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On Super User, we saw a constant spamming from bigasoft.com over the last year. At some point, we decided to block their URL.

Now, they're back:

However, they're using a link to a forum, where they posted the original bigasoft.com URL that's probably now blocked on Super User.


Would it be a suitable alternative to "hellban" these? Let them post with their original spam URLs, but mark these posts as deleted immediately (and don't show them that they're deleted).

On the other hand, this makes it harder to show spammers that we delete their posts at all. Therefore, would this introduce more harm than good?

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4  
Today I learned that spammers can and do become aware that their spam gets deleted. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Mar 2 '12 at 9:56
    
Wow, a flash from the past...I also flagged accounts of that company during my cleanup on SU. And I don't think that that would do any good. I mean, if they realized that they can't post anymore, they'll realize that their posts don't show up/get deleted immediately and find another way around it. I fear I have no answer to that problem except to get those bastards the good old way. –  Time Traveling Bobby Mar 2 '12 at 9:57
    
Spam is about the only thing for which I would actually be in favour of hellbanning. –  Pëkka May 17 '12 at 12:48
    
Or: delete the account, but detach and leave the post, and then downvote and comment on that. I mean: if people are actually searching for references about that product, all they find now is non-deleted non-downvoted spam. Wouldn't we need to make our opinion about it discoverable by search engines too? –  Arjan May 17 '12 at 13:57
    
@Arjan I don't think that's such a good idea. The whole point of spam is to send it out in masses and hope that sooner or later, a poor soul buys into it. Keeping it around, publicly visible, will only worsen that. Plus, it makes us look like … some other Q&A sites. I'm not too sure 90% of our visitors (which come from search engines) immediately grasp what downvotes are for, or read the comments, for that matter. –  slhck May 17 '12 at 14:00
    
True, @slhck, especially the part about fly-by visitors not understanding/caring about our review mechanisms. Still then: silently removing is not harming the spammer in any way. I wish there was something to harm them... (At which point spammers might start spamming products from their competitors. :-() –  Arjan May 17 '12 at 14:05
    
I don't know the mechanism behind processing an Answer but isn't there a badwords list along with some metadata check which would allow to filter out unwanted spam, as done with mails?In this case it is a specific brand "Bigasoft" which cannot be distorted like "pr0n"(but if there is, it would be easy to generate)and it is a new user(with 1 or 101 points of reputation).When the logic matches it could either delete the answer (along with a warning), autoflag the answer, or present a captcha screen.I'm working with a mail service (with about 4 million users) and spammers challenge us daily :-) –  karatedog May 19 '12 at 20:41

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