Preventing abuse, part 2

The past few days have been spent on building hellbanning and moderation systems to handle an influx of posts offering torrents, cracks, keygens, and patches for certain PC games. I first saw a lot of traffic going to these posts. Most were coming from Google, so I quickly built an internal blacklist of posts that would have noindex on them — simple, quiet banning in the spirit of a light touch.

Then a URL got taken down from Google search results from a DMCA complaint. Then someone said they got a virus from one of the posts on reddit.

When the virus happened, I had had enough, and took the more nuclear route. The “noindex” list also supported outright hellbanning posts. So users can still edit and maintain their posts (no information is lost), but readers won't see them. I did the same for blogs that were pushing this type of content, too.

The person pushing this content has been fairly persistent, so our spam filtering has gotten more robust to handle their various maneuvering tactics, so they actually get blocked from posting certain content and see that we're watching them. But I also implemented a simple flagging mechanism so I get notified of suspicious posts and can noindex or hellban them in one click, no matter where I am.

The hope, of course, is that eventually these fuckers go away. I've had to spend a lot of time hastily implementing these measures and bogging down the application with them. But on the bright side, it is a baby step into the community moderation we're going to need in the near future. It's spurred the creation of our community guidelines and is helping us establish a no abuse policy now, instead of when it gets bad, or starts happening between humans.

Funnily enough, this post triggered the spam filter I built. If I didn't run the site and have blocked posts go to my inbox, that sinking feeling of losing all your writing would've lasted much longer!