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A spammer from a given IP address creates an account, sends spam, has their account destroyed, and repeats until their IP is blocked from posting.

At this point, if they again create another account from that IP, there is nothing productive they can do with that account—either for themselves as spammers, or for SE (if they had a miraculous change of heart and decided to try being honest participants in the site) ... they're blocked from posting.

So then why let them create accounts at all?

There are, for sure, specific IP addresses that are bad actors. Over the past few months, each origin has created dozens of accounts with obviously spammy names, about one every 2 to 3 days. They're SpamRammed so they cannot post, but they set up profiles advertising dodgy sites. We notice and destroy them, as we try to catch spammer accounts before they have a chance to spread their noise; but they pop right back up within a couple of days, from the exact same IP as before.

Since these accounts can't do anything useful even if they were so inclined (which, clearly, they're not), there's no point in allowing them to be created in the first place. This would prevent them from just taking up space, or from waiting for SpamRam to forget about them, and then posting their spam.

So ... can new account creation from a spam-blocked IP be rejected?


Edited to add:
In this answer to Why are suggested edits that were rejected as spam or vandalism not visible to users who don't have an account on the site?, we see @Oded note that

The theory is that spammers have clients - and that they need to show them the spam [....]
If they can't show the spam to their clients... less incentive to post [...] spam.

Right now, new accounts ip-blocked from posting can still have spamvertisements for profiles, which allow spammers to show the spam to their clients - and this is indeed likely to be the only reason they keep making these new accounts. If the platform includes measures specifically to prevent spammers benefiting from suggested edits, why not prevent them from benefiting from account creation at all?

  • How is their action harmful? Why spend time and effort trying to stop someone from doing things that aren't a problem? – Servy Sep 14 '17 at 17:56
  • Can I ask what the nature of these accounts, from pure curiosity. Are those accounts Google based, FB based, SE based or do they use their own openid provider? If this would reveal to much then I'm happy to leave my curiosity unsatisfied. – rene Sep 14 '17 at 17:56
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    @Servy We're trying to be proactive rather than reactive to spam. If they post, they feel they've "won", even if Charcoal and friends nuke it into the ground two minutes later. If we see an obvious spam name, we'd prefer to clean it up before they do more with it. Although, realistically, we'd like to see them halted at the gate so not only can't they post spam, they can't even get inside. Hence this request. – Rubio Sep 14 '17 at 18:11
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    @Rubio If they think they've won, when they haven't, and haven't actually been disruptive to users, then isn't that a good thing. If they think they've lost then they're incentivised to bypass your barriers. If they think they've one, they'll be satisfied doing something that isn't actually a bother to anyone. – Servy Sep 14 '17 at 18:26
  • @Servy Until and unless cleanup of spam posts and accounts is automated, it is disruptive to the people who have to do that cleanup. Since that affects me, I'm motivated to find a solution that lets the system use the knowledge it already has to proactively solve the need for cleanup at all. It may not be visibly disruptive for long, but actual people had to step in to take care of the problem to make it go away, and I'm all for minimizing manual steps where the system itself could have dealt with a problem before it ever happened. Good Automation is Good™. – Rubio Sep 14 '17 at 18:35
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    @Rubio Why in the world do you need to clean it up. Again, it's not actually causing a problem. There's no need to automate it because there's no need to do it manually, because it's not disruptive to anyone. – Servy Sep 14 '17 at 18:37
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The one downside to this, similar to what I pointed out here, is that it provides an immediate indicator that a specific IP address has been blocked. Currently, they have to go through the process of creating the account and trying to post before they realize that they can't do anything from that location.

If this was moved up to time of account creation, that seems like it would provide a faster means of probing which IP addresses of theirs we've blocked. Is this that big of an inhibitor? I don't know, but anything that causes spammers to waste even a little time can be useful.

  • I see your point, but ... unfortunately, wasting spammers' time also wastes moderators' time tidying up after them. (Unless we want to leave ticking time bombs behind, and I really don't.) – Rubio Sep 14 '17 at 18:03
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    If this is your argument, I would counter-argue that just as much time may be wasted on wondering if they entered something wrong and troubleshooting the account creation process without bringing mods into it. – feelinferrety Sep 14 '17 at 19:55
  • I see it another's way, could those accounts have a flag, or be hidden from mod review, as if it's a internal mechanist to block spam, no need to show those to the mod at all, or if the mod see it with a field at on, he will know the account will never make noise – yagmoth555 - GoFoundMe Monica Sep 15 '17 at 15:55

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