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Suggestion for better spam control (result of heavy brainstorming)

Discussion in 'Forum Suggestions & Feedback' started by bryanon, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. bryanon

    bryanon Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Hey all,

    I'm posting this thread as a result of my recent lounge rant on forum spam that triggered quite some response and some very decent suggestions.

    Issue

    See the original thread at http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/blackhat-lounge/570189-what-people-forum.html

    TL;DR: There's a growing issue of people making nonsense posts that do nothing other than repeat word to word what has already been said in the thread above, merely to increase their post count to get certain privileges (PM privileges / Jr VIP).

    Solution

    Whilst most of the obvious solutions (such as moderators starting to enforce the no-fluff rule more actively) don't work for one way of another - mainly because it's often difficult to tell which post is fluff/repetition and which isn't and this would trigger a lot of false positives - steelballs came up with a very decent suggestion that also received quite a bit of positive feedback in the thread.

    His suggestion was:

    .. and my response:

    This is also something that would be relatively quick and easy to implement as the functionality is already there (there's a minimum character limit of I believe 10 in place) - it's just the question of making the decision and then figuring out how to impose a different minimum char limit based on the poster's usergroup.

    IMO there's no downsides to this (posts that are less than 30 words long are very, very rarely of any value) but the potential upside is massive so there's no reason not to implement something like this.

    Cheers,
    Bryan
     
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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  2. Untouchable

    Untouchable Supreme Member

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    You sir have my vote! Its a great idea. Too much digital point and Warrior Forum Spam coming in.
    Note:BHW is not a democracy, I just felt like saying it.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  3. steelballs

    steelballs BANNED BANNED

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    OP I will watch with interest, to see how this plays out...

    Thanks...:)
     
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  4. jjjrmy

    jjjrmy BANNED BANNED

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    on BitcoinTalk when there was the huge influx of users they set up a special area for noobs and they had to have certain requirements before they could post out of that area.
     
  5. beaglejuice

    beaglejuice Power Member

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    I think the problem with your suggestion is this will alienate the non proficient English speaking members.
     
  6. KELLOGGS

    KELLOGGS Supreme Member

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    Good idea, but in order to stop them doing it to acheive Jr VIP they would have to be separated for 100 posts. That's a lot if they're only allowed in the newbie only area.
    If a person cannot write more than 20 or 30 then they shouldn't be a member of a forum. They don't need perfect grammar. If really necessary they can type their first language into a translator and paste that, but a word count would definitely cut the spam down easily.

    Therefore, +1 to Steelballs' idea!
     
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  7. Rokebono

    Rokebono Senior Member

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    I dont think so, you dont really have to be proficient English speaking member to use the forum. Im not one and I still use it. As steelballs said, they will have to engage their brain to write 30 words hence they will improve their english learning new words besides the usual "thanks for this share".
     
  8. bryanon

    bryanon Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Not at all meaning to be rude or anything, but I reckon let's keep this thread for discussion around this particular suggestion, rather than brainstorming various ideas on how to remedy the issue - just to keep it clean.

    There was already quite a bit of brainstorming in the original lounge thread, many ideas were generated and discussed (including what you've suggested above) and the reason why I made this thread around steelballs' idea is that this one got by far the most positive feedback.

    I honestly don't think this will be the case. Proficient in English or not, a post of less than 30 words rarely provides value and this applies especially to those who are not proficient in the language and hence have to work harder to make their posts understandable to others.

    Btw. 30 words is the length of two average English sentences. The short paragraph above is a whopping 50 words.

    Also the limit doesn't necessarily have to be 30 words. It could perhaps even be 25 or 20, or maybe a character count limit instead (as that would be easier to implement).
     
  9. beaglejuice

    beaglejuice Power Member

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    I'm not being a devil's advocate here but if a new member wants to say "You can find the theme here http://xxxxtheme.com". How in the hell do you expound that to 30 words as an answer to an inquiry?

    I suggest an ignore button as an option for all senior members so they can be immune to newbies posting less than 30 words.

     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  10. bk071

    bk071 Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I understand where you're coming from but I think 30 words is a bit too much. A LOT of the questions people ask in new threads can be answered in as little as 5 words.

    Take that thread you linked for example... OP asked what is the best place to sell a site. Here's what I would have replied:
    "Flippa is your best bet. Brokers won't touch something this small".

    Thats 10 words and IMO it answers OPs question pretty well. Having to write 20 more words would actually increase the amount of "fluff" and BS we get.
     
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  11. bryanon

    bryanon Executive VIP Premium Member

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    You know what I'd really like to do/see (with a little help from an admin/mod who has access to the BHW's SQL database) ..

