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Spam can be broken into a few categories:

  • Spam posts that are blocked from being posted
  • Spam posts that make it past the automatic blocks
  • Profile spam (not sure there are any preventative measures for this)
  • Spam edits that are automatically blocked
  • Spam edits that aren’t automatically blocked
    • I know that the pen-test tool Burp Suite can be used to automatically suggest edits, though all the examples I found do nothing more than pointlessly HTML-encode some characters in the body with the edit summary "[email protected]". I don’t know much about this, but it makes it plausible that it’s used for some spam, by people who know how to use the tool properly.

(There are sometimes spam comments but this is rare except under spam posts.)

I am curious mainly about the first two groups, spam posts. What percentage of spam is created by people, as opposed to automatically? And what do these people do after posting their spam? Shog suggests quite a bit of spam is manual, so I assume that there is some data on this that’s being collected behind the scenes.

(It’s entirely too easy to be blocked by the suggested edit filter — I’ve been automatically banned from suggesting anonymous edits twice. That’s why I’m primarily interested in information about posts.)

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  • Well there is plenty of spam. You should check out Charcoal. Start here with your reading.
    – Luuklag
    Mar 20, 2021 at 13:21
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    I guess part of the question is how you work out how to tell whether low volume spam is people or automatic Mar 20, 2021 at 14:19
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    As for the third point nope profile spam is mostly not handled at all Mar 20, 2021 at 14:35
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    Most likely it's impossible to tell such a thing, as @Journeyman said as well. Also, another example, suppose someone has a "spam script", and need to push a button to send 100 spam posts at once. You consider it manual, or automatic? Mar 20, 2021 at 16:25
  • @ShadowWizardisVaccinating The answer will have to come from SE devs, most likely. (Though I just remembered that I had some info on automated edits which I’ve added to the Q.) Your hypothetical spam script would count as automated.
    – Laurel
    Mar 20, 2021 at 16:56

1 Answer 1

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You might be interested in this graph posted in 2015 by Tim Post:

It gives you an idea of the order of magnitude of your first two bullets:

  • Spam posts that are blocked from being posted (blue)
  • Spam posts that make it past the automatic blocks (orange)

Six years is a lot in IT, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's roughly the same.

It doesn't really answer the questions

What percentage of spam is created by people, as opposed to automatically? And what do these people do after posting their spam?

but I guess that depends on your definition of 'automatic' and whether we are even able to determine that.

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