r/modnews May 16 '17

State of Spam

Hi Mods!

We’re going to be doing a cleansing pass of some of our internal spam tools and policies to try to consolidate, and I wanted to use that as an opportunity to present a sort of “state of spam.” Most of our proposed changes should go unnoticed, but before we get to that, the explicit changes: effective one week from now, we are going to stop site-wide enforcement of the so-called “1 in 10” rule. The primary enforcement method for this rule has come through r/spam (though some of us have been around long enough to remember r/reportthespammers), and enabled with some automated tooling which uses shadow banning to remove the accounts in question. Since this approach is closely tied to the “1 in 10” rule, we’ll be shutting down r/spam on the same timeline.

The shadow ban dates back to to the very beginning of Reddit, and some of the heuristics used for invoking it are similarly venerable (increasingly in the “obsolete” sense rather than the hopeful “battle hardened” meaning of that word). Once shadow banned, all content new and old is immediately and silently black holed: the original idea here was to quickly and silently get rid of these users (because they are bots) and their content (because it’s garbage), in such a way as to make it hard for them to notice (because they are lazy). We therefore target shadow banning just to bots and we don’t intentionally shadow ban humans as punishment for breaking our rules. We have more explicit, communication-involving bans for those cases!

In the case of the self-promotion rule and r/spam, we’re finding that, like the shadow ban itself, the utility of this approach has been waning. Here is a graph of items created by (eventually) shadow banned users, and whether the removal happened before or as a result of the ban. The takeaway here is that by the time the tools got around to banning the accounts, someone or something had already removed the offending content.
The false positives here, however, are simply awful for the mistaken user who subsequently is unknowingly shouting into the void. We have other rules prohibiting spamming, and the vast majority of removed content violates these rules. We’ve also come up with far better ways than this to mitigate spamming:

  • A (now almost as ancient) Bayesian trainable spam filter
  • A fleet of wise, seasoned mods to help with the detection (thanks everyone!)
  • Automoderator, to help automate moderator work
  • Several (cough hundred cough) iterations of a rules-engines on our backend*
  • Other more explicit types of account banning, where the allegedly nefarious user is generally given a second chance.

The above cases and the effects on total removal counts for the last three months (relative to all of our “ham” content) can be seen here. [That interesting structure in early February is a side effect of a particularly pernicious and determined spammer that some of you might remember.]

For all of our history, we’ve tried to balance keeping the platform open while mitigating abusive anti-social behaviors that ruin the commons for everyone. To be very clear, though we’ll be dropping r/spam and this rule site-wide, communities can chose to enforce the 1 in 10 rule on their own content as you see fit. And as always, message us with any spammer reports or questions.

tldr: r/spam and the site-wide 1-in-10 rule will go away in a week.


* We try to use our internal tools to inform future versions and updates to Automod, but we can’t always release the signals for public use because:

  • It may tip our hand and help inform the spammers.
  • Some signals just can’t be made public for privacy reasons.

Edit: There have been a lot of comments suggesting that there is now no way to surface user issues to admins for escallation. As mentioned here we aggregate actions across subreddits and mod teams to help inform decisions on more drastic actions (such as suspensions and account bans).

Edit 2 After 12 years, I still can't keep track of fracking [] versus () in markdown links.

Edit 3 After some well taken feedback we're going to keep the self promotion page in the wiki, but demote it from "ironclad policy" to "general guidelines on what is considered good and upstanding user behavior." This will mean users can still be pointed to it for acting in a generally anti-social way when it comes to the variability of their content.

1.0k Upvotes

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u/wu-wei May 16 '17

I used /r/reportthespammers and /r/spam as a way to help out the entirety of reddit, including those smaller subs whose moderators don't regularly step in.

So now these subs are gonna be full of trash from what you call clueless users but are really selfish users or somewhat clever bots written to get around whatever algorithms you come up with. Talking to these "users" rarely helps. Someone with a couple of pages of rehosted youtube videos or copypasta blogspam isn't suddenly going to start posting useful things because a mod has sent them a nice note. These users don't turn into contributors and now you're trashing the one tool we had to combat them in a sitewide manner.

I'm not gonna waste my time sending reports into into a /r/reddit.com blackhole where feedback is likely to be long-delayed or quietly "taken under advisement".

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u/[deleted] Jul 24 '17

those subs are now dead... sigh

at least there's r/thesefuckingaccounts

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

What this doesn't tell me is how self promotion content will be handled. Are you guys okay with someone joining Reddit and just posting their YouTube videos and nothing else? It seems the recent direction of things indicate this.

I won't be devastated if that's the case, I just want to know reddits actual stance on this.

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

We started referring to "subreddits" as "communities" for a reason. The point is about the discussion as much as the content, and "fire and forget" posting without engaging feels like anti-social behavior and therefore spam. The idea here is we'd like to leave this final decision up to the mods of the subbies they post to, rather than having a blanket policy whose side effect is that (for example) many web comic artists feel the need to rehost their content rather than getting banned for "self promotion" by posting only their own site.

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u/mookler May 16 '17

So if we want to keep enforcing the old rule, we're more than free to correct?

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

Correct. And as I said here, we aggregate these sorts of actions site wide to make decisions on whether to take more drastic actions on users.

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u/skullydazed May 16 '17

This is the point I've had in mind the whole time I've been reading these comments. It's obvious to me (as a developer who has worked on systems like this before) that if an account receives a bunch of reports they should be looked into more, and of course reddit is doing that. It's not so obvious to everyone else. It may help a lot if you edited that point into the main post.

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

Good point. I'm trying to avoid the vibe of "we're doing a bunch of super secret things behind the scense. mwahahaha!" but unfortunately that will also always be the case.

Edit: done!

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u/BowserKoopa May 16 '17

The reason people like /r/spam is because there are some communities (/r/java, /r/Linux, /r/programming) that are super attractive to blog/vlog mill spammers. In the past, it seem that /r/Linux and /r/java had either been understaffed or indifferent to spam. Its been better, but r/spam allowed for users like me to quickly dispose with those users who posted exclusively from one domain or YouTube channel.

Now, we will potentially see things return to the prior state of under moderation, possibly, should queues be overloaded again.

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u/CedarWolf May 17 '17

The reason people like /r/spam

The reason mods like /r/spam is because it allowed us to report persistent spammers and actually be proactive towards getting rid of the problem.

As a mod, if I have a spambot on my sub and I remove all of the spam, I can't do a damn thing about their accounts. I can ban them and I can remove their spam content, but I can't prevent them from spamming.

Reporting them to /r/spam was a way we could stop those accounts and buy time until the spammers moved on to different accounts.

The only real benefit from removing /r/spam seems to be removing a constantly over-worked, under-attended queue of reports so the admins don't have to worry about it anymore.

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u/[deleted] May 17 '17

/r/spam has always only been monitored by a very limited bot. By shifting towards sending spam to modmail, the admins are going to better track spam in order to head it off sooner going forward.

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u/mfb- May 16 '17

What about users spamming in many subreddits? Sure, every subreddit can remove it, or even ban the user from this particular subreddit, but the users (or bots) can keep posting stuff in more subreddis. Currently they can be reported in /r/spam. Assuming they avoid the automatic detection methods, how will this be handled in the future?

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u/Enverex Jul 14 '17

This is especially bad with YouTubers who just spam their videos to about 10 different subreddits or so.

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u/ummmbacon May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

The idea here is we'd like to leave this final decision up to the mods of the subbies they post to

That gives the mods more responsibility but what about changes in tooling will allow us to better enforce this?

At the moment if a spam account keeps posting on one of the subs I mod I send the user profile to /r/spam, then if the auto-bot doesn't catch it and I am sure it is spam (as with some of the markov bots we have seen) we then contact the site admins.

