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It seems the last week or so, we get overrun with spam posts. It generally takes up to 15 minutes before enough spam flags have been gathered to delete the post, which is enough time to get Google index the post and give the spammers what they want.

Should more actions be taken? For example, allow the spam threshold to be set to just 3 flags required, or are moderators actively monitoring the situation already?

For example https://superuser.com/questions/1790513/doslease-customer-car-e-helpline-number-%EF%B8%8F-9832330695-8688202665-%EF%B8%8F

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    Note: for those of us who still like a clean front page even with the strike ongoing, flag as spam but don't downvote. That keeps it near the top of the page so people find it to flag it faster.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 26, 2023 at 9:31

2 Answers 2

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The community has built spam detection tools and many moderators and curators are on strike, but hopefully we can deal with this once the strike is over.

One of the main spam filtering systems is community-run, and with the stand of the company of moderation of GenAI content, it's hard to justify putting in time and energy. There are other systemic issues but those are things to work on the long run.

As I understand nearly the entire moderation team here is currently on strike including myself

I also suggest people read the Open letter to Stack Exchange Inc. to get an overview

I'm itching to get rid of this garbage, but sometimes some pain is needed for long term good. There's currently talks ongoing between moderator representatives and the company to resolve this

We'll probably be looking at, and cleaning up these as soon and completely as possible once the strike is over

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    I've been gone myself for quite a while because of the changes on the site, and recently found a way to work around the issues that kept me away. I was not aware of a strike, but that explains things. thanks for the answer.
    – LPChip
    Jun 22, 2023 at 7:44
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    I totally agree with the open letter, and as such signed it myself.
    – LPChip
    Jun 22, 2023 at 7:47
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What just surprised me was the high amount of spam posted at the same time: superuser.com overrun by spam posts

In view of this, it seems reasonable to me to simplify the measures for deleting spam.

Edit: Shortly after it continued:

new spam posts

Edit This isn't even funny anymore. There seems to be a massive spam attack on superuser.com today on June 24, 2023.

Loads of spam posts incoming every minute

The amount of posts a user can make in a certain time should be limited somehow, especially for new users.

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  • Excellent idea - limiting new users to one post a day will help a lot with these spammers that are now bombarding our site. It will at least slow them for the time that they need to create multiple accounts. It won't help still against bots that can create multiple accounts automatically.
    – harrymc
    Jun 24, 2023 at 11:15
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    I actually disagree. But only to the amount. 1 is too little I think. Maybe 3 is a good limit. A normal user could make a question that gets closed for some reason, and it should not also block them from making more. It would piss me off greatly if that were to happen to me. Sure, after 3 questions, yeah, but 1 is too few. Another option is, allow users to make those multiple posts, but after the 1st one, another one automatically goes into a review queue.
    – LPChip
    Jun 24, 2023 at 13:06
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    @harrymc The problem isn't in limiting users. It's that spammers don't even have to create an account (unregistered users) and they can change IP in seconds through the magic of VPNs and proxies. They can literally post garbage faster than people can keep up, hence why automated systems like Charcoal are used to stem the tide early. Charcoal is currently offline due to the strike.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Jun 24, 2023 at 21:50
  • @Mokubai: I wonder whether Charcoal uses a database of spams as voted by users that don't come up with its checks in order to extend its knowledge, as I noticed that spammers tend to replicate their posts, so a real-time database could help. Another question is whether Charcoal is limited to one spam flag only.
    – harrymc
    Jun 25, 2023 at 7:38
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    @harrymc Charcoal is community driven and (was) constantly updated by the community to add new rules for blatant spam. Initially it was limited in how many flags it could cast, but was given the ability to use other community members access to cast spam flags on blatant spam. People literally give an access token that allowed Charcoal to act for them to get rid of the spam. You can read up on how it works at charcoal-se.org
    – Mokubai Mod
    Jun 25, 2023 at 8:47
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    that's why I hate the unregistered feature. Askers never came back to questions to clarify comments, and answerers post non sense that gets a lot of upvotes
    – phuclv
    Jun 27, 2023 at 2:43
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    Between Spam and legitimate users no longer bothering to follow up, SU is rapidly losing value.
    – John
    Jun 28, 2023 at 16:42
  • We all had our fun and pain. Time to get back to normal. ALL parties.
    – John
    Jul 6, 2023 at 17:11
  • It would now appear that the two sides have dug in, unprepared to make concessions. That is the appearance. Users and those helping users are the losers here.
    – John
    Jul 16, 2023 at 19:04

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