Over at least the last half year I noticed spam popping up here, that I do not see on the other 15-20 SE sites that I visit (with the same frequency).

What makes Astronomy.se different? More spam, Bayesian filters not effective in relation to the subjects, not enough human eyes?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm curious, too. SmokeDetector is reporting a lot recently, which is quite abnormal given the regular traffic on this site. $\endgroup$
    – iBug
    Jan 10 '18 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ This site is hitting hard these days, lol. $\endgroup$
    – iBug
    Jan 10 '18 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting is the "Reports by site" graph here - last month Astronomy had even more spam reports than e.g. Meta.SE or Drupal.SE $\endgroup$ Jan 10 '18 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ @ByteCommander Adding to that, given that the traffic here is only about 2.7k/d whereas there's 6k/d on Meta and a whopping 14k on Drupal, it seems like this site has a special attraction to spam :) $\endgroup$
    – iBug
    Jan 10 '18 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Related question for a site which had/has the same problem. It seems we just don't know the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Glorfindel
    Jan 10 '18 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ Anyway, don't worry. SmokeDetector is permanently monitoring spams and we'll help nuke them quickly. $\endgroup$
    – iBug
    Jan 10 '18 at 13:00
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    $\begingroup$ Looks indeed like Astronomy is getting the short end of a long stick at the moment. Maybe there's a specific campaign targeting astronomy going on $\endgroup$
    – Magisch
    Jan 10 '18 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ Have we checked if these are coming from the same IP address? If that's the case, could the mods IP ban? $\endgroup$ Jan 10 '18 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ I also notice that it hangs around longer than on other sites. Fewer users -> fewer flags -> less frequent opportunities to flag spam -> more visibility for spam. Charcoal's doing a good job of mitigating that, of course, with some automatic flag casting, but we still need frequent Astronomy Stack Exchange users to finish the job. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Jan 11 '18 at 2:24
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    $\begingroup$ @SirCumference Not usually from the same IP address--when it is I do IP ban. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Jan 23 '18 at 13:50
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    $\begingroup$ On the plus side, all of this spam apparently has helped a lot of people get the deputy badge, almost half of which have been rewarded in the last couple of months. Also on the plus side: I've noticed that the volume of spam appears to have fallen off considerably in the last week or two. $\endgroup$ Jan 28 '18 at 14:04

I'm afraid this question can only be answered by those spammers, which is never going to happen. So this may be left as an eternal mystery.

Given the recent reports by SmokeDetector, it seems there's no special pattern in the contents or the type of spam here. We're noticing the same spam posts all over the Stack Exchange network, so we can only guess headlessly. Maybe a specific campaign targeting this site or whatever.

By the way, Drupal Answers once had a similar question, and it's left a mystery, too.

Don't worry, Smokey is constantly scanning the whole Stack Exchange network for spams. We will do whatever we can to help you nuke the spam posts quickly. Even if Smokey misses one, we can still manually find it and purge it.


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