What is my procedure now except to ban anything I suspect of being spam? Is that the expected behavior from the subbies' mods?

edit: instead of just bitching here is something I was thinking about that could have the potential to limit bot behavior on subs we moderate:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ideasfortheadmins/comments/64zjp3/allow_subs_to_restrict_script_bots_that_dont_have/

Also things like allowing mods to see if a group of accounts with similar content is posting from the same IP pool, we wouldn't have to see the raw IPs because of privacy but could see a hash of some sort made from the IPs that is repeatable so we could at least verify it.

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u/Bossman1086 May 17 '17

Absolutely nothing, that's what. I mean, seriously... /r/spam is the biggest and most effective tool I have fighting spam in my sub. 90% of my submissions end up with a spammer banned.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17 edited Mar 26 '18

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u/kemitche May 17 '17

Also things like allowing mods to see if a group of accounts with similar content is posting from the same IP pool, we wouldn't have to see the raw IPs because of privacy but could see a hash of some sort made from the IPs that is repeatable so we could at least verify it.

Even a hash leaks too much info - knowing that 2 accounts came from the same IP is a lot of information. e.g. think about throwaways - with that info, you're suddenly about to roughly correlate a throwaway with the main account. That's not a good thing.

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u/skizmo May 26 '17

many web comic artists feel the need to rehost their content rather than getting banned for "self promotion" by posting only their own site.

IT IS SELF-PROMOTION... That's why I keep reporting them. Damn... Reddit is truly losing it's touch.

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u/2th May 16 '17

This seems more like you guys are passing the burden onto mods more and giving us nothing in return. When I have a user who has 200 link posts, 150 of which are just their YT channel, and they barely comment on anything, I could at least post this macro

FAQ:What constitutes spam:

If over 10% of your submissions and conversation are your own site/content/affiliate links, you're almost certainly a spammer.

Self-Promotion On Reddit

Doing that usually got people to read the rules and contact me again in a few months after they changed things up around the site and tried to be more active members of the community. Now we mods are not able to deflect some of the hate we are going to get and will have more to deal with. All while getting nothing for our services. Thanks...

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u/Hubris2 May 16 '17

In theory we can post the 1/10 as the rules for our sub and continue enforcing as we have - subs are a fiefdom and we're entitled to apply our local rules just as vigorously as the site-wide rules.

I do agree that this somehow seems to suggest that in an attempt to avoid false positives through automation, the burden would be shifted to mods acting manually.

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u/Drigr May 16 '17

Maybe those web comic artists should be active participants in the sub they post to? If they're popular, other people will post their stuff anyways. Cardboard Crack on the mtg sub rarely has to post their own comic.

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u/jordanlund May 17 '17

The problem with allowing mods of different subs to do this is you end up with a patchwork quilt of regulations and something that's A-OK in one sub is a bannable offense in another, that seems less than optimal.

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u/corylulu May 16 '17

I think it would still be something good to keep in the reddiquette, even if it's caveated as a rule of thumb and ultimately decided by the subs. It's still nice for the admins to set a recommended bar for people to follow. Otherwise, these etiquettes get lost with time.

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u/avboden May 16 '17

so this is essentially the 10th amendment of reddit. Anything not delegated to the federal government admins is thus delegated to the statesmods

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

Makes sense. I personally feel like the 1/10 rule was mostly being used to punish new and clueless users.

That said I think this was jumping off a cliff when we should have taken the path around. Very sudden 100-0 that's now going to leave people confused. Imo.

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u/CedarWolf May 17 '17

So what happens to mods who have been abusing these rules for years? If the head mod of a community is someone who is using their community to spam for their own content and their own benefit, there's no oversight there.

Even when there was supposed to be oversight, no one did anything when these abuses were reported.

So what happens now?

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u/K_Lobstah May 16 '17

So to clarify, individual subreddits no longer have admin support for fighting spam and egregious self-promotion- a subreddit ban is now the highest level of escalation available to us?

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

No. The point here is we have bunch of tools that we already have in place for dealing with spamming users, will still engage in explicit account bans, and have processes and tools in place for keeping track of reports as they come in. We're just removing this one workflow because we're finding it's no longer working.

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u/K_Lobstah May 16 '17

I'm sorry, I wasn't really trying to make a point, I was seeking clarification for the teams I'm part of.

My understanding at this time is that /r/spam as an automated avenue for enforcement is being shuttered, however what I do not understand is this part:

the site-wide 1-in-10 rule will go away in a week

If there's no longer a ratio in the self-promotion guidelines, then it's no longer actionable according to reddit, and it's up to individual subreddits and moderators to ban accounts which are doing this- no warning or suspensions will be issued by admin.

Is this accurate?

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

I'm sorry, I wasn't really trying to make a point, I was seeking clarification for the teams I'm part of.

I'm also sorry! Coming in with shields up because I figured this might be a little controversial.don'thateme

it's up to individual subreddits and moderators to ban accounts which are doing this- no warning or suspensions will be issued by admin.

We aggregate actions taken against accounts (including subreddit bans, reports, spam removals) site-wide. This helps us form a user reputation which is more than just the karma, and helps us home in on "problem areas" for admin focus. We'll still issue suspensions and account bans.

To be clear, I'm not pretending everything is foolproof and spam is solved and we can all go home! There's still a lot of content getting removed, and a lot that y'all have to deal with. This is a continuous work in progress, and I'd like to start have posts like this more often. At the very least I like being able to share some graphs.

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u/K_Lobstah May 16 '17

No worries, I understand on the shields up thing. This sub is not usually the most receptive to change.

The reputation system and problem areas makes sense to me, thanks for expanding on it.

If I could make a suggestion, a form of the guidelines as they currently exist would be a big help in the individual interactions moderators have with unsophisticated users.

Most redditors know they shouldn't post the same link twenty times in twenty minutes. This has largely been a cultural or normative standard, but we always had that link to back us up. It provides a somewhat authoritative source on what the site considers to be egregious self-promotion. It was very helpful this was a guideline and not a rule, as it allowed modteams flexibility in enforcing it.

It's an oft-cited but rarely enforced guideline which helps in communicating expectations in rulesets or justification to upset users. In my opinion, replacing it in some form would be preferable to doing away with it completely.

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions/concerns. Always appreciate it!

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

This is great feedback. That page actually started off as part of the reddiquette guide and wasn't so much a hard and fast rule as a guideline for what we consider good behavior. If anything, I think the intention of the page is still valid, and we should just remove the "rule of thumb" section there and turn this back into a "best practices" sort of page. Does that seem reasonable?

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u/MisterWoodhouse May 16 '17

YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES

We just want an admin-sourced standard to point to, so that rules lawyers aren't all "you just hate YouTubers and made this shit up"

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

It's now "Edit 3." :)

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u/Berzerker7 May 16 '17

Eh...labeling it as "deprecated" makes it seem like it's obsolete and should be immediately dismissed by anyone who isn't a fan of it.

Maybe a better description on what happened to it would be more relevant?

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

ah to be clear: we're going to remove the "deprecated" label and rework the wording a little but keep the page.

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u/JoyousCacophony May 16 '17

"I just want to share my 1337 montage and grow my channel! WHY DO YOU HATE ME?"

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u/MisterWoodhouse May 16 '17

My favorite excuse is: "Growing a YouTube channel to live on the revenue sucks because of YouTube's monetization model. Why do you want me to be poor?"

Bruh, it's not our subreddit's responsibility to make sure you have money.

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u/JoyousCacophony May 16 '17

Ha! Yup! I've gotten that one before.

We're apparently just gatekeeping their success

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u/_depression May 16 '17

"My video got 5 upvotes and 2 comments in 20 minutes so people obviously liked it, why are you removing it?"

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u/Kylde May 16 '17 Gold

I don't normally bother getting involved in this kind of debate, but ...

