Forem Creators and Builders 🌱

Oli
Oli

Posted on

Spam posts

I've been noticing spam posts in our community and on this Forem as well. Is anyone else seeing this in their community?

Here's an example of a post that appears on Forest and here

https://forem.dev/ashleylop899/shop-sterling-silver-turquoise-ring-at-wholesale-prices-from-rananjay-exports-14i0

Top comments (4)

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

So first off, I'm really sorry that you have to deal with this mess. Spammers are the worst. πŸ˜”

We regularly have spammers join up with the Forems that we maintain as a team β€” DEV, CodeNewbie, and forem.dev. We do our best to keep them at bay, but it's a daily chore of ours to remove spam.

So, just to note, this is indeed normal and you're not alone in your fight against spam.

That said, we're not staying stagnant here β€” we're continually brainstorming ways to fight spam and enacting new features to help us in the fight.

There are various things that are available to you now as a Forem Creator to help you discourage, stop, and occasionally prevent spammers from acting on your Forem. Give me a week or so and I'll write up a post (or have a teammate write a post πŸ˜…) that goes in depth on all of the spam fighting techniques and abilities that are available to you now.

In the immediate, I'd just like to point out the Rate limits and anti-spam section of the admin (located at /admin/customization/config) which allows you various tools to limit new users from posting and even has a section for inputting spam trigger terms that will trigger alerts in your Abuse Reports section (/admin/moderation/reports) if any of the terms are tripped. I'm going to tag in @ben who will be able to provide a better explanation of how our spam trigger terms section works.

Spammers are most often joining up to try and boost their SEO by building backlinks. One thing that we've done fairly recently is that we made it so any links added to a user's profile are designated as UGC (user-generated content) so that they will not be able to get any SEO points for their backlinks there. Here's the specific commit that pushed this through (note that it only designates links as UGC for users who don't have the "trusted" role). We need to keep thinking along these lines to come up with more automated, preventative spam fighting measures!

And if you happen to have ideas along this line, please do let me know as this topic has been on my mind for a long, long while.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

We have some improvements coming down the pike. The tooling we've had in place has been MVP for too long. We have a team in place more dedicated to good problem solving than in the past. Led by yours truly. So expect much more progress in 2022 than we had in 2021 β€” where we didn't have the proper org structure in place to deal with this.

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oli profile image
Oli Author

Thank you for the this detailed response and helpfull tips.

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Absolutely! I'll try to get you more tips here soon.