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View Full Version : The spam readability poll



matthew
August 19th, 2006, 02:59 PM
Based on a discussion started in this thread (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=239403) I am posting a poll.

Should spam continue to be retained in the jail as it currently is, or should it be deleted?

Here's the current forum policy (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/index.php?page=policy):
If a thread is spam it will be moved to the forum jail.unless it is related to
Adult Content/Violence/Illegal Activity: Messages containing sexually oriented/violent/illegal dialog, images, content, or links to such will be deleted. Messages with links to or suggesting illegal activity will also be deleted. These actions could result in a ban.

dabear
August 19th, 2006, 03:04 PM
Based on a discussion started in this thread (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=239403) I am posting a poll.

Should spam continue to be retained in the jail as it currently is, or should it be deleted?

Here's the current forum policy (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/index.php?page=policy):unless it is related to
I have no value of reading the spam messages, be GONE!
Either that or this (as previously stated in another thread):


why not just remove the forum from public view? Almost like the Autmatix forum which is still there and readable if desired, but not on the front page anymore

matthew
August 19th, 2006, 03:10 PM
I have no value of reading the spam messages, be GONE!
Either that or this (as previously stated in another thread):For what it's worth, when we delete things from the forums, they are only "soft deleted" which means they remain in a special part of the database that only staff and admins have access to. Nothing is ever fully deleted.

ComplexNumber
August 19th, 2006, 03:13 PM
For what it's worth, when we delete things from the forums, they are only "soft deleted" which means they remain in a special part of the database that only staff and admins have access to. Nothing is ever fully deleted.
supermoderators and admin have the option to hard delete it so that its gone for good :).

matthew
August 19th, 2006, 03:15 PM
supermoderators and admin have the option to hard delete it so that its gone for good :).True. Thank you for the clarification.

ComplexNumber
August 19th, 2006, 03:21 PM
True. Thank you for the clarification.
this is an example of what a supermod/admin would see. the 3rd option physically removed it for good so that its irretrievable.

Biltong (Dee)
August 19th, 2006, 05:11 PM
******, ****** and other 'that way orientated' spam?
Delete for good please.

Leave the jailed posts from other forum members - it is always interesting to see what people are really like...

aysiu
August 19th, 2006, 05:22 PM
I think they should be jailed but the links taken out of them so that instead of something like: http://www.spamviagraspyware.com

You get something like spamviagraspyware

az
August 20th, 2006, 01:04 AM
I beleive that the jail was not meant to be part of forum searches. At some point in one of the last few forum software upgrades, some things got screwey, and the jail became part of new post searches.

Maybe that is the problem here?

Otherwise, I would only really like to see stuff that is clearly spam deleted. I mean have really really narrow guidelines as to what is considered spam and when in doubt, jail instead of delete.

It is irrelevant what the staff can see in regards to the fact that most deleted posts are still visible to them - it's the public that needs to see the transparency (play on words... heh heh.).

Which is why the jail not being searchable is elegant - the stuff is all there, but it doesn't bother anybody.

omns
August 20th, 2006, 02:16 AM
.

OffHand
August 20th, 2006, 03:26 AM
Which is why the jail not being searchable is elegant - the stuff is all there, but it doesn't bother anybody.

It bothers me, and looking at the poll results it also bothers other people.
Spam has no purpose on this forum. There are a lot of ways to prove your transparency, keeping spam visible isn't one of them imo.

dasunst3r
August 20th, 2006, 03:30 AM
That's easy: Delete them all. We don't need to waste any disk space on them and they do not deserve any visibility at all. Now, if you want to leave their contact information so we can exact our revenge on them, that would be another story! *evil grin*

aysiu
August 20th, 2006, 03:36 AM
I think Azz brings up a good point that remains a good point, regardless of what people decide to do about spam--the Jail posts should not be part of any regular Ubuntu Forums search.

slimdog360
August 20th, 2006, 08:30 AM
SPAM serves no purpose so delete it.

Copter
August 20th, 2006, 10:45 AM
******, ****** and other 'that way orientated' spam?
Delete for good please.

Leave the jailed posts from other forum members - it is always interesting to see what people are really like...
good idea +

az
August 20th, 2006, 01:12 PM
SPAM serves no purpose so delete it.

What is the definition of spam?

If someone makes a post that mentions a third-party website, is that spam? What if it is on-topic? What if it not a clear-cut case?

Deleting posts is not a simple solution. It can potentially cause more problems than it solves. Moving things to the jail makes those kinds of errors in judgement much less severe. And that takes a load off the forum staff.

It also adds a ton of credibility to them - you look at the jail and you tend to agree that those posts should be there. Transparency works both ways - and you get to see the work that the staff do. If they were not visible to you, the staff would not be seen as much for doing the good things, but only visible when they do moderating tasks (the ones which which tend to upset people)

So I guess I am saying that there are many reasons to keep things visible.

