Improve Smart Anti-Spam feature in the Forum

Improve Smart Anti-Spam feature in the Forum
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 Jul 29 2022
7 Comments (7 New)
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Hi,

 

I noticed spam posts with a similar pattern like language, containing specific text or number and using smart mechanism it is possible to block them. Currently, the spammer will post, and we have to report as abuse, or the forum moderator should watch to take action. It would be nice if forum has a mechanism where it detects a post behaving like spam, then automatically suspend the user and hide the post and notify the moderator so they take action to either permit it or mark is as spam and remove it.

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Community Manager
Status changed to: More Info Needed

Reza,

 

Thank you for the idea, the platform already has an automatic spam detection engine which learns over time the types of spam we get. It also learns from new spam we submit to it (albeit there is a lag between something being submitted and it being added to the detection algorithm.

 

The Spam system doesn't ban users, I am not a fan of auto bans ever but it will mark all their content as spam if certain conditions are met. 

 

Given that this already exists, I am marking you idea as needing more information - incase there is something you think we need that I haven't covered?

Respected Contributor

@Allen

It also learns from new spam we submit to it (albeit there is a lag between something being submitted and it being added to the detection algorithm."

 

It doesn't seem to work!

I see posts in a specific language other than English (I won't tag it), but they're the same and the algorithm doesn't do anything about it!

I also wrote in another language, but I have never seen spam in my language, so it may be worth adding to quarantine such posts (with information for the author that after checking they will be published, or write a post in English!

Trusted Contributor

Hi @Allen ,

 

Thank you for the verification, I shared this concern because recently I observed increased number of spam posts in the Windows forum, so I was wondering the algorithm might not be smart. It would be nice if you could work with other Microsoft forums (Microsoft Answers and Microsoft Q&A) and collaborate on sharing Anti-Spam data and algorithm. 

I agreed in regard to auto-suspend is not a good idea but there is exception like a user posting number of spams and if it won't auto-suspend it just fill the forum with spams. However, maybe the algorithm set some restrictions like prevent them to post for few hours.

Community Manager

@Reza_Ameri,

 

Thank you for the follow up, I would like to take a moment to share some numbers with you on spam detection. on Sunday you reported to us 4 spam posts in the Windows Insider program, the spam quarantine detected and blocked 37 of the same types of posts as the 4 you reported from multiple users, starting on the 27th July.  That is an 89% success rate in terms of blocking spam, the problem is the author changes the content and tries to circumvent the system.

 

For example, on the 28th July we blocked the IP address of the user creating the posts (something we don't usually do because IP address is rarely static and so you can end up banning someone else by accident). The user then changed their IP address (as if to prove my previous point about why we don't do this typically) and created a completely new account to continue posting virtually the same content. 

 

On 29th July I blocked some of the keywords being used in these posts from being able to post, the spammer then changed the keywords.

 

Spam detection and and prevention is an ongoing fight, what you may have observed recently is an increase, and that is fair we are seeing allot more attempts to post spam in the Microsoft Tech Community at the moment. 

 

Hopefully you can see from the above that to say it isn't working is not accurate, it just so happened that you saw an uptick of ones that got through. 

 

The spam detection system we get with Microsoft Tech Community comes with the platform, it is not Microsoft owned and so we are unable to share it with the other Microsoft sites you have listed. 

 

We already have a post throttle system which will prevent people who post x number of posts in x number of minutes, however much like the blocked search terms people intent on spamming will adjust their script to ensure they do not trigger the throttle.

 

So all that said could we do more, of course we could and we are currently looking into other options we could leverage to help us grow and support the community better, which may include:

 

  • A new community insiders initiative
  • A volunteer moderation program

To name but two, of course we will publish more information here as soon as we have more to share and, if you would be interested in such a program than I would encourage you to watch out for it. 

Community Manager
Status changed to: Completed

Changing to completed as we already have a system that does this, could it be better probably but it does all the things requested here and normally pretty well. 

Trusted Contributor

Hi @Allen , thank you for the clarification, I will report spammers, and this is what I could do and hopefully the system will collect and analyze report and get smarter. I would be looking forward the upcoming community program you shared and hope I could join and help the community.

Community Manager

@Reza_Ameri,

 

Right now, that's the best thing you could do for us as it will and does learn, albeit a little slower than I might like.