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The problem

Since the 30th of August, Law.SE is suffering under a single user that does ask repeated questions over something they made up from thin air. The word "constiption[sic!]/constipt" which does not appear anywhere but as a mis-written conscription or constipation... The row questions that were tossed out reached our Meta five days later, September 5th - which is hyper-fast for Law.se. The same day, a question by yet another sockpuppet was migrated to our meta. Where we started to try to explain a prospect user, my answer to it turned into a log of our ordeal over time. Because it did not stop there:

Nuking of one of their questions prompted confusion on September 20th. On September 27th, the unregistered user's repeated trolling went on and prompted another meta post. They did register an account after some poking on October 6th. Today, October 10th, ANOTHER post in our meta came up, as the user had abandoned their registered account for yet another sockpuppet

The troll is persistent, and they only use the word "constiption" and its derivatives. Blocking the words "constipt" and "constiption," or just the string "constipt" if parts of words are also flagged, should stop them.

Between 10th to 12th of October 2022, at least 10 different sockpuppets belonging to the user were flagged for destruction, including at least 4 in a 30 minute period on the 12th!

The solution?

If it was possible to put a single word to a "blacklist" that is not allowed to be used by unregistered users, that would prevent so much grief and strife Law.SE currently is experiencing. Blacklisting it for everybody on our main would be a close second. Could that be done?

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  • 1
    I mean, there are such cases for questions on SO, but would a blocklist like that have any effect whatsoever on a troll? they'd just use another misspelling,
    – Kevin B
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:29
  • 2
    @KevinB nope, they rely on that one word, asking again and again about it. Worse than sovereign citizens
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:31
  • 2
    Right, but like, if their goal is to annoy, or spam... losing access to one word isn't going to stop them, it'd almost be validation that they're having the intended effect.
    – Kevin B
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:33
  • 4
    It's not possible to block things only for unregistered users, but why would it need to be blocked for only unregistered users? If it's a made up word then why shouldn't it just be blocked for all? It's not exactly difficult for them to register an account - it's like an extra 30 seconds at most.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:34
  • True, but you'd have a mail attacked... The other option would be for SE to send them a C&D...
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:35
  • 6
    "constipt" is also being used. I won't link the question as it's about to be closed (with any luck)
    – Rick
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:35
  • @animuson good point... for all future uses? The bot shouldn't have to crawl the backlog... though... it would clean up our meta...
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:38
  • 5
    The blocklist only runs at the time of submission. It wouldn't do anything to past content (other than prevent submitting edits if the blocked word is not removed first). It also is not inherited on Meta unless the community explicitly requests it be added there as well.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:42
  • Sounds like the perfect solution then! <insert pic:puuurrreeasshhh - can we haz it?>
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:47
  • 5
    Not blocking it on Meta would be good, so if they find a way to return (or pick a new word), we can talk about their spam.
    – Someone
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:52
  • 1
    Maybe it's not simple trolling. They might be delusional, and in need of professional help with their mental health. But I guess there's not much we can do about that.
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 7:43
  • 1
    If this hasn't changed, then it will show a hint 'Body cannot contain "constipt"' warning like the previous CJK spam filter. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 10:21
  • 1
    One of the recent ones contains "constipting," but it also contains "constiption."
    – Someone
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 16:27
  • 1
    What is a "row question"? With a double typo (one mistyping and an order swap), it could be "two questions". Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 22:38
  • 1
    @This_is_NOT_a_forum my guess is that "rwo" was the typo for "two" and autocorrect changed it to "row".
    – Someone
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 19:58

1 Answer 1

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We have banned various words, for instance, the word problem in titles. Now you simply get questions along the lines of

I have a porblem...

Because as you see it's just a whack-a-mole game where the troll will swap a couple of characters, stick in a zero-width space character somewhere or choose a different, but similar, Unicode character from another language to replace one of the ones in the word. This post suggests giving up on the problem title ban because of that.

So what's the alternative? Doing what we are doing, but perhaps more swiftly and with less effort. I.e., find the troll posts and delete them immediately. There is a Charcoal Project that looks for spam, and they can also look for trolls so if they are made aware of the problem they can set up a watch on the word or the troll and then automatically flag any posts that need flagging. The troll hopefully gives up because each time they go to the effort of posting, the post only lasts a few seconds before being deleted. The Charcoal Project is used to spammers changing their posts to evade detection and those methods can and do work for trolls too.

2
  • It is not just a title problem, it is content usually.
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 19:19
  • 6
    @Trish problem is only banned in titles, that's the only reason I mentioned titles. Charcoal can look at all aspects of a post. Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 19:20

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