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Since I've flagged another two users for possible spam on SU, I wondered if it wouldn't be possible to automatically find them. Most of them seem human without any predefined messages, but all of their posts have one thing in common: the link.

This could be a very easy way to find and delete and flag spam users (so that mods can have a look at it), if, say, 90% of their answers contain a link to the same domain, we can assume that it is a spammer. Additionally searches for the domain might even reveal more bad guys which slipped through the net.

Could that work?

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I think Bobby deserves a badge [Anti-spam filter]! –  Ivo Flipse Jul 14 '10 at 9:16
    
@Ivo Flipse: *rofl* :D –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 14 '10 at 9:21
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Actually, flagging them as they appear is a good solution.

I noticed that today, these spammers are finding the most popular questions for their products and posting there. Thanks to the flags you leave, it allows moderators to track all questions they posted on, and put a "protection" on them (when they are already answered, spammed already, etc), to prevent them from being spammed again.

Then, the spamming user, at the end of his useful and only function, is annihilated with grace and style.


Besides, about your idea, it's interesting, but not as necessary or reliable. Often the spam is about multiple products from the same site, but links are then different (sometimes they have different domains even). Sometimes it's only posting the product name and suggesting to search on Google.

This is why the only reliable way is in my opinion the moderator flag, and checking their profile. Spammers are obvious, and can be removed just as fast. The best spam checker is a community. And everyone flagging in this objective is really helping the site.

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Seconded: Spam deletion functions marvellously IMO. I've never seen a spam post survive longer than three minutes on SO, maybe a bit longer on the other sites. –  Pëkka Jul 14 '10 at 8:00
    
@Pekka - actually, I was talking about flag for moderator when you notice a pattern, but indeed, the "per post" spam flag works too. –  Gnoupi Jul 14 '10 at 8:07
    
Of course it's not a 100% reliable, but as a little help it might be useful, imho. But true, the community is already a powerful anti-spam weapon. And why did I have the voice of GLaDos in my head when I read your "grace and style" sentence...I think I'm playing too many games... –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 14 '10 at 8:15
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So if a new user posts 2 answers and both of them happen to contain a link to the same domain, does that make them a spammer? I wouldn't count on it. (Especially if both links are, say, Wikipedia links) It might be more reasonable to do something like, if some percentage of the first 10 or 20 posts a user makes contain a link to one domain, flag the posts for moderator/10k attention. But I wouldn't want to see something like that go completely automatic.

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True. The thing is, all spammers I've seen had a max of 6 or 7 answers. Also, I wasn't talking about complete automation (maybe I should point that one out in the question). –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 14 '10 at 7:30
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