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ghporter Jul 13, 2009 11:17 AM
Spam Reporting Contest-Ideas Here Please
It seems that a lot of people think that it would be fun to have a contest to see how many spam posts members can report, maybe for some sort of recognition. I think this is a Very Good Idea, not only because it will keep more eyes open for spam, but more people being involved in this sort of practice means more people feeling invested in keeping things running smoothly-a win all around.

So here's how reporting works: When you click on the "report" button, you generate a post in a private forum the mods can see. If you are first to report the post, your report shows up earliest, but everyone that reports that post has a report show up in our spam report forum. In other words, the way things work enforces a basic rule that shows who's first to report anything.

As far as I can tell, that's the only fixed rule. What rules should we have about reporting spam? What should we do when a reported post turns out to NOT be spam? What else should we consider?
 
CharlesS Jul 13, 2009 11:29 AM
There needs to be a rule specifying whether we're going by reported posts or reported spammers. Since many spammers cross-post their spam in every forum, that can be up to 19 points right there for someone that just goes and reports each one of them, all from one instance of spamming.
 
turtle777 Jul 13, 2009 11:49 AM
I think it should be reported spammers.

If it was posts, you might get one lucky person finding a spammer that just posted half a dozen times, and he/she gets all those points.

False negatives: I'd suggest the following:
* If you report a post as SPAM, and it turns out not to be spam, you get -1 points
* If you are not sure, report the post as POTENTIAL spam, but clearly state that you are not sure.
If it turns out to be spam, you only get 0.5 points, if it's not spam, you lose nothing.

-t
 
Dakar V Jul 13, 2009 11:52 AM
This will need a public leaderboard, updated bi-daily.
 
CharlesS Jul 13, 2009 12:24 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by turtle777 (Post 3861877)
* If you report a post as SPAM, and it turns out not to be spam, you get -1 points
Do we really want to discourage people from reporting spam?
 
turtle777 Jul 13, 2009 12:38 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by CharlesS (Post 3861899)
Do we really want to discourage people from reporting spam?
No, but only those that report the spammer first get points.
Since you never know if you're the first or not, you should report anyways.

Otherwise, this doesn't make sense. Since spam reports are not public, one could argue that *everyone* who reports a spammer should get points, because to them, it might look like they were first. Then we might just drop the idea of a contest altogether.

-t
 
Simon Jul 13, 2009 04:44 PM
I disagree with the -1 idea. If a mod considers a reported post not spam you get 0 points. Fair enough and it discourages no one to report suspicious posts.

I also think it should be 1 point per spammer, not per spam post. I don't like having to search for all the posts a spammer made when the mods can just nuke all at once. I also used to report each and every single spam post until Max told me that reporting one is good enough.
 
turtle777 Jul 13, 2009 05:31 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Simon (Post 3862025)
I disagree with the -1 idea. If a mod considers a reported post not spam you get 0 points. Fair enough and it discourages no one to report suspicious posts.
I reported your post as spam - just in case, since it can't hurt ;) :p

-t
 
reader50 Jul 13, 2009 10:33 PM
When I made up my list in the other thread, I checked Reports going back 30 days. I would have counted Spammers reported (rather than Spam Posts reported) but didn't spend the extra time to definitely filter for that. That said, I didn't see a sign of anyone doing that. Multiple spams were reported in some cases, but they were by different members - people reported spam when they saw it in their favorite forums.

It might require an automated process to filter this, otherwise the statistics workload could be fairly high. I gave credit for multiple people reporting the same spammer, rather than just the first Report. This resulted in the posted list, covering June 13 through July 12.
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 3861534)
13 Spheric Harlot http://forums.macnn.com/_gb_images/_...s/star-5-1.png winner http://forums.macnn.com/_gb_images/_...s/star-5-1.png
12 Simon
11 Andy8
7 AKcrab
7 turtle777
5 Big Mac
4 CharlesS
3 brassplayersrock
3 Jacke
2 64stang06
2 chabig
2 ChrisF
2 Laminar
2 Phileas
1 Cipher13
1 cybergoober
1 Dork.
1 és:
1 kylef
1 msuper69
1 Oisín
1 philm
1 residentEvil
1 rjenkinson
1 Rumor
1 shifuimam

There were 87 spam Reports over the last 30 days. The top 5 people caught 57% of the spammers.

Note: more than 87 spammers were caught, because when a mod spots spam, there is no Report.
For the curious, I've sometimes done ban stats within the staff, to see who was nailing the most spammers. Our monthly numbers are erratic depending on spammer activity, but usually fall in the 70-140 range. Non-spam permabans comprise well under 1% (1 every few months), so ban counts closely track spammer attacks.

