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Author Topic: The core of Bitcointalk's spam problem  (Read 448 times)
d5000
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June 20, 2018, 08:41:18 AM
Merited by Foxpup (5), vlom (2), TryNinja (2), krishnapramod (1), hilariousetc (1), hatshepsut93 (1), HeRetiK (1), frodocooper (1), DdmrDdmr (1), vphasitha01 (1)
 #1

I think we all agree that the spam amount at Bitcointalk still is too high. The merit system perhaps has improved the situation a little bit, but even that is debatable.

The reason, in my opinion is related to the way signature campaigns work currently, and specifically, to the incentives they generate.

In short: In some campaigns there is currently no incentive for campaign starters and bounty managers to control the quality of the posts of the participants.

How are signature campaigns "supposed" to work?

- A company wants to advertise its services.
- It thinks that Bitcointalk is visited by a significant audience for the service(s) they offer.
- So they pay people to show signatures.
- Good content posted by a campaign participant should increase the visibility for the company, and thus the RoI of the campaign.
- Only if the RoI is positive, then the campaign is profitable, and makes sense for the company.

It's essentially the way the "content industry" works: Companies get attention by readers in exchange for their payments to the authors. They would only pay authors which met some quality standards to attract an attractive audience.

The incentive problem

In theory there should exist an incentive for the bounty managers to control the quality of the posts. If most of the posts were of bad quality, then nobody would read them, and the company would get little to no attention from the audience.

The core of the incentive problem is, however, that it costs them nothing to pay participants of signature campaigns, if they pay in ICO tokens! They simply create additional tokens out of thin air.

So the ROI of ICO-issuing signature campaigns will almost always be positive, regardless of the quality of the participants' posts.

That means that the "content industry model" does not work anymore, and that's why we see so much spam.

Solutions?

- One could restrict campaigns, e.g. only allow campaigns that pay out in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency that has an independent blockchain and is not an ICO token.
- Stricter control of Bounty managers.

Both solutions would require additional efforts by the forum staff.

One could wait for the ICO problem to be solved by the regulators (i.e. the incentive for ICO-based campaigns could decrease drastically if ICOs are heavily regulated in more countries.)

One could wait for the merit system to flourish, but for this to happen, the moderators would have to ban farmed accounts.

Any other ideas?

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June 20, 2018, 08:49:51 AM
 #2

Solutions?

- One could restrict campaigns, e.g. only allow campaigns that pay out in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency that has an independent blockchain and is not an ICO token.
- Stricter control of Bounty managers.

Both solutions would require additional efforts by the forum staff.
That's why I personally like to participate in Bitcoin paid campaigns. So far I have seen Bitcoin paid campaigns are running by good managers and they more or less care about good contents.

Thing is, when ICOs will realize that  the field of paying by useless tokens are dead then they will focus more in quality than quantity since they will have to pay by real currency (BTC, ETH, LTC etc)

Any other ideas?
Restrict creating ALT accounts unless necessary to apply for locked/banned accounts. Once the main account will be recovered then lock the alt account.


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June 20, 2018, 09:46:26 AM
 #3

Solutions?

- One could restrict campaigns, e.g. only allow campaigns that pay out in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency that has an independent blockchain and is not an ICO token.
- Stricter control of Bounty managers.

I would ban ICOs from advertising on the forum altogether. They've already been banned for bidding in the forum banner advertising auctions so why not extend that that to signatures?

One could wait for the merit system to flourish, but for this to happen, the moderators would have to ban farmed accounts.

Any other ideas?

That looks to be the approach being taken. It is a slow process but many ranked up accounts get banned each day and it is very difficult for them to be replaced.
I addition I'd like to see signatures removed from Newbie and Jr. Members. Most of the copy paste bots I report are Jr. Members enrolled in an ICO bounty signature campaign.

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June 20, 2018, 09:53:11 AM
Merited by Foxpup (3)
 #4

I think we all agree that the spam amount at Bitcointalk still is too high. The merit system perhaps has improved the situation a little bit, but even that is debatable.

