July 7, 2009

How to Beat Spam (Over the Head)

Haven't written in this forum for a while, but thought it would be an appropriate platform to talk about some of the new security features on Linux.com.

As some of you may know, in our quest to be an open system, certain users have felt it an open invitation to spam the bejeezus out of everyone else. Our open blog system, the groups, and our direct messaging system have all been vectors for opportunistic abusers. This has led us to create some safeguards that will keep these systems and allow the more welcome users of Linux.com to self-police these people off of the site.

Already implemented is the blog safeguard. Under each blog entry, there is a new Report Spam link. If you see spam appear on the site, click on this link. After a small number of fellow users report the same entry as spam, the offending entry will be removed and the user blocked from the site to prevent further spamming. In addition, we've asked some Linux.com members who were very helpful in fighting the initial deluge to be moderators who can immediately remove spam on their own.

A similar system is now in place for groups. What's been happening is that a malicious user will create a group, then issue bulletins filled with spam links in an effort to capture SEO or unsuspecting users. These bulletins don't go anywhere, but they do clog up the /Community page from time to time. Again, the solution is similar: click on the Report Group link on the Group's home page and after a requisite number of reports, the Group will be pulled down and the user who created the group blocked from Linux.com.

Finally, the direct messaging (DM)  system has an anti-spam system in place. If you get a message from a user that is spam, click on the Report Spam link in the message. As soon as a small number of users reports the spammer, that user will be blocked. I know several users have gotten these lately, and while you can still report instances to us, using the reporting tool will get rid of the abuser that much faster.

We hope that these new features will  enhance your Linux.com visits. It's sad that we have to be mindful of such things, but having the right tools to deal with the issue will only help make the community stronger.

Click Here!