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I live in Taiwan. My time zone is UTC+8.

I notice that the time interval between UTC 04:00 and UTC 06:00 is the most vulnerable time (being attacked by spams) of our site.

I have seen the questions like this one https://cs.stackexchange.com/q/13756/630 very often during that interval. I believe the reason is that our mods and users in north America already go to bed and those in Europe have not got up yet.

Today, I have seen 5 spams in that two hours interval. I already did everything I could. I downvoted them. I flagged them. I am not a high rep user. I did the best I could.

We need to do something about it. Otherwise, the users in Asia would think the stack exchange sites are not worthwhile participating.

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  • $\begingroup$ During my day-time (central europe) I don't see much spam. So probably the spammers are Asian? By the way, I think if enough members flag as spam, the post will be dealt with automatically, i.e. without moderator intervention. So keep doing what you are doing! $\endgroup$ – Raphael Aug 15 '13 at 10:14
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    $\begingroup$ I've raised the issue on the main meta: Better tools to handle spam on low-traffic sites $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 15 '13 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ Curious, I've not seen much blatant spam. By the time I get up (American West Coast time) it must usually already be taken care of... well, it's good to be aware of it. $\endgroup$ – Patrick87 Aug 15 '13 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Here it goes again. cs.stackexchange.com/q/13767/630 at UTC 04:20 $\endgroup$ – scaaahu Aug 16 '13 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ It could be worse, there's another spammer who hasn't hit CS (yet) but is hitting some other sites hard. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 17 '13 at 10:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles There is another one (three today so far) coming up. $\endgroup$ – scaaahu Sep 4 '13 at 8:00
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Indeed, we have a persistent spammer (not just on Computer Science, he posts all around Stack Exchange). It takes 6 spam votes to kill a spam, so people, flag as spam! (And don't downvote or edit, that's counter-effective. See the linked meta post for details.)

One more thing you can do to help is, if you see a wave of spam on one site, check if the spammer has accounts on other sites and flag there too even if you don't regularly participate on that site. If everybody does that, we can kill spam faster across Stack Exchange.

The spammer seems to keep East Asian hours, and these hours are also when we have the fewest participants. As there are fewer legitimate posts and fewer flaggers, the spam does take up the front page for a while. Indeed two of the site moderators (who can kill¹ a spammer in three clicks) are based in Europe and I believe the third is based in America. My dedication as a moderator does not extend to getting up at 4am to destroy spam.

Stack Exchange staff are currently working on better ways to block spammers. It's quite tricky to block spammers without blocking legitimate users, so this is a difficult problem.

¹ Unfortunately, we can only kill the account, not the spammer himself.

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  • $\begingroup$ In the community-moderation spirit, spam is clearly one thing that should be handled by the entirety of regular users, because they can. Mod intervention should not be necessary, except maybe for killing the account. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Aug 15 '13 at 11:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael I agree with you if there is enough regular users at the time. In case of this question, we had to let the spams appear for hours. My suggestion is, force the spam out of the front page if there is certain number of spam flags. Then we can wait until high rep users who can see the flags to kill that spam. What I don't want to see is the spam on the front page. This will make us look truly bad. $\endgroup$ – scaaahu Aug 15 '13 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ @scaaahu The fourth spam flag takes the post off the front page. Downvotes also count for that, but it's a double-edged sword, because it also means that non-mods are unlikely to find the post to flag it. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 15 '13 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles Will high rep users be able to see the flagged post? If yes, then it's matter of time to kill it. My point is the visibility of the spam, not its existence. $\endgroup$ – scaaahu Aug 15 '13 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ @scaaahu The flagged posts will show up on the newest questions and active questions views until they're deleted. The front page omits posts scored -4 and lower. Moderators get an indicator on the page if there are flagged posts of any kind; spam flags aren't shown to anyone else. Since spammers are new users, their first post (and only their first post, if they make multiple posts) will show up in the first posts review queue. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 15 '13 at 11:46

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