What if an X company set a team against Ubuntu in it's more simple form, a cozy Q&A site to spam it and attack members in the rise to become valuable members?

With a clones attack of "new" users that could be disposable accounts, then start posting with this accounts all kind of questions based on the mentioned reference to get their attention and serve no purpose since new real users would be making other questions. And then start asking non-sense or too hard questions for no reason at all maybe reference from Unix or server fault.

In summary : What if there's some tactic to drive off new users out of the site campaigned by Company X?

Are there any mechanisms in AU or SE to combat dedicated spam accounts?

  • Fun fact: spam accounts, when flagged as spam, trigger IP bans, so further accounts are autobanned on those IPs. We also regularly destroy spammer accounts (and so does the system!), and there's a large group of people (courtesy of the Charcoal-SE team, of which I am just one contributor to) who actively work to combat spam on the SE network in its entirety. We also have a large community here who also helps to rapidly squish spam, even if mods aren't around, which means such 'spam' attacks aren't visible for long enough time periods to be disruptive (not to mention new user restrictions).
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jan 20, 2017 at 1:09
  • @ThomasWard think a moment about Company X
    – userDepth
    Jan 20, 2017 at 1:13
  • 2
    Replace 'Company X' with a nation-state. Then, replace a nation-state with a spam botnet. Oh wait, these botnets attack regularly, usually at evening hours, across all of StackExchange, and their posts last usually less than two minutes on the Ask Ubuntu site before they are totally burned. Considering also IT Security and IT laws, StackExchange could also sue Company X in court for damages, if they could trace it to Company X. Your scenario, though, is outclassed by the spam botnets that regularly attack here every single day, though.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jan 20, 2017 at 1:15
  • 4
    I distinctly recall seeing a graph somewhere which showed something like 90% of spam attempts being stopped before they can even answered Jan 20, 2017 at 1:20
  • 1
    buncha graphs here, @JourneymanGeek. Yeah, awful lot of stuff blocked.
    – Shog9
    Jan 20, 2017 at 1:45
  • @muru Thanks for the edit!! I was intending to get this a bit fun.
    – userDepth
    Jan 20, 2017 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: Yes, there are defense mechanisms in place, and we know they work well in these types of situations. We don't have to outline them all, but they do exist and work.

Long form of this:

shrug We deal with it.

I'm a mod on SU. And here's a fun fact - it takes roughly 20 seconds for a spam post to get flagged. If it even gets through.

Established users vote to close, IPs get hobbled. If things get really bad, we call in a CM to help, since they have the big guns. Some sites have also gotten help from a spam-detection bot created by intrepid users that let users know where spam is. (Smokey and I have a friendly rivalry over who flags spam faster. Sadly, I still win sometimes).

One of the beauties of the stackexchange format is our users are our immune system. We downvote, we close, we janitorate.

So meh, it would be a waste of time. In between the spam prevention systems built into SE, CM intervention, our fearless mods and the glorious power of the people, such attempts shall be crushed.

  • And when we say 'crushed', we mean crushed. Rapidly. With swift justice from orbital weapons platforms.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jan 20, 2017 at 1:14
  • One would need a pair of tweezers, a magnifying glass and a trained sniffer dog to find what's left. Jan 20, 2017 at 1:14
  • 2
    "I still win sometimes" - not any more, my friend. Not any more.
    – ArtOfCode
    Jan 20, 2017 at 1:36
  • @ArtOfCode Who says still win ? maybe a computer XD
    – userDepth
    Apr 2, 2017 at 18:56

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