Edit: I woted keep the current policy, but I meant to revert to what I seem to remember as being the original policy of jailed posts being excluded from forum searches.

OffHand
August 20th, 2006, 01:26 PM
What is the definition of spam?

If someone makes a post that mentions a third-party website, is that spam? What if it is on-topic? What if it not a clear-cut case?

Deleting posts is not a simple solution. It can potentially cause more problems than it solves. Moving things to the jail makes those kinds of errors in judgement much less severe. And that takes a load off the forum staff.

It also adds a ton of credibility to them - you look at the jail and you tend to agree that those posts should be there. Transparency works both ways - and you get to see the work that the staff do. If they were not visible to you, the staff would not be seen as much for doing the good things, but only visible when they do moderating tasks (the ones which which tend to upset people)

So I guess I am saying that there are many reasons to keep things visible.

Edit: I woted keep the current policy, but I meant to revert to what I seem to remember as being the original policy of jailed posts being excluded from forum searches.

Message me at spammer@ingamegold.scam for WoW gold, cheap!! now!!

Buy ****** now, discount!

Always wanted a Rolex? Go to this website for awesome deals. REAL Rolexes with certificate


Etc etc You get the message ;)

This a nice example: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=1400586#post1400586

az
August 20th, 2006, 03:18 PM
Message me at spammer@ingamegold.scam for WoW gold, cheap!! now!!

Buy ****** now, discount!

Always wanted a Rolex? Go to this website for awesome deals. REAL Rolexes with certificate


Etc etc You get the message ;)

This a nice example: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=1400586#post1400586

Those are examples, not a definition. A definition would help define which posts are spam and which are not.

For example, do a forum search for Kevin Carmony and you decide whether his posts about Linspire are spam or not. I'm sure it's not a clear-cut case to everyone.

Had those posts been deleted, that would have made the forum look bad. That's what I think we should avoid, ammong other things.

Had those posts been jailed (they are not spam) and someone noticed them in there, they could have brought it up and the matter discussed (which would make the forums look good) and the posts put back. That cannot happen if they are deleted.

So, unless you can come up with a very strict definition of what is spam, one that never fails, it can cause more problems than it solves.

OffHand
August 20th, 2006, 03:38 PM
Those are examples, not a definition. A definition would help define which posts are spam and which are not.

For example, do a forum search for Kevin Carmony and you decide whether his posts about Linspire are spam or not. I'm sure it's not a clear-cut case to everyone.

Had those posts been deleted, that would have made the forum look bad. That's what I think we should avoid, ammong other things.

Had those posts been jailed (they are not spam) and someone noticed them in there, they could have brought it up and the matter discussed (which would make the forums look good) and the posts put back. That cannot happen if they are deleted.

So, unless you can come up with a very strict definition of what is spam, one that never fails, it can cause more problems than it solves.
They can be made invisible and stored in a database. If mistakes are made the message can be restored (which will hardly ever happen, trust me).

If it looks like spam and smells like spam it probablly is spam.
Just use common sense.

panickedthumb
August 20th, 2006, 03:58 PM
The point is, the jail kinda IS an invisible database. Those aren't supposed to come up in forum searches and new threads, but that's still getting worked out.

I had voted to just delete it, but we would need a clear cut policy on what spam is, like azz has suggested.

OffHand
August 20th, 2006, 05:17 PM
LOL

A definition of spam shouldn't be too hard to make.

aysiu
August 20th, 2006, 05:24 PM
You could get a legal definition of spam, but on a case by case basis you might still get disagreement about how that applies to particular cases.

Yes, surely messages--especially those about making money quickly or getting ******--that are posted ten times by one person who has never posted before are spam.

But what about a thread by someone who's never posted before who says, "Check out my Ubuntu website"? What about a seller in the marketplace who posts a new product line of Ubuntu-preloaded desktops?

That said, most of the grey areas I've seen are few and far between. Since deleted messages don't really get deleted (just put somewhere only staff can see), I think it's not unreasonable to just delete them, and then if someone feels she has a legitimate gripe for getting her "spam" post back, she can post in the resolution center, the "spam" in question can be temporarily moved to the jail to be evaluated, and if it's found to be spam, it will be re-deleted permanently. If it's not found to be spam, it can be restored to the original thread.

OffHand
August 20th, 2006, 05:33 PM
But what about a thread by someone who's never posted before who says, "Check out my Ubuntu website"? What about a seller in the marketplace who posts a new product line of Ubuntu-preloaded desktops?
Well, at least those are Ubuntu related. I am talking about scams, commercial advertising (especially non Ubuntu related), sexual enhancers, gamegold, fake brand materials (like watches etc.).

