Report spam and prevent newbies to post spam

Travel Forums System Talk Report spam and prevent newbies to post spam

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1. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5732 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Hi,

If I report spammers, I expect the profiles to be deleted. It does not happen or at the very best it takes a long time.

Also, please just prevent new members to immediately post in certain categories like the guide.

It is an easy fix and will definitely prevent quite some spam on tp.

It really bugs me and I know not everything can be prevented but at least some of the worst.

Cheers,
Mike

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5477 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

The point of reporting members is primarily to stop them from posting more, which it does. (Although I'm not completely certain if it also stops them from contributing to the guide. @Peter, does it?) Having the members deactivated is only really worthwhile if they have spam in their profile or an otherwise large footprint in the database which deserves cleaning up.

The problem with disallowing certain activities for "new members" is that it incentivizes spammers to "build up a presence" as cheaply as possible, which in the forum is leading to lots of semi-nonsensical posts (generally copied over from another travel website, with keywords replaced by synonyms to make it harder to detect), with the spam only following after a week or two. We already get a lot of that, simply due to bots being written for other sites which follow such a policy; it'll get significantly worse if we also have such policies.

You believe the spam will be prevented; I believe, and have seen in other places, that it'll cause the spam to be delayed. Spammers are patient. I'd much rather have the spam as early as possible, so we can immediately get rid of the spammer and be done with it.

I realize that there's probably 20+ spammers attempting spam guide articles for every single edit from a genuine newbie contributor; but those genuine contributors can be absolute gold. The guide never took off quite as much as would be ideal (though you pretty much singlehandedly have made it an impressive thing all the same!), but the potential is definitely still there, and if we'd scare off new contributors before they could even get started, we'd lose most of that.

(All of the above my personal opinion; generally I'm pretty aligned with Peter's thinking about such matters, but none of this is official.)

3. Posted by Peter (Admin 6915 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Yes, it does stop them from posting any more content in the guide.

At the time of writing, I have 10 outstanding member reports which is a couple of days worth.

It's not always like that. Earlier this week I had like 250 or so outstanding ones because it had gotten a bit away from me. 99.9% of these are genuinely spam. Some need more checking though - occasionally my automated tests give me some false positives that need sorting out. Often I also end up having to clean up an IP address which is a little more time consuming.

I agree with Sander that spammers will just bypass any delay checks. The only people likely to be frustrated by it are the kinds of members that we actually want to keep.

The only extra thing that I could imagine maybe helping is to somehow get the community involved in banning people so that I don't become a bottle neck. In order to do this though, we'd have to have some good systems in place to avoid abuse. For example, maybe 3 moderators need to agree on a ban before it can happen. Something like that might be a good solution.

4. Posted by Peter (Admin 6915 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

One other possibility I'm considering is hiding all profiles so only logged in members can see them. This might reduce the profile spammers which is by far the biggest chunk of spammers at the moment. Downside is people won't be able to see your profile unless they are logged in.

Something to consider.

5. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5732 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Thanks guys. Maybe I have different experiences about spammers who are not able to immediately share their free commercials (does more harm in my opinion than creating actual potential income). But if that is the way it goes on tp, that’s the way it is.

Hopefully the options you mention above will bring some relieve from those spammers.
Cheers

6. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1600 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

For those of us normal members, I must admit it's kind of fun to be the first to find and report a spammer. You feel like you're actually contributing something. Being one of the last to log in by dint of my location, it's a rare thrill. They're nearly all caught before I'm even awake.

7. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1296 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

For those of us normal members, I must admit it's kind of fun to be the first to find and report a spammer. You feel like you're actually contributing something. Being one of the last to log in by dint of my location, it's a rare thrill. They're nearly all caught before I'm even awake.

Good to know spammers are useful for something even if it is just giving you a thrill Simple pleasures, eh?!

8. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1600 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

These days, Sarah, one takes one's pleasures where one can . . .

9. Posted by Vic_IV (Respected Member 114 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Peter

far the biggest chunk of spammers at the moment. Something to consider.

I have to report dozens of "members" every month. I just can't put up with their attitude...
Many of those "new members" do not seem to care about TP Terms and Conditions.

I have also wondered what makes those new members post in forums without even filling out their profiles.

10. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1296 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Vic_IV

I have also wondered what makes those new members post in forums without even filling out their profiles.

For many people I think they're just searching the internet for info, stumble across our forums and sign up just because it is necessary to do so to ask a question. It used to happen on VT a lot too. Some are genuine, it just doesn't occur to them that filling out their profile would be helpful so they skip it in order to ask their question quickly. Others (many) are not genuine and are just worming their way into the conversations here in order to promote their business / spread spam / cause mischief. The challenge is spotting which are which!