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We've been hit by way more spam than normal, just thought I'd point out these discussions on meta that might be useful to folks:

  • Oh... oops. I just approved some edits to spam posts. So we should just flag it and leave the content alone then? – Nathan Osman Oct 24 '11 at 5:30
  • On a somewhat related note, whenever I've seen such edits I've suggested edits to revert them and posted comments referring others back to this question. Is it worth my time to be doing that? – Christopher Kyle Horton Oct 24 '11 at 9:46
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    @WarriorIng64: It worked for me - I saw one of your comments. – Nathan Osman Oct 24 '11 at 16:51
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So far what the community has been doing is great. Flagging works to get our attention and will also nuke the post if enough people flag it. When the moderators are online, we have easily been killing spam within 10-30 minutes.

One thing I will say about web spam and the editing discussion: most automated spammers test a website to make sure that their spam gets posted. Although there are very few resources required to post to a Stack Exchange site, if we can make sure posts are worthless (via Google et al) ASAP, there's a slim chance the spammer will just give up.

We have also been talking with the Stack Exchange team about spam prevention. We're currently pretty toothless when it comes to preventing spam, we can only really nuke the user and their posts. So I asked for more power through a few suggestions and got a fairly positive email back:

We're discussing your suggestions about additional moderator powers when you detect a large amount of spam. Hopefully we can get something rolled out next week.

They also banned the IP that the current spam was coming off so that might tide us over until we have some power to deal with the next wave. Until then, keep flagging!

  • I was under the impression that links from SE are worthless to spammers automatically due to nofollow? – Jorge Castro Oct 22 '11 at 16:20
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    @Jorge someone should tell the spammer :) – Stefano Palazzo Oct 23 '11 at 13:02
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    @Oli: Er, too late. The poor fellow's back at it again :( – Nathan Osman Oct 24 '11 at 5:28
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    Lately I think some of the spam has been attempting to move beyond random strings of words and into sentences...or something resembling them. Some of them vaguely seem to be addressing the question ("right-click your battery indicator, spam url here"), while others are a bit more bizarre (actual quote: "shabby chic bedding reason why the watch is worth so much..."...what?). I find some of them mildly amusing, but I do hope the onslaught ends soon. – Christopher Kyle Horton Oct 24 '11 at 9:39
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    So 1.5 years later Do you have any more powers to stop spam? – Alvar Mar 5 '13 at 9:15
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    @Alvar Not yet, no. – Oli Mar 5 '13 at 12:06
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Sometimes spam edits still occur.

We may need to help users who only recently gained edit privileges to know about this to avoid this.

For addrssing users who are not in chat it may be a good idea to increase people's awareness on this topic by occasionally tagging this post as to make it appear in the Community Bulletin.

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