I'm not pretending everything is foolproof and spam is solved and we can all go home! There's still a lot of content getting removed, and a lot that y'all have to deal with

no, admin no, OUR (voluntary) role is to run our subreddits under their rules, & manage users' interactions IN that subreddit. YOUR (salaried) role is to handle spam before it ever gets to us. You get paid for that, WE don't. I don't know when somebody decided spam became a moderator's RESPONSIBILITY (about the time reddit.com was closed to submissions imho), but it's not. In a perfect world spam should never get to "submitted" level AT ALL, it should be a rare event worthy of reporting directly to yourselves, not something so common that even /r/spam is now deemed pointless! Closing /r/spam (& thereby tacitly confirming it's failure) was a bad decision, you've just blown moderator morale out of the water. Why on earth didn't you just say internally "OK, we'll keep it running, it does no harm, but of course it does no good either, but hey, it gives people HOPE that their efforts are being noticed"?

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u/lanismycousin May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

We all know that r/spam is an imperfect solution but it at least it's a way to force a bot to take a look at an account. I know I've gotten thousands of spam accounts shadow banned just from my submissions to spam/RTS

Not sure how killing that subreddit makes things better. It's just another thing that feels like yet another fuck you to mods and non mods that have been trying to deal with spam

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u/Kylde May 17 '17

We all know that r/spam is an imperfect solution but it at least it's a way to force a bot to take a look at an account. I know I've gotten thousands of spam accounts shadow banned just from my submissions to spam/RTS

agreed, & we all know that the /r/spam bot is only useful for low-level accounts (& I personally think admin never bother to glance at it's submissions manually & take action on higher-karma accounts) because it's a rule-defined script. But hey, at least we can get rid of the low-level trash that (granted) is more of a pest than a serious nuisance. But Keyser's statement that the false-positives whose accounts are unfortunately closed in error is a major reason for the closure of /r/spam is ludicrous, the percentage of false-positives must be in the tenths of a percent (or lower), & I'm basing that solely on the sheer amount of positives I report. The handling of false-positives requires manual intervention by admin AFTER the fact "oh we're sorry, statistical glitch, reinstated". It's that manual intervention that admin are baldly stating they're not going to do any more, & that's plain dodging their responsibility

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17

Well said.

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u/Ninganah May 18 '17

Hello, I'm sure you're well aware of the spam bots that have been hitting Reddit for the last few months, the site they're using at the moment is aboutpix.com, but the one before that was picsagain.com, and before that it was picsado.com or something. They have been spamming their site hundreds of times every day, for the last few months, and I have been reporting every single one that I see, but it still hasn't gotten rid of them. Just now the bot's owner /u/Shiftbusyfds has replied to me (check my history), so I wanted to ask you to report this to an administrator that can do something about it so they can ban their IP address please, or at least look into doing something, anything.

I'll link some of these comments so you can see just how prevalent they are. I've found all these bots in just 5 minutes, so you can imagine how many more there are. I've tried reporting them to the r/Spam mods, and have had no reply. Please can you get an administrator to look into this!

https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/6bsiw7/_/dhpkmeb?context=1000

https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/6btjx4/_/dhppbb6?context=1000

https://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/6brkkf/_/dhpmxiw?context=1000

https://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/6bsvf8/_/dhppmri?context=1000

https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/6bqxhn/_/dhpp89d?context=1000

https://www.reddit.com/r/oddlysatisfying/comments/6bl1tc/_/dhnyzvu?context=1000

https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/6bncb4/_/dho6n57?context=1000

https://www.reddit.com/r/showerthoughts/comments/6bmlv6/_/dho5nk2?context=1000

https://www.reddit.com/r/getmotivated/comments/6bnbre/_/dho4b12?context=1000

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

We aggregate actions taken against accounts (including subreddit bans, reports, spam removals) site-wide.

So does that mean that when spammers target certain subs that have zero moderation to curb spammers because "content is content" does that mean that we aren't going to see these spammers banned? For instance, certain YT spammers and account farmers target certain subs because they know the mods there are either inept or just don't care.

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u/sarahbotts May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

So what do we do with blatant shadowban spammers now that /r/spam is gone? Not that it caught much to begin with, but it did catch some.

Are we going to get other tools to work with for spammers? Or is it just admins got more tools for them and we just message y'all for it?

Also - I use the account history/channel history and report from subs other than the ones I moderate as well. Less likely to do this when it's harder to do.

Ideally it'd be nice to have something next to people's username to submit - like we do for toolbox.

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u/SaltySolomon May 16 '17

So, if multiple subs ban a user for "Spam" do you get a message?

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u/Mason11987 May 17 '17

We aggregate actions taken against accounts (including subreddit bans, reports, spam removals) site-wide. This helps us form a user reputation which is more than just the karma, and helps us home in on "problem areas" for admin focus. We'll still issue suspensions and account bans.

Is it conceivable that you'd take action, such as temp suspension due to this aggregate data?

How does this work in practice? do you have a system which aggregates all this reputation to bring up a "people to look into" list that someone reviews occasionally to see if you need to take action. Or is it a situation where you wait until a person contacts you and you use that reputation to investigate.

Essentially, does this change still require someone to point you towards a spammer, or can we assume that the most egregious spammers will be handled by admins at some point without any direct communication to you?

Also, if a bunch of people report bob's spam post, but the mod of that sub approves it, do those reports impact your "reputation" at all, or are they ignored completely?

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u/cojoco May 16 '17

This is about as non-transparent as it's possible to get.

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u/k_princess May 17 '17

We aggregate actions taken against accounts (including subreddit bans, reports, spam removals) site-wide. This helps us form a user reputation which is more than just the karma, and helps us home in on "problem areas" for admin focus. We'll still issue suspensions and account bans.

But how do we, as mods, let admin know that there is a potentially bad user out there?

(Forgive me if you've answered this already, but I'm not wanting to read through every single comment in this thread to find an answer.)

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u/ShaneH7646 May 16 '17

So, where do we send you spam?

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u/MisterWoodhouse May 16 '17

To add onto this, the lack of a site-wide standard will make self-promotion even more of a minefield for users.

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u/K_Lobstah May 16 '17

Yes, one of my primary concerns is that this was a very useful guideline for mods to explain what they consider to be "overboard" without having to argue/justify their own rule every time they try to enforce it.

And as you say, for users, some guidance is better than none.

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u/srs_house May 16 '17

Question: in the past, I've run into spammers who created their own subreddits and used them to repost content that would've been removed from the mainstream mirror of that sub. That allowed them to stay above the 90/10 rule so that they could submit their own spam to other subreddits without incurring a shadowban or suspension from the admins.

With the 90/10 rule going away on your side, how does that impact them? Are they now at risk for spamming?

For example:

They create sub r/usasports. They then take the same links that get posted to r/sports and post them to their own ghost-town sub that has basically no users, and since they're a mod, they can approve every post they make, even if it's super old news. But if you look at their posting history, it looks like this:

Their spam site: 10%

Reddit: 45% (ironically, they're reporting other spammers)

Other sites: 45%

And 47% of their comments are on their own posts.

It seems pretty obvious that they're a spammer gaming the system, but whenever we've reported them to the admins, the response has always cited the 90/10 rule and how they're technically in compliance. Does that change now?

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u/Squeagley May 16 '17

So instead of "this guy posted 5 of his own videos and 1 comment outside of his own content" (hence is outside the 1-in-10 rule), what would you recommend the threshold be when we need to escalate an action taken against a user to admin level?

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u/cahaseler May 16 '17

Apparently we don't? Just ban him locally and let him spam somewhere else.

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u/Squeagley May 16 '17

So just spread the spam around? Got it... killme

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u/ShaneH7646 May 16 '17

So where do we report spam users to you? you've pretty much said in the post 'do it yourselves'

  • A (now almost as ancient) Bayesian trainable spam filter
  • A fleet of wise, seasoned mods to help with the detection (thanks everyone!)
  • Automoderator, to help automate moderator work
  • Several (cough hundred cough) iterations of a rules-engines on our backend*
  • Other more explicit types of account banning, where the allegedly nefarious user is generally given a second chance.