I haven't run the staff numbers in recent months, so I can't say what the breakdown is between reported spammers vs the ones we nail without help.
 
Cold Warrior Jul 13, 2009 11:33 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 3862159)
I haven't run the staff numbers in recent months...
Well after you nuked 2,000 spammers en masse over a few days with your fancy admin controls, I'd theorize that you're being nice and just lettings us catch up to you again. :D
 
Simon Jul 14, 2009 03:19 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by turtle777 (Post 3862045)
I reported your post as spam - just in case, since it can't hurt ;) :p
Hehe. :D :thumbsup:

In that case I'll rely on Glenn to recognize my name and spare me from bannination. ;)
 
ghporter Jul 14, 2009 08:57 AM
I'll state with all seriousness that we on staff will have to evaluate every report, and harassment reports WILL result in negative consequences for the reporting member. But watch it, Simon-don't go "recommending" stuff for profit, OK? ;)

Cold Warrior, I don't think reader50 is letting anyone catch up. He's just waiting until really depressing stats are available and then he'll post 'em to discourage the rest of us with his bannination wizardry. When he got over 2k spammers, I managed less than 1k with pretty much the same capabilities. He's more technically proficient than I am, and plays the database like a cheap violin. :D
 
Simon Jul 14, 2009 09:03 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by ghporter (Post 3862263)
I'll state with all seriousness that we on staff will have to evaluate every report, and harassment reports WILL result in negative consequences for the reporting member.
Ouch. That's a bit harsh. Oh well, rules are rules. It was nice knowing ya, turtle. Good luck finding a new board. :D

Quote
But watch it, Simon-don't go "recommending" stuff for profit, OK? ;)
Shucks. I was just about to let people know how to get a free iPod touch by clicking just one link. And if you guys knew just how easy it is to get your DVD content onto an iPod. Jeez Louise, the things I could have let you in on... :p

;)
 
reader50 Jul 14, 2009 12:57 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Cold Warrior (Post 3862174)
Well after you nuked 2,000 spammers en masse over a few days with your fancy admin controls, I'd theorize that you're being nice and just lettings us catch up to you again. :D
Quote, Originally Posted by ghporter (Post 3862263)
Cold Warrior, I don't think reader50 is letting anyone catch up. He's just waiting until really depressing stats are available and then he'll post 'em to discourage the rest of us with his bannination wizardry.
The truth will set you free. That, or get you into huge trouble sometimes. The rest of the time, it's more on the mundane side. I got busy at work some months back, and have yet to return to that.
 
Laminar Jul 14, 2009 03:39 PM
I say winner gets Mod status.
 
Thorzdad Jul 14, 2009 04:53 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Laminar (Post 3862426)
I say winner gets Mod status.
...of the Zune forum :lol:
 
turtle777 Jul 14, 2009 05:33 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Laminar (Post 3862426)
I say winner gets Mod status.
And the loser most moderate the PWL ? ;)

-t
 
Simon Jul 15, 2009 04:24 AM
^^^ Hehe. :D Nice idea. :thumbsup:

I have a suspicion our dear friend Schwachs could be a candidate. ;)
 
ghporter Aug 6, 2009 04:53 PM
OK, let's look at what we have for the framework of this contest:

We will count reported unique spammers by calendar month.
False reports (not really a spammer) deduct nothing from a member's total but don't help anyone.
REPEATED false posts may get the whole month's total erased
Posts reported for harassment purposes will result in at least a temp ban at the discretion of the mods.
Reported potential spammers count as 1 if the staff determines they are spammers, 0 if not
The winner has the largest total at the end of a month, after which a new tally begins

I still haven't seen any suggestions for prizes. At the moment all I can think of is a custom title for the month: "Spam Squasher Extraordinaire" or something like that...
 
Spheric Harlot Aug 6, 2009 06:13 PM
As last month's winner, let me go on record stating that this whole thing is, IMO, a bunch of complete hooey.

I report spammers because they're ****ing annoying.

That's all.
 
ghporter Aug 6, 2009 08:06 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 3870437)
As last month's winner, let me go on record stating that this whole thing is, IMO, a bunch of complete hooey.

I report spammers because they're ****ing annoying.

That's all.
Is there a problem with making it fun too? I personally get offended by the lamer spammers, and outright ticked off by the "sly" ones. But putting a little humor into it can't hurt, especially if it gets more people involved in reporting spammers.
 
