Lately in The Nineteenth Byte (I know, it's always us), we've been dealing with an issue where one or more users have decided that spamming stars on every recent message is funny. While moderators and room owners can cancel stars on messages, there is no effective way to deal with a determined star spammer. Even placing a room in timeout doesn't help, because users can still star messages during a timeout.
Even if they use up their daily star allowance, a user can simply use a sockpuppet account to continue to spam stars. Since there is no way to see who starred a message, the sockpuppetry goes completely unnoticed (a moderator can determine that an account is a sockpuppet, but they would have no way of knowing whether or not that sockpuppet account was being used to bypass the daily star limit).
There is no way to stop a serial star-spammer short of begging an SE employee for help, which is unreasonable to do every time a new star-spammer shows up.
Over 3 years ago, a request was made to allow moderators to see who starred messages. There was no SE response to that request, and 3 years later, we're still dealing with this issue.
A few changes would make dealing with star spam a lot easier:
- Allow room owners and moderators to see the source of stars.
- Disallow starring messages by users who are not room owners or moderators during a timeout.
- Rate limiting stars. Either a static limit (e.g. 1 minute between stars) or a dynamic limit (e.g. 15 seconds between stars, doubling every time there are X stars in a minute) would make spamming stars impractical.
- Don't allow kicked users to place stars. It seems odd that this form of interaction with the room is allowed while a user is under the effects of a kick, when all other forms are disabled.
The ROs of TNB are at our wit's end about how to deal with this problem, and I'm sure we're not the only room dealing with this. Help us, SE. You're our only hope.