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How To Stop "Spam Comments" Without Countless Tough Decisions

I am putting this post in business because what it is really about is how to help Persona Paper survive as a business. There has been a lot of talk here about "spam comments." I have seen this defined as "a short, generic comment that adds nothing to the post." Basically, a comment that is not meaningful. "Nice comment" is often used as an example, but that is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The problem, as I see it, is deciding just how much of that iceberg is jutting out above surface where it can poke holes in our ship and where exactly the waterline may be in relation to "meaningful."

Here is a list of potential spam comments, all of which I have seen posted multiple times by users on other sites, most likely by cut-and-pasting:

I agree.
I like the post.
Very interesting!
Thanks for sharing.
I never thought of that.
This really made me think.
I look forward to more from you.
Your words are truly inspiring to me.
Your articles are making this site a joy to visit!

I could go on, but the point is, spam comments are not always extremely short, nor are they always easy to spot. To make it more complicated, some of these so-called spammers will combine their comments into even longer comments that really say nothing...

Nice post! I agree. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more from you.

And much like pornography, which we may not be able to define but know it when we see it, we do not all draw the line at the same place. What offends one may not offend another. They may, in fact, find it pleasing. And let's get down to it -- what really irks us is not that someone called our post "nice," but that we know they did not read the post. So how do we know when to take action against these comments?

My suggestion is to not try to monitor and judge every comment and instead look for two things. First, anyone posting the same comment over and over should be grounds for expulsion from the site and fofeiture of payment. That takes care of the cut and pasters no matter what length they make their comment. Second, inappropriate comments such as saying "nice post" when someone posts about their grandmother dying or "thanks for sharing" on a post about losing a pet should get you booted as well. Since comment spammers do not read the post, they are bound to make this mistake fairly frequently.

Trying to review every comment to decide if it is a spam comment will be way too time consuming. As the site gets bigger, more and more cut and paste commentors are sure to appear. The criteria for judging spam comments should not be what it says or how meaningful it is, but if it is repeated and/or if it is inappropriate. While this may still allow opinions into the equation, it is a much more straight forward way of dealing with the issue than basically asking someone to make difficult decisions on a comment by comment basis.

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AliCanary wrote on June 18, 2014, 11:39 AM

I'm not sure why everybody is using the term "spam" for this type of meaningless comment. Spam is advertising. When I think of spam comments, I think of the ones that say, "My brother's girlfriend's nephew's dog makes $9,000 a day posting dumb comments on the internet". I find those way more annoying and abusive than someone who said "Nice post."

JanetHunt wrote on June 18, 2014, 12:40 PM

DarkSinistar I have seen some spam comments that were several sentences long! LOL! If you don't have anything genuine to say, don't say anything at all! Just my thoughts...

allen0187 wrote on June 18, 2014, 8:20 PM

AliCanary , those comments are spam and should be rightfully reported. I haven't seen any such comments here in PP. Once, the site gets bigger though, we will see those kind of spam comments.

'Nice post' and the like are less annoying, true, but these comments do not add any value to the post.

allen0187 wrote on June 18, 2014, 8:33 PM

I agree with your thoughts here. The length of the comment isn't enough to determine if it is a spam comment or not. Relevance to the post is.

The sooner these spammers are weeded out, the better for PP.

AliCanary wrote on June 18, 2014, 11:22 PM

I guess in a way even the doofy ones like "nice post" are a form of advertising, as the commenter is clearly trying to get us to respond in kind on his post to get an extra coin. Pretty sad. One of the writers did something I thought was funny--she copied and pasted responses to each one of those pointless comments, something like, "Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!" Of course the responses were on her OWN post, which gave her the money. Unfortunately, even though that's gratifying, I wouldn't recommend doing it here because it would take advantage of Ashley.

Ruby3881 wrote on June 24, 2014, 8:21 PM

While I also look at things like repetition of a comment and inappropriate sentiments expressed, my main criterion for spam comments is that the comment is not relevant to the content of the post. There is no sign that the user has read the post. Either it is a generic comment like, "Thanks for sharing," or it is a feeble attempt at personalizing a generic content.

I've seen quite a few that looked like, "This post about spam comments is a beautiful post. Your posts are very inspiring DarkSinistar , and you inspire us to read your posts again." When the user is posting a string of such comments, I don't think anyone needs to make a difficult decision.
The point isn't to delete an account over one short comment like, "Congratulations!" left on a post about a job promotion or a new baby, but to weed out those who consistently post junk messages. They will probably also be writing garbage posts, so it's not tough to spot them.

For now while we're small, the important thing is that as a community we need to be clear that we don't want to see spammy comments on this site, and we are going to let new members know that if we see them writing that sort of thing. Between the efforts of the members and the admin, it will be easier to handle. There's no reason for it to get out of control, because there is a clear rule about it and people here are willing to enforce that rule.

DorothyGale wrote on June 25, 2014, 11:15 AM

Good points that you've made. Most of the spam comments have an obvious lack of attention to what was said in the article they commented on ... mostly because they didn't read the post!

gidget wrote on July 9, 2014, 7:23 PM

I have not seen any here yet, only relevant comments so far. And I can understand everyone, as well!
I kind of lost it yesterday on my bubblews post about spreading Ricky's ashes when someone wrote, if you really want to read interesting articles, connect to me. And the other post said that I need to source my pics, which I did and described. I went off on them, but they probably never return to read them.

BarbRad wrote on February 17, 2015, 3:15 AM

At least we can flag offensive comments so that admin can decide what to do with them.