May 24th, 2009


Russian Bots

Russian Bots

Short, concise description of the idea
Use capcha, justification and approval for friending someone

Full description of the idea

My livejournal and most of it's content is public. I do a lot of poli-blogging so I -want- people to see my content. So really friending me is only a formality to put me into your default-View. But I'm getting about two or three Russian bots friending my journal every other day. I can tell what they are because they're all in Cyrillic, have one to two posts in their journal total, perhaps one or two icons, and usually have no corresponding friends. I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of these bots are, but I suspect their purpose involves identity or content theft and that's not a good thing.

So, I propose the following changes to the friending process. When you friend someone, you should have to fill out a capcha to prove that you're human. There should also be a text box so that you can describe WHY you are friending someone. This justification can be as simple as "I saw you on X forum and wanted to read more" or as complicated as desired but it should be included so that the person being friended knows why he's suddenly gotten a new subscriber.

Add a field in the profile of the journal so you can turn this on and off easily so all the people who don't want it don't have to use it and those of us who are sick of random bots can have a respite from them.

Lastly, rather than having to ban_set each of these bots individually by LJ console I should be able to accept or reject friend requests. If I refuse to accept the subscription then the originator should get a refusal message and should be prevented from adding the livejournal to their friends lists.

An ordered list of benefits
  • Legitimate users won't have to waste time banning every bot that decides to friend them.
  • Legitimate users won't have to worry as much about content or identity theft by automated bots surfing through the friends lists of those they've already victimized.
  • Legitimate users also won't have to worry as much about internet stalkers friending their live journals through multiple successive accounts (which has happened to my wife on a few occasions)
  • Capcha systems are ubiquitous and easy to implement and many free and open source systems are available.
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • All new code requires testing to make sure it's not going to cause problems.
  • People some times have trouble with capcha.
  • Some users might be annoyed by the fact that they now have to give a justification as to why they friended someone.