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309 votes

A Terms of Service update restricting companies that scrape your profile information without your permission

A few clarifications here. The 'diff' here is minor, but not at all unimportant. By 'minor' - we're simply saying that the scope of the change is small (in size), but not in importance. Think of it ...
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  • 177k
167 votes

Spam Profiles are getting my goat. Could we have better tools for mods to deal with profile spam?

Maybe SE simply shouldn't publicly show profiles for users that have no interaction at all on the site. Users that have never voted, posted or done anything at all are just noise in the user listings ...
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138 votes

A Terms of Service update restricting companies that scrape your profile information without your permission

I'm sure this will be unpopular, however... I don't feel this is a good policy, nor a necessary one. Some key points: Every job I've received, (day job or otherwise), in the last 4 years was due to ...
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  • 2,598
124 votes

A machine can flag spam automatically. Can it do better?

I see a very big difference between moving to 4 or to 5 automatic flags. I wouldn't have any issue with 4 flags, but 5 flags means that only a single user is required to nuke the post. This would ...
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108 votes

Can a machine be taught to flag spam automatically?

Stack Exchange has its own spam detection and prevention system. If I understand its design goal correctly it prevents spam from even being posted. What SmokeDetector finds are basically the posts ...
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  • 79.4k
105 votes

Why don't we treat rubbish the same as spam?

I'm assuming that's not what "abusive" in this reason is referring to Abusive means what it says. Don't overthink this. Look... The problem folks have with these is that they see the pile of ...
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  • 432k
89 votes

A Terms of Service update restricting companies that scrape your profile information without your permission

Thanks for the way this is brought to us! You really learned from previous posts with hard deadlines and lack of clarity. A few points. I really think it is good to protect our content here. I ...
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89 votes
Accepted

More than 15k bottles of Viagra from Kenya, asking 110+ people for money, seriously?

That's on me, and I'm really sorry about this! As Glorfindel explained, I accidentally CC'd everyone entitled to a watch from this contest, instead of BCC'ing... :\ One of the recipients then sent ...
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  • 19.2k
87 votes

Spam Profiles are getting my goat. Could we have better tools for mods to deal with profile spam?

A further refinement to Ilmari Karonen's answer (which refines Mad Scientist's): make profiles of new accounts that haven't done anything visible only to logged-in users. This does a few things: ...
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75 votes

A machine can flag spam automatically. Can it do better?

The biggest advantage I see in how the Smoke Detector project has operated thus far is its transparency: one of the most frustrating aspects of using these sites is how difficult it can be to ...
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  • 432k
69 votes

Can a machine be taught to flag spam automatically?

We determined we can beat those numbers and eliminate spam from Stack Overflow and the rest of the network even faster. (Emphasis mine) What, if any, work have you done to ensure the robustness of ...
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  • 10.8k
69 votes

A machine can flag spam automatically. Can it do better?

The thing that concerns me about 5 auto-flags is that sometimes users are wrong and now it only takes one user to spam-delete a post. A statistic that would help me better evaluate this is: on each ...
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58 votes

Please don't use a spam filter based on IP address

My crime: I'm a Tor user. "Doctor, it hurts when I do this!" If using Tor is making your life miserable, then switch to a different proxy! We don't intentionally block Tor. In fact, as a long-time ...
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  • 432k
58 votes

Don't use spam post as audits in the low quality review queue

I fully support this proposal. The main reasons why it makes sense to me are: Spam does not belong in the LQ review queue in the first place. As far as I understand, spam flags are handled by diamond ...
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  • 1,169
57 votes

How can we empower per-site mods to more efficiently dispose of network spammers?

If I as a mod on Stack Overflow destroy an account for spam, you could immediately put a brake onto any linked accounts to require either more "I am human" validation or just hobble to one post per ...
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  • 98.9k
54 votes

More than 15k bottles of Viagra from Kenya, asking 110+ people for money, seriously?

It turns out a Stack Exchange employee accidentally sent an e-mail, related to this contest, without putting the 110+ recipients in the BCC as required by data protection regulations. Therefore, all ...
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  • 212k
45 votes

What is a "spam seed"?

There have been spam campaigns by other web forums who target sites that allow user contributions (including Stack Exchange). For official proof, see this comment. Yup, it's part of a coordinated ...
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  • 5,530
44 votes

How do we stop users from using the "spam" flag when there is no "promotion of a product or service"?

The moderator flag queue is biased towards bad spam flags. Posts that are deleted by 6 spam flags from the community have their flags marked helpful. This removes the flags from the moderator queue. (...
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  • 35.8k
42 votes

Spam Profiles are getting my goat. Could we have better tools for mods to deal with profile spam?

As a subtle alternative to Mad Scientist's suggestion, we could simply add a noindex meta tag to the profile pages of users with less than some minimum amount (say, 5 or 10 points) of rep. This would ...
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41 votes

A machine can flag spam automatically. Can it do better?

Art mentioned this in a comment: However, while some people are more zealous than others in flagging I dunno whether bad luck, or good that it occurred, this happened yesterday: The red color ...
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  • 10.7k
40 votes
Accepted

What is a "spam seed"?

The description is pretty much spot on. In that context a "spam seed" is a post disguised as an actual question, but which only serves the purpose of being able to post a spammy answer after some time....
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  • 60.1k
39 votes
Accepted

Scammer spam autocompletes when entering team name in profile

This is bad data coming from CrunchBase - I am working to address it now. Update: I have done a huge amount of cleanup from the data source and just deployed a new Elastic indexing using it. Here's ...
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37 votes
Accepted

Where did the "Spam" and "Rude" flags go?

Adding this as an answer for visibility: thanks for bringing this to my attention- just pushed out a fix. I had added flagging to election nominations and accidentally included a bad check. This ...
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36 votes

-100 rep penalty effectiveness for spam?

Its worth remembering there's two (and half) types of spammers. There's the big commercial operations - your garden variety rx spam (probably automated) and manual (mostly software). These are ...
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  • 129k
35 votes

Ban ImageShack images because they are reusing old URLs for advertising

I completely support banning ImageShack images in new posts. The fact that it's an unreliable image host would be reason enough in itself, but the replacement of images by ads just adds insult to ...
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34 votes

A machine can flag spam automatically. Can it do better?

Smoke detector is a fantastic project, it has inspired many of us to do other type of moderation bots. However once Brad Larson stated in this comment on a question that I made I'm not terribly ...
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33 votes

What is the policy on destroying users with very spammy profiles but have not posted spam yet?

There isn't a clearly defined policy available because... we don't have one. We actually don't encourage moderators to seek out these kinds of users and destroy them because it's usually a waste of ...
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  • 182k
33 votes

Can we do more to stop bots from posting?

They are not bots; they are humans who get paid a miserable salary in exchange for posting spam. They're smart enough to solve the captchas Stack Exchange already throws at them and some even use ...
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  • 212k
32 votes
Accepted

How to deal with an otherwise salvageable post with a spam link?

If, at first glance, the the post looks good but has an apparent spam link at the end there's a good chance that it is really spam. The legitimate content will have been plagiarised from somewhere (...
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  • 98.9k

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