The merit system doesn't really stop spam, it just stops users being able to rank up with spam/poor contributions so most now put more effort into their posts. The merit system helps and is a huge step in the right direction but it does nothing about lower ranked accounts spamming away who are still able to get on to alt coin campaigns (and half of them will accept anyone of any rank because it's still better than having nobody advertise for them).

Solutions?

- One could restrict campaigns, e.g. only allow campaigns that pay out in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency that has an independent blockchain and is not an ICO token.
- Stricter control of Bounty managers.

Both solutions would require additional efforts by the forum staff.



These are all things I've suggested before and as long as there's no rules or regulations for signature campaigns they will continue to be greedy and lazy and pay people to spam but until there are punishments for poorly run campaigns and their managers then nothing will change.

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June 20, 2018, 10:11:58 AM
 #5

This is a forum so in short, everyone is entitled to give their free speech and ideas about cryptocurrency or answer the question ask on a thread that was posted. Spam messages are given specially to those beginners in crypto and wanted to be enlighten. I might suggest creating a voting system to each post or reply where each and everyone of us have an option to like or press that trash button. An automated system will count those votes and if a specific number of LIKE votes will be given, an automatic merit will be rewarded. If a specific number of TRASH votes will be given, that post will be deleted automatically. How's my idea guys? That makes sense right?

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June 20, 2018, 10:17:53 AM
 #6

I might suggest creating a voting system to each post or reply where each and everyone of us have an option to like or press that trash button. An automated system will count those votes and if a specific number of LIKE votes will be given, an automatic merit will be rewarded. If a specific number of TRASH votes will be given, that post will be deleted automatically. How's my idea guys? That makes sense right?

Isn't this suggestion pretty much what the merit system already is? If you like a post them give it merit. Allowing everybody to have the unlimited power to like or dislike any post they want would just lead to colossal abuse though and wouldn't work (not to mention it would never be implemented). People would bot the hell out of this or just 'like' posts on their alt accounts and dislike the posts of people they don't like to get their posts removed.

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June 20, 2018, 10:20:38 AM
Merited by d5000 (1)
 #7

That makes sense right?

No it doesn't.

It would be so easy to abuse as the account farmers have hundreds of accounts each to use to upvote their own posts. The Merit system works well because the Merit sources are well chosen and then the sMerit flows down to the right people.

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June 20, 2018, 10:27:03 AM
 #8

Or the final choice only forbid all signature campaign , the decision depend on Theymos whenever he want to do it or not.
Meanwhile Merit already works well enough to control spamming problem compare before merit being implement
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June 20, 2018, 10:50:43 AM
 #9

From time to time we coming back to the same old problems, we discuss them again and make suggestions that we have already proposed before but at the end there's no improvement at all.

We need a strict control over the bounty managers, defined rules to follow, punishments for the rule-breakers or the easiest thing - get rid of all the ICOs.

It's Bitcointalk not a shitcointalk /sounds like a good domain name btw/, right?

But I don't see any changes in the near future...

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June 20, 2018, 11:22:58 AM
 #10

We need to give the bounty managers some tools to help them to regulate their spammers.

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 - Jet Cash has set up a number of projects for Bitcoin Talk members Click here to see the list.
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June 20, 2018, 11:25:55 AM
 #11

It's not tools they lack it is desire. They just want that URL plastered all over bitcointalk.org where Google will see it and give their site a higher ranking as a result.

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June 20, 2018, 11:38:21 AM
 #12

It's not tools they lack it is desire. They just want that URL plastered all over bitcointalk.org where Google will see it and give their site a higher ranking as a result.

I'm sure that's true of most managers, but it seems there are a few who are prepared to pay extra for quality posting.

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June 20, 2018, 11:46:13 AM
 #13


Solutions?

- One could restrict campaigns, e.g. only allow campaigns that pay out in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency that has an independent blockchain and is not an ICO token.
- Stricter control of Bounty managers.