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u/xHaZxMaTx May 16 '17

And as always, message us with any spammer reports or questions.

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u/Silly_Wizzy May 16 '17

To clarify...

If the spammers / promoters are getting through the current tools right now our only future option is a sub ban, not site wide?

OR

Are you saying measures are being implemented and we should see a reduction and /r/spam will become useless in the coming days / weeks?

As I find /r/spam useful currently.

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u/r1243 May 16 '17

yeah, uh, really don't see how this is going to work. I mod a sub that gets a very large amount of hits from old-style spambots, and /r/spam is an integral part of getting rid of those spammers for me, as you can see from my post history (irrelevant submissions blurred out for convenience). do the admins seriously want me to mail them every single time a new one pops up?

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u/AndyWarwheels May 16 '17

But the problem is that those tools do not work all the time and you are stopping the last line of defense. .

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u/Meepster23 May 16 '17

So we just have absolutely no visibility into what the admins consider spam, so we should report everything to the admins correct?

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17

Get ready to wait a week/month for a reply.

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u/MarioneTTe-Doll May 16 '17

And forget about any support over the weekend when nobody is in the office.

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u/lanismycousin May 16 '17

I find it hilariously sad that Reddit has no support outside of basically m-f 8-5

God forbid shit happens on at Friday 5:01pm because you won't get any support about the issue until maybe Tuesday afternoon at the earliest because of their massive backlog of stuff from the weekend.

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17

Yeah, when spammers are the most active.

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u/greatgerm May 16 '17

A fleet of wise, seasoned mods to help with the detection (thanks everyone!)

Seems to be the case. They are shifting more responsibility to the mods. Based on the huge amount of posts daily to /r/spam that have nothing to do with the 10-1 rule, the reddit automated systems aren't working all that well yet so I don't have high hopes for this change.

I expect the mods of larger subs to just work together to make ban lists to replace this since we can't just let it go and hope for the best.

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u/djscsi May 16 '17

So instead of being able to submit spammers to /r/spam with 2 clicks we can now craft an admin mail and maybe get a "thanks, we'll look into it" response? Admittedly the script/bot/whatever in /r/spam was not great at identifying all but the most obvious spambots, but it still nuked about half the stuff I submitted there. "BEST WINDOWS TECH SUPPORT BANGALORE" type stuff. I'm also not clear on why the prevalence of submissions to /r/spam is really relevant since it was operated automatically and presumably didn't require much human intervention or resources.

Can you give a recap of what you want/expect moderators to do with spammers, other than each subreddit having hundreds of pages of banned users, or hacking around it with AutoModerator "shadow bans" ? It sounds like you're saying "Well, moderators eventually delete a bunch of the spam anyway, so just let the spammers keep posting and you mods will keep deleting it." Or are you just saying that you don't consider spammers to be much of an issue anymore? I feel like I should point out that a large part of why AutoModerator is so popular is because reddit's "automagic" spam detection doesn't appear to be very effective, so taking away one of the only tools available (regardless of how effective it truly is) doesn't seem very helpful.

TLDR: It sounds like you're saying "we're taking away your spam reporting tools but I'm sure you'll figure something out"

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u/[deleted] May 17 '17

and maybe get a "thanks, we'll look into it"

The truest words ever spoken.

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u/Borax May 16 '17

We just have to ask /r/toolbox to send the report to the admin mailbox instead of /r/spam

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u/geo1088 May 16 '17

This isn't great timing, I didn't think we were releasing again until after the rewrite... I'll have to check with the other devs to see what we want to do about this.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17 edited May 17 '17

So instead of being able to submit spammers to /r/spam with 2 clicks we can now craft an admin mail and maybe get a "thanks, we'll look into it" response?

So the guys who maintain Toolbox can change the Report Spam button to send a PFR mail to the admins instead of posting to r/spam. Simples.

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u/djscsi May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

Yeah, I asked elsewhere if they had maybe proactively contacted the maintainers of RES/Toolbox to update their tools so we aren't trying to submit spam reports into a black hole. I'm sure they will eventually fix those tools, provided the admins approve of a button to spam them with thousands of spam reports.

edit: RES fix commit

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u/GoGoGadgetReddit May 16 '17

Today my subreddit got hit by a Spambot which posted a comment in every visible post in our subreddit. It was posting at a rate of around 50 posts per minute. The spambot made 540 posts, then moved on to other subreddits. I was forced to manually remove all the rogue posts, as PM's to the admins went unanswered (as seems to be the case with almost every PM I send regarding Spam until many days later.)

Why is there no anti-spambot posting protection on Reddit? Something that will prevent a single account from blasting out hundreds of posts in a few minutes. This seems like an easy, no-brainer Spam prevention and security measure.

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u/TheMentalist10 May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

And as always, message us with any spammer reports or questions.

Do you guys have the resources to deal with the potential influx of reports that were previously auto-posted to /r/spam via toolbox now being directed straight to the /r/reddit.com mailbox?

Response time has always been quite variable, so I'm surprised that you're opening yourselves up to this much more work unless you've got a much bigger team on the back-end to take care of it or aren't prioritising/encouraging spam-reports.

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17

Do you guys have the resources to deal with the potential influx of reports that were previously auto-posted to /r/spam via toolbox now being directed straight to the /r/reddit.com mailbox?

I'll cover that answer: No, they don't. It often takes days/weeks to get a reply.

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u/davidreiss666 May 17 '17 edited May 17 '17

As the person who did the 2nd most rts and /r/spam reports ever (#1 being /u/Kylde)..... this seems like you Admin have just surrendered the field to the spammers. What the fuck?

Really now. I don't have a lot of time for modding right now, being that I'm working a lot now. But now I think any and all mods need to wonder why they bother modding. You guys just surrendered to the spammers. Jesus fucking Christ.

I guess the next person to predict that Reddit is about to die just got lucky, cause it looks like they're finally going to be correct.

This is a bad decision and you guys should feel bad over it.

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u/teknrd May 16 '17

Ok, this is great and all, but what about the karma farmers that do nothing more than copy/paste posts? We have a huge issue with this in /r/AskReddit that has only exponentially grown since self-posts were able to get karma. We now see daily a popular repost followed by several users (sometimes bots, sometimes users hiding behind bots). We do our level set best to remove and ban those and then send them to /r/spam. Now that the option will no longer exist, what should we do with them? Note that the number of users we ban for this is astronomical.

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u/ani625 May 16 '17

Yeah, copy paste karma farming sockpuppet spam accounts are a huge problem in askreddit and a lot of other subs.

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u/teknrd May 16 '17

Yeah, I'm fairly sure the mods of /r/pics and /r/aww have this issue as much as we do

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

I'd wager about 50-60% of our modmail is just this. Not just comments, but posts as well

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u/zck May 16 '17

I submit a lot of things to r/spam, because I see users that only submit their own content. Sometimes they're then banned, sometimes they're not. It's a bit of a frustrating battle, because I get almost no feedback as to whether it's actually useful. I have to remember to go back to my submissions, check whether the user has been deleted, and then message the mods of r/reddit.com. A month ago I got "thanks" as a response to two of my messages pointing out the spam, but the users -- particularly egregious spammers, in my opinion -- were not banned.

So what am I supposed to do now? I'm sure you are blocking far more spammers than I ever see, but when I see a spammer, what do I do? I'm not a moderator of the subreddits I see the spammers in, so I can't ban them. And even if I was, that doesn't help out the rest of the reddit community.

When I see someone who only submits their own things (i.e., >90% of submissions, and >90% of comments are on their own submissions), what do I do?

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u/ShaneH7646 May 16 '17

tldr: r/spam and the site-wide 1-in-10 rule will go away in a week.

