6

votes

[Meta] How to discourage persistent spammers/trolls?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 15, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Should we establish some community guidelines for discouraging repeat spammers and/or trolls? For example, it seems to me that downvotes or comments, while useful in the community as a whole, only serve to encourage them. What are your thoughts, PH-ers?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 20, 2012
at 12:27 PM

If you are serious, then you need mental help.

963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

(646)

on August 20, 2012
at 04:02 AM

But I'm serious.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 20, 2012
at 03:57 AM

Cute. But the funny didn't come out very well.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on August 19, 2012
at 04:32 AM

That I agree with. However it does not negate the fact that we have been experiencing serious trolling of late.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on August 19, 2012
at 04:31 AM

Why be hurt? Someone was just helping you out.

963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

(646)

on August 19, 2012
at 03:15 AM

Funny, isn't it, that Razwell isn't considered a troll at Livin' La Vida Low Carb? Guess because he likes Jimmy...

963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

(646)

on August 19, 2012
at 02:44 AM

Melissa abandoned it?! Shock! Horror! How will we survive without our favorite little paleo hipster? ;)

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 09:45 PM

Trolls are unhappy people(?), they need therapy or medication. None of that we can supply.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 07:20 PM

You only get five flags per day, when razwelltroll has his orgasm of abuse and bullying you swiftly run out of flags. Razwelltroll will just exhaust us.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 18, 2012
at 05:09 PM

Like the new name.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:04 PM

Mat "the Kraken" Lalonde eats razzwell and spits it out because the razwell is so full of omega-6 PUFAs.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I've definitely seen legitimate posts closed as "argumentative" or whatever. Mainly their posts argued against some element of paleo. Some were abrasively written, but contained valid questions. So yeah, that happens here, but that is not what THIS is about. These posts lately truly are spam.

A70b92d8ede7e9d4b807393f9cb8eb65

on August 18, 2012
at 12:39 PM

YOUR GURUS have scientific SOUNDING sites and "references". THAT MEANS NOTHING. THEY ARE "REFERNCES" whcich ARE POOR QUALTY AND /OR DO NOT SUPPORT WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. THERE I SNO REPUTABLE SCIENCE AT SISSON RO COLPO'S BLOGS PLENTY AT RAZWELL'S WATCH THE SCIENTISTS' LECTURES

A70b92d8ede7e9d4b807393f9cb8eb65

on August 18, 2012
at 12:36 PM

OPEN YOUR EYES, LOSER. LINKS TO LECTRUES.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:35 PM

I've seen your site Razzwell and it's all conjecture and attacks, there's no science though you claim to embrace it. All you do is put down others by calling them charlatans. Get a life.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:23 PM

Have you seen an example of that happening (someone getting marked a spammer/troll just for having different ideas)? The repeated spammer/troll that has been on here lately is a problem because they're actually a spammer/troll, with repeated posts saying the same thing, using immature language and tactics, attacking specific people, with zero content. That's not a slippery slope, that's at the very bottom of the slope in a giant pool of mud.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 02:57 AM

There needs to be no limit to flagging Razwell per day, just like there is no limit to razwell's unemployment check.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 15, 2012
at 03:07 AM

Why would you waste your points on a troll though? I don't think downvotes do anything except zap your points. I doubt a troll cares in fact they probably rather like the attention. I say vote to close and flag for moderator attention. No comments no votes either way. Done.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 15, 2012
at 02:20 AM

Mods can delete them right away, we normal folks have to wait a couple days to delete a closed post.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 15, 2012
at 01:55 AM

And yeah people don't waste a downvote.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 15, 2012
at 01:54 AM

+1 for registered user to post suggestion.

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19 Answers

21
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on July 15, 2012
at 01:47 AM

I just flag them. I don't waste the downvote, and no longer dignify them with comments (though it's so tempting, I admit).

I think having to be a registered user to post questions (though not to comment) could also be useful in deterring them. Trolling's a lot more work when you have to create a new email address every time because all the old ones have been banned. And trolls are generally a lazy-assed bunch.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 15, 2012
at 01:55 AM

And yeah people don't waste a downvote.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 15, 2012
at 01:54 AM

+1 for registered user to post suggestion.

963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

(646)

on August 19, 2012
at 03:15 AM

Funny, isn't it, that Razwell isn't considered a troll at Livin' La Vida Low Carb? Guess because he likes Jimmy...

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 07:20 PM

You only get five flags per day, when razwelltroll has his orgasm of abuse and bullying you swiftly run out of flags. Razwelltroll will just exhaust us.