It's not really hard to seperate the good from the ugly.

aysiu
August 20th, 2006, 05:38 PM
Well, at least those are Ubuntu related. I am talking about scams, commercial advertising (especially non Ubuntu related), sexual enhancers, gamegold, fake brand materials (like watches etc.).

It's not really hard to seperate the good from the ugly.
No, it's not, but to someone who contests it, it can be very difficult to justify in rational terms. "I know it when I see it" isn't rational enough. Now, maybe we don't need to be rational, but I think we do.

OffHand
August 20th, 2006, 05:45 PM
No, it's not, but to someone who contests it, it can be very difficult to justify in rational terms. "I know it when I see it" isn't rational enough. Now, maybe we don't need to be rational, but I think we do.

It's a cost-benefit balance. If once in a 100 years a spam post is deleted which wasn't actually spam... too bad. Like they say '**** happens'. Although I think that will only happen on a rare occasion. I also think we shouldn't make it more difficult than it actually is.

P.S. I'm just writing down my ideas. I fully understand it is up to the admins to decide.

aysiu
August 20th, 2006, 05:55 PM
No, I agree with you, subsonic_shadow. Most of the time it shouldn't be an issue.

That's why I suggested just having people advocate for themselves in the resolution center should there be a dispute about what's "spam."

OffHand
August 20th, 2006, 06:00 PM
No, I agree with you, subsonic_shadow. Most of the time it shouldn't be an issue.

That's why I suggested just having people advocate for themselves in the resolution center should there be a dispute about what's "spam."

I like that idea... soft delete them so they are not visible and they do not show up in search results.

Edit: I thought about it and I think they should only be soft deleted in case of doubt. If it is obviously spam it can be hard deleted if you ask me.

az
August 20th, 2006, 06:35 PM
It's a cost-benefit balance. If once in a 100 years a spam post is deleted which wasn't actually spam... too bad. Like they say '**** happens'.

The problem is that of authority and credibility. It is a lot easier to have authority when you are credible. If a mistake is made and a spam post is not deleted, it is an inconvenience. If a mistake is made and a non-spam post is deleted, you are at risk of being accused of censoship.

That's bad. Now, if the jail being visible, but never ever present in any forum searches (you should never come across a jailed post unless you look there on purpose) is too much of an inconveninece for you, you still have to consider that deleting *anything* is a slippery slope.

That being said, of course there are lots of posts that are obviously spam. I don't want anyone to think the forum is overrun by spam (it's not). But if it is really that neccessary to delete them, please find some really tight criteria and when in doubt, jail instead of delete.




Although I think that will only happen on a rare occasion. I also think we shouldn't make it more difficult than it actually is.

Well, is someone had a post deleted, they probably will not feel they have a strong case unless others can know that they actually made the post. Having it deleted makes it very hard for the other side...



P.S. I'm just writing down my ideas. I fully understand it is up to the admins to decide.

Discussion is good. That's how my or your opinion can change. And maybe some policies will end up tweaked for the better.

Paul_UK
August 20th, 2006, 07:37 PM
The problem with leaving spam in the jail is that search engines like Google can find and spider it. So links to the spammers websites get spidered and gradually added to Google. That alone makes it worth posting the stuff for some spammers.

I voted to delete it. That's what happens in every other forum I visit, and I'm sure that's what we all do when it arrives in our email (if the spam filter doesn't do it for us).

az
August 20th, 2006, 08:48 PM
The problem with leaving spam in the jail is that search engines like Google can find and spider it. So links to the spammers websites get spidered and gradually added to Google. That alone makes it worth posting the stuff for some spammers.


Should the jail be visible to non-logged-in users?

And regardless of that, does vBuletin have some setting to dissable links in a forum section? If so, then just enabling that would create no more work for the staff.

BWF89
August 20th, 2006, 09:36 PM
We should delete it.

If we keep it and just move it to the jail than people might click on the links and than the spammers would have more of an incentive to keep spamming the forums.

OffHand
August 31st, 2006, 10:26 AM
Hi Matthew
Well, the poll has been there for over a week now.
Not many people voted but the ones that did would like to see
spam getting deleted instead of put in the jail.
I wondered what's the outcome of this poll. Are you going to change the policy or keep it the way it is now? I realize it is not really a hot topic for most people but still the majority of people in the poll would rather see spam deleted.

Greetings OffHand

matthew
August 31st, 2006, 10:36 AM
Hi Matthew
Well, the poll has been there for over a week now.
Not many people voted but the ones that did would like to see
spam getting deleted instead of put in the jail.
I wondered what's the outcome of this poll. Are you going to change the policy or keep it the way it is now? I realize it is not really a hot topic for most people but still the majority of people in the poll would rather see spam deleted.

