While checking the Wesnoth.org forums ensuring that everything is working properly, I occasionally find spambots who have managed to make it past our hacky anti-bot registration measures, probably with help from humans. Most of these spambots go into a hit-and-run attack leaving one spammy post in some random place of the forums — sometimes in existing threads, sometimes starting new threads themselves.
Two nights ago (November 30th, 4:45 AM), some guy came into our Off-topic section asking this:
Post subject: Linux
How long does it take to become a Linux Administrator? Also is 1 year of linux study enough to get a job as System linux administrator? What exactly do I need to learn to achieve that goal?
It was his first post, and there were no signature or links whatsoever. He joined the forums two days before that (November 28th, 8:08 AM). You may note that the message above is not in proper English, but there are many underage or foreign users in the board. Nonetheless, some regulars and I replied to this guy's message in good faith.
On the next day, December 1st 8:36 AM, “he” edits his message adding spammy links after a fake signature separator similar to the phpBB 3 subsilver2 template's, except a bit longer. The post spent approximately 14 hours as search-engine bait because no other Wesnoth developers noticed the cheat (or read the Off-Topic forum, I guess) and I was away for the whole day until I went in and found this surprise after a third look at the thread.
In one occasion I had one of these drones join the forums and make their first spam post after 6 weeks (and shortly get kicked out of the house). I guess it must have been collecting posts and feeding them to a learning engine in order to enhance future spam posts by fitting them into the board's context for the time being. Not that its own attempt at posting succeeded.
The problem is that they sometimes do manage to produce reasonable posts — as long as you use a very flexible definition of “reasonable”, which is more or less required around the Wesnoth.org forums these days especially since there are real people who join the board and never post anything constructive or interesting and roam just the Off-Topic forum asking weird, unimportant questions and answering other weird, unimportant questions with bogus, misleading or uninformed answers or opinions (no, not pointing at anyone in particular here). On the other hand, it's still possible that those weird guys or gals will eventually drop their masks and reveal their true identities as spambots. Or maybe someone else will remove it for them.