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Interesting times. I'm starting to see bits and pieces of Twitter-style spam on here.

Advocates for the federated model believe the improved moderator/user ratio will keep things from getting out of hand. I'm on the fence.

Until now, the lack of spam has been mostly a result of this being a niche, obscure, tiny part of the Internet. Spamming it wasn't worth the effort.

As the Fediverse grows, theories will be tested! Fingers crossed.

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@HerraBRE what do you mean by twitter-style spam? i used twitter for a bit years ago and forgot my account, then tried to sign up somewhere last year and was immediately blocked for "suspicious activity" that could somehow only be fixed by giving them my phone # and firstborn son, so I'm not too familiar.

@joop Bots mentioning you with spam. Follows or likes just to get you to look at a profile with ads in pinned toots. Things like that.

@HerraBRE oh ok, i (thankfully) haven't seen anything like that here. on different (spam) instances or what?

@joop So far: Switter, Mastodon.social. I don't have a global view, this is just what I've seen. It's early days, the spammers are just testing the waters.

And the line between automated spam and people systematically self promoting gets pretty fuzzy sometimes.

@HerraBRE
Switter is the most interesting case here, to me. A lot of the spam is individual people trying to quickly get their business back up to speed by engaging in the same behavior that worked on birdsite - collecting followers, following everyone as an ad, etc.

I can see Switter being silenced (not blocked) by most Mastodon instances if this behavior keeps up.

@HerraBRE I mean, do you report the spam, and federate the report to the other servers? :P

If not, I dunno why you're saying this, are you expecting the rest of us to do the work? :)

Moderators do need help with these kind of things, they need your help :)

@maloki @HerraBRE spammers are clever. It's easy to create an account on any server, and before a moderator have the time to react, the spammer have sent messages to most of the fediverse. What can the moderator do? Block the account of course, but by then it'll be too late.

They could block the instance as well, but such heavy handed measures will impact all other users of the instance.

I can think of solutions but they would require protocol changes.

@loke not entirely true as the messages shouldn't display other than to the local timeline etc. @HerraBRE

@maloki @HerraBRE true, if it's posts that are not referencing any other users. A spammer would obviously include names of users on major servers, which will guarantee some reach outside the server where the message was sent.

@maloki I will absolutely report things when I see them. Admit I am unsure about how much to report if I just stumble upon things on others' timelines.

I'm talking about this because I find it interesting. I've worked with spam in one form or another much of my career. No slights intended.

@HerraBRE
@maloki
Instances can deploy bayesian filters that the admins train. Will require some hooks in the server software, and some admin setup work.

@gcupc @HerraBRE @maloki That tactic had serious side effects in the email domain. I think, from a historical perspective, that mastodon has gotten away with it by flying below the mainstream radar, as the OP suggests. I can't say that there is any sure basis but desire to prefer the prediction that this method will scale soundly vs it ending in absolute disarray (it is a social consensus problem, after all). It will be interesting to see--I have high hopes, i like this place.

@HerraBRE question is, will we find a way to make setting up a new spam account considerably more costly (in terms of time, for example) than moderating the hell out of it by a moderator.

@rysiek @HerraBRE other question is, will the collective federated intelligence that we are be able to find something more clever than what the old silo model achieved ?

@rysiek @HerraBRE we're able to discuss publicly and shape solutions in a very different manner than Twitter. Compromises and changes can be made with the involvement of all users (in theory). That's something exciting.

@taziden @HerraBRE one (obvious?) thing that Fediverse has going over walled gardens is that there doesn't have to be a single policy for everyone. One size does not fit all as far as standards of debate and communication are concerned.

Walled gardens painted themselves into a corner: they have to provide the same rules for everyone, or they get called out on it. And it's impossible on some basic level (sex work friendly vs. family friendly, for example).

@taziden @HerraBRE but that actually *complicates* the spam problem. Many instances, many policies, how does one block spam coming from all around the Fediverse?

@HerraBRE My intuition is that federation will tend to either ameliorate or at least isolate a big chunk of bad behavior. I'm looking forward to getting some real world data to back up (or demolish) my intuition.

@HerraBRE I doubt anti-spam methods would scale if its left to instance maintainers alone. I think a distributed spam list with git-style contributor and a community similar to wikipedia might scale better!

@decoy Trying to create a list of all the spammers has never worked and will never work.

They create throw-away accounts, throw-away servers, use throw-away networks.

White-lists can work though. But that means the whole Fediverse would effectively be come invite-only.

@HerraBRE okay, what about a web-of-trust where the whitelist goes two hops from your peers

@decoy Something like that might help.

But, uh, spam has been a problem for just about every single Internet service attempted since the 90s. We're not going to "solve" it in a couple of toots. It's actually a hard problem! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Time will tell how the Fediverse copes.

@HerraBRE You're getting an impressive number of technical solutions in the replies. All the spam I've seen has been social problems -- individuals ignoring social norms or generally not caring about whether they are spamming. What do you think?

@mikeburns @HerraBRE One of my solutions for my instance is to force all new accounts to follow me, i get a ping they signed up. I follow them and watch them. Ive stopped a spammer this way.

@Laurelai I've watched you reply to them and been impressed every time. You come off as a fantastic admin.

@mikeburns You would be surprised how often people seeing that someone is in charge and paying attention to them personally discourages spam

@mikeburns I think the pro spammers just haven't started using their tech on the Fediverse yet.

It will be interesting to see what happens when (if?) they do.

I think the community as is can handle the small fry and badly behaved individuals.

@HerraBRE Fingers crossed here, too.

It helps so much if users report spam.

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