5
35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on July 15, 2012
at 03:08 AM

I don't waste downvotes or time commenting on them. I flag spam posts and vote to close them.

No one has brought this up but anyone with more than 3,000 reputation points can edit anyone's post. I've considered editing away all of the content of a really offensive post but haven't run into a really horrible one yet. But, if one were offensive enough I wouldn't wait for a moderator to delete it, I'd replace super offensive text with "[[ very offensive text removed ]]."

Over time there will be more members with 10,000 points. These folks supposedly have moderator-like privileges according to the FAQ and should be able to delete offensive posts which is much better than closing them.

Also, if PH charged a nominal fee, say $10 per year (or even just once), then trolling would probably drop to 0 since no troll would spend $10 to post one offensive post which would be removed along with the account.

4
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 15, 2012
at 01:34 AM

It would be very nice if the spam posts could disappear once closed rather than linger in the timeline.

Unfortunately it takes time for people to learn not to feed the trolls. Starving them is the best way to go. Flagging or voting to close (if enough rep) are next most effective.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 15, 2012
at 02:20 AM

Mods can delete them right away, we normal folks have to wait a couple days to delete a closed post.

3
963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

on August 19, 2012
at 02:50 AM

Moderators overuse the 'trolling' excuse. Questions about Jimmy Moore or Jack Kruse or CarbSane are not automatically examples of trolling - just subjects many of moderators don't want discussed. THAT is the problem with PH.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on August 19, 2012
at 04:32 AM

That I agree with. However it does not negate the fact that we have been experiencing serious trolling of late.

3
963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

on August 18, 2012
at 05:46 AM

I agree with the consensus - I simply flag them. Down votes just serve to legitimize whatever their particular agenda is. I will say this, however: We need to be very careful that we don't label those we simply DISAGREE with as 'spammers/trolls'. I know it's tempting, but it's a slippery slope that leads to a place we quite honestly don't want to go.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:23 PM

Have you seen an example of that happening (someone getting marked a spammer/troll just for having different ideas)? The repeated spammer/troll that has been on here lately is a problem because they're actually a spammer/troll, with repeated posts saying the same thing, using immature language and tactics, attacking specific people, with zero content. That's not a slippery slope, that's at the very bottom of the slope in a giant pool of mud.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I've definitely seen legitimate posts closed as "argumentative" or whatever. Mainly their posts argued against some element of paleo. Some were abrasively written, but contained valid questions. So yeah, that happens here, but that is not what THIS is about. These posts lately truly are spam.

2
7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on August 18, 2012
at 01:36 PM

The platform this forum runs on is orphaned and not upgradeable, and the forum is almost impossible to moderate. Melissa has already abandoned it in complete disgust. IMO, it's time for Patrik to shut the current site down and reopen on a whole new platform..

963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

(646)

on August 19, 2012
at 02:44 AM

Melissa abandoned it?! Shock! Horror! How will we survive without our favorite little paleo hipster? ;)

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 15, 2012
at 02:00 AM

Other forums require posters to go through more steps to post, including forcing them to search for articles that match their intended title before they can post. This would help to limit the repeated posts, because the same questions do get posted again and again.

However, that might also decrease the total amount of traffic on the site, which is usually a bad thing for blog sites.

A single downvote seems to eliminate most troll posts.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 15, 2012
at 03:07 AM

Why would you waste your points on a troll though? I don't think downvotes do anything except zap your points. I doubt a troll cares in fact they probably rather like the attention. I say vote to close and flag for moderator attention. No comments no votes either way. Done.

2
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on July 15, 2012
at 01:56 AM

I'm wondering if PH is understaffed and needs more mods. I totally get that the mods are busy and have lives outside of PH, but perhaps if we had more these posts could disappear faster?

1
C40ce8fc4392ea8ee1f8194f40540307

(110)

on August 18, 2012
at 06:28 PM

I think mods should edit their posts to say how much they love meat and hate vegans or love Mark Sisson or whatever. It will be hilarious! Might get rid of them too.

1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:33 PM

Considering how many posts here pertain to hacking poop it's hard to tell what's spam and what's just stupid.

Repeated question might work. If the word poop or Sisson appears auto-block the question.

1
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:00 AM

How about if a user receives more than 15 down votes in a day they are forbidden from posting for 48 hours.

It's just a little thing, but still.

