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Report and ban a user

    Question

  • I'm one of the moderators of the TechNet Event Forum.  There is a user account that is continually spamming the account. Literally hundreds of junk posts show up every few days.

    This is the user used most recently: ashley456go 

    I see how to mark posts as abuse, or even delete them... but how do I block a specific user account?  I know it won't stop them from creating another account, but at least it will slow them down.  Ideally I'd like to bulk-delete any and all messages from a particular account.  Having to do these one-message-at-a-time is too much.

    Thanks,

    Kevin Remde


    Kevin Remde US DX - IT Pro Evangelism - Microsoft Corporation http://aka.ms/FullofIT http://twitter.com/kevinremde


    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:50 PM

Answers

  • If you mark several of the posts for each spammer abusive (I don't know how many would be required, perhaps 10 or 12), the forum administrators are supposed to ban the user and delete all of the their posts in bulk. Sometimes this works well, but often it can take hours before they act. Sometimes they miss the spammer entirely. I believe they do not bother if just one post is marked, as they assume forum moderators will deal with the situation. Unfortunately, the report abuse feature is also used for flame wars and questions asked in the wrong forum, where moderators should deal with it.

    The volume of spam has increased markedly since about March 1. There are literally 1000's per day. A few forums, like yours, seem to be targets. I gave up marking posts abusive, as it seems to be a waste of time. I also see more than 30 different spammers per day, so emailing fissues is only useful for the forums you moderate. I have emailed the administrators suggesting that the current system for alerting the administrators does not work any more. The reply is that they are working on a solution. My own opinion is that a spam filter will never work. Instead, any user with 0 points that posts 10 more posts in less than 30 minutes should be banned. Or at least, the administrators can be automatically alerted. It is much more efficient for them to deal with it. Depending on moderators or users to flag enough posts to get action is not working.

    Last Saturday morning I did a quick glance in all TechNet forums, filtering on threads with no reply. I glanced at every 10th page to see if there were any legitimate posts. I estimated more than 8000 spam posts in the last 10 hours.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Enterprise Mobility (Identity and Access)

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:19 PM
    Moderator
  • For this I usually just send an email to forums admins.

    fissues [at] microsoft [dot] com

     

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows Server]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 1:10 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • For this I usually just send an email to forums admins.

    fissues [at] microsoft [dot] com

     

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows Server]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 1:10 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Dave.

    Kevin Remde US DX - IT Pro Evangelism - Microsoft Corporation http://aka.ms/FullofIT http://twitter.com/kevinremde

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 1:20 PM
  • You're welcome.

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows Server]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 1:31 PM
    Moderator
  • If you mark several of the posts for each spammer abusive (I don't know how many would be required, perhaps 10 or 12), the forum administrators are supposed to ban the user and delete all of the their posts in bulk. Sometimes this works well, but often it can take hours before they act. Sometimes they miss the spammer entirely. I believe they do not bother if just one post is marked, as they assume forum moderators will deal with the situation. Unfortunately, the report abuse feature is also used for flame wars and questions asked in the wrong forum, where moderators should deal with it.

    The volume of spam has increased markedly since about March 1. There are literally 1000's per day. A few forums, like yours, seem to be targets. I gave up marking posts abusive, as it seems to be a waste of time. I also see more than 30 different spammers per day, so emailing fissues is only useful for the forums you moderate. I have emailed the administrators suggesting that the current system for alerting the administrators does not work any more. The reply is that they are working on a solution. My own opinion is that a spam filter will never work. Instead, any user with 0 points that posts 10 more posts in less than 30 minutes should be banned. Or at least, the administrators can be automatically alerted. It is much more efficient for them to deal with it. Depending on moderators or users to flag enough posts to get action is not working.

    Last Saturday morning I did a quick glance in all TechNet forums, filtering on threads with no reply. I glanced at every 10th page to see if there were any legitimate posts. I estimated more than 8000 spam posts in the last 10 hours.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Enterprise Mobility (Identity and Access)

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:19 PM
    Moderator
  • This shows how bad the problem has been lately:

    http://boardreader.com/site/TechNet_forums_561478.html

    See the 'Top authors during last week' section.

    To the admins credit - I just reported about 15-20 threads that a new spam account was spewing a bit ago (which was every single post that was created) and the account was banned very shortly afterwards.

    I agree with Richard that a spam filter will never really work. Post rate limiting is a much better initial solution. When would ANY user (not just brand new) need to create 10 threads in 2 minutes?


    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:32 PM
    Moderator
  • I did the same, and they were removed fairly quickly. (But I've been a rather squeaky wheel this morning.)

    I do like the threshold idea.. but it will only work until the spammer learns what the threshold is and adjusts accordingly.  (New account every 8 posts, for example.)  Is it really that easy to set up Microsoft accounts?  I would have thought there still has to be some manual captcha or somesuch.

    Ultimately, as a forum manager, I should be able to at least bulk-report and bulk-delete messages from a particular user, or a "block" that removes past as well as blocks future posts from that account.  Then I'd only be dealing with a half-dozen instead of a few hundred messages.

    Thanks,


    Kevin Remde US DX - IT Pro Evangelism - Microsoft Corporation http://aka.ms/FullofIT http://twitter.com/kevinremde

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:39 PM
  • 6 of the top 10 posters listed in Mike's link, including the top 3, are spammers.

    Also, in the top 10 list of forums, the top 4 are almost all spam.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Enterprise Mobility (Identity and Access)


    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:43 PM
    Moderator
  • As one may guess... perhaps this is more than just spam, and should be elevated?

    Also, I cannot believe that auto detection of spam from new (unverified) accounts is so hard for a company active in the AI research. They successfully do it with email, every day.

    • Edited by Pavel A Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:16 PM
    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:06 PM