There's this spammer, we all know him by now. Anyway, I checked to see his account, he's had one at ELU for the last 17 days. Why hasn't he been banned by now? I know that doesn't stop the person from setting up a new account but still... seventeen days, c'mon!


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EDIT: I took a look in my flagging history, the guy has posted 9 times

EDIT 2 (28/5/2014): Only wanted to add that the flagging system is working a treat. Just now a spammer posted and he was annihilated within five minutes. Wow!

  • 3
    I do not think this a helpful question. If the mods were to give an answer (whether "just slipped through when we weren't watching" or "found hole XYZ in our detection systems") that answer would be useful both to this spammer and to any future/potential ones, whereas it would be only mildly interesting to the rest of us. May 13, 2014 at 10:34
  • One reason why the spam is getting deleted so quickly: the whole Stack Exchange community is finding it. We have SmokeDetector, a bot that posts spammy posts into the Tavern on mSE and Charcoal HQ. Also, I usually have the new questions tab open, and so do a few others.
    – hichris123
    May 28, 2014 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


Because the community was particularly efficient at removing this spam.

Which is to say, each of this user's posts were auto-deleted when a sufficient number of users flagged them as spam. The mods never saw them, because the flags were handled (post deleted) before they hit our queue.

The community removed the content, which is the desired effect. I have now destroyed the user account so it can no longer post.

I will not suggest that the community should be less efficient at garbage removal. It is important to bring repeat offenders to our attention. I'd suggest that when you see something like this, flag one of the posts with a custom flag to bring it to our attention, or tell us about it in chat.

  • I'm sorry if this question is inappropriate. Your answer explains perfectly well what happened, I just thought it odd that despite all the flags and downvotes this spammer continued to post. Please, delete my question if you believe it has done more harm than good.
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 13, 2014 at 17:11
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    @Mari I don't think it's inappropriate.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    May 13, 2014 at 17:36
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    This is probably more of a StackExchange Meta question than an ELU Meta question, but would it not make sense for accounts to be auto-deleted as well if (like this one) a certain number/percentage of the account’s questions/answers has been flagged as spam and auto-deleted? The auto-deletion is a brilliant concept, but it seems an unwanted or unforeseen side effect that the better it works, the more likely it is to help the spam account remain active. May 14, 2014 at 14:49
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    As an IT-guy, I just love it when a system is so efficient that it backfires :P But indeed, it might be a good idea if somehow, if not automatically deleted, it would be possible that repeat spammers' accounts get flagged for mod attention or something like that.
    – oerkelens
    May 14, 2014 at 15:32
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    Both the marking via spam flags appropriately and the destruction of users by moderators under reasons for spam will help update the system to defend against further intrusion. If they don't get destroyed fast enough, it won't improve defenses as fast, but keep in mind that flagging for spam will still help. But as noted, adding a custom flag to alert moderators will also help. Basically, everyone should continue to do as much as they can to help route these out, and we'll bring reinforcements.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 14, 2014 at 18:04
  • It seems to be working quite efficiently now: one spam question was locked and deleted by Community within seconds. (However, I suspect that custom rules/filters have been employed; but that's no bad thing either)
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    May 15, 2014 at 21:38
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: Auto-deleted, almost surely not. Automatically brought to a moderator's attention, sounds good.
    – Ben Voigt
    May 17, 2014 at 3:19
  • KitFox, could TPTB automatically disallow posts which contain strings of more than nine digits in a row (with or without delimiters)? They are almost certainly phone numbers, which really don't belong here. Even if someone wants to ask about phone numbers, there's already a relevant question
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    May 17, 2014 at 10:52
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    15 rep points are required to flag. This is not "high rep" by any means. May 26, 2014 at 11:31
  • @Shadow Agreed. I was thinking about votes for deletion, which are available only to high rep users.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    May 27, 2014 at 14:50
  • Cheers, makes more sense now. (though I don't agree with the last sentence, but won't go into it here :-)) (EDIT: glaring typo, your inbox item might still contain "makes no sense now" - sorry!) May 27, 2014 at 14:53

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