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PLDI got its first(?) spam post today. (It got nuked within ten/five/three minutes.)

As the site grows more popular, it is almost inevitable that spam posts will start arriving. Will these spam posts be a relatively large problem and will the community need to do something about it, or will it just be a fairly trivial thing (people VTC/mods nuke)?

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  • $\begingroup$ Could someone create and add a [spam] tag to this question (if it's a feasible question, of course)? $\endgroup$
    – Redz
    Jul 5, 2023 at 6:24
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    $\begingroup$ How does this site differ from other SE sites that you'd ask this question? $\endgroup$
    – Adám
    Jul 5, 2023 at 6:28
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    $\begingroup$ At the risk of stating the obvious, vote in the election if you haven't already. $\endgroup$
    – Pseudonym
    Jul 5, 2023 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Adám I simply wanted to check if there was anything special for beta sites. Apologies if this is a bad question. $\endgroup$
    – Redz
    Jul 5, 2023 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ This wasn't the first spam, there have been a few others the last few days but they where dealt with swiftly $\endgroup$
    – mousetail
    Jul 5, 2023 at 7:39
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    $\begingroup$ Small sites get a relatively small amount of spam in my experience. You're referring to this post? $\endgroup$
    – Mast
    Jul 5, 2023 at 7:39
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    $\begingroup$ This is already answered in the help centre ─ you flag it. $\endgroup$
    – kaya3
    Jul 5, 2023 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ The answer is no different from anywhere else on the network. You flag spam/abuse as spam or rude-abusive. $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2023 at 0:49

3 Answers 3

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You flag them as spam and they are automatically deleted when enough flags are raised. Closing them doesn't help, and downvoting them further is marginally unhelpful (can hide it from the front page so that people don't see it to flag). This is the same procedure as on other sites on the network, but with fewer users they probably do take a little longer here.

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What do we do about it?

Flag it. The most important thing you can do against spam, is to flag it as spam. Ordinarily, 6 spam flags will automatically delete the post1. Don't edit it out of the posts, a flag will suffice. To understand how spam flags work, please have a look at the FAQ: What are the “spam” and “rude or abusive” (offensive) flags, and how do they work?

As the site grows more popular, it is almost inevitable that spam posts will start arriving.

Correct. The top 10 sites on the Stack Exchange network receive a significant portion of spam.

Will these spam posts be a relatively large problem

Unless this site becomes one of the bigger sites, no, under normal circumstances it shouldn't be much of a problem.

and will the community need to do something about it

Flag it.

or will it just be a fairly trivial thing (people VTC/mods nuke)?

Under normal circumstances, spam is a fairly trivial thing. We made it into a fairly trivial thing with a project ran by the community: Charcoal. All posts are scanned and an ever changing set of rules is used to check for spam-relevant anomalies. If the confidence level is high enough, a number of flags will be cast automatically to help taking down the posts more quickly than a single flag could. Participants can help catch spam faster by reporting posts to it and evaluating reports.

However, with the entire Charcoal project participating in the current strike, spam is currently not a trivial thing.

For a longer explanation of the Charcoal project, also see: Can a machine be taught to flag spam automatically?

Does that work for beta sites too? Yes. Support for scanning PLDI was added May 16th.

1: Threshold is temporarily lowered from 6 to 4 flags.

Disclaimer: I'm involved with Charcoal.

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PLDI got its first(?) spam post today. (It got nuked within ten/five/three minutes.)

I saw it too and good that it got nuked quickly...but it isn't the first. This actually was.

As the site grows more popular, it is almost inevitable that spam posts will start arriving.

Correct. It is also inevitable that, provided SE doesn't trigger a strike, there will be more people to fight that spam

Will these spam posts be a relatively large problem

Not if we take care of them correctly and quickly

and will the community need to do something about it

Yes. We'll need to flag it for deletion. Currently at 4 (and normally at 6) flags it's auto deleted.

or will it just be a fairly trivial thing

Hopefully, provided we manage it right

(people VTC/mods nuke)?

No. People flag and then mod or bunch of people nuke. Don't close spam, it's a waste of everyones time. Sure, it doesn't hurt, but it doesn't help anything either. It just needs to be deleted. Sending it the revieq queue gets it more views. Also, don't downvote spam because it takes it of the homepage and therefore it can remain for longer. Its also a waste of your time. Definetly, don't vote to reopen spam, while it shouldn't have been closed, just flagged, don't reopen it! And certainly, don't upvote spam. Like, seriously. All you need to do is flag as spam. Thats it!

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