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How does Stack Overflow handle spam?

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2 Answers 2

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  • new user limits (only 1 url allowed in posts, only 1 question per 20 minutes, only 1 answer per 3 minutes)

  • captcha

  • script detection heuristics and "honeypots"

  • user flagging (spam / offensive / moderator attention)

  • auto-removal of some items based on certain flag thresholds being met

  • active moderator participation throughout the day to look at moderator flagged items

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    So why do established accounts still get the captcha occasionally?
    – Perpetual Motion Goat
    Jul 6, 2009 at 14:18
  • @finnw - it triggers if you post twice in quick succession.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jul 6, 2009 at 14:21
  • 1
    how will we know if you're a replicant or not? Jul 6, 2009 at 14:26
  • "Established accounts" could be picked-up and used by scripts after human-establishment.
    – Sampson
    Jul 6, 2009 at 14:26
  • What are these "honeypots" that you speak of (in the context of SO, not in general)?
    – Anand
    Jul 6, 2009 at 15:00
  • @trex, Would he dare to tell us about his honeypot? Jul 7, 2009 at 12:17
  • @litb , trex279 is an automated bot seeking honey. Aug 6, 2009 at 8:32
  • @Jeff - I am not a replicant. There, now you know.
    – Pollyanna
    Dec 14, 2009 at 17:27
  • @Pollyanna: that's what a replicant would say.
    – perbert
    Apr 14, 2010 at 22:19
  • auto-removal of some items based on certain flag thresholds being met - does this mean Spam-Assassin-style Bayesian filtering? May 7, 2010 at 13:39
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They use reCAPTCHA to ask for CAPTCHA's if there are frequent actions performed (although this is more a preventative measure than for actually dealing with it).

There are also the moderators in place, who can delete posts that are deemed as spam, and the community, who are the ones who flag posts as spam to get the moderators' attention.

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