Community Question: What to do about "spam" articles?


fileunderFound in Home
Sort by: Oldest  •  Newest  •  User
«Prev 1 2 Next»
admin
view 
avatar

Yup, another one of these, where the community must decide what action to take and in turn develop a policy we can apply for future cases. This time around two different users have submitted articles that signal some alarm bells. The articles in question can be found here:

Exhibit A - DELETED

Exhibit B - DELETED

If your first reaction to see those articles is "what's the problem?" then that's useful information. If you don't think there's anything wrong happening then maybe I'm being a little overzealous. But there are some issues to consider that may have a negative impact on the site as a whole.

Here are the signs that something is wrong:

  1. continually using the same phrases over and over again
  2. linking to one site MANY times with the same phrase
  3. copy and pasted entire article from another source (you can find this out by searching for an entire sentence in Google and seeing the exact same text come up)

Number 1 isn't a big deal, that can just be classified as pretty poor writing.

Number 3 isn't that bad either, as the author of the article might really be the original author, and the writer should show they're the original author.

Number 2 is the big one that shows this article is centered FAR more about Search Engine Optimization than providing useful information to anybody. If we allow SEO-folk to post any old crappy SEO article on the site, experience dictates that other SEOs will be sure to follow and the site will be filled with very low quality spam/link filled content.

Now there are two points that I want to make clear: 1. I'm not against SEO. In fact a lot of links (even external ones) on ProductWiki are FOLLOW links, which is different than most sites defaulting to NOFOLLOW. If companies want to start a product report on a product they make and have a useful link to their official website, that's totally cool too. These things are useful to everybody. The problem occurs when SEOs/spammers abuse their freedom and just write garbage that brings the site down as a whole.

The second point I want to make clear is that "garbage content" is a subjective statement. In regards to the Brake Bleeding article, there's actually some useful information contained inside there as to what brake bleeding actually IS. The lingerie article doesn't contain much useful information at all IMO, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a guy. That's why I want to bring this up with the community and see what everyone thinks, and hopefully come to a consensus.

Possible courses of action

  1. Do nothing since nothing wrong happened!
  2. Delete the article from the site
  3. Delete all of the links in the article
  4. Reword the article to retain the information, but improve the readability and make it more useful (anybody want to volunteer for this?)
  5. Remove the article's visibility from the site. You'll still be able to access the article directly from the URL or from Search, but it won't show up in the "News" section of ProductWiki.
This post was edited by Omar on 9/28/2007 4:34 PM
admin
view 
avatar

In  these two cases, they look like they are articles written solely for the purpose of SEO. (1) The fact that these specific articles are splattered  across the net, and (2) they both have a ridiculous number of inline links to the same URL with the same keyword ("brake bleeder" in the first example and some permutation of "wholesale sexy dresses" in the second) make it obvious to me that this is SPAMMY SEO. Let's call a spade a spade.

While I'm for SEO, I'm vehemently against SPAM. Far too often, they overlap.

DELETE!!!!! We're trying to make a product wiki after all, not a spam-haven.
This post was edited by Erik on 9/24/2007 5:23 PM
moderator
view 
avatar
I agree with Erik....ban-SPAM!  I think it is okay to self-promote by posting products, but when it becomes a generic SPAM attack I think it should be deleted.
moderator
view 
avatar
Kill the articles, unless they actually are a little more useful, upon which we could just clean them up. Both of these suck.
member
view 
avatar
I would think cleaning them up in the odd chance they are somewhat useful will send the wrong message. Spammy-SEOs will just keep doing it as, even if the original spam is gone, if the link remains it has been worth their time.

So yeah, just removed them entirely.
admin
view 
avatar
What about Exhibit C?
admin
view 
avatar
I don't think "C" is spam at all! It's a legitimate contest and links to Crest.com...
member
view 
avatar
The examples cited seem to be nothing more than shameless commercialized spam. If I wanted an infomercial or to tune into the shopping channel, I know where to go for that. I certainly don't want to have to filter through it on this website. Further, I think that spam-fomercials such as Exhibits A and B along with product promotions (contests, whatever) only cheapen a website like productwiki.com which has, as it's main purpose (or so I thought) to be a legitimate tool for helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions. Commercials closer to the Dawn of Television used to fulfill that purpose, but now we have commercials for pharmaceuticals, etc which go on and on about the fact that the product exists and encouraging us to seek out that product but which fail to inform us as to why the product is valuable or significant. This is why I use my Tivo to fast forward through virtually every commercial. Which, is an incredibly long-winded exposition on why spam should be removed from this website. And now, I'll step down of this soap box before someone kicks it out from under me.
admin
view 
avatar

Well I think the consensus on the first two articles is pretty solid. I'll delete those later today, give someone time in case they have a reason to keep them (not bloody likely though).

But now we have a new situation that is definitely a lot less clear. The third article about the contest. Is this something that "belongs" on ProductWiki? What is the point of the News section anyway? This is especially important as both the News and Forum sections will be given more prominence in the near future (yes an update to the site is coming :D).

Thus far the idea has been pretty freeform. Pretty much any article is fair game as long as it's not total spam. Whether that's news about a company, or a product review, or thoughts about an industry, or even a rant about your bed. But maybe people want it to be a bit stricter and clear cut what should go there?

The forum will always be free-er in terms of content, so if the community decides it's better to be stricter on the "News" section then the other stuff can just go into forum discussions.

My personal thoughts are that we should keep it free form for now, and if we get more contest style articles we can re-examine the issue. But right now, it's just not that big of a deal.

Thoughts?

admin
view 
avatar

I'm cool with leaving the contest article as well, filed under "not that big of a deal". Maybe you're interested in the contest, maybe not. However, if we start seeing a ton of these articles, my vote would change.

Post Reply:

File Under: