2018-04-02

Fedora Infra PSA: I have been marked spamchecked! What do I do?

Background

About 1-2 times a week we get a new user who are told during account creation something like the following:


Your account status have just been set to spamcheck_denied by an admin

or an account's moderator.

If this is not expected, please contact admin@fedoraproject.org and
let them know.


- The Fedora Account System

I realized I haven't written about this since 2016, so it was time to update some of the data on it. We still see a number of accounts created daily which seem only meant to create spam on the wiki. While sometimes the account user will use an obvious name like techsupport or freeantivirus, the majority will have account names will look 'normal'. The spamcheck tool tries to look at other items like where the potential user's ip, email address, and other sets 'stack' up compared to other accounts with similar items in the past. Sadly this means that we will have some amount of 'false positives' even though we try to push towards more 'false negatives'.

What do you do?

If you find yourself getting a 'false positive', please open an email to admin@fedoraproject.org with the following information:

  1. The account name you tried to open. Account admins need this to look in the Fedora Account System to check on the account. 
  2. The email address you used to open the account. Multiple times I have gotten an email from foo@gmail.com but the account which was opened was with foobar@yahoomail.com or some other domain. We normally do not activate this account in this case until we get an email from the one that was listed. 
  3. If possible the ip address you had when you registered the account. This can help us figure out if some other problem is causing issues. We have to blacklist some ips just from the sheer amount of 'spam', and sometimes forget to remove those blocks.
Normally if you do this, you should get a response back in 24-48 hours from someone who is on the admin mailing list. We may need to get one or two more bits of data and then will turn on the account in many cases. [There was one person who was honest enough to say that they just wanted the account to put up HP printer support pages. We said no thank you.]

Do I need a Fedora Account?

If you are wanting to do long term work with the Fedora Project, I would get a user account. If you are only needing to answer a question or help someone else out on a mailing list, you do not need an account to do so.

In many cases, you do not need a Fedora account in order to work with or on Fedoraproject items. If you are trying to answer questions on ask.fedoraproject.org you can login using multiple other authenticators (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and OpenID). If you are wanting to fix something on the wiki, you will still need to get sponsored in another group. This is because even with the anti-spam measures knowing out 99% of bad accounts, 1% of thousands of accounts still is a lot. If you really want to fix something but don't want to wait for getting into a group.. send the changes you want to an appropriate  mailing list

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