RPG.SE has been receiving spellcaster spam for years (such as in this 10k only example). I understand that there's some machine learning behind our spam flags, but this stuff seems to regularly fall through the cracks. That's probably because we talk about priests and spellcasting and witch doctors all the time anyway, and thus train the machine that this stuff is fine. Its natural learning seems to not be adequate in this case, and I think it needs some manual guidance to deal with this problem.

This spam has other factors in common beside its subject matter we can use to identify it: it always arrives as answers, it usually contains no formatting or line breaks (proper, double-enter ones - single-enters seem common), probably contains a lot of capitalised words, and they always contain an email address.

I got curious how many of our valid posts actually contain emails - we have only two. Here's a data explorer query that makes a naive search for stuff that might even vaguely resemble an email address (thanks to Shog9). Of the 19 results, most are self-censored expletives, @-mentions, and anydice syntax. Putting those aside, here's the two that actually do contain email addresses:

Both of these are questions.

So, we get spellcasting spam answers containing email addresses regularly, and we have absolutely no valid answers that contain email addresses (we may have received ones that have since been edited, like those people who say "hey contact me at [email protected] if you want to know more").

Could our spam filter be tuned to be super paranoid about answers with email addresses? Like, as in Matrix anyone-could-be-an-agent levels of paranoia? Especially when the post contains no other formatting or double line breaks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am Ingrid, I want to use this possible means to appreciate one man i hold in sincere gratitude and high esteem for his help and his kindness he has rendered to me. I want to say A BIG THANK YOU to high priest gobbledegook, indeed you are the WORLD GREATEST. without compromising words, high priest gobbledegook helped me in getting back my long lost BEING FREE OF SPAM and also bring back my life to lime light when i thought all was gone. [email protected] om I AM GRATEFUL GOBBLEDEGOOK \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I guess putting a space in there would mess things up. :'( \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 21:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I stuck the space in there to prevent it from being taken seriously. :) I don't think any of our real spammers break the address that way—their gullible targets would probably not know how to make it work. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ And another just now (visible for now, 10k+ in a few minutes): rpg.stackexchange.com/a/45849/321 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 0:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ ::grumblemutter:: I would like this feature very much. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 0:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm trying to upvoted the question more but it's not working. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 7:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Well, damn. I'm not sure if this paranoia got implemented, but we just got a spam post (10k only) where the email had a space in it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 5:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like SE is rolling out a new network-wide antispam upgrade that should help with this ^^ meta.stackexchange.com/questions/291301/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


This is the problem - we can filter it, but they quickly just obfuscate the email address using some other means. Text filtering does not work, which is why the spam system operates on different levels, we can't just go by the text being submitted.

However, I'm going to be modifying the weights that this site carries when it comes to teaching the system, the following actions from users and moderators here will cause it to learn more rapidly:

  • Spam-flag deleting a post
  • A moderator destroying an account for spamming
  • Tripping of various 'honeypots' that we have laying around, because we like honey

Basically, when this community identifies something as spam, the system will acknowledge and deal a blocking blow sooner than it would otherwise. This 'spellcaster' stuff has been appearing all over the network for quite a while, but I do agree that it's a bit more concentrated here due to the topic.

But please, don't spend too much time considering ad-hoc filters to try to keep certain things out; they quickly learn and just work around it - it ends up just being a waste of time and resources.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, that sounds like a much more correct way to handle it. Not knowing that such things could be tuned, we were just grasping at straws. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 19:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for taking the time to explain all this! And for helping to tune our anti-spam engine regardless. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 22:28

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