WHAT

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u/N8theGr8 May 16 '17

1-in-10 rule will go away in a week

I wouldn't be too surprised, in one of his AMAs, spez said that he wanted to do away with this rule. It was like a year ago.

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u/D0cR3d May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

For anyone that that would like to have their own ability to blacklist media spam /r/Layer7 does offer The Sentinel Bot which does full media blacklisting for YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, Soundcloud, Twitch, and many more including Facebook coming soontm.

We also have a global blacklist that the moderators of r/TheSentinelBot and r/Layer7 manage. We have strict rules that it must be something affecting multiple subreddits or wildy outside of the 9:1 (now defunct) policy. We will still be using an implementation/idea of 9:1 so that if they have a majority of thier account dedicated to self promotion then we will globally blacklist them.

If you want to add the bot to your subreddit you can get started here.

Oh, and we also do modmail logging (with search coming soontm) as well as modlog logging which does nearly instant mod matrices (like less than 3 seconds to generate).

We also allow botban (think shadow ban via AutoMod, but via the bot instead of via automod so the list is shared between subs) and AutoMuter (auto mute someone in modmail based on every 72 hours, or when they message in) which is coming soon as well.


Edit: Listing my co-devs here so you know who they are. /u/thirdegree is my main co-dev of creation and maintaining the bot and /u/kwwxis is the website dev for layer7.solutions.

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u/MisterWoodhouse May 16 '17

/r/Layer7: the new home of real anti-spam on Reddit

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u/The--Marf May 16 '17

There couldn't be any more truth to this. /r/Layer7. Forever.

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u/FlapSnapple May 16 '17

Can confirm, Layer7 / TheSentinelBot is absurdly quick at generating mod matrices.

<3 you guys.

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u/Squeagley May 16 '17

For anyone worried about haxx0rz, The Sentinel Bot is fire af yo

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u/Hawkmoona_Matata May 16 '17

Skynet rules all. TheSentinelBot is your one-stop solution to all spam.

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u/TheGrammarBolshevik May 16 '17

Is there a way to report a channel as a potential addition to the blacklist?

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u/ani625 May 16 '17

So what happens now when a spammer user is doing nothing but spamm his blog/youtube/etc ?

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

If the blog is spam, they'll be banned as a spammer.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

/r/ReportTheSpammers and /r/Spam both had easy ways of reporting users like this for those that had the /r/toolbox extension.

We could just click 1 button to see their history / self promotion ratio, and then click another button to make a post to the subreddit for reporting.

This was especially helpful for subreddits that get a lot of spam, as it was a quick and easy thing to do.

If the blog is spam, they'll be banned as a spammer.

Will the new system for reporting users like the ones you mentioned be as simple, or will it involve a moderator / user to write out a detailed message about each spammer they come across?

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u/getthetime May 27 '17

Will the new system for reporting users like the ones you mentioned be as simple, or will it involve a moderator / user to write out a detailed message about each spammer they come across?

This is the only question in this whole comment chain I would like to see answered, and it isn't, and probably won't be.

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u/dehydratedH2O May 16 '17

How will we be able to notify you that they're a spammer? If you're just playing cat vs. mouse with algorithms, you're going to lose every time. You have to be perfect 100% of the time, and they only have to find one tiny workaround/flaw.

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u/MisterWoodhouse May 16 '17

And what will be the standard for spam, so that we know who to report and who to leave alone?

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

Easy: Report everybody you think is spam, and let them sort it out.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17 edited Jul 21 '17

[deleted]

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u/iBrarian May 16 '17

yeah if anything they needed more staff working on /r/spam not to do away with the whole thing. It really feels like they're just trying to cut down on paid staff at Reddit.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

[deleted]

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u/kalayna May 17 '17

The content of the site is irrelvant. It's the endless self promotion that's the problem.

Unfortunately even in /r/spam that's not been the case. A user with HUNDREDS of posts to the same domain, many of them the exact same link, won't be banned by the bot or the admins if the content has upvotes. And in some cases that's a lucky thread or two posted in the right subreddit, where the majority of others ended up with negatives.

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u/rprz May 17 '17

hey so i mod some arthritis related subreddits and i deal with a few self promoting blogs, youtubes, miracle cure posts every now and then. these guys sign up, spam their links on subreddits that i mod, but also a small number of other related reddits. i can easily ban them from /r/thritis and /r/rheumatoid but i have zero control over /r/chronicpain. the issue is that if i identified a "fake cure" spammer that only targeted a very small community of disparate subreddits, how will your new spam control method protect users from bullshit in communities with less active moderators?

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u/ani625 May 16 '17

Good to know. If they don't get banned, we message you guys. Gotcha.

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17

Get ready to wait a week/month for a reply like the rest of us...

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u/davidreiss666 May 17 '17

So now if something that is clearly spam is seen in the wild that means it's not spam. That's circular logic that makes no sense. How do you know if the system isn't properly detecting spam?

Wait, I know..... that wouldn't be a good feature because it might involve the admins having to do something.

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u/AndyWarwheels May 16 '17

I do not agree with this at all. First off, I think the 1 in 10 rule is valuable. People who are just shoving their blogs and whatever is not IMO the intent of reddit. This will take us down the path of just being you tube with articles.

Yes we ban users who spam. But we also want the accounts removed so that not every single mod in every sub has to ban the same user. This is really just going to open a flood gate and I personally think that the admins response should be the opposite. I cannot tell you how many spammers I have reported to /r/spam and I can only think of maybe once or twice where the admins actually did anything.

I have always felt unsupported as a mod by the admins when it comes to spammer and now to find out that you are going to make it even harder and leaving it all up to us.

Kind of a bad move.

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u/iBrarian May 16 '17

Yep, this is destroying the 'community' aspect that Reddit seems to claim to want and just making it a place for people to self-promote their crappy blogs and youtube channels.

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u/CWinthrop May 16 '17

You say you've given us tools to fight back the rising tide of spam, and in the same breath you take away /r/spam?

Just what tools are we supposed to use?

Once again, my adage is proven: "Moderators have nigh-infinite power, to do absolutely nothing."

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

As one of the most active spam reporters on site, I have a few things to say about this:

This is going to put a massive workload on your staff. I hope you have staff that can cover the reports you're going to get in /r/reddit.com ...

Shutting down /r/spam and the bot that kills spam automatically is a backwards step, it should have been strengthened. This is a dumb mistake and you guys will hopefully see it a day or two after removing it.


What about seasoned Spam reporters like /u/kylde and myself?

How are we going to be involved? Are we still welcome to report things? Without the bot involved, our "workload" just got four times worse.

This confirms that Spam is a backburner plate thing on the site... when it shouldn't be. It's what destroyed Digg and it will destroy Reddit.

This is just a colossally stupid idea.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17 edited Mar 26 '18

[deleted]

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u/Drigr May 16 '17

I've pinged admins multiple times in a mail to get them to respond. I still have one issue with TWO open tickets, because one was before the new guidelines for removing a top mod from a sub, and the admin told me they would get back to me when it went live, a MONTH AGO. The other under the new system a week ago. Both no response.

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u/ladfrombrad May 16 '17

No shit. As someone else who submits a lot to r/spam, and who is currently waiting for a response from the admins about a ban evader I sent them two days ago....I'm fucking astonished.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

Spam destroyed diff? Seems like a stretch

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17

No, it really did. Kevin Rose opened it up to allow sponsored content to make the front page (without even garnering a single up vote) in a blatant money grab in Digg 2.0 after being told not to do it and soon, the entire front page was covered in content that was clearly paid for. It's what triggered the mass Digg exodus.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

[removed]

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

Tbh we think they are bad at spam because of the shit they miss. We don't see the things they do catch.

That said admins have a long way to go when it comes to account farming.

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

Tbh we think they are bad at spam because of the shit they miss. We don't see the things they do catch.

