Like most every social website, we get people (or bots, most likely) who sign up in order to spam the site with their dubious commercial enterprises. Today I kindly had a member point out a spammer to me (Thanks TLS!), which I quickly dispatched with (kerpow!). Both bots and people are a little challenging to weed out. For bots, you can usually foil them w/ a human-intelligence barrier to entry, while it’s very difficult to spot real people who wish to spam. I feel like I’ve seen an uptick in the latter. These are people who are employed (probably for a pittance) to join sites such as this to post links in order create better search results in search engines.
I realized then that this is one the great things about having a website with a reward mechanism — in this case a point-system. I can put a price on spammers. This works well in just about every way.
1) I’m alerted to users who, because of the number of signups, it’s prohibitive for me to find
2) Members of the community are awarded for spotting these
3) Both of us benefit from having the spammer gone.
It’s crowd-sourced spam control.
The alternate scenario is:
1) I likely wouldn’t see the spam
2) It would annoy another member, or make them feel like there was low quality control on the site (or the site was being overrun)
3) I might get notified, depending upon if I’d had personal contact with that person, or if they felt like it was worth the effort.
The ease-of-reporting is also an important factor – and so building a reporting system into the site is on the list.