Both solutions would require additional efforts by the forum staff.
I think if forum staff can charge some "fee per spam posts" ( not by ICO tokens) in the campaign from the bounty managers, can ultimately Leeds to more involvement for control the quality of posts rather introducing incentive for bounty managers to control the quality of posts.( They didn't take it seriously due to the fact that knowing they can earn more than what incentive offers)

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June 20, 2018, 11:50:15 AM
 #14

I'm sure that's true of most managers, but it seems there are a few who are prepared to pay extra for quality posting.

That's true but 99.9% of the spam problem is caused by the ones that don't.

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June 20, 2018, 11:51:36 AM
 #15

- One could restrict campaigns, e.g. only allow campaigns that pay out in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency that has an independent blockchain and is not an ICO token.
This has been suggested before, this is the first location I found back:
I think if it  become rule that all bounties will be paid in bitcoins only (or any established list of Altcoins.)
I do like this suggestion. "Tokens" have no value to me. Meanwhile, they abuse Bitcointalk to hype the centrally controlled cryptocurrency Ethereum. Tokens are created for free out of thin air, while having to pay actual Bitcoins means the campaign needs to have actual real funding. I'm not much for taking away freedom, but I can imagine setting a minimum payment amount would force campaigns to abandon spammers. With payments in made up tokens, there's no real cost for the campaign. Who's going to pay a spammer a dollar per post?

- Stricter control of Bounty managers.
I'd like to see that implemented, but I don't think it's likely to happen.

I addition I'd like to see signatures removed from Newbie and Jr. Members. Most of the copy paste bots I report are Jr. Members enrolled in an ICO bounty signature campaign.
If they have to buy a Copper Membership to wear a signature, they have a bit more to lose than just 30 Activity created by spamming.

We need to give the bounty managers some tools to help them to regulate their spammers.
They don't need tools, they need inentives to do so.

I'm sure that's true of most managers, but it seems there are a few who are prepared to pay extra for quality posting.
Correct. But spamming is much easier and cheaper, and barely gets punished.

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June 20, 2018, 01:18:55 PM
 #16



The merit system doesn't really stop spam, it just stops users being able to rank up with spam/poor contributions so most now put more effort into their posts. The merit system helps and is a huge step in the right direction but it does nothing about lower ranked accounts spamming away who are still able to get on to alt coin campaigns (and half of them will accept anyone of any rank because it's still better than having nobody advertise for them).
 

In fact, there is a whole new way of spamming, whose protagonists are all those "Forever juniors", in here just for the money and complaining because they don't receive merit due to their spammy actions.
To me the problem has two solutions:
- A quality control in signature/bounties/airdrops, in which only good ones are allowed, and it is required some quality on their posters.
- Do not allow newbies to join them, and to implement the need of gaining merits to JRs.

That's why I've proposed several times to come back to the "newbies jail". Even when I truly believe there are good newbies around, it will be easy for them to gain the 5 merits required to become JRs (if implemented, of course) and to be able to go out of their jail but, for those ones with no will at all of learning, contributing and to enroll discussions, debates, conversations in  here... well, they won't be able to go out the jail, so they will be unable to join whatever campaign they are seeking to join. Besides, more of the airdrops, bounties and so are spam.
Notice again that not all the ones wearing a signature are shitposters, as well as no everybody without one is a great one.

The problem beneath, under my last perspective (since I spend some time on the Beginners board trying to find good stuff and reward newbies), is the lack of interest of many. They don't understand how the forum works, and they don't really care. But it is difficult to stop the issue if that kind of newbies is allowed to spam all over the forum. If they are no longer allowed, probably they will just go to another place to spam.
Kind of radical, maybe, but everything is becoming a spam-fest, even some good threads here in meta.

