So you've been getting hammered. While we very much appreciate all of the hard work everyone has been doing to keep things clean, we feel like we should be making it easier for you.

Hence, effective immediately, the threshold of spam / abuse flags required for a post to be automatically deleted has been cut in half. This also has the benefit of more quickly training our spam system since that's an event that the system learns from. We've also made tweaks to deal an instant blocking weight within the system for every instance of a post being spam-flag deleted.

Or, less technically, when three of you spam-flag a post:

  • It's instantly deleted.
  • The originating host (and possibly nearby networks) are automatically blocked from posting.

We're going to leave this in place for at least the next 7 - 10 days. Thanks again for everything you do, and know we're watching and here to help.

  • 13
    the next 7 - 10 days can you make that 6-8 weeks?
    – Glorfindel
    Dec 7, 2016 at 16:09
  • 4
    Perhaps forever?
    – Kaz
    Dec 7, 2016 at 16:12
  • 5
    If these measures had been in effect for the last year, how many non-spam posts would have been erroneously deleted ("false positives")? I suspect is that the answer is "very few", or even "none". I therefore support @Kaz's suggestion that the lower threshold stay in effect for the indefinite future. Dec 7, 2016 at 16:42
  • 4
    Let's see how this goes. We're keeping our options open as we continue to do some work on overhauling the spam system to deal with new types of threats.
    – Tim Post
    Dec 7, 2016 at 16:45
  • 1
    @StephanKolassa It is very few to none. Most posts pick up at most one erroneous spam / abuse flag, rarely two, never three unless it's a targeted effort in which case that becomes a pattern of abuse and we have ways of dealing with that :) Need to run some more numbers going back more, though, but my few years as a mod on Stack Overflow was enough confidence to go ahead and do this quickly.
    – Tim Post
    Dec 7, 2016 at 16:47
  • 14
    "So you've been getting hammered. " - have we? I've flagged a few spam posts myself, but wonder what volume does it take to be considered "hammered"? Dec 7, 2016 at 17:24
  • 10
    @JoeStrazzere just eyeballing it, we're averaging about 10 spam posts per day. Dec 7, 2016 at 19:35
  • I've been flagging at least one or two a day.
    – Jane S
    Dec 8, 2016 at 0:38
  • 5
    NO!!!! Now I need to put in twice as much effort to get the marshal badge. Screw This, I'm Outta Here! ;-)
    – Masked Man
    Dec 8, 2016 at 4:09
  • Do we have any stats on spam posts' uptime before deletion?
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Dec 8, 2016 at 7:49
  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere here is an overview of the amount of spam posts that made it to the site in the last month and were detected by Smoke Detector. It detects all spam of the 'hormone pills' variety, and most of the sneakier stuff as well.
    – Glorfindel
    Dec 8, 2016 at 8:47
  • By the way I think I saw a new type of spam answer in Programmers.SE. The question had copy/paste a part of 2 different answers and add a link at the end of the post.
    – Walfrat
    Dec 8, 2016 at 10:17
  • @Glorfindel - hmm. Doesn't seem like a lot - I expected more. I know of many sites that truly get "hammered". Still, it's good to automate it away as quickly as possible. Dec 8, 2016 at 18:12
  • @Walfrat Smoke Detector usually catches those as well, because the links in those answers link to well-known spam sites. Still, you're more than welcome to report such posts in Charcoal HQ and improve the filter.
    – Glorfindel
    Dec 8, 2016 at 18:16
  • 1
    @Lilienthal This is network wide, but (again from SmokeDetector) we have a graph of time-to-deletion for spam posts. Last graph on the page.
    – ArtOfCode
    Dec 11, 2016 at 20:11


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