Recently, I was typing in some spam keywords into the user search and found some suspicious users that meet the following characteristics :

  • username contains one of the same keywords that often shows up in spam posts
  • no activity except for editing their about me section
  • their about me section contains an advertisement for a product/service that is very unrelated to programming or the topic of the site they're on, as well as a link or two to view/purchase the product/service
  • last seen date is usually the same day they created their account

As to not advertise their spam, I won't link to any examples of this here.

In my opinion, these accounts I've found appear to have only been created to spam. Maybe they were intended to post spam as a question, but for some reason never did. Or maybe they just sit there hoping for people to inadvertently run across them while sliding beneath the community's radar. Or I guess maybe they did post some spam, that was deleted, but a mod never nuked their account.

Is this considered an act of spam to SE? Or does SE only consider it spam when it's posted as a question/answer/comment/chat message? Is there anything SE would like us to do in the case we find an account like this?


Spam should be removed. Jeff says don't hesitate to email us if you find these, and we'll fix ASAP.

I searched and observed that most of these users have more than one account across the network, which prevents auto-removal of their accounts as an abandoned account.

From Jeff's answer here:

Note that

Links in your "about me" field don't work for low-rep users; we don't allow more than 2 links by new users in this field, and they aren't actually hyperlinked until you have 15 rep.

The "website" field is not hyperlinked until you generate 15 rep.

... so the damage potential here is small.

That said of course we hate spammers and I love killing their user accounts, but there is a weird little edge condition of users who set up accounts with spam profile info but never ask or answer questions.

(emphasis mine)

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