A couple of weeks ago we wrote a post about the spam issue. As a recap: with the large number of members now using IMAutomator, it is inevitable that some people are posting materials (bookmarks mainly) that are causing our accounts to get deleted and in some severe cases, our server is being blocked entirely. Obviously this hurts everybody who uses the IMAutomator system.
Upon reviewing the policies of the bookmarking sites we submit to, we have come up with a set of acceptable use guidelines – or rather, areas to be avoided. These are adult, gambling, drugs and anything illegal.
To get rid of the spam, we need a two-pronged attack. Firstly the submissions that are already sitting in our job queue waiting to be submitted must be cleaned, and secondly we need to prevent such submissions being made in the first place. Our first priority is in cleaning up the queue to ensure that no more damage is done.
We’ve begun to develop our internal spam filter and at the moment it is a little crude but over time it will learn what is spam and what isn’t. We’ve introduced a new submission error message of ‘Deleted for SPAM content’ though this doesn’t indicate what triggered the error. As we refine the spam filter we will be able to report on the nature of the content such as whether it was adult etc.
The next stage will be to actually prevent the submissions from being made at the point of entry on the submission form but we will not implement this until the spam filter has learned what is spam to a very high degree of accuracy as obviously a false identification would be very frustrating for members.
Note that the amount of spam is actually higher than we had realised and so this has now become a top priority and we are going to hold off adding more Bookmarking sites until this is fully resolved. We don’t want to go to the effort of adding a PR6 site only to have our server blocked a week later due to spam!