[OSM-dev] Chinese spam diaries, an analysis

Andy Allan gravitystorm at gmail.com
Wed Dec 3 16:14:29 UTC 2014

On 3 December 2014 at 15:46, Andrew Hain <andrewhainosm at hotmail.co.uk> wrote:
> A spammer is periodically posting messages in Chinese to the User Diaries.

Thanks for the analysis, I hope it provides developers with ideas for
combatting it via the automated spam filters that we already have[1].

However, spam is an arms race, and I think we might need a different
long-term approach. I know in the past using 3rd-party spam filtering
services was too expensive (and not really very OSM-ish either).
Perhaps we need a new set of human content moderators on the site, say
40-80 people with a variety of languages between them. We can consider
grey-listing all accounts - i.e. the first few posts of every account
is held for review automatically by default, and enable direct posting
after we're more certain they aren't a spammer.

Of course, this would all need coding, but I'm interested in other
people's ideas. The current situation where our spam filters can be
overwhelmed, and all the removal of spam depends on full-blown
system-administrator[2] accounts, isn't perfect!


[1] https://github.com/openstreetmap/openstreetmap-website/blob/master/app/models/user.rb#L211
[2] https://github.com/openstreetmap/openstreetmap-website/blob/master/app/controllers/diary_entry_controller.rb#L10

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