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June 20, 2018, 02:53:50 PM
 #17

only allow campaigns that pay out in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency that has an independent blockchain and is not an ICO token.
Why not a token? I can't get your point Huh I agree that they don't have a real value until they are listed in exchange, but some of them help in
solving real world problems and
the complete usage of blockchain technology in various fields.
If such a thing is implemented, almost all the spammers and bounty managers would join and conduct bitcoin campaigns which would deter the quality of forum even more as almost all the bitcoin campaigns (excluding chipmixer) demand a minimum post of 20-25. Spammers can't even post 10 meaningful posts per week, how can you expect them to post 25 good quality posts?

- Stricter control of Bounty managers.
Nowadays campaigns are managed by Newbies and Jr.Members who doesn't even know how the forum works or doesn't know to evaluate posts. Allowing Copper Members, Full Members and up to create a topic in Bounty section may help a bit. Very few bounty managers look for the post quality and actually read them. Rest just check the number of posts created and award them stakes.

We need to give the bounty managers some tools to help them to regulate their spammers.
Bounty managers never consider the spams generated due to their poor regulation and management. They will not even mind using it?

forbid all signature campaign
If all the bounty managers were like you there would have been quality posts and real discussions flourishing all around the forum. Forbidding signatures is literally a bad idea to consider. They will severely reduce the traffic generated on the website and there might be losses on theymos side. On the other hand, a similar forum would be created and all the spammers(traffic) will leave this forum forever. Moreover theymos said he has completely ruled out this idea and will think of it only when merit system fails.

Any other ideas?
Increasing the merit requirement of Jr.Member to 10 and Member to 50. A member will receive 50 merits only when
1. He has good knowledge in bitcoin or
2. He understands how a forum works and makes some decent posts or
3. A prolific writer

Not only altcoin campaigns generate spam, bitcoin campaign also does. Hence reducing the minimum post count to 10 or pay per post similar to chipmixer would work.

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June 20, 2018, 02:58:14 PM
Merited by Foxpup (2), d5000 (1)
 #18

I still don’t get why ICOs do not get the idea that Brand needs to be built, and is bases upon many pillars, one of which is reputation. Having your brand name tossed around in the hands of spammers is plain silly to do.
Normally, in social media, one would measure concepts such as Brand Sentiment (detecting whether the brand is perceived positively, negatively or neutral), Notoriety (number of media or in this case posts where your brand is being mentioned in) and so on. Focusing on Notoriety without looking after Sentiment is kind of old-school (“let them talk about our brand, be it good or bad”). Sentiment should be a focus, and that should be built by the message that the Brand’s hired hands (posters on this case) carry. “Spamming” only differs one letter from “scamming” and this similitude kind of settles overtime with the wiser.

Since the Forum wants/needs to have signature campaigns, perhaps it could create a proprietary logotype that enhances the visibility of those campaigns that explicitly and voluntarily commit to an anti-spamming policy, just as we have logotypes for safe e-commerce, green power, ISO certified and so on.
This proprietary logotype could be use by campaign managers who compromise with an anti-spamming policy, alongside their signature campaign, as a complement to the signature for their signature bearers (it would probably need to be a separate field, so that it could be switched on or off and not embedded along with the signature itself).
This would probably also need to be overseen by some forum representatives such as DTs for example, with the ability to hide the forum proprietary logotype if the campaign does not comply with it’s anti-spamming commitment.
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June 20, 2018, 03:07:04 PM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
 #19

Why not a token? I can't get your point Huh I agree that they don't have a real value until they are listed in exchange

The developers don't have to pay anything for them. It's a free advertising budget to them.

I still don’t get why ICOs do not get the idea that Brand needs to be built, and is bases upon many pillars, one of which is reputation. Having your brand name tossed around in the hands of spammers is plain silly to do.

Most of the ICOs are scams and they don't care about building a reputation. It's all about SEO. This site having a high ranking will make every linkback from every signature here promote the ranking of their site. If they are paying for that using free tokens then that's free SEO work.

