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Administrative spam flagging

    Question

  • Last weekend we suffered a spam attack on the Word for Developers forum, after I was on-line moderating for the last time Friday evening (my time). When I came in Sunday evening, there were pages and pages of spam messages - I was unable to work with people who had questions to ask due to the volume of spam in the forum list.

    So I duly began opening each message in order to get them off the list.

    Some of the messages had been marked as abusive by a forum visitor. These I was able to delete and they disappeared from the list - expected behavior.

    Some had been marked as abusive by the same forum visitor and processed by a forum administrator. The text of the message appeared deleted in my browser, but the message was still in the forum message list, in other words, in the way. I therefore decided to move these to "Off-topic". In order for the "Move" command to work, I first needed to press F5.

    Then there were messages that had not been marked as abusive by a forum visitor and appeared to me as completely untouched. I of course proceded to delete them, but the Delete command would only work after I pressed F5. Once I did that, there was a "comment" at the end of the post that a forum administrator had marked the post as abusive, but the text still was not deleted. I deleted, pressed F5 again and moved the message to off-topic.

    I consider the fact that the messages were still appearing in the forum listing and, that I was not able to see that a forum adiministrator had done anything to the messages until I tried to process them, bugs in the forum software. This behavior makes it extremely difficult to moderate a forum and getting the forum back to a state where it can be moderated very time-consuming.


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013 4:49 PM

Answers

  • Thank you Cindy for bringing this to our attention, and thank you Richard for continuously marking abusive posts! We are continuing to improve our spam mitigation story but I am thankful for both of your continued support in the meantime. We do have the ability to ban a user which deletes all of their posts in bulk. The best way to report users/threads is simply by using the "report as abuse" button which I know you currently use Richard. This action escalates the thread and the user to our team. The queue can get behind under large attacks like we saw over the weekend. It appears that we have several bugs in the 'report as abusive'/deleting work flow. I will log these and make sure we take a look at them. Thanks again!   

    Forums Program Manager

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013 8:22 PM

All replies

  • I might have been the visitor marking some as spam. After a few I got an error, indicating that someone was deleting them, so I stopped. I think I noticed that deleted posts seemed to not disappear when I refreshed.

    I believe in forums where I moderate (not the case here) I need to refresh after marking abusive before I can delete. I hope forum administrators can delete faster than we can, as the process can be slow. You need to open each post individually, mark abusive (if you want), refresh, delete, then guess where your are in the list of posts (since the deleted ones remain for awhile).


    Richard Mueller - MVP Directory Services

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013 7:30 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you Cindy for bringing this to our attention, and thank you Richard for continuously marking abusive posts! We are continuing to improve our spam mitigation story but I am thankful for both of your continued support in the meantime. We do have the ability to ban a user which deletes all of their posts in bulk. The best way to report users/threads is simply by using the "report as abuse" button which I know you currently use Richard. This action escalates the thread and the user to our team. The queue can get behind under large attacks like we saw over the weekend. It appears that we have several bugs in the 'report as abusive'/deleting work flow. I will log these and make sure we take a look at them. Thanks again!   

    Forums Program Manager

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013 8:22 PM
  • Bryant, thanks for confirming that the "Report as abuse" feature does alert admins. Also good to hear that banning the user deletes the posts in bulk. This explains what I see in deleted threads, where bunches seem to have been deleted in a very short time.

    This weekend is the first time in awhile that I have seen spam before it was deleted. I always check deleted posts in case of false positives. I haven't seen a false positive in a long time, but I often see posts that were deleted by admins. The system seems to work much better than it used to.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Directory Services

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013 9:20 PM
    Moderator
  • Glad to hear our efforts are working. There is definitely room for improvements but I think we are getting closer. 


    Forums Program Manager

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013 10:19 PM
  • The posters name began with the letters "VBA" :-)

    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013 4:10 PM
  • Hi Bryant

    Thanks for the follow-up. Getting the problem behavior that prevents efficient forum moderation logged is a good first step :-)


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013 4:11 PM