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How does Stack Overflow handle spam?

I see spam submissions occasionally on my blog and online forums. Why aren't there any on Stack Overflow?

What does SO use for spam filtering?

(I have been here for a year and haven't seen a single piece of spam.)

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marked as duplicate by Pops, jmfsg, ChrisF, jjnguy, Jon Seigel Jul 27 '10 at 21:13

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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See this post too meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2765/… –  Barry Jul 27 '10 at 19:28
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Welcome to Meta, Ankit! For a housewarming gift, go to your accounts tab in your profile and click on the disassociate button by your Stack Overflow account. Then click on associate, and you'll get +100 rep here for free! –  Pops Jul 27 '10 at 19:30
    
It's not free @pop, it comes with a price... some say it's a high price –  jmfsg Jul 27 '10 at 19:35
    
ooh grt.. I now have +100. @juan what price? is that because of my SO score? –  ankitjaininfo Jul 27 '10 at 19:37
    
Juan was joking about how much time and effort it takes to participate in SO, Meta, &c. Yes, it's because you have >200 rep on SO. You can repeat this process on every site except for SO itself. –  Pops Jul 27 '10 at 19:58

5 Answers 5

We get spam, but the community cleans it up. There's a "flag" link under the tags in each question and at the bottom of each answer.

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i do not see even on newest questions list/view. –  ankitjaininfo Jul 27 '10 at 19:29
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@Ankit: You need 15 reputation to be able to flag a post. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 27 '10 at 19:30
    
what I mean is "i do not see spam questions even on newest questions list/view".. where they appear latest or any change of others to flag it before. –  ankitjaininfo Jul 27 '10 at 19:32
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@Ankit: Oh, I misunderstood. I guess the ratio of legitimate questions to spam is so high that you don't see it much. I rarely catch spam posts myself, but usually only see them when someone flags for moderator attention. The reason SO gets so little spam might be because it's proven to be ineffective in the past. If we keep deleting it, there's little incentive for spammers to keep posting here. Plus, most spam I see is in the answers not the question, so you won't see it on the front page unless you click through. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 27 '10 at 19:35
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And once in a while you manage to make a big catch. –  Gnoupi Jul 27 '10 at 19:41

Users with 10,000 reputation, along with ♦ moderators have the ability to delete posts, unlike some forums where only moderators are allowed to delete/hide posts/topics.

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10k users can delete questions but not answers. Answers can only be deleted by the user who posted them (of course), by moderators, or by collecting six spam or offensive flags. –  mmyers Jul 27 '10 at 19:38

I've never come across a spam post normally, only by seeing them in the list of flagged posts, so they're quite rare. There was just one flagged today that was posted yesterday, though, so it does happen

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There are active SPAM detection measures in the SO stack, and, as others have noted the SPAM that makes it through is dealt with quickly by the SO community. I'd also like to think that SPAMmers have figured out that we're a community that doesn't respond to their techniques, but I think that would be giving them too much credit.

It's also possible that Chuck Norris Jon Skeet keeps them at bay, though that reasoning is highly suspect because if he were to try, they would never succeed in getting through.

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Way too much credit. I doubt that most of these people even have a clue which sites they're spamming, let alone what the click-through rates are. –  Aarobot Jul 27 '10 at 19:40
    
We do block the really persistent ones, probably before they've reached their learning threshold. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 27 '10 at 19:42

I've seen spam once or twice in 4 months. It's rare because spammers don't build up reputation, and that's because spammers only really know how to spam. That in turn means that all spam ends up being effectively flagged on the front page as a significant change (because it's got to be a question or answer) and the large community then spots it and flags it, and a suitably-empowered person deletes it.

Is SO spam-proof? I don't think so. (I've thought of a way of getting around the defenses while writing this answer for example.) But it's a very hard target as there are barriers to entry that keep genuine riff-raff out. Much easier to pick a target with a better risk/reward ratio like Wikipedia…

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Getting through is only the first hurdle. Surviving for long in the flames is much harder... –  Marc Gravell Jul 27 '10 at 21:09
    
@Marc: Spammers are made of asbestos (impermeable to flames, potentially bad for the health) so they don't care. What does happen is just that they get squelched extremely rapidly. –  Donal Fellows Jul 30 '10 at 21:29

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