1
C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

on July 15, 2012
at 03:24 AM

StackExchange has several technological assists to this problem, but most will be defeated when the offending user creates a new account. Jeff Atwood, the mastermind behind much of SE, wrote up a pretty thorough review of these processes on his blog:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/06/suspension-ban-or-hellban.html

1
449e19bbd371a87b653b9b8b56736005

(1567)

on July 15, 2012
at 02:51 AM

I would happily wield the ban hammer and delete button if someone gave it to me. I'm home almost all the time.

0
C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on September 12, 2012
at 04:51 AM

I would consider myself an intermittent paleohacks user. As in I may pop on here a few times in a day then not at all for a week. From a casual user it seems like the community has in place a pretty effective system for removing offensive spam. The whole user edit abilities are pretty cool too.

I do want to point out though that it is very important to make the distinction between spam and dissenting views. I would hate to see this community turn into one that allows no opinions that are not in vogue. We are an evolving changing group of people and too much moderation may hurt that. I would rather have the occasional person touting a diet of nothing but bananas around...Though Ill pass on the penis pills.

0
584cdd1a2dd83e46b8b76758f4c57b19

(600)

on August 18, 2012
at 08:47 PM

Sorry if this comes out a but blunt, but I think people have to remember that trolls are all over the internet and not just here. There is very little that can be done to stop them.

Does it really effect your day that much if you see a few crazies posting each day?

I am not comfortable with posts being edited just so the trolling is hidden (I actually feel the edit option should be removed for everyone except the author). I know my spelling is pretty bad, and I was a bit hurt that one of my questions had been edited because of 2 spelling mistakes.

Anyway, I digress. My point is that the best way of attack is the good old fashioned way: ignore.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on August 19, 2012
at 04:31 AM

Why be hurt? Someone was just helping you out.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 09:45 PM

Trolls are unhappy people(?), they need therapy or medication. None of that we can supply.

0
8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:21 PM

I'm sure giving them attention by starting threads about them will help.

-1
A70b92d8ede7e9d4b807393f9cb8eb65

on August 18, 2012
at 12:25 PM

How are they trolls when they point out the fact that mark Sisson is an unqualified charlatan salesmen opportunist preying on depserate obese people? Even genuine science cannot help the obese much.These salesmen are makng cliams to be able to cure obesity- something that the world's best scientists cannot do yet. THat alone should raise an immediate red flag.

The stupidity and gullibility of poeple on the INternet makes them perfect prey for these charlatans.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 18, 2012
at 05:09 PM

Like the new name.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:04 PM

Mat "the Kraken" Lalonde eats razzwell and spits it out because the razwell is so full of omega-6 PUFAs.

A70b92d8ede7e9d4b807393f9cb8eb65

on August 18, 2012
at 12:36 PM

OPEN YOUR EYES, LOSER. LINKS TO LECTRUES.

A70b92d8ede7e9d4b807393f9cb8eb65

on August 18, 2012
at 12:39 PM

YOUR GURUS have scientific SOUNDING sites and "references". THAT MEANS NOTHING. THEY ARE "REFERNCES" whcich ARE POOR QUALTY AND /OR DO NOT SUPPORT WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. THERE I SNO REPUTABLE SCIENCE AT SISSON RO COLPO'S BLOGS PLENTY AT RAZWELL'S WATCH THE SCIENTISTS' LECTURES

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:35 PM

I've seen your site Razzwell and it's all conjecture and attacks, there's no science though you claim to embrace it. All you do is put down others by calling them charlatans. Get a life.

-1
369661625e9163e8c9bca777ed500c45

on August 18, 2012
at 02:42 AM

MORGAN FREEMAN GO POOPY

MIAMI IS NOT THE TROPICS

R A Z W E L L WAS HERE.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 18, 2012
at 02:57 AM

There needs to be no limit to flagging Razwell per day, just like there is no limit to razwell's unemployment check.

-2
963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

on August 20, 2012
at 03:52 AM

Then there's the other side of the issue... Do we really want to risk coming off as an insensitive community by disenfranchising trolls? What if said trolls happen to be members of a persecuted minority? What if some of them are actual indigenous peoples? People of color? Imagine the bad press - paleo peeps beating up on genuine natives (and they could even be native WOMEN). Don't know about you guys, but frankly I'd rather not go there.

963322f175cdd4c5f7d52cc372b3a167

(646)

on August 20, 2012
at 04:02 AM

But I'm serious.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 20, 2012
at 12:27 PM

If you are serious, then you need mental help.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on August 20, 2012
at 03:57 AM

Cute. But the funny didn't come out very well.

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