    Can we get a way to "like" or give non-responsive, positive feedback on comments and journals? Because I'd like to "like" this post.

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    If anyone wants to try uploading again, as of today, I am no longer getting an error message.

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    Thank you for keeping us updated! I feel more calm now taht we know what happened X3

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    Main page was finally spam-free this morning. Thanks for working to take care of the problem. Feels lately like the site has been doing nothing but decaying, so it's good to see that some folks are still working to keep it going.

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    Here's to hope everything will go smoothly with that. Would be a shame if this site would end up the same way as WritersCafe.

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    Nice to hear that someone is on it. I was starting to worry that the site had been abandoned.

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    Freaking finally. And I've already set up accounts on SoFurry and InkBunny to make up for it thinking this site was outright abandoned.

    As for new staff, as much as I would like to help you out combat the pirated movie spambots, I do not have any past experiences with preventing spam. So, I'm going to have to turn down your offer.

    Now go do every law-abiding user on your site a favor and do something with the spam! Like the hydra, it will never be stopped permanently, but you can slow the registering of these bots.

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    I would love to help, but have no prior experience with anything similar. I just genuinely enjoy this site and would hate to see it die.

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    I'm still wondering why one mod kept removing a photo I took in the past, They claimed it was too blurry. That's not in the rules and they refused to let me keep the photo up.

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      It is in the rules, at https://www.weasyl.com/policy/community:

      B. Photography

      1. Must not be excessively blurry, grainy, under- or overexposed (too dark or bright to discern anything), or rotated improperly, unless important to the artistry of the piece.
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        funny part is that the photo wasnt blurry
        also, what kind of fucking RULE is that?

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    I thank the community for being active and caring enough to point out the various spam and site issues, I hope that the next batch of admin and mods will do their best to not just solve pertinent issues but also make it move forward and remain relevant and active for all artists to come in.

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    Thank you for everything you guys do. My only concern is that I hope you're careful when picking new staff. We value Weasyl for being better than FA despite the lack of userbase, so I'm sure you know that FA has a history of picking extremely unfavorable individuals for their staff. As long as they're not criminals, predators, or when it comes to moderating that they don't have any obvious biases that could make their decisions questionable, things should be all good. Best of luck sorting these issues out!

  • Link

    I keep getting an error too, has this been resolved? I keep trying to post a picture but so far no success.

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      Same here. The same 502 errors. I thought they had been fixed..? I'm confused. :(

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    If someone sent a note to you about volunteering, when should they expect a reply? >_> Thanks!

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    Also wondering if the forums are going to be cleaned up, or have they been abandoned?

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    at least this was better than actual deviantart of it's pet peeves

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    May I ask who I should turn to if I'm having issues, such as harassment, or let alone dealing with constant spam issues and what have you?

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    Well maybe not 502's, but for quite some time (several months or more), I've actually been getting more 504's than 200's...

    (For those who don't know, HTTP code 200 is "Success".)

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    What the hell is going on with the site at the moment? If not spam other technical issues.

    Use better servers.

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    I keep getting massive load times trying to access this site. What the hell gives?

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    Constant errors, long load times and spambot accounts are back https://www.weasyl.com/~nicholascprindle007

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    Yeah, no one likes spam, alright? It's even worse than dA in that regard. That said, keep up the good work, you hear? Hopefully we can have a proper chat in the future at least...

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    Is it me, or have the 502 errors worsened? Either way, it really is pestering me. I sure hope it gets fixed soon..

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    Anyone else getting 404 errors everywhere on submissions? I can't seem to get like half the site to load, not even my own gallery.

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      Something does seem to be broken after their latest datacenter move. Submissions are also returning errors. Can't upload my newest art piece or the latest story I wrote.

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      Yeah we're having Issues with the site storage.. I have repair jobs running now. I ALSO have a shiny new server to replace all of this, but I haven't had time to get it fully installed yet. Still working on that. ^^

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        Okay, it's no problem, stuff happens! I was just worried something of mine broke the site lol

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    I am seeing a ton of new errors all around the site today, mostly in missing images.

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    I would love to help out, as I still think this is the best site of its kind. But I'm not really well-phased in web development, as most of my experience lies in Java with a bit of experience in C++. As per the moderation positions, I'm not sure I could do such a thing as I've had my fair share of infractions years ago when I was younger and naive. I'd love to help you all out, but I don't know what I can do.

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    Unfortunately I feel like Weasyl is currently in a state where volunteer help is insufficient to fix the issues it has. I would offer my hand again in content moderation but I simply don't have the time to these days, and without some serious hands on deck for the technical side, plus a real drive to get people to come to the site, it feels like it'd be a waste of my time on top of that =/

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    I would like to help with moderation

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    I can't submit albums here anymore. I keep getting errors and I have no idea where to submit a help/support ticket.

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      Sorry about that. There was a network issue that started in the middle of all the spam and it stopped new embedded content (like Bandcamp albums) from being submitted and old ones from being seen. It wasn’t supposed to last this long… but after months, it’s still unresolved. We made some changes to work around it this morning, so it should finally be possible to share that kind of content again despite the state of the servers.

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        have you considered finding ways to fund this place like ads or memberships of some kind? Or even a merch store.

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    fascinating

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    Do I need to be:
    1. Artistically talented?
    And 2. Straight?

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    Lucky everything is getting fixed. 🦊🐾