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To spam, or not to spam - that is the tricky question.

Travel Forums System Talk To spam, or not to spam - that is the tricky question.

1. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

Hi.
Just a quickie. How does T/P decide what is a spam post and what isn't?
Someone has just posted - in 'Europe' a thread asking about about ski-hire/lift passes in Switzerland.
I answered the question briefly, having done a lot of skiing in various countries - and in their reply, it's been snipped when they mentioned a company that I'm assuming does ski-hire, lift passes - or both.
I do appreciate that T/P doesn't take too kindly to Budding Members posting company names, but if you read their reply to the comment and snip, I do feel that they have a point.
Your comments?.. Bob.

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Aug-2010, at 14:29 by flyingbob ]

2. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 6y

I'm guessing this is the thread that you're referring to. What most likely happened here is that the moderator thought this looked a lot like a typical 'spammer asks question just to follow up with reply mentioning/promoting the company they've represented all along'. This, sadly, happens all the time, and when you've seen it often enough you start watching out for it. It could very well be that in this case the person isn't representing any particular company, but only the company name was snipped and the post left up. This is a pretty standard way for dealing with this here and gives the benefit of the doubt in a situation like that (as opposed to deleting it altogether).

I know we probably have a few false positives this way, but in over 99% of the cases pure instincts have tended to be right.

3. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

[quote=Sam I Am]
I'm guessing this is the thread that you're referring to.

Yes, that's the one. I'm quite new to T/P and do understand and respect the spam/no spam rules 100%. However I think this poster was treated a little harshly, even though I've no no idea what was snipped from their comments.
No argument though - and thanks for the reply.

4. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 6y

I saw the original post, however I can't remember if I'm the mod who changed the post in question (I don't think I was).

Every so often I look at a flagged post and it's borderline to me whether or not it is actually spam - so sometimes on those I come back to that post a little later to decide, after I've been round the forums (as long as something doesn't come up in the "real world" that takes me away).

It can be really tricky some times to know it's spam, some are obvious and others not so. Although saying that, most spam I've seen recently have been a new post on a really old thread.

5. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 6y

Bull-shit is not an exact science. Have to admit though, if I'm being a bit too 'trigger happy at times.

Not one of mine btw.

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 6y

Typically I'd say that the original posters don't notice something being snipped from their answer, but what happened in this case I think (based on the earlier reply by the OP), is that the post was flagged originally. So upon returning to the thread you then see a 'this post is flagged' etc. message. A moderator then went in and edited/unflagged the post, but by then the OP had already noticed/reacted to it.

Obviously we prefer not to send this kind of message to new posters, but at the same time I look at their posts a LOT more carefully than anyone who has more than 10 posts, just because this is typically the group where all spam originates. It can be harsh though luckily it's quite rare.

7. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

Some nice answers.

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 6y

I flagged the post in question; I'm pretty certain (say 90%) that it was indeed promotional, as the original poster used the telltale phrase "I think its in interlaken" before linking to the site where it clearly spelled out that it is indeed in interlaken. As the original poster there also had shown interest in staying in that location, he wouldn't have linked to it if he hadn't known that the location was indeed interlaken.
From my observations, the "I think" phrase is used by a significant percentage of the astroturfers we get here, probably in an attempt to appear to be 'uncertain' (e.g. "real traveller", honest!) about the subject that they're promoting.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Aug-2010, at 10:48 by Sander ]

9. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 6y

Quoting Sander

I flagged the post in question; I'm pretty certain (say 90%) that it was indeed promotional, as the original poster used the telltale phrase "I think its in interlaken" before linking to the site where it clearly spelled out that it is indeed in interlaken. As the original poster there also had shown interest in staying in that location, he wouldn't have linked to it if he hadn't known that the location was indeed interlaken.
From my observations, the "I think" phrase is used by a significant percentage of the astroturfers we get here, probably in an attempt to appear to be 'uncertain' (e.g. "real traveller", honest!) about the subject that they're promoting.

I agree with Sander (and he's great at spotting spammers/astroturfers) with the use of "I think..." then linking. Occasionally, we're wrong. As was the case with a long-term TP blogger who chose to post in the forums for the first time and placed a link. I neglected to check the profile before making the URL deletion. In that instance, I was able to replace the link and comment to my mistake. But, rarely is such a scenario reality.

As Sam and mojorob have said, it's not always a cut and dried decision. Is a particular person genuine? If there's nothing in the profile and they are a first-time poster, it can be a flip of the coin. Innocently, the blogger also used the term "I think" or "I don't remember", then made a link. I'd rather error on the side of caution to keep the forums clean of spammers than take for granted everyone is posting for the sake of helping their fellow travelers. I'll be sorely disappointed very quickly and also opened the door for more spammers to post freely.

10. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 6y

For me it's just a feeling I get when someone's being a bit too 'nice'. Bit like a Mormon on your doorstep.

edit: no disrespect to anyone of a religious leaning btw. ;)

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Aug-2010, at 14:22 by fabyomama ]