Posts from Spam

Community Moderation

I'm sure the AVC community has noticed a bit more comment spam slipping in. That's for a number of reasons. As the number of comments rises across multiple threads every day, it takes me longer to get through them all. One of the many reasons I read every comment is that I am also the moderator and I delete and report all comment spam, as well as very infrequently I'll delete an entirely inappropriate comment. It is also true that as the Disqus network has increased in size and reach, it has become a bigger target for comment spammers. Even if you filter out 99.9% of all comment spam, if enough comes at you, that 0.1% starts to amount to a real number.

I've made a small change in the AVC Disqus moderation settings. If enough people flag a comment (by clicking on the little red flag that comes up when you hover below a comment), that comment will no longer appear in the thread. I will still see the comment when I moderate the thread and I can reinstate it or delete and report it as spam. This puts the power of moderation into the hands of the community which is something I should have done a long time ago. I'm not going to say how many flags will do this. I don't want anyone gaming the system.

I do not want the community flagging comments you don't agree with. This is a community open to all voices, even when they express ideas that aren't popular. In particular, comments that hate on me personally should not be moderated. I can take the heat. I want the heat. I'd like to remain the only person who can moderate "entirely inappropriate comments." So if that kind of comment gets flagged off the thread, I will put it back.

Finally, I also do have the ablity to make certain community members moderators with the same powers I have. There are a few, not very many, who I would bestow this right onto. Shana and William come to mind in particular. If you would like to have mod powers and you think you've earned them, let me know in this thread and I will respond to the request in this thread. I will also report on this blog who I've given these powers to. I reserve the right to revoke them at any time.

I've leveraged the power of this community for so many things over the years, it is ironic that it has taken me so long to leverage the power of the community to keep the bar clean.


Comment Spam and False Positives

Every successful social media system I have ever been involved with has to tackle the problem of spam. It is one of signs that you are successful. When the spammers start targeting you, it is a sign you have arrived.

Over the years Disqus has had to fight comment spam and they've done a pretty good job of it. Their spam filters catch most of the comment spam. Occasionally one gets through and I manually delete it, most often via email with a reply with just the word "delete" in it (without the quotes).

In the past month, I've noticed a significant uptick in the amount of comment spam being targeted at the AVC comment threads. More is coming in and more is getting through. I asked the Disqus team about this a few weeks ago and they told me they are seeing a significant uptick in spam across all of their communities and they are dedicating additional development resources to fighting it.

One of the costs of tightening up the spam filters is you get false positives. And thanks to Harry Demott, I noticed this morning that a bunch of legit comments by AVC regulars had been marked as spam. I just went in and manually approved those comments and notified Disqus of this issue. I suspect they tightened something up in the past week a bit too much.

If you have been having trouble getting a comment to post in the past few days, this is likely the source of the issue. If it continues to happen, please let me know via email. I will make sure to visit the spam page in my Disqus moderation panel regularly for the next few days to make sure this isn't continuing to happen. And I am confident that Disqus will get this fixed in short order.


Some Thoughts On Email After Dealing With 500 Emails

I just spent four hours going through my inbox and taking it from 500 emails to zero. These were old unanswered emails, not spam (which I delete regularly in the ordinary course of business).

My email routine, now that I am solidly on gmail and loving it, is to quickly check off and delete all spam in my inbox at least once and ideally twice or three times a day.

Then I scan my inbox for emails from my top priorities; wife, family, partners, colleagues, portfolio, etc. I try to get to all of those at least once a day and ideally twice or three times a day. Gmail knows who these people are and I can't for the life of me understand why they don't build a tool to source up all of those emails automatically. Please build that feature google.

I let the rest build up in my inbox and try to get to it on the weekends. That's how I get to 500 unread emails and that's why I spent my sunday mornings in my inbox.

So for those of you who email me from time to time, here are some suggestions:

1) Be patient. I do try to respond to all legitimate non-spam email and do a pretty good job at it.

2) I am not perfect. Sometimes in my haste to delete spam, I delete a few legit emails. If you have not heard back from me in over a week, please resend your email.

3) Short and sweet gets a faster response than long winded.

4) I like to have conversations via email. If you send me an email looking for a meeting, expect a few questions back from me first.

5) Just because my reply is short does not mean I have no interest. It simply means I've got 500 emails to get through.

6) I've largely given up on responding to anything other than urgent emails and disqus comments on my blackberry. I do scan a lot of email on my blackberry.

7) I still would like a send and delete button from gmail. Send and archive is so awesome but I do a lot of send and delete too.

8) Gmail is life changing. Thank you google.

That's it for now.

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