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Abu Hadi

Beware of Bots

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I have noticed recently that there are lots of spam bots who got interested in this site, for some reason, although it is a low traffic site compared to other social media platforms and discussion boards. 

Having conversations with a spam bot is useless. It is useless because for human beings, the point of having a conversation is either to create good feelings and bonding, i.e. building up civil society, or to come to a conclusion about a topic and discover truth. Since a spam bot is essentially a computer program (although it may use many different computer programs to create it's output, i.e. the conversation) so it has not feelings and is not interested in discovering truth or building up civil society. It is only interested in doing what it is programmed to do. The programming goals vary, but most of the time they are focused on the interests of the particular group that spent time and resources developing the bot program. The groups that deploy these spam bots are almost always hacker groups (for financial gain or reputation points which doesn't apply here since there is no money changing hands here and no reputation since 'hacking' this site is not really a goal that would get most hackers any reputation points) or 'anti' whatever groups with resources. Many of these spam bots are developed and deployed by foreign intelligence agencies such as the CIA, MI6, and Mossad when it is in their interest to try to destroy a social media platform that they see as a threat to their interests. 

How to Spot a Spam Bot. 

This used to be easy in the old days when these programs were less sophisticated. They would usually use Anonymous Proxy services so their location information would keep changing. So they might post from an IP Address in China in the morning and in Germany in the evening. Also, they would give 'canned' responses to questions, responses from a list of written responses in their program. They also used to generate 10s or 100s of posts per day (thus the 'spam' part). 

The modern ones (last 5 years) use AI (Artificial Intelligence) so they are harder to spot. They don't respond from a list of 'canned' responses but generate their responses 'on the fly' from parameters set by their program. They also have the ability to learn and adapt based on the flow of the conversation (to a limited degree). Because these mimic human responses, you can never be 100% sure if a user is a spam bot, at least the modern ones. They will change the timing and content of their posts to try and fit within what other people are saying. 

There are, however, a few ways that the spam bots can be spotted. 

1) When you ask them a question, their response does not seem 'human'. They are not sophisticated to process your question how humans do, so their responses will seem 'off'. Also, their responses will usually reference generic information that could be found on, say Wikipedia, and they will not filter this information based on the parameters of the conversation, like humans do. For example, if you ask them a general question like, 'How did you like living in Paris', they will give you a generic answer from a tourist manual rather than picking an individual or few experiences that touched them emotionally, like a human would do. 

2) There is no movement in their thought. They come onto the thread with a 'pre planned' agenda which does not change. If you debate with them a bring up specific points which counter what they said, they will either not respond and continue posting material from past 'states' of the discussion, or they will insult you, or they will ignore your response. I know there are humans who also do this, lol, but their responses are more 'human like' i.e. they get angry, admit that certain parts of their analysis of the issue is weak or uninformed, or will focus on a sub area of the topic that has gotten traction in the thread but may not help out their side of the argument. In short, a human response will include movement in thought and some unexpected or 'off script' moments. A bot's response will not include these. 

If you are not sure if a user is a spam bot, they best way to find out is to ask the bot questions that are more general in nature and involve 'emotional intelligence'. If you determine that a user is a spam bot, please stop responding to this user and don't waste your time. The goal of these bots is to waste your time and keep the conversation either going in circles or moving toward whatever agenda they are programmed to promote and to overall degrade the quality of the conversations on the platform. Please don't help them with this. 

There are some users that are currently active on the site that I am 99% sure are spam bots,  but I didn't ban them because they haven't' broken the site rules (most spam bots don't and are very familiar with the site rules because their goal is to build up their posts and their reputation). 

Edited by Abu Hadi

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wow, first time i'm hearing of this. Can you give an example... a link to a post by a bot on this site?... then all of us on this site can down vote or dislike the post, and curse at it. 

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I'm surprised to hear this. I have never come across this before. 

Can't people ask the suspects general questions that require emotional intelligence and see what their response will be? 

Is there no other foolproof way of determining if someone is a spambot or not?

I don't really understand what the point is with building up posts and their reputation here? What would they achieve by doing that? More status when spreading certain propaganda on this site to make Muslims deviate from the right path? 

Another thing that comes to mind is that you wrote that they sometimes insult other users - doesn't that break the rules of this site? Can't they be banned on this basis then? 

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While I can see the reasoning for this @Abu Hadi, the issue stems from when both users from opposing sides are debating amongst one another and one or both of the users clearly wants to win the debate at any means necessary. So if an issue occurs like this, does that mean that such users are spam bots? I'll take your warning of Spam Bots infiltrating ShiaChat seriously just so you know.

Anyway, my motto when debating is as follows:

I don't debate to win. I debate to learn and get schooled.

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Another example is those people  who start a new thread (usually controversial) and don't respond at all while the rest of us discuss/debate/argue for pages and pages...usually a bot and not a person.

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1 hour ago, ShiaMan14 said:

Another example is those people  who start a new thread (usually controversial) and don't respond at all while the rest of us discuss/debate/argue for pages and pages...usually a bot and not a person.

I have done this, but it wasn't on purpose.

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On ‎7‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 6:58 AM, Abu Hadi said:

There is no movement in their thought. They come onto the thread with a 'pre planned' agenda which does not change. If you debate with them a bring up specific points which counter what they said, they will either not respond and continue posting material from past 'states' of the discussion, or they will insult you, or they will ignore your response

This reminds me of Laayla (sometimes) and lt's me -hello.   :D

l could add ali-fatherofjokes, but he is to much into the World Cup. So l figure he is humanoid.

lf bots come in really nice formats, then it might be from that server in Hameedehstan. :blush:

 

Seriously, l try to understand all these threats, but l am only aware and cannot do much about them.

