Dealing with SPAM, what's good practice?

  • 24 April 2019
  • 7 replies

Userlevel 1
  • Ready to take it to the next level
  • 5 replies
Hi all,

We've been seeing some spam creep onto the community over the last few weeks. Often out of working hours. I'm wondering how do people process this and deal with it best?

Of course Insided is doing a lot to help win the SPAM wars, which is appreciated, but it still requires some effort from the community manager.

What we're doing at the moment:
  • Someone (usually a superuser) spots the spam and reports this to the community manager, via Whatsapp.
  • If the superuser has access, they might 'mark as spam'
  • If available and required, a community manager will login and 'mark as spam'
  • The offending user will also be banned.
  • We're proactively looking at triggers for spam - sporting events etc. When we're likely to see posts.
When we get several incidents of spam, out of hours, this can be annoying, so really curious if others have ideas about how we can improve this process. As the community grows, there is a concern this might also grow. Welcome your comments and feedback.

We're already looking to remind the superusers of their ability to 'mark as spam' if they see any, so it's handled in one go. The community manager then only has to deal with the user.

How do you tackle this in your community?

7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Luckily we don't have to face lots of spam due to our more complex registration process (SSO). This way only very few spam users are created (maybe one every few months or so).

We also are lucky to have very active and very "vigilant" super users. They can either use the "flag" function in the frontend, or use their access to the control panel and therefore mark comments as "spam".

When it happens after hours, our team will review the flagged content when they start working again. Also, we have a whatsapp group that our super users can use to notice the others of ongoing problems (not only spam, also outages and other issues).

I think your way of manually dealing with it already is very good. You even have a direct (whatsapp) communication going on for urgent matters.

The only thing that might benefit you is a better automated anti-spam function so the manual effort will be further limited.
Userlevel 1
@bjoern_schulze , thanks sounds like you have a good practice going and the registration process helps.
Userlevel 5
Badge +3
I actually do not know what happens when you mark a post as spam. Can anyone tell me?
Userlevel 5
Badge +1
@Monique when you mark something as spam, that topic/post will be moved to the spam folder and the author will be automatically banned on the community
Userlevel 7
Badge +1
@Danjl maybe in addition to what others said, I would also make sure to be registered for the Email alerts ([Forum settings] - [Email alert]): all Mods should have added their email listed there. You will always get a mail with all relevant info right-away, this is the best practice. Whatsapp is fine, especially out of office hours, but these mails are more reliable.

Once somebody starts to spam, I usually keep an eye on the registrations for the next hour, just to be on the safe side. They like to try it again, but the quicker you ban them, the less likely they will come back. So reacting quickly actually is the best way to keep them away in my book.

We are steadily improving our platform to detect and prevent spam, e.g. with email-checks (no registration when it's a known spam account) as a recent addition. However we are also looking into other options, e.g. front-end Moderation rights like described in this idea.

Unfortunately the spammers can be quite creative trying to get through our checks, and it can be a challenge to fight them without hindering regular users from posting...
Userlevel 1
@Julian , Thanks for the tip on the email alert. We'll see what happens this week - usually see a spike with the champions league.

Appreciate all the work you folks are doing on this. It's an ongoing game of cat and mouse, I guess.
Userlevel 5
Badge +3
Thank @Shane! It would be great if this option would be made available in front-end moderation like @Ditte mentioned in her idea. Even greater if we could give rights to super-users to mark messages as spam front-end... ☺