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June 20, 2018, 04:44:19 PM
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Thing is, when ICOs will realize that  the field of paying by useless tokens are dead then they will focus more in quality than quantity since they will have to pay by real currency (BTC, ETH, LTC etc)
It would be interesting if this is actually happening, i.e. if the number of ICO campaigns (in relation to "real-cryptocurrency-paid-campaigns") is decreasing. Maybe some work for our "stat gurus" Wink

Quote
Restrict creating ALT accounts unless necessary to apply for locked/banned accounts. Once the main account will be recovered then lock the alt account.
I guess the reason why such a rule isn't enforced is that it would be very difficult to control, and thus too much work for the forum staff. I never ran a spambot software but I guess it's trivial to run these bots from several cheap "lowendbox"-type VPS or even botnets to avoid to be traced by the IP address.

I would ban ICOs from advertising on the forum altogether. They've already been banned for bidding in the forum banner advertising auctions so why not extend that that to signatures?
I would support at least a ban for "ICO-token-only" payments for signatures. They could continue to offer tokens as a bonus, like some are already doing, but at least a basic payment in a traditional cryptocurrency should be made, so there are incentives to control quality. And if they want to offer token-only bounties they should do these campaigns at Facebook, Twitter et al.

If the forum banned ICO projects entirely from advertising then I can imagine a (still pretty) big traffic source would dry up, so I don't know if this will happen.

That looks to be the approach being taken. It is a slow process but many ranked up accounts get banned each day and it is very difficult for them to be replaced.
I addition I'd like to see signatures removed from Newbie and Jr. Members. Most of the copy paste bots I report are Jr. Members enrolled in an ICO bounty signature campaign.
Could be a good idea. It's restrictive, as some honest Jr. members would not be able to fully use their forum account, but I would support it as a temporary measure until the spam problem is mitigated.

The merit system helps and is a huge step in the right direction but it does nothing about lower ranked accounts spamming away who are still able to get on to alt coin campaigns (and half of them will accept anyone of any rank because it's still better than having nobody advertise for them).
Right. That would be another point for TheQuin's proposal to restrict signatures from Jr./Newbie accounts.

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These are all things I've suggested before and as long as there's no rules or regulations for signature campaigns they will continue to be greedy and lazy and pay people to spam but until there are punishments for poorly run campaigns and their managers then nothing will change.
I guess you're right. I would also strongly support an enforceable "ruleset" for bounty campaign managers. The problem is to find a solution that scales, i.e. that doesn't mean too much work for the forum staff. But on the other hand, the control of signature campaign management should be less hard than for example the control of reflink spam which seems to work now. So I don't see it impossible.

@LoyceV: Agree.

@Heisenberg_Hunter: Read my OP again, this is not an initiative against ICO tokens in general, but against the way they advertise them, like TheQuin already wrote. And I believe that ...

Quote from: Heisenberg_Hunter
If such a thing is implemented, almost all the spammers and bounty managers would join and conduct bitcoin campaigns which would deter the quality of forum even more as almost all the bitcoin campaigns (excluding chipmixer) demand a minimum post of 20-25.
... there is no reason why a Bitcoin- (or "independent-blockchain altcoin") based campaign could not implement lower post minimums.

I still don’t get why ICOs do not get the idea that Brand needs to be built, and is bases upon many pillars, one of which is reputation. Having your brand name tossed around in the hands of spammers is plain silly to do.
Good post, I am wondering the same ... but TheQuin's answer, unfortunately, seems to be true: these projects are often of such low quality that they don't care about reputation.

Quote
Since the Forum wants/needs to have signature campaigns, perhaps it could create a proprietary logotype that enhances the visibility of those campaigns that explicitly and voluntarily commit to an anti-spamming policy, just as we have logotypes for safe e-commerce, green power, ISO certified and so on.
Looks good! I would fully support such an initiative.

(I was thinking about technical restrictions for non-adhering campaigns, but I think that would dilute the spirit of that idea - to reward positive action, not so much to punish. And it would also restrict individuals with non-paid signatures.)

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