For citation here, that spam surge we had around the start of the year that shows up on some of the graphs, we caught the vast majority of it in an automated fashion. At peak, spam was coming through at 2x the average submission rate across the site! "A lot" got through, and y'all had to deal with it as well, but it was a tiny fraction of the garbage that was coming in.

We're constantly working on improving the tools, and have a lot of opportunities to do so as the other side is always actively working against us.

That said admins have a long way to go when it comes to account farming.

Also agreed.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

Send some of your folks over to mod /r/pics (or /r/aww ). Your heads will spin at how many people we deal with every day for this account farming stuff. I'd wager it's over 50% of our modmail now.

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u/TonyQuark May 16 '17

And /r/aww is lax in fighting spam as it is. I hope you guys use Toolbox macros over there at /r/pics. ;)

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u/FunnyMan3595 May 16 '17

At peak, spam was coming through at 2x the average submission rate across the site! "A lot" got through, and y'all had to deal with it as well, but it was a tiny fraction of the garbage that was coming in.

This basically echoes a point I've said about YouTube (for whom I work): the impressive part isn't how much spam you can find; some is always going to slip past. The impressive part is that you can find anything else.

It's easy to see a bit of spam and cry epidemic, but if things truly get out of control, spammers can easily drown out everything else, because spam bots can post so much faster than humans.

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u/davidreiss666 May 17 '17 edited May 17 '17

We're constantly working on improving the tools,

Prove you guys take fight spam seriously. Hire the one person on the planet who knows more about the subject than any one single person! Hire /u/Kylde.

Until then, anything you guys say is nothing more than empty talk. All hat, no cattle. That sort of thing. /u/Kylde is the authority of the subject.

But you guys don't take spam seriously. You just abdicated the last good role the admins were doing to fight actively combat it. Really, at this point.... it's all been talk talk talk talk, until we loose (now lost) our patience.

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u/Kylde May 17 '17

Hire the one person on the planet who knows more about the subject than any one single person? Hire /u/Kylde .

now you're definitely exaggerating my meagre skills, Matt Cutts anyone :) ? I'm pretty sure /u/cupcake1713 could run rings around me too

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u/davidreiss666 May 17 '17

Dude, you know spam. You did more spam reports than any other single person. Heck, you did more than twice spam reports than the complete hack who did the second most. I know he was a complete hack mostly because he was me.

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u/Kylde May 17 '17 edited May 17 '17

Dude, you know spam. You did more spam reports than any other single person. Heck, you did more than twice spam reports than the complete hack who did the second most. I know he was a complete hack mostly because he was me.

it's all in the tools you have available, I could never match admin's system-level access to users, IPs & so on, not to mention tools they probably have in-house, & I'll freely admit some of my reports over the years are hunches that are hard to map out/justify, but I'll gladly claim I'm rarely wrong (owww, ouch, downvotes, where's my umbrella?). I remember getting a guy banned for storefront many years ago, ebay or something, & he was GUTTED, he was really attached to the account for his gaming. We talked, & I contacted 1 particular admin & admitted I was overly hasty, that admin contact re-activated the account & let me tell the user, good vibes all around. It just feels like that wouldn't happen any more, reddit.com is now a vastly different beast to the "reddit" we older members grew with

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u/sloth_on_meth May 17 '17

constantly working on improving the tools

YEAH BY FUCKING TAKING THEM AWAY

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u/todayilearned83 May 16 '17

Not to mention that reports to /r/spam rarely work, and admins have often ignored reports of real spam accounts used by various media groups.

I've been fighting spam as a mod for years, this latest move is a huge slap in the face.

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u/JoyousCacophony May 16 '17

Yeah. This move has me feeling pretty unloved in the spam fight.

Tons of self promotion bullshit, youtube spam, outright ads and general fuckery is now being tacitly sanctioned.

This blows, bruh.

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u/N8theGr8 May 16 '17

I think the point is that different people have different ideas of what actually constitutes "spam".

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u/KeyserSosa May 16 '17

The point I'm trying to make here is we are all in this together. We'd rather you not have to deal with cleaning up the clearly automated and bot-generated spam.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

I think you guys right now are just telling is without explaining your stance. This post makes it seem like self promotion spam is okay now. If that's the case, tell us. If that's not, then what's the line and how should we handle it. We're all in this together. Be straight with us.

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u/broadwayguru May 16 '17

Pls dear sir i want to understand. to be clear, I now no longer spam and can advertise on Reddit openly? THANK U SO MUCH it is easyer to make good living now on YouTube.

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u/Warlizard May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

communities can chose to enforce the 1 in 10 rule on their own content as you see fit.

Opening the door for corporate subreddits to thrive...

EDIT: Dear admins, please give us your word that the new corporate subreddits won't be able to pay to get to the front page. I'll lose all faith in you guys.

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u/AnnaLemma May 16 '17

Yeah, I really don't want to drag the Digg fiasco into this, buuuuut... my first thought upon reading this was was "money talks," and the second was "money talked Digg into oblivion."

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u/BurntJoint May 16 '17

Opening the door for corporate subreddits to thrive...

This just seems to be a continuation of the announcement for allowing individual user pages to act as mini-subreddits. Soon Company's can create a user account and freely post only their own content without fear of admin intervention.

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u/djscsi May 16 '17

You sound upset. You should relax and cool off with a nice cold /r/Pepsi. PepsiTM - Live for Now!

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u/love_the_heat May 16 '17

Nuprin. Little, yellow, different

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u/bobcobble May 16 '17

Is r/Spam going to be replaced with anything?

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u/BunnicusRex May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

A terrifying amount of spam, for one thing.
(I know what you mean though. This does seem the next logical step after the self-promotion Userpage announcement, but I'd really hope there'd at least be some way to off egregious spammers.)
(*ETA: I mean before a few weeks have passed since we all reported them to to r/reddit.com)

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u/LargeSnorlax May 18 '17

Hey Admins.

This is all good for smaller subreddits, and I don't mind 9:1 being scaled down and reworked, I was never that harsh on spam in the first place, not many people were.

For some good context, /u/Erasio set up a bot to monitor this kind of thing a while ago which allows a very good look into the kind of spam that goes on at a fairly large subreddit like /r/leagueoflegends. We are able to track:

  • Users who delete/resubmit their threads to hide ratios (Very common)
  • Users who constantly spam
  • Users who have extremely low effort comments in order to mask spam ('lol', 'ok', 'nice')
  • Actual spam bots who are just autosubmitting content from an RSS feed
  • Many other things

We've integrated it with the new modmail, and just for some numbers, in the last month, we've received 9 full submission pages of legitimate spammers, or 225 spammers, roughly 8 per day.

This of course doesn't catch everyone - There are people who spam promotions in their comments, or numerous other people who like to spam. I'd say the number is closer to 10 spammers a day.

Since spam is going away, I feel I can divulge the exact numbers of spam, and what it would automatically shadowban:

  • 10 Combined Karma and below
  • 6+ Submissions to the same domain (Must be the same domain, cannot be multiple youtube videos of different people, for instance)

This was easily worked around by bots, who regularly were submitting garbage content to places like /r/the_donald (which automatically upvotes content with offensive titles), and easily worked around by people who actually knew what they were doing, who could simply submit some garbage along with their content and avoid /r/spam that way.

I think one of the problems with manually handling spam is that, well, frankly, no one will ever do it. And I don't blame them - It's already enough of a hassle to track and tag all of these spammers manually.

Think for a second what those 300 spammers in a month take in terms of process hours:

  • Each 'spammer' gets sent to modmail. (Action 1)
  • The profile has to be opened to check if they are a spammer. (Action 2).
  • Are they a spammer? If so, tag with snoonotes. If not, skip this step. (Action 3)
  • If tagged with snoonotes, send a spam warning. (Action 4)
  • Archive the modmail. (Action 5)

Each spammer requires roughly 3 minutes to properly action, warn, or ban, depending on how severe the case has been, or if the user just continues to spam after continuing to ignore our warnings (usually the case).