    I'd like to see the results of a database query that takes all posts from one day (any day) that are a) less than 30 (or perhaps 20) words long; b) posted by members in the "newbie" usergroup.

    This is an extremely simple query and it would probably result in a few hundred posts (just a wild guess). I'd then like to take a quick look at those posts, and see what percentage of them were value-adding (such as the "you can find this theme at hxxp://gargyl.com?search=cooltheme" example) and what percentage were pointless fluff, such as "thanks for the share" and "i agree".

    If the results of this are what I believe they are and over 95% of these posts are fluff then I believe the motion will have been justified then and there.
     
  12. proxygo

    proxygo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    bryanon
    totally agree - 30 worded post isnt hard to do
    will cut down on new members posting crap like
    [ nice post ] [ thanks [ great ] ect ect you get me

    1/2 worded posts done in volume are merely a fast
    track way to 15 posts for potential spammers .

    30 words for new members will make them think or
    make them post rubbish .

    +1
     
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  13. bryanon

    bryanon Executive VIP Premium Member

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    I actually agree. 30 was probably just a random number and the actual number needs to be a little lower - something along the lines of 20 would probably do the trick and at the same time wouldn't have too big of a negative impact on user experience.
     
  14. steelballs

    steelballs BANNED BANNED

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    Now that you are getting down to detail 15 to 20 words seems an option worth more consideration
     
  15. beaglejuice

    beaglejuice Power Member

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    I agree to take a look at the "newbie" user group. But why limit it to that group? Let's do everyone else including all senior members.

     
  16. Duffers5000

    Duffers5000 Elite Member

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    I like the idea but spammers or people intent on getting their count up will prevail.

    If I wanted to get around the 30 word limit I would open notepad and go into the search area pick out 10 reasonably generic answers that are over 30 words and save them into my notepad file. Over the next two days I would copy paste my bland replies in and get my count up.

    Steelballs idea is problem saver but will cause new problems.

    A lot of the problems I see are raised because of open ended threads. Somebody asks "hey whats the name of the software that blah blah blah " within three answers op has his answer that the software he was trying to think of was "megademonrobot". If at this point the op was able to choose to close the thread..."thanks guys...got my answer". This might solve seeing the same thread popping up 9 months later with a further 15 replies.
     
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  17. bryanon

    bryanon Executive VIP Premium Member

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    I don't think that would be the best thing to do because implementing something like this WILL have negative impact on user experience - it's just that the small negative impact this limit would have won't overweight the large negative impact that post-count spam / fluff has and could therefore be a sensible idea.

    With that said, the negative impact is still there and as such, the limit should only be applied where absolutely needed. The main reasons why the suggestion has been to only apply it to new members are:

    a) new members are far more likely to spam due to wanting to increase their postcount (to 15, then to 100) and due to not knowing the rules;

    b) for obvious reasons, new members' opinions carry less worth than those of more senior members - which is why a quick reply of "I've used Service A and liked it" may be a perfectly valid post by someone who has been around for a while and who people know/trust, whilst the very same post doesn't carry too much weight (without any additional details anyway) when posted by a brand new user.
     
  18. KELLOGGS

    KELLOGGS Supreme Member

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    I think "Good Luck on your journey. I've subscribed." should be banned. Recently, I've seen a lot of people posting about 100 posts in different journey in just a few days and most of the journeys aren't even running anymore!

    Though, to be honest, spam will always be there. You can't get rid of it. If they want to inflate their post count, they'll find a way.
     
  19. bryanon

    bryanon Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Mind you, though - we're not dealing with the blatant spammers that would do something like you've mentioned. These guys are being taken care of by the mods already. We're dealing with the ones who, for some reason, believe that it's actually OK to increase their post count by posting the "good luck with your journey" and "I think so too" type of stuff.

    Perhaps it's me being overly optimistic but I honestly believe that imposing the limit would actually trigger at least some of these people to make quality posts, rather than think about how to get around the rule. At the end of the day, the two take almost the same effort.

    Sure it will. But regardless, we can't give up! All of us saying "f it, spam will always be there and there's nothing we can do so we might as well just live with it" would be like Google deciding that email spam isn't going anywhere so it's not worth to improve Gmail's spam detection algorithms any further.
     
  20. twitter.followers

    twitter.followers Elite Member

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    That's a great idea but there come some more problems as well with the suggestion.
    People might come up with sentences like

    [TOO SHORT]

    [STILL TOO SHORT]

    [TRYING TO COMPLETE XX CHARACTERS]


    and so...

    Also, a lot of people in the newbie category make purchases in the BST section and the sellers ask them to post the last digits of the order ID for quicker reports or bonus. So, how would that work? Writing 30 words just for posting the order ID might not sound like the best idea to them.