67 New Spam Topics overnight

I was marking these as spam as they popped up last night and saw them getting removed but apparently the spammers continued after we went to sleep. BEGON FORUM POLLUTION.

Retool who did you anger? Why are they doing this to you?

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Hey @BattleCattleDevelopment! Thanks so much for the help!! You and @jg80 caught a bunch of them. I'm working on upping our automated filtering of spam, but as you noticed we aren't quite able to keep up just yet. I believe I've cast them out out into the abyss as of this moment. But even as I post this the auto filtering is catching more. I'll remain ever vigilant, and with your help we shall keep the Forum pollution free!


Keep fighting the good fight, @joeBumbaca!


Possible to add (even just until flood passes) a kind of 'quick flag' icon/button everywhere there is an actual link to these posts? Like the "suggested topics" below this. 3 of 5 any user could just:

And not just report but auto update a filter and flag/report that post as being part of a specific issue being currently dealt with (i.e. today it is spam but tomorrow the button may be fighting the overbearing AI overlords...).

IDK anything about any of this and no one pays me to mind their business. I can't figure out how to get paid for minding my own... But all of the above just came to mind as fairly quick, easy and useful if it could be done.

Don't know how to edit... but that was me asking if that is possible to add as a feature in community boards... (here, assuming you mean all those posts I see in the suggested topics below.)

Thank you all for the support and solidarity in the good fight against spam! We've been following some of this guidance and updating "watched words" and phrases like "toll free number" that trigger auto-flagging to auto-silence the user and unlist the post. The good news is we've seen the spam volume significantly subside recently based on some of these updates.

@indefiniteness we'll look into whether there's a good way to add another way to flag spam content :thinking: We use Discourse to host our forum. They do tend to have flexible settings and plugins we sometimes add to bolster default functionality. The best way to flag spam is to use the flag button under a comment:
Screen Shot 2024-04-03 at 4.47.53 PM

However, users need to reach trust level 1: basic user" to access the flag button. Same with editing posts at the moment. We updated the ability to edit posts to trust level 1 instead of trust level 0 yesterday because spammers were using post editing to get around our watched words. We'll track whether we see more reason to restore access to that feature to level 0 in the future, vs. spammers leveraging it to get through. It's a careful balance we want to strike - making sure we're protected against spam, but not overly hindering other users' experience in parallel.

Thank you again for your patience and collaboration on this this week!


Update - we've continued to tighten our defenses and learn from the types of spam we saw during that spike early in April. One of those defenses we tightened was requiring fewer people flagging a post before it silences the user + unlists the post, plus flags it for review by our team just in case it was legit.

After that ~3-4 day period and improving our settings to more strictly detect and act on spam, we've seen spam significantly subside down to a more "normal" trickle of a very small handful of spam posts per week, most of which are immediately flagged, unlisted and the author user gets silenced upon creation. We should be much better protected going forward.

@indefiniteness thanks for your ideas above - I'm hoping we won't need a view of related spam posts, as we shouldn't see that many flood our forum at once going forward. Still, flagging posts that are clearly spam is the best (and highly appreciated) action! Typically using the "latest" tab will show the spam topics if there's a barrage of spam within a short period of time, otherwise searching on terms used in the spam post could find similar ones fairly quickly :thinking: But the ideal state is we/the system already handle these and hide the posts/silence the user before they can be seen by our community forum members :grin:

Thanks again for everyone's help flagging those many posts that were getting through last month!