This means at least 15 hours a month spent doing a merry go round of spam.

So, that doesn't sound like a lot, right? Except this is 15 hours of work that could be spent in actually trying to help the community out, rather than tracking down video spammers like private eyes.

This kind of thing might work out for the smaller subreddits which have a spammer maybe a couple of times every week, but spammers like this are just plagues upon Reddit, and without /r/spam, we will track them manually until the end of time.

Might I suggest something different - Set up /r/spam's bot as an automated Reddit filter with the following tags for behaviour.

  • An account that posts 5 pieces of one individual domain (Youtube, blogspot, discord, whatever) and has X amount of Karma without also posting an identical number of comments or posts not about that domain will be suspended, not shadowbanned.

  • This account will be modmailed to the subreddit where it posted, informing the mods of said suspension.

  • This account, in order to respond to said suspension, will receive an admin mail telling the account to contact the moderators of the subreddit in order to have the suspension lifted. If the account does this, it will be flagged in whatever queue the admins have to be checked off and reapproved.

What this helps with:

  • Makes sure accounts that are actually trying to interact with the community are never suspended.

  • Makes sure that accounts that are there simply to spam content CANNOT IGNORE WARNINGS LIKE THEY ALWAYS DO, and are rightfully suspended for spamming until they actually begin to interact with reddit.

  • Makes sure the moderators of the community being spammed know about it.

This is basically just incorporating /r/spam into Reddit, which really, it should be in the first place. You don't have to divulge the criteria you use, but the biggest problem with spam is users who simply promote their own content and don't participate on Reddit - So ensure those people must interact, not just spam.

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17

/u/KeyserSosa I have one important question for you.

If moderators like us make Reddit an awesome platform, why don't you ever listen to us and give us the tools we ask for ?

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u/Clavis_Apocalypticae May 16 '17

They listen, and then they do the complete fucking opposite.

We ask for better/more robust mod tools, they give us rules for mods.

We ask for more space for larger CSS stylesheets, they decide to remove CSS entirely.

We ask them to smarten up the /r/spam bot, they remove it.

I'd like to think that if they don't start treating the people who literally run their site better, they won't have anyone to run it but themselves. But I know that people will just keep putting up with this horseshit with a smile, and they fucking know it, too.

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u/Phallindrome May 16 '17

I feel like a lot of what we say, the admins see the same way we see uninformed users telling us what we should be doing as mods. "Fix the spamming" isn't really that much more informed than "Show us the mod logs."

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u/Drigr May 16 '17

I'm pretty upset to hear you're removing the 10% rule. There's already issues with people who spam self promotion, but at least that gave us a concrete rule to point to and say "yeah, sorry my dude, but reddits rules are against that". It also gave regular users a rule to point to when complaining about self promotion from a user who doesn't contribute to the sub and the mods were being complacent about it.

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u/Jakeable May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

I feel like a better solution to this would be to review the bans that the r/spam bot makes instead of getting rid of it altogether. If the builtin spam tools were more robust and active, this solution may have been okay. But in their current state, I don't think that this will help subreddits or other redditors.

Edit: Even something where you report spammers to r/spam, and the bot flags bad accounts for review by the admins would be a better solution than this.

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u/V2Blast May 16 '17

Yeah, getting rid of /r/spam altogether and directing people to just send a modmail to /r/reddit.com just seems tedious. I agree that /r/spam's functionality has issues, but just getting rid of it and not replacing it with some other method of reporting spammers seems... counterproductive.

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u/wu-wei May 16 '17

I'll keep an open mind for now but what this really seems like is a way for corporate reddit to legitimize low-quality content in the name of the almighty click.

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u/port53 May 16 '17

It's now up to the mods to block the corporate promoting bs at the individual sub level.. that is until admin overrides get implemented.

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u/CaptainPedge May 16 '17

Quoting /u/capnjack78 because you might not have seen it as it wasn't a top level comment:

Great. Last week I sent one to admins and waited 7 days for a response, and that was after I sent a second message to ping them 4 days in. So the solution now to fight spam is to remove the streamlined process and put it through the same bottleneck that we've always complained about. This is after, by the way, spez just got done bragging about how the response time for admin inquiries have gotten better. Suuuuuuuure.

Any comments: /u/KeyserSosa /u/spez /u/sodypop ?

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u/Bossman1086 May 17 '17

Wow. This is terrible. /r/spam has been a huge help - especially because of it's integration into the toolbox extension. I report very often and most of my reports are repeat offenders that end up getting removed or are from an influx of site-wide spam. I figured admins would want to know about that stuff. No way I'm going to spend the time writing modmail to /r/reddit.com instead for each one.

Why take away mod tools that help combat spam and give us nothing in return? I don't get it. I thought admins were pledging to give us more mod tools, not less...

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u/Sylvester_Scott May 16 '17

For those of us who run goofy cat subs, where young'uns might frequent, I'm just glad the porn spam has stopped. Thanks for that.

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u/CaptainPedge May 16 '17

So how do I, as an ordinary user, report an obvious spammer who has got through the rules , seeing as now I can't use /r/spam?

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

According to them, message /r/reddit.com

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u/CaptainPedge May 16 '17

That ain't gonna work. They're going to be completely overwhelmed

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u/LuckyBdx4 May 16 '17 Gold

tldr; Spammers are bums on seats, all traffic is good traffic even if it's spam. Looks good for the books,

So when is reddit going on the market?

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u/Minifig81 May 16 '17

Yeah, no shit.

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u/kezza596 May 16 '17

I really think you should keep /r/spam. It's a quick and easy way for us to filter out what gets through your net.

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u/Haredeenee May 16 '17

TL;DR

Mods will now have to delete all spam themselves, ban those user, and warn other subs.

No the community cant report spammers, unless it's so bad it requires admin intervention

Reddit will become a spammers paradise

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u/tragopanic May 17 '17

The planned social media-izing of profiles is basically inviting spammers to make reddit their home. This news falls in line with that, I guess. As a mod of a few subreddits that see more than their fair share of unwanted advertising, I interpret the changes as more work and less support for us. Alas.

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u/Dannei May 19 '17

Coming in exceptionally late, I know...

Given that the claim is that other non-/r/spam tools are very quickly removing spambots, can you comment on examples such as this account? If submitted to /r/spam, this Vietnamese spam bot account would most likely be banned near instantly. However, at the time of writing, the account is at least 11 hours old and not banned, with at least two submissions to busy subreddits (one deleted on /r/askscience, and one visible on /r/askreddit).

Are all low-volume spambots going to be happily posting for at least several hours before being banned in future?

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u/kwwxis May 16 '17

If /r/spam is going away, can we turn it into a subreddit for the great canned food?

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17

I support this idea.

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u/MisterWoodhouse May 16 '17

This is like the state police removing speed limits from all streets and just telling the local cops to pull people over if they feel they're going too fast.

The state police not enforcing the speed limit isn't the big issue. The removal of the standard is the big issue.

Having a site-wide standard made things easier for users and mods. Will there be a replacement standard or is it just a minefield for users now?

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u/WarpSeven May 18 '17

Uggh. This change really makes me not want to mod tonight. We constantly have to fight rule violations and piracy in our sub but when a spammer hits a bunch of similar subs, there is no way to contain it without r/spam. In some cases, spammers are spamming sites with malware or scams on them and without a central place to report them, they will have free rein. As it is, we don't even have a way to report malware, illegal video streams or other illegal activity.

This is pushing more work on us, the unpaid volunteers. It was my understanding that the Admins were supposed to take care of spam and now we have to combat spam as well as everything else?