Simon Aug 7, 2009 03:48 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by ghporter (Post 3870423)
We will count reported unique spammers by calendar month.
So let's see if I got this right. Reporting several posts from the same spammer will not add points. Makes sense. But what if several people report the same spammer before he's banned? Do they all get a point or only the first guy to report it? IMHO the former makes more sense. The latter discourages reporting.

Quote
I still haven't seen any suggestions for prizes. At the moment all I can think of is a custom title for the month: "Spam Squasher Extraordinaire" or something like that...
Yeah that plus you fedex the winner a cheeseburger. I'd like mine with bacon and a dab of mayo. Hold the ketchup. :D
 
Simon Aug 7, 2009 03:51 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by ghporter (Post 3870465)
Is there a problem with making it fun too?
Absolutely not IMHO. Spam is a royal PITA. Adding a little fun to what is ultimately a frustrating issue is an excellent idea.
 
turtle777 Aug 7, 2009 09:02 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Simon (Post 3870537)
So let's see if I got this right. Reporting several posts from the same spammer will not add points. Makes sense. But what if several people report the same spammer before he's banned? Do they all get a point or only the first guy to report it? IMHO the former makes more sense. The latter discourages reporting.
I'm for the first guy only.

I would be good practice for the first person to report the Spam to also post "Spam. Reported", so that others know the job is done.
Otherwise, the mods will get swamped with double and triple reports.

-t
 
Simon Aug 7, 2009 09:16 AM
I disagree. Mods can obviously handle the reports just fine today. IMHO nothing should be done that discourages people from reporting spam. Turning the 'competition' into a race will however do just that.
 
turtle777 Aug 7, 2009 09:40 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Simon (Post 3870589)
I disagree. Mods can obviously handle the reports just fine today. IMHO nothing should be done that discourages people from reporting spam. Turning the 'competition' into a race will however do just that.
Ok, that's your opinion.

If you want to take out "competition" out of the competition, how about giving points to everyone who was logged in at that time ?

I don't see what's wrong with rewarding the first.

-t
 
Simon Aug 7, 2009 09:44 AM
Nonsense. Nobody's taking competition out of competition.
 
CharlesS Aug 7, 2009 02:14 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by turtle777 (Post 3870586)
I would be good practice for the first person to report the Spam to also post "Spam. Reported", so that others know the job is done.
But that's so dull. Here's what I've been using:

http://www.charlessoft.com/extraneou...audio_spam.png

I probably will get beat in terms of quantity of spam reports, but I think I've got quality licked. ;)
 
Demonhood Aug 7, 2009 06:04 PM
that graphic looks familiar :P
 
Andy8 Aug 7, 2009 07:11 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 3870437)
I report spammers because they're ****ing annoying.

That's all.
Exactly.

I just wish i had the powers to snip them from the board instantly instead of waiting until a mod gets out of bed :D
 
CharlesS Aug 8, 2009 02:13 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Demonhood (Post 3870797)
that graphic looks familiar :P
That's why I posted it here - I was hoping you'd see it. :D
 
ghporter Aug 8, 2009 02:40 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Simon (Post 3870537)
So let's see if I got this right. Reporting several posts from the same spammer will not add points. Makes sense. But what if several people report the same spammer before he's banned? Do they all get a point or only the first guy to report it? IMHO the former makes more sense. The latter discourages reporting.
On the contrary, I think it promotes PROMPT reporting. Getting your report in as soon as you're sure it's spam is more likely to get you the point.
Quote, Originally Posted by turtle777 (Post 3870586)
I'm for the first guy only.

I would be good practice for the first person to report the Spam to also post "Spam. Reported", so that others know the job is done.
Otherwise, the mods will get swamped with double and triple reports.
This is an excellent suggestion. If you report a post, replying as suggested keeps others from thinking they have a chance at the point.

This is obviously something that needs some work. We'll have to have a consensus before we can put it into operation.

Quote, Originally Posted by Simon (Post 3870589)
I disagree. Mods can obviously handle the reports just fine today. IMHO nothing should be done that discourages people from reporting spam. Turning the 'competition' into a race will however do just that.
Each unique POST that's reported gets its own report thread, so if there's one report of that post or a hundred, it won't "swamp" us. Right now we have no mechanism to report a USER, just posts, but getting reports on multiple posts by the same spammer is not a bad thing.
 
Simon Aug 9, 2009 02:08 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by ghporter (Post 3870974)
On the contrary, I think it promotes PROMPT reporting. Getting your report in as soon as you're sure it's spam is more likely to get you the point.
Nonsense. I report or I don't report. I don't see spam, wait half an hour and then write a report because after much thinking I've come to the conclusion that reporting it is what I feel like today.

