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I just noticed I can no longer quickly suspend spammers, I have to write an email to them (most have invalid emails anyway).

I know this is to appease the few users per year who, when their first 5 posts are just links to their own site, come back to complain that it wasn't spam. However, we get a lot more real spammers than these phantom-spammers and this seems like a lot more effort to go through - we're not all paid SE staff you know.

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No -- in the typical egregious cases, you should just click mod, destroy on them.

(now, if it is an unusual borderline case, yes, then it would be better to use the regular email contact form.)

I never understood why anyone would suspend a spammer in the first place:

  • Garden variety spamming isn't interesting to anyone and should be removed.

  • Suspending spammers clutters our system with suspensions.

  • Suspensions are for users who have some kind of redeeming qualities and a hope of reform.

  • I don't destroy in case I get it wrong, it has happened, the signal/noise ratio is too high to be 100% right all the time. But if that's what you're saying then fair enough. – Chopper3 Apr 27 '11 at 12:30
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    Suspending the account (or merging into a spam account) inhibits the OpenID from being used again, right? – Robert Harvey Apr 27 '11 at 15:29
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    @Chopper3: So if you make a 1-out-of-100 bad call, what's the real damage? Those egregious, "garden variety" spammers are typically new to the site with their first posts being cited as (apparently) spam. In the off chance you make a bad call, apologize for the misunderstanding and invite them to join the site again. No real damage has likely been inflicted because their first contribution couldn't have been all that stellar (or you wouldn't have assumed it was spam in the first go-around). – Robert Cartaino Apr 27 '11 at 16:17
  • Agreed Robert, we're not burning their life's work are we :) – Chopper3 Apr 27 '11 at 16:24
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    @chopper I think the relevant bit is the last bullet -- "does this user really have any redeeming qualities or chance of reform?" Most spammers are simply not worth the effort and should be deleted outright. Now, if you do encounter what you consider to be a rare borderline case, I do encourage you to use the email suspension. We generally trust the judgment of the moderators. – Jeff Atwood Apr 27 '11 at 22:21
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    FWIW, I, and I believe most other SF users, also trust the judgment of the moderators. Sure mistakes are made from time to time but I've seen nothing I would jump up and down about. In my opinion SF moderators have a track record of treading rather softly. Keep up the good work. – John Gardeniers Apr 28 '11 at 2:54
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Additionally, if there are any common scenarios where you would like a templated message, let us know. Words are hard - seriously. Especially when trying not to ignite a fire. But if we're suspending someone, it probably means we hope they have something to offer on their return - so at the minimum telling them what happened is sensible. We hope this makes it easier, not harder.

  • Thanks Marc, Jeff's comments made me change the way I think of spammers, I always felt bad about destroying accounts but 99%+ of the ones I'd want to destroy only had a single point of rep, so clearing them away really is the best idea, I was being too 'nice' by just suspending them. That said suspending them meant they couldn't create a new account with the same OpenID I think, now I've destroyed them all I guess they're free to create new accounts? is there anything we could do about that? Ultimately the best way of stopping spammers is by not allowing new accounts to add urls to answers. – Chopper3 Apr 27 '11 at 18:55
  • @Chopper3 if we get repeat offenders, we can blacklist their pharm/watch/pr0n url easily enough; but yes: when it comes to garbage accounts destroy away - seriously. – Marc Gravell Apr 27 '11 at 19:33
  • We get A LOT that post the same stuff, it'd be nice to have a mod tool to define a blacklist regex or something? – Chopper3 Apr 27 '11 at 19:43
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    @Chopper3 mods can see the blacklist, but only devs can edit it - a bad regex can kill the site. Just contact Jeff or any of us, really – Marc Gravell Apr 27 '11 at 20:25

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