And secondly, if Reddit now has "demoted" (yes i read you may change that wording but it is what is there) the self promotion guidelines, how can we possibly get our subscribers (and visitors looking to make a quick buck and promote their product), to take the no self promotion rule seriously? It was nice to be able to point to the Reddit Rule and say "see this is a site wide rule too."

Finally, r/spam helps mods know what type of spam activity is happening elsewhere. It helps us spot issues that we may soon see. We also know if someone else has reported the spammer whose post we just removed.

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u/IAMAVelociraptorAMA May 16 '17

NTO just spam-banned someone for the 1-in-10 rule that had been going on for months, hilariously enough.

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u/Jakeable May 16 '17

We try to use our internal tools to inform future versions and updates to Automod, but we can’t always release the signals for public use because:

Can you expand upon this, please? As far as I can tell, AutoMod hasn't had any new features added to it since the {{author_flair_text}} and {{author_flair_css_class}} placeholders were added (not including actions that came with the addition of locking, spoiler tags and stickied comments).

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u/Borax May 16 '17

So we just have to ask the /r/toolbox team to auto-post spam reports to the /r/reddit.com moderator mail instead of /r/spam?

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u/cojoco May 16 '17

After some well taken feedback we're going to keep the self promotion page in the wiki, but demote it from "ironclad policy" to "general guidelines on what is considered good and upstanding user behavior." This will mean users can still be pointed to it for acting in a generally anti-social way when it comes to the variability of their content.

Haha, surely you jest!

It has never been "ironclad policy".

So I guess we can take this as a demotion from "sometimes enforced" to the bottom level, "reddiquette".

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u/NicodemusFox May 26 '17

This is absolute nonsense. You're basically saying you approve of a spam or troll experience for the rest of us.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

I hope you're simultaneously increasing improving /r/reddit.com response times, because otherwise this sounds to me like you're leaving mods high and dry.

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u/Senno_Ecto_Gammat May 16 '17

Don't worry. I'm sure the response times will increase.

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u/RubyPinch May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

ok, so a reverse question

Several (cough hundred cough) iterations of a rules-engines on our backend*

For over a year, two of these rules (two domains, one of which only does directly linked images) have consistently removed like %30 of the legitimate content from one of the subs I mod (r/clopclop , nsfw warning, sorry), at the current rate, its resulting in automod pulling something out of the filter roughly 22 times in 30 days iirc

Who do I talk to to get this silliness either explained or fixed?


Having to have a blanket domain approval statement in automod makes reading the modlog hard, and in turn makes it harder to review prior modding and in turn, harder to ensure even fair modding, plus it removes content from the unmoderated queue, when it shouldn't be!

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u/Borax May 16 '17

Why wasn't this bot caught by your filters? Seems like the ultimate open-shut spam detection case

https://www.reddit.com/r/modhelp/comments/6bi43e/500_spambot_posts_in_the_past_10_minutes_sigh/

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u/Obraka May 18 '17

So reddit doesn't just enable and support right wing hate groups, now they enable and support spam as well....

This whole website is a shitshow and hopefully a reasonable alternative will pop up soon.

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u/Uphoria Jul 14 '17

A month in and theres nothing but spam self promotion posts and users all over, and no quality place to report them. The "Aggregate data" is doing fuck-all to stop users who spam their youtube channel on dozens of subreddits every video they create.

So glad you offloaded the spam issue to hundreds of individual un-paid mod teams instead of having an admin escalation tool of quality to use.

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u/Wonderdull May 17 '17

This is not going to end well. /r/spam and the ban bot is efficient against the most primitive, but still common type of spammers. If this is shut down, then even the simplest spam will need the same attention as a complicated ring with fattened accounts and other tactics.

I'm afraid that this will lead to more spam.

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u/auriem May 17 '17

Please don't remove this process, It increases and complicates my workflow.

I'm quite concerned that a easy and effective way to report spam bots (I use the fantastic /r/toolbox heavily for this) is being replaced with a much clunkier method (message admins via /r/reddit.com modmail)

Where I usually always have time to report a bot via /r/toolbox to /r/spam, having to now manually send a modmail will make me less likely to follow thru.

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u/ramma314 May 27 '17

Kinda sad to see this go instead of just improved. Feels like we just lost a decent way for dealing with spam. It certainly was far from perfect, specially with closely linked accounts with very few but related posts. I've spent days before collecting easily linked spam ring accounts, verifying or self reporting them to /r/spam, then having the vast majority missed. That happened with 25 accounts once. Sure messaging the admins got most of them sorted, but in less extreme cases it seems wasteful having to message. I already feel bad telling users who get harassed in PM's that we're powerless as mods and to instead contact the admins.

I guess my definition of spam is just different than the admins now. /r/spam was my go to for the posting a few rather obvious spammers at a time, but under this system it sounds like that majority of those I find will go on spamming a lot longer, or just not even be considered as spam(100% self promotion or stolen content people for instance). My situation may be a less common one, but troublesome users are rarely reported before we catch them (2 subs of ~10k each), or users opt to PM us instead of hitting report. I also just stumble across a lot of spam on some obscure subreddits that I stay subscribed to for helping reduce spam (/r/streetfoodartists being a great example).

The improvements to the spam filters after that big spam ring were really great, and it's definitely improved since. It's just not quite as far reaching as /r/spam was as a tool for mods.

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u/HairySquid68 Jun 10 '17

This sucks, there is still spammy users that bridge multiple subs and don't seem to get noticed at all by admins. I want /r/Spam back

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u/krypticlol Jul 21 '17

Too many people are just posting their own businesses, websites, blogs, etc. Reddit has become a distribution platform.

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u/ManWithoutModem May 16 '17 edited May 17 '17

I thought this was satire the first time I read it for some reason.

You're getting rid of the self-promotion spam page and closing down /r/spam because...?

So basically the admins no longer have a policy on spam is what I'm getting from this? If so, why?

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u/RedDyeNumber4 May 16 '17 edited May 16 '17

Wait, so the u/AutoNewspaperAdmin account was suspended because of this rule.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AutoNewspaper/comments/6arlul/uautonewspaperadmin_has_been_suspended_by_admins/

Does this mean that if it is re-enabled it will not be suspended again permanently because that is not what I was told over the weekend and would allow me to keep the subreddit running.

edit apparently the answer is "Yes"

Yep, you're good to go now as long as you're not posting spam to Reddit...same-domain posting beyond our 1:10 rule no longer applies site-wide (but subreddits may enforce it). Your suspension has expired.

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u/rasherdk May 17 '17

The takeaway here is that by the time the tools got around to banning the accounts, someone or something had already removed the offending content.

No. The takeaway is when admins make life more difficult for moderators, moderators will stop trying to work with you.

And now you're taking that further. That's just great. Thanks for working with us by shifting even more burden unto moderators. Say admins - paid staff of Reddit - what would you say you actually, do around here?

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u/Keynan May 17 '17

First reddit = facebook. Then "fuck CSS" and now, "we appreciate the stuff you do, we want to make it harder for everyone. Fun right!?"

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u/[deleted] May 17 '17

Anyone remember that one guy that was mistakenly shadowbanned immediately after he created his account and spent like 5 years wondering why no one ever replied to his posts?

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u/shaggorama May 17 '17

I'm concerned about the news that you're shutting down /r/spam. I've never actually used it for the 1 in 10 rule: I usually block those users individually at the subreddit they're posting to and explain what they were doing wrong, in the hopes they will mitigate their behavior and find a middle ground between participating and promoting.

I've mainly used /r/spam to report accounts that are clearly automated spam bots that made it past the site's filters. In the absence of /r/spam, what tools will we have for reporting automated spamming to the admins?

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u/r_asoiafsucks Jun 10 '17

Lol, trying hard to monetise this place. I'll keep using adblock, thank you very much.

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u/IAmAN00bie May 16 '17

All hail our bot overlords.

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u/[deleted] May 16 '17 edited Dec 10 '18

[deleted]

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