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I've been lurking the site for a while, and I've noticed a disturbing amount of spam that shows up on this site. That alone isn't too worrying, Bitcoin is a new monetary system and there are a lot of people trying to take advantage of this newness to trick gullible and ill-informed people into giving them money.

The worrying part is that this spam is sticking around on the new questions page for far too long, to the point that it feels like I can't view the new questions without at least one obvious spam question getting in the way. The bit that hit me particularly bad today was the following:

[ANN][AIRDROP]⚡️⚡️Millions of TTC token airdrop⚡️⚡️

Spam

At the time of writing, this has been up, viewable, and on the New Questions list for 7+ hours. Counting my spam close flag, the comment's assumed spam close flag, and the downvotes, we have at least eight people that saw this question, knew it was a bad question, but didn't bother to flag it.

While this specific instance is pretty egregious just because of the obviousness of the spam and the sheer amount of time it's been up, I usually expect to see at least a couple spam questions every morning. By consequence, new Bitcoin users would get exposed to these links as well, from a site that superficially borrows a ton of clout from the Stack Exchange network. We are not Quora or Yahoo Answers. People trust us.

If we want this Exchange site succeed, we need to do better. There's the obvious suggestions: if you see spam, flag it. Flag corner cases and dumb product recommendations more readily. But I assume people already know that. Is there additional work that can be done to protect the site against spam?

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    Presumably most people already know, but it's worth repeating that people should definitely not be voting to close spam (as was the case with that custom comment); that's a waste of time. Always, always flag spam -- 6 flags destroys it instantly. – quartata Jul 5 '18 at 16:06
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    @quartata I don't think we can make that assumption. The user in question that left that comment is listed as being in the top .95% contributors to the site this year, far more active and experienced than most users on this site. If he doesn't know, how could anybody else be expected to know? – GGMG Jul 5 '18 at 16:11
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There's a community project that is really good at killing spam, usually within a few seconds or minutes of it being posted.

All we need are examples of the spam you're seeing. When you see these, just drop a message in this chatroom with a link. We can take care of the specific instance quickly, and after a few examples can build it into our realtime filters that automatically flag spam.

We've already archived this instance for future analysis.

  • Cool, I didn't know about this system, I'll try to make use of it. Is there any way to make this more visible to regular users? Maybe attach it to the spam flagging functionality somehow? – GGMG Jul 5 '18 at 16:09
  • @GGMG Unfortunately, there isn't a great way to expose what we do to regular users (that we've thought of, at least - open to suggestions!). We try to work behind the scenes, although there are efforts to make things more visible / discoverable to moderators. There are occasional big meta posts (like the one I linked to) that get featured across the network, but not everyone sees / opens those. – Undo Jul 5 '18 at 16:14
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When you see spam, please use the flag link and flag the post as spam. Posts flagged as spam appear in the moderator queue and we will handle those as quickly as possible. If a post has enough spam flags, it will be deleted automatically. Additionally, if you have enough rep, vote to delete spam questions and answers. I also recommend that you participate in reviewing posts where you can help flag, vote to close, and vote to delete spam and other unwanted posts.

  • Is there any way I can participate in the reviews with a low reputation? Currently I'm not even capable of downvoting the spam, I can only flag it. – GGMG Jul 5 '18 at 18:55
  • Unfortunately, no. Moderation tasks require more reputation. – Andrew Chow Jul 5 '18 at 19:07
  • You can see the list of privileges and how much rep you need for them here: bitcoin.stackexchange.com/help/privileges – Andrew Chow Jul 5 '18 at 19:13

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