Hot answers tagged

301

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 like a "minor edit" that makes a clear difference. It clarifies how we've been executing and operating, while closing loops for bad actors to argue. I'm not ...


137

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 anyway. Of course the user itself should be able to see their own profile, but there is really no reason why anyone else would look at it. Looking for this ...


136

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 someone finding me on Stack Overflow. Almost all of these have been casual, 1:1 situations where I answered a few of someone's questions and they decided to ...


131

I've decided to attack the problem at the root, shutting down the spam blogs themselves. The secret here is to run Google searches using queries like site:blogspot.com watch football (the site: operator as used here limits the search to the blogspot.com domain), click on and examine any suspicious results, and paste the URL of each spam blog into the ...


123

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 probably still be safe if that single user organically stumbles upon the spam post, in this case the odds of a user falsely flagging a false positive are very low. ...


101

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 that passed their tests. Two questions: Is there any other feedback loop from SmokeDetector to that system, except posts being flagged as Spam? If not, any plans?...


96

We're trying to get better at keeping this at bay. The problem affects all sites that see any kind of traffic, some more than others. I can't go into very much detail because frankly, there isn't a whole lot of detail that belongs to an agreed implementation at this point. However .... A big mistake we have made in the past is not fully utilizing the ...


95

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 nonsense and try to extract meaning from it. "Surely if I can determine what the author's intent was," you might imagine them saying to themselves, "...I can then pick ...


87

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 receive numerous emails, LinkedIn requests, etc., some of them that seem to be related to what I post and share here. My bad I quote: without the explicit consent ...


81

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 the message you quoted to everybody. Right before that email you mention, you should have one from me, apologizing for this mistake and making everyone aware of ...


80

How about a Spam Exchange ? Q&A for Spammer Enthusiasts where you can learn spamming tips and tricks. Common questions : How to spoof an email properly ? How to make my SPAM live longer on Stack Exchange Jon Spam Facts


74

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 determine precisely what happened in a given scenario (much less why it happened) - even for moderators, there's so much data that's either unavailable or more often ...


69

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 site, how many organic spam flags are dismissed or disputed? If even site users sometimes get it wrong -- and they do, particularly on questions where product ...


68

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: Keeps them out of Google. No 'noindex', no robots.txt -- Google just can't see it. That's gotta be more reliable. Keeps spammers from being able to send their ...


66

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 SmokeDetector (SD) across different sites in the network, given that they have broadly different scopes and topics? For example, you've finely tuned SD to detect ...


59

Because downvoting pushes out off the front page but doesn't remove it. This means that it is somewhat less likely to be seen by other active members who could flag it, and therefore kill it. Downvoting is for bad, unresearched questions. Spam is just spam, it should be spotted and removed ASAP. Hiding it means it might stick around longer then it needs to.


57

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 user with some amount of reputation on the network, you're exempt from many of the checks we would normally impose. The problem is simply that Tor is not ...


56

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 week and then flag up that account to the site moderators as one that's posted spam elsewhere. You could also feed the spam posts into the anti-spam program as ...


53

For reference: What about malicious edits? Problem At first this appears to be potentially a bad mechanic. An offensive edit would cause the OP to get punished with automatic rep loss. If the community isn't paying attention they could flag spam and cause unwarranted damage to the first revision owner. There are ways to counter this. Before it reaches 6 ...


48

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 recipients could see each other's email addresses. A few minutes later, he apologized for this mistake, promising to send everyone a dollar if this would lead to ...


45

From meta to main either for the cruft out for you as well). It's done now. Keep in mind that, like humans, lizards make mistakes too; this was probably a lapse in Bill's judgement. As a unicorn, infallible unlike humans and reptiles, I can't for the same reason that many characters. And as a moderator and I were just talking about CSS used the tag ...


45

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 mods, and do not send posts to a review queue. Therefore, spam vs. not spam decisions are not a normal part of working the LQ review queue. Related to the ...


44

I'm not sure that I'd want this account auto-deletion, because it might make hunting down other spammers a little harder. (See my update below.) On Stack Overflow, we often get clusters of spam accounts from the same location, so my usual spammer workflow is to delete the spam post, then pull up the account information for the spammer. If they have other ...


44

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. (I've just tested that this is the case.) That biases the queue towards unhelpful spam flags. In reality, there are probably far more helpful spam flags than ...


42

The spam is not new. Drupal Answers was hit really hard with it starting in Dec/Jan. Other sites have had it bad, too (Ask Ubuntu was one). The SE team has done a fantastic job with the automatic filters, but the spam evolves rather often, so automatic blocking isn't effective for long. The proper course of action is to flag the post as spam. Three spam ...


42

A critical hit with the ban hammer has been dealt to the user. Unfortunately we don't have any way to bulk-revert edits - so anyone who's helping in rolling back those edits will get a virtual cookie from me.


42

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 campaign to spam file recovery tools to Stack Overflow, Super User, Server Fault, and other sites on the network: meta.stackoverflow.com/a/269868/19679 . They've ...


39

I do not understand this proposed change to the Terms of Service (ToS). Stack Exchange cannot revoke Creative Commons licensing rights that have already been granted. Therefore, they cannot "un-license" any existing user profile web page content or other user-contributed content that has already been published under CC BY-SA. However, that appears to be ...


39

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 marked user is a well known overzealous flagger. I've seen many of their spam flags being retracted just a few seconds after flagging and then using a NAA flag. ...


38

Urgh. That's just sneaky. It even took me a minute to realize why that edit should've been rejected. I warned the editor to refrain from this behaviour in the future, but I'm not sure what to propose to "fix" this problem in general. Maybe some way to make it more obvious what the URL changes are in the default diff? I don't have anything fleshed out in ...


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