Edited by hasanhh

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3 minutes ago, hasanhh said:

This reminds me of Laayla (sometimes) and lt's me -hello.   :D

I can say the EXACT same about you. But I don't.

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2 hours ago, hasanhh said:

This reminds me of Laayla (sometimes) and lt's me -hello.   :D

l could add ali-fatherofjokes, but he is to much into the World Cup. So l figure he is humanoid.

lf bots come in really nice formats, then it might be from that server in Hameedehstan. :blush:

 

Seriously, l try to understand all these threats, but l am only aware and cannot do much about them.

Laylaa?! I dont think so!

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4 hours ago, ShiaMan14 said:

Another example is those people  who start a new thread (usually controversial) and don't respond at all while the rest of us discuss/debate/argue for pages and pages...usually a bot and not a person.

We've met them, bro....haven't we....!!!!?:grin:

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On 7/12/2018 at 12:26 AM, It's me hello said:

I have done this, but it wasn't on purpose.

There are genuine cases of course but most of them are not.

On 7/12/2018 at 3:51 AM, AbdusSibtayn said:

We've met them, bro....haven't we....!!!!?:grin:

Indeed brother.

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Bismehe Ta3ala 

Brother Hasanhh,

God forgive you brother.  That my posts are like a zombie, no feelings, no depth, and just promoting propaganda.

I respect your comment as you are my elder.  And I still will wish on you marriage since I don't want you to spend the rest of your years alone.  Good men should have good wives.

Should I give 10 reasons why I am not a bot.  :D

M3 Salamah, Fe Amin Allah 

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3 hours ago, Laayla said:

That my posts are like a zombie, no feelings, no depth, and just promoting propaganda.

l didn't write or intended to infer any of these.

lt is that a couple of times l thought your posts were a non sequitur. 

l do believe you are a Brit.

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3 hours ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Interesting! 

@hasanhh I don't think a bot would have that much time trying to figure out your age.

Yet, if this robo sapien is programmed to selectively mix idiomatic word choices and has a time-point to calculate verb tenses from, then such information is effectively scrambled.

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12 hours ago, shadow_of_light said:

Can you give us some examples (users who are bots) please?

 

19 hours ago, Carlzone said:

I'm surprised to hear this. I have never come across this before. 

Can't people ask the suspects general questions that require emotional intelligence and see what their response will be? 

Is there no other foolproof way of determining if someone is a spambot or not?

I don't really understand what the point is with building up posts and their reputation here? What would they achieve by doing that? More status when spreading certain propaganda on this site to make Muslims deviate from the right path? 

Another thing that comes to mind is that you wrote that they sometimes insult other users - doesn't that break the rules of this site? Can't they be banned on this basis then? 

:salam:

No answer in 3 days...

@Abu Hadi got hacked by a bot ?

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I will not mention anyone (in case he is not), but there is one user (made an account not long ago) who seems like a spam bot to me (90% sure). I wish I could tell everyone but need to confirm first.

Edited by ali_fatheroforphans

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All Right,

15 hours ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Interesting! 

@hasanhh I don't think a bot would have that much time trying to figure out your age.

 

8 hours ago, Salsabeel said:

Who wants to figure out the Umar (age) of @hasanhh?

 

8 hours ago, Son of Placid said:

You might need carbon dating.             Hasan says: :hahaha: Best Quip of the Day !

HINT:

l was born between the popular expressions the Cat's Meow  and  a Cool Cat .

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On 7/12/2018 at 4:08 PM, realizm said:

No answer in 3 days...

@Abu Hadi got hacked by a bot ?

The point of this thread is not to give a list of users who are probably bots. The purpose was to make those sincere brothers and sisters who are here to discuss and learn aware of the issues, so that they don't waste their time. Of the valuble things given to us by Allah(s.w.a) time is the most valuable. We only have so many minutes and seconds in this dunya. We should use them wisely and not waste them. 

Also, if you believe me that this exists (it exists, btw, you can google 'spam bots', or 'AI chat bots' and see what comes up) then if you see a user or discussion that fits the pattern, you should avoid that user or that discussion. 

The bots are tied to a user account. So if I , for example, pointed out one of the users as probably a spam bot( I have done this is the past, which I think now was a mistake), what's to stop the person or group or agency that has the credentials for that user to then switch so now this user's post are generated by a real person ? Once they use this person temporarily to discredit what I have said (by demonstrating that this user is not a bot), then they will switch this user back to being controlled by an AI bot, then people will believe that this user is not a bot, so this user will gain credibility, and I will lose credibility. Then when people finally figure out that this user is in fact a bot, and this user is widely discredited, the person or group or agency behind this account will simply stop posting under this account and create a new account. 

So the point is when you are dealing with a user on this or any other site, know that this user may or may not be a bot. If you are fairly certain that it is a bot, stop discussing with it and don't waste your time. If you want to become a better muslim or follower of Ahl Al Bayt(a.s) or discover truth or have real and interesting discussions regarding religion or other issues, try your best to do it in the offline (aka 'real') world, it is only in that world that you can be fairly certain who you are talking to. The Internet is useful for some of this, but it is becoming less useful, and one of the reasons is because of these types of bots. 

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