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A diary on the reclist points out that WE HATE SPAMMERS GUTS AND AREN'T GOING TO BUY THEIR CONICAL CRUSHER POWERED ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES NOW THAT THEY ADVERTISED TO US IN THIS WAY!!!!!11one

And the diarist is right. Nobody is going to buy anything because they read an oddly-phrased spam post.

So why the hell are the spammers coming here?

Notice how all the spammers show up late at night and drop links?

They're not trying to sell Kossacks anything. They don't think people actually click links in poorly written ad copy. That's not actually the point.

Some of you might have noticed odd or repeated phrasing in these posts. That's intentional.

Webcrawlers look all over the web for certain information. When someone searches for a particular set of keywords, the webcrawlers look for certain words or phrases to determine what results to spit out. That's why the ads always contain a bunch of links.

So in the case of E-Cigarettes (as we get spammed with those almost daily) they're using DailyKos to push up their website's results.

Last night, someone selling industrial eqipment did the same thing.

Sites like DailyKos have a lot of traffic, so they score high when doing SEO. Forums that have lots of hits also get this kind of spam.

The reason the stuff is posted in the middle of the night is because usually this kind of spam is deleted. They want it to be posted for as long as possible. The hope is that the webcrawlers will visit the webpage, record the posted information, and push up the company's results in Yahoo, Bing, and Google.

By allowing these posts to stay up, we're letting the spammers' work stick around. It means that if they write a bunch of posts up here at DailyKos, the SEO work they did is more effective than posting it somewhere where it will be deleted.

This makes us a target.

If we leave these posts up, other spammers will see DailyKos as a good place to drop spam.

I would recommend that we develop a system to remove these posts. If we let them stick around, the search optimization will work. It will just encourage the spammers to use DailyKos as a part of their business model.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Provide a method by which posts can be deleted.

If a spammer makes an account and is immediately bojo'd, his posts should be automatically unpublished. This works on trolls to.

It should only work for users who've been here less than a certain period of time. That way, an established community member who makes mistakes doesn't lose all of their work, and is able to make ammends to the community and return.

2. Reinstate some form of waiting period for most users.

A one-week rating period should apply to everyone except for two groups of people.

First, people who are referred by members of the community. If someone's friend wants to make a DailyKos account, or a politician or organization, that person can be referred by a member in good standing. The member recieves a message in their kosmail to confirm whether or not the person signing up for the site is actually referred by them. When the member confirms, vouches for, the new member, they're allowed to post blog entries immediately.

Second, people can subscribe to DailyKos and be able to post immediately. If someone's willing to subscribe to the site, they're probably not a spammer. And if they are, and they subscribe anyway, then DailyKos makes a few bucks to spend on progressive activism. Then we ban the spammer anyway, and KosMedia LLC keeps their money.

We can win the war against the spammers, it will just require a few steps. What does the community think?

Just as importantly, what do the really amazing folks who do the tech work to keep this site up and running think? Is any of this doable? (Seriously, you guys are awesome and don't get enough credit for the incredible work you do keeping this website up and running.)

11:17 AM PT: From the wonderful Elfling who works on the site:

We have a plan. The system that is working great for comments is also going to work well for diaries, once it is implemented for them.

We don't want to reinstate the waiting period - we've seen a huge increase in quality content posted by new users with the immediate posting power. We only want to stop spam, not the real people.

1:13 PM PT: So it's done. According to Elfling (see link above) the robot will eventually begin unpublishing spammer posts.

The Elfling and company are all over this. We smite the spammers, and the robot will smite their posts.

That seems to be the best solution. As Elfling said, the comment system is working very, very well.

When they implement it for diaries, as per the plan, it will get rid of the SEO aspects of spamming here. It won't clog up the recent diaries, so we'll see the important writing of newer and less established users.

Most importantly, there won't be potential for abuse like there might be with a smite button. We don't have to worry about a new weapon in the arsenal of the metawarriors.

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