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Spam and RunningAhead (Read 1818 times)


A Dance with Monkeys

    The community at RunningAhead is a great community.  Generally speaking, folks are very supportive of each other and really want to see each other succeed.  And folks throw in enough snark, humor and honesty to keep things interesting.  This is a good community.

     

    One of the difficult lines that has to be drawn is to determine when a community member is sharing information about some product or service they are excited about (or even represent or sell) and when they are simply using the forum as a free advertisement.

     

    What is wrong with free advertisement?  Well, I see the following, and others may see additional issues:

    • RunningAhead has been developed pretty much by a single person donating time and resources, and he is not compensated for the free advertising
    • Most users I suspect do not come here to see ads mixed into the forums, and too many ads diminishes the value of the forums for other conversations
    • Many race ads that crop up are for small races in corners of the world that I would never travel to; it seems that such advertising would be fairly nonspecific and ineffective

     

    Moderating at RunningAhead is performed through a combination of:

    • community-feedback
    • a small handful of individuals empowered to take actions (that can be overturned on review)
    • final oversight by the wise one with the endless smile

    When trying to decide whether a post or thread is a blatant abuse of the form for a free advertisement, as versus a given user sharing enthusiasm about something, the community and the moderators generally consider the following:

    • is the person posting known to the community, or brand new (brand new implies that the poster may have registered ONLY to post an advertisement)
    • has the person posting contributed anything else to the forums (an answer of no implies that the poster has nothing to contribute other than an advertisement)
    • does the person posting have a public log or profile (an answer of no implies that the poster uses RA only to advertise)

    Are these heuristics perfect?  Absolutely not.  Are they useful?  Certainly. But, as above, users who feel like their posts are legitimate can always come back and explain themselves and have the censor reversed.

     

    My 2 cents.

      Thanks, Trent.

       

      Well said, and I think that gives a fair explanation of how spam moderation works. And thanks to Nader and the other moderators who do a fine job keeping the spam and other trash cleaned up. It's greatly appreciated.

      When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

        Are these heuristics perfect?  Absolutely not.  Are they useful?  Certainly.

         

        I think these heuristics are actually pretty darn good, even if not perfect.

        - Joe

        We are fragile creatures on collision with our judgment day.

          As I mentioned to Nader via PM earlier: I moderated a sports site for a few years.  When we deleted a post (or thread), we sent a short note to the member.  A simple "Your thread entitled "blah-blah-blah" has been removed as an inappropriate commercial posting." was sufficient.  It lets the member know that the post was killed and why, instead of his having to discover that it's missing, wonder why, possibly (probably) re-post, etc.  If he thinks it's in error, at least we wouldn't start a dialog from an unhappy place.  Just my two cents.

           

          (If you did create a forum for event announcements, you could always just throw every announcement thread in there.  Our software let me check a box to have it automatically send a PM to the poster, letting him know his thread had been moved and to which forum.)

          “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

          R2E


          "run" "to" "eat"

            i thought this thread was going to be about recipes for preparing spam, the other pink meat.

             

            imagine my disappointment.

            i find the sunshine beckons me to open up the gate and dream and dream ~~robbie williams

              tl;dr

              Runners run.

                i thought this thread was going to be about recipes for preparing spam, the other pink meat.

                 

                imagine my disappointment.

                 

                Sadly, I didn't find a waffle related recipe, but you may enjoy these Spamcakes.

                When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

                   

                  TROPICAL ICELAND'S SPAM WAFFLES

                   

                  Spam and waffles? Why not? People love bacon and waffles, so this is no different. Spam Jam newcomer Tropical Iceland has a special waffle batter dotted with minced Spam bits ($6) and served with a scoop of ice cream, drizzled with honey. The sweet/salty combo is good as a meal or as dessert.

                   

                  Tropical Iceland, Royal Hawaiian Center,2201 Kalakaua Ave., 922-2299; also located at Ala Moana Center

                   

                  http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2010/Apr/16/en/hawaii4160319.html

                   

                   

                  You can get spam anything in Hawaii.

                  In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

                  http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

                   

                   

                   

                    , the other pink meat.

                     

                     

                     What is the other?

                    R2E


                    "run" "to" "eat"

                      if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

                      i find the sunshine beckons me to open up the gate and dream and dream ~~robbie williams


                      just a simple cat

                         

                        Running is stupid

                        xor


                          As I mentioned to Nader via PM earlier: I moderated a sports site for a few years.  When we deleted a post (or thread), we sent a short note to the member.  A simple "Your thread entitled "blah-blah-blah" has been removed as an inappropriate commercial posting." was sufficient.  It lets the member know that the post was killed and why, instead of his having to discover that it's missing, wonder why, possibly (probably) re-post, etc.  If he thinks it's in error, at least we wouldn't start a dialog from an unhappy place.  Just my two cents.

                           

                          (If you did create a forum for event announcements, you could always just throw every announcement thread in there.  Our software let me check a box to have it automatically send a PM to the poster, letting him know his thread had been moved and to which forum.)

                           

                          I would like to second this. 

                           

                          While Trent's post is full of great information, moderating here seems to involve Sniper-ing threads (locking them in a way such that they are unopenable... so no moderator's note for people to read... nor notification back to the thread owner)... for spam threads generated by bots, this is no big deal. But for other threads, we go through the inevitable "start a thread to complain about why my thread got locked" loop.

                           

                          As for "a small handful of individuals empowered to take actions"... it's kind of a secret who is who.  Everyone knows Nader is (hee!) and most of us know that Trent is... especially with this post... but who else is? Zoom Zoom seems to be.  Is there a reason this information is not really made public?  And is it possible for the moderator who locks a thread make it known that he/she locked it?  Without that, threads sometimes get mysteriously shut down.  Last week, I got the complainy message from the thread owner 'cause I was the last poster in the thread before it got closed.  

                           

                            If a site needs very little moderation, I can see the positive of not having moderators be particularly visible.  OTOH, a site full of asshats and that attracts new asshats would definitely benefit from a prominent moderator pool.  Happily, this place is pretty nice and not a juicy target for spammers.

                            “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                            xor


                              Then pretty please if'n action is taken, for to please leave a breadcrumb regarding who took said action.

                               

                                Then pretty please if'n action is taken, for to please leave a breadcrumb regarding who took said action.

                                 

                                srl,

                                As I explained to you a long time ago, there is no bread crumb because I never bothered to put it in.  One of the reasons RA has been spam resistant is I created all of it instead of using an off the shelf package.  In order to automate spam, spammers have to write a custom bot, which is too much trouble for most.  Two years ago, someone managed to do write such a script and for a while, RA received several spams a day.  I closed the hole by adding captcha during signup to keep out the bots.

                                 

                                The moderators are not listed because I never bothered to write more code to do that.  They are instructed to only censor spam and nothing else and thus far have done their jobs superbly.  The censorship system works better than other forums, where moderators just delete the thread/post so in a way, it does leave a bread crumb.

                                 

                                I know you've objected to this setup before.  It all comes down to priority.  This issue rarely, if ever, causes problems so I opted to work on features that will affect more users.

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