Greetings OffHandThanks for the reminder. Now that we have had some time for input I'll start a discussion in the staff forum and will post back here sometime next week (I'll be traveling for a few days or I would do it sooner).

OffHand
August 31st, 2006, 10:42 AM
Thanks for the reminder. Now that we have had some time for input I'll start a discussion in the staff forum and will post back here sometime next week (I'll be traveling for a few days or I would do it sooner).

Thanks Matthew :) Take your time and enjoy your trip.

mssever
September 2nd, 2006, 02:40 AM
Spam serves no useful purpose whatsoever...Delete it. If it's questionable, it can be jailed for a week or so to give the author a chance to defend its presence. After a week, it should be reinstated or deleted.

matthew
September 10th, 2006, 03:41 PM
We have discussed this for some time in the staff forum and the consensus is that we would love to delete all the spam, but in the interests of transparancy this generally won't happen. We will still put it in jail. However, we are trying to do some forum software adjustments so that things in the jail don't turn up in forums searches or the new posts lists. This will help keep it from being quite as large of a nuisance. We don't have an ETA for the fix yet, but it's in the queue.

Oh, and bear in mind that any spam that comes in the mailing list forum is impossible for us to control...we just mirror the mailing list, we can't filter it. I delete it once in a while, but it just reappears the next time the mailing list and the forum sync...which is several times each day, so spam in that particular forum is a losing battle.

Thank you all for your input!! It is appreciated.

OffHand
September 11th, 2006, 04:22 PM
We have discussed this for some time in the staff forum and the consensus is that we would love to delete all the spam, but in the interests of transparancy this generally won't happen. We will still put it in jail. However, we are trying to do some forum software adjustments so that things in the jail don't turn up in forums searches or the new posts lists. This will help keep it from being quite as large of a nuisance. We don't have an ETA for the fix yet, but it's in the queue.

Oh, and bear in mind that any spam that comes in the mailing list forum is impossible for us to control...we just mirror the mailing list, we can't filter it. I delete it once in a while, but it just reappears the next time the mailing list and the forum sync...which is several times each day, so spam in that particular forum is a losing battle.

Thank you all for your input!! It is appreciated.

Hi again...
First of all I would like to say I respect your decision. You guys are trying the forums the best way you can. Having that said I wonder why the poll was created in the first place. 80% of the members that participated in the poll would rather see it deleted but still you keep it the way it is. I rather would not have seen a poll because it is really meaningles this way. Just some food for thought...
Best wishes,
OffHand

matthew
September 11th, 2006, 04:39 PM
First of all I would like to say I respect your decision. You guys are trying the forums the best way you can. Having that said I wonder why the poll was created in the first place. 80% of the members that participated in the poll would rather see it deleted but still you keep it the way it is. I rather would not have seen a poll because it is really meaningles this way. Just some food for thought...I understand what you are saying and thanks for sharing your opinion here. I don't think the poll was completely meaningless, though. Here's some further food for thought.

The reason I made the poll was to gauge the importance placed on this issue by forum users. There are two ways the poll helps do that, with the voting results as a percentage as well as the amount of participation in the poll.

The percentage of responses was overwhelmingly in favor of deleting spam (including me). That said, there were only 51 people that actually voted (as of right now) which says that the issue isn't one that large numbers of people feel strongly about.

If there had been at least a couple hundred people saying they wanted this chaged we might have considered it more strongly, but moving to delete spam completely instead of jailing it would require changing more than how we deal with spam...we would have had to change forum policy and that generally involves detailed open discussions and a signigicant amount of work.

There is a trade-off involved here, does the demand warrant the amount of work necessary to make the changes? At the moment it seems like for the most part people are pretty content with how we try to deal with spam (because only 51 people chose to weigh in on the issue, and most didn't post in this thread, they just voted.

OffHand
September 11th, 2006, 04:47 PM
Thanks for clearing that up. I already realized (and said before I think) that it isn't really a hot issue among the community. Thanks again and I suppose I will just close my eyes when I scroll over the Jail section ;)

BTW: Are the links in spam threads deleted? If they are not I think you should. They can lead to potentially dangerous websites and scams.

matthew
September 11th, 2006, 09:00 PM
BTW: Are the links in spam threads deleted? If they are not I think you should. They can lead to potentially dangerous websites and scams.I agree with you. In general I try to remove/modify links, but it doesn't happen all the time. Really it depends on how busy things get. Also, lately with the forum server in desperate need of a hardware upgrade sometimes load times are so slow I feel good if I just get the stuff into the jail instead of in the forums at large. :)

Lord Illidan
September 11th, 2006, 09:18 PM
Just delete the stuff...and also...I hate it when it shows up in Newest Posts..can you prevent that thing?