5

It seems the spamfilter on the "Help and Improvement" queue has some problem. From here (from the review of this question).

I think,

  • Well, "there are" happens quite often in spams, also often in hams :-)
  • Maybe in the case of a 3k+ user it is not really probable he would try to spam.

On my tries it seems, the first word of the edited message is considered always spammy.

enter image description here

3
  • The chinese chars are the culprit
    – rene
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 21:28
  • I'm guessing it's the Chinese comments not the "There are" that's triggering the spam alert.
    – Cai
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 21:28
  • I am really not sure if they were the same problem, maybe they were.
    – peterh
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 23:09

1 Answer 1

9

Here's how to reproduce this issue, even if the linked review gets completed:

  1. Open the Ask Question page on SO.

  2. Copy-paste the current content of the linked question into the question body edit box.

    • Optionally, you can also type some random introductory text before the content, as in the screenshot above, but it's not really necessary. If you don't, the validation error will just say "Body cannot contain " CREATE"."
  3. Defocus the edit box by clicking anywhere else on the page. This will trigger the Ajax post body validation query (/posts/validate-body) that produces the error message.

Apparently, the string that the error message claims to be forbidden is always simply the first 10 characters of the first line of the post. The actual cause of the validation failure, of course, appears to be the large number of Chinese characters in the post.

In any case, I also found a simple work-around: the spam check will only trigger if the first line of the post contains at least 10 characters(!), so simply inserting a blank line at the beginning of the post is enough to bypass it. If you wanted to get fancy, you could even e.g. start the post with an HTML comment like this:

<!--
THIS COMMENT IS HERE TO WORK AROUND A BROKEN SPAM FILTER.
THE FIRST LINE ABOVE MUST BE LESS THAN 10 CHARACTERS LONG.
-->

Hopefully, by posting this work-around, I'm not opening SO to a flood of Chinese spam. But honestly, whatever's going on with that check, it's clearly broken and needs to be fixed somehow. At the very least, the misleading "Body cannot contain [...]" message should be removed, or fixed to properly describe the actual thing that is triggering the error.

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  • 2
    That message should not be fixed, actually. Fixing it would tell actual spammers what they're doing that we're blocking, and they'd change their keywords. Fix = more spam.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 22:12
  • 6
    @ArtOfCode: That's a valid argument for not having an explanation at all. However, there's no good reason to have a misleading explanation that simply serves to confused legitimate users who happen to trigger the filter. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 22:15
  • Thanks for that devious workaround. I spent quite a while trying various recipes to get my edits in the H&I queue to stick on this and another post. I gave up, and I'm not usually defeated so easily. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 22:26
  • Thanks the workaround! It seems also others have similar problems.
    – peterh
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 3:50
  • Is there an auto-check mechanic on mobile? Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 7:43
  • This workaround does not work when trying to edit an existing SO post (stackoverflow.com/questions/46446020/…). My hope was to put the Chinese characters in the output along with your comment, but the SPAM filter was triggered with or without the comment
    – joemienko
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 13:03

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