[30-AUG-2011] Revised community moderated anti-SPAM system

Hi everyone,

I wasn't entirely happy with the previous anti-SPAM system that we were using here on BLF. Mainly, I found a few bugs, and the set of rules on the backend that caused a post to be deleted were overly complex. Additionally, many users were irritated by their negative "SPAM Level" account rating. Also, some legitimate users had their accounts blocked.

For these reasons, I'm trying out a revised anti-SPAM system. It works very similarly to the previous system. There are still no appointed moderators here on BLF. Rather, we are all moderators. If you see a post that is undoubtedly SPAM, please hit the Mark as SPAM button. After 5 hits as SPAM, a post will be un-published. If for some reason a legitimate post disappears, please contact me and I can re-publish it.

Please only mark posts as SPAM if they are at least one of the following:

  • Commercial in nature and completely irrelevant to the theme of flashlights
  • Illegal, dirty, lewd, or sexually suggestive
  • Posts by new users with a low post count in the wrong category or thread with the clear intent to post links or make favorable statements about shady companies

Please do NOT mark posts as SPAM if:

  • You don't agree with the post
  • You don't like the poster
  • A normal user creates a post to sell a legitimate flashlight item for profit
  • The poster politely introduces a relevant flashlight company or product in the "Commercial Sellers' Spot" category.

Apart from cleaning up the backend logic, there are two changes that users will notice:

  • No more "SPAM Level". This really only served to annoy legitimate users.
  • No more user account blocking. This resulted occasionally in legitimate users being blocked, and determined spammers just open another account. Since determined spammers will always find a way to come back (even IP address banning is easy to get get around), we might as well let them use the first account they created and hopefully they won't create another one. We just need to be pro-active about deleting posts that are truly spam, and hopefully they'll give up when they see that their junk disappears quickly.

In the future, I hope to add a public tracking page for everyone to see which users are marking which posts as SPAM.

I would appreciate it if everyone could please help by looking for SPAM posts that appeared here during the past week or so that I haven't noticed and manually deleted already. A few slipped by while there was no anti-SPAM system in place. Ideally we don't want to have any links here to these spammers' companies, because they will get picked up by Google and help their evil cause.

Thanks a lot! Have fun.

So, what you're saying is please don't mark this post as spam?

Sounds great, thanks!

Great improvement!


Ps. Marked the above post as spam.

and what about oversized lettering and excessive use of colors?

Yep, the first post is ugly, garish, oversized, and meant to get your attention. :)

..and I like the way you use red for "yes, go ahead" and green for "don't".. :D

Red is bad, green is good. :)

Great improvement, thanks! :)

Much appreciated, thanks!

I like it!


I have to admit - I had to restrain myself from hitting the "mark as SPAM" on the first post. My inner child just really wanted to hit the button.

Thanks for your work admin.. In the last days i missed the spam button. There were a lot of spammers around.

Sounds like a good solution. The last example of what does constitute spam is the one I frequently see on here and have that natural to want to delete :)

I wonder if there has ever been a spammer whose main purpose was selling canned spam. Sort of like a double-spammer, or a spam-scammer. Just curious. Maybe John Cleese would qualify as the original spammer.

Yay for having the spam button back! :)

Hehe. I remember about ten years back, when Hormel's lawsuits were all over Slashdot (to be fair, as far as I can tell, they were mostly trying to defend their trademark and prevent trademark dilution) and for a while, everybody was going nuts over using "spam" (the term generally used to refer to unsolicited, commercial content) vs. "SPAM" (the trademark). Hormel even had a policy statement on their website back then. These days, there's a spam museum and I've heard that they even show the Monty Python skit there.

Sir, I believe the term is meta-spammer.

more SPAM yesss! great idea.

Thanks again guys for your support and help at weeding out spam. We now have enough users in all the time zones to pretty much guarantee that enough users will be on shift at almost any time of the day to promptly shoot down spam. Saves me a lot of time and effort, and results in much cleaner boards for all.