Such a rule means some will stop reporting spam. Why should they go through the hassle if chances are some guy will do the same at roughly the same time, edge them out by few seconds, and get the point? It's just not worth it.
 
Laminar Aug 9, 2009 02:09 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Simon (Post 3871081)
Such a rule means some will stop reporting spam. Why should they go through the hassle if chances are some guy will do the same at roughly the same time, edge them out by few seconds, and get the point? It's just not worth it.
Are you actually saying that the people currently reporting spam will STOP reporting spam because of this change?
 
brassplayersrock² Aug 10, 2009 01:25 AM
Here's an idea. If replying to a spammer's post. DELETE THE LINK IN THE REPLY POST!

Glenn's speaker thread in the Lounge has a fine example.
 
CharlesS Aug 10, 2009 02:31 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Simon (Post 3871081)
Nonsense. I report or I don't report. I don't see spam, wait half an hour and then write a report because after much thinking I've come to the conclusion that reporting it is what I feel like today.

Such a rule means some will stop reporting spam. Why should they go through the hassle if chances are some guy will do the same at roughly the same time, edge them out by few seconds, and get the point? It's just not worth it.
Dude, do you really think people are going to see a spam post and go, "Gee, I would have reported this spam if there were no contest for me to get points in at all, but now that there's a possibility that I could get a point, it's not worth my time to report this spam anymore unless I'm certain of getting the point"?
 
Big Mac Aug 10, 2009 01:18 PM
I report spam because I want to get it off the forums. Being recognized for my reporting prowess is a nice thing, but it's not going to deter me from reporting.
 
ThinkInsane Aug 12, 2009 06:26 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by brassplayersrock² (Post 3871302)
Here's an idea. If replying to a spammer's post. DELETE THE LINK IN THE REPLY POST!

Glenn's speaker thread in the Lounge has a fine example.
That would be a help. I didn't notice that someone had quoted him as that particular spammer had rung up 34 spam posts in short order. I kinda had my hands full just cleaning up his mess. If you could view the deleted posts, you'll see one of them has "I hate this ****er so much right now. 34 spam posts. I hope he gets a brain tumor" as the reason for deletion. :D
 
ghporter Aug 22, 2009 10:18 AM
In working on a reported "tag-team spam" post (part 1) today, I realized that we need to handle this situation carefully in the contest. Does it make sense that we come up with some sort of code word for the mods to reply with? How about "That's a great question!" We really do want to get the second spammer account to reply because we can use the information we get from where the two accounts are registered from to block spammer-infested IP ranges, but it should be obvious that a tag-team post has been noted so people don't keep reporting it.

What do you say to that idea?

On a separate note, I just started a new job and don't have much time for working on setting up the contest. I think we can get it started on September 1 with a skeleton of rules as discussed above, but I can't guarantee that stats will be ready at the end of the month.
 
reader50 Aug 22, 2009 01:33 PM
The simplest rule would be that reports are not counted after a staff member posts in the thread. Technically simple, but anyone doing the stats would have to compare post timestamps.
 
besson3c Aug 22, 2009 02:12 PM
Not to be a spoilsport here, but why not leave a game like this until you have exhausted ways to identify spam automatically?
 
Laminar Aug 22, 2009 04:36 PM
 
besson3c Aug 22, 2009 05:06 PM
 
Simon Sep 15, 2009 03:29 AM
So is this happening now?

With the number of visitors going down and the number of spammers going up, the SNR here is getting worse. ;)
 
besson3c Sep 15, 2009 03:38 AM
What is SNR?
 
Simon Sep 15, 2009 04:32 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by besson3c (Post 3883749)
What is SNR?
SNR ;)

I was joking but I do get the impression I've been reporting more spam posts lately. Overall visitor numbers seem to be going down though.

http://www.quantcast.com/profile/tra...true&width=520
 
ghporter Sep 15, 2009 07:10 AM
Simon appears to be correct. Lots more "noise" lately, but less actual "signal."

"Is this happening now?" Yes, we're collecting data on reports now. I can't guarantee when we'll start collating that data, but I'm hoping to have time near the 30th (probably the weekend of Oct 3&4) to put it all together.
 
Simon Sep 15, 2009 07:28 AM
Great. :thumbsup:

Looking forward to it. :)
 
Simon Oct 19, 2009 10:55 AM
Any news about the contest?
 
ghporter Oct 19, 2009 09:45 PM
Sadly, yes. I have had even less time than I had thought to review reports, so I'm WAY behind in collating the data. It's there, I just haven't had a chance to collect it. After that it will be a matter of simply seeing who's on top. Working the hours I do now isn't helping matters. I promise I'll work on getting this done soon; hopefully very soon.
 
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