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thebassman

Idea to help keep people reporting spam

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I've been reading through a lot of the posts here, and it seems a lot of people are getting discouraged with the seeming lack of impact they see from reporting spam. People continue to report dozens of messages per day, yet the spam in their inbox doesn't really decrease.

An idea I have was to have some sort of tracking/rating system here on SpamCop, where you can sort of view your own stats compaired to that of the community. It would track things like reponse time, # of spams reported, and impact on spammers... almost like a spam-reporting rating system. It will give people, and the community as a whole a tangalbe way to track their progress... you know what I mean?

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Some of us more seasoned reporters, have become aware that when it comes to spam, such statistic is irrelevant. While some see lulls and what seem to be drops in spam volume, it will eventually pick up at an even more aggressive rate. Some have even managed to shut down a spammer or two, only to have them re-emerge later. Spammers are like virulent scabbies, once you <catch> them, you have to live with them, like it or not. I can think of no medicine that will get rid of them as long as they are sheltered by irresponsible (criminal?) ISPs and they resort to neferious means to spread their disease (viruses, worms and the like).

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It may be irrelevant, but I think seeing such stats would help people stay motivated to continie to report it, know what I mean?

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It really rather depends on how the statistics are calculated.

Reporters can already know how many reports they have submitted - that figure is provided with each submission along with the total number of spam reports from all sources sent through SpamCop.

THere is also the wildly inaccurate average reporting time figure that is given to reporters but appears to most observers to be meaningless.

I guess the difficult thing to achieve is providing a meaningful set of figures.

Because of the large numbers involved (my most recent report indicates just short of 1.37bn reports submitted to SpamCop up to a few miniutes ago) anything involving averages takes a very long time to change.

So I applaud the idea, can you suggest a meaningful statistic that could be calculated?

Andrew

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can you suggest a meaningful statistic that could be calculated?

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How about, for SpamCop Email System Customers, a reporting ratio consisting of the number of reported spams divided by the number of incoming emails, for the past hour, day, week, month, quarter, year, and decade, for both the individual and the class of SpamCop Email System Customers? Of course, incoming emails would have to include those transferred in by IMAP Clients, otherwise my ratio could sometimes exceed 1.00. :)

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I think for a lot of people... making it a little bit of a game would make the monotony of reporting spam a little more fun... Things like # of spams reported, average spams reported per day, number of replies back from ISPs, etc. And have those stats public... they could even be tied into the forum (which could/should be better promoted on this site than it is...). It's funny the minor little things that will help nudge people to do something useful for the community (like reporting spam).

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He's right about the little 'motivators' - look at all the people who have tried to get their 'average reporting time' down. And those who check the bl too soon after reporting and don't see the IP address there.

Miss Betsy

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While I'm not sure Julian would be interested in making spamcop into a game, one thing I would like to know is when my report causes the IP to be bl'ed. Especially, to people who have been listed and consider themselves innocents, to have it seen as a game in here would not set the right tone, I'm afraid.

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What better motivators than knowing the spammers are inconvenienced. But I do agree that having some graph or instant statistics of reports would make it more interesting.

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Exactly. I run several fairly successful sites, including forums, and it's surprising how well people react to simple things. For instance, on one of my photography forums, when members get to 1000 posts, the get a little graphical medal next to their username in the forum... the same with 2000 posts, 5000 posts, and 10000 posts. People are proud to have reached those markers... something along the same lines, I believe, would help here as well...

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We're not that creative here. We have Member, Advanced Member, and recently Benn There only because we could think of nothing better :lol:

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I've been reading through a lot of the posts here, and it seems a lot of people are getting discouraged with the seeming lack of impact they see from reporting spam.  People continue to report dozens of messages per day, yet the spam in their inbox doesn't really decrease.

I'm one of those new SPAMCOP users who is starting to get discouraged, but what can I do??? All I can do is keep reporting it. Or I can lay there and "just take it" (no way).

I'm starting to conclude that only a few punches in the faces of the spammers with my fists would deter them. Otherwise, they are unstoppable.

:unsure:

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We're not that creative here.  We have Member, Advanced Member, and recently Benn There only because we could think of nothing better  :lol:

It wouldn't be that tough to impliment some tracking and whatnot - just some graphical representation of each reporters progress, as well as some recognition within the community.

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I am not in favor of graphical icons for the person with the most posts in this forum. It would clutter up the 'help' function too much. If I read a thread where the OP seems to have been helped, I don't post my $.02 USD. Too many helpers is not a good idea.

There is a place where people can see how many posts have been made by registered users and there are some who are interested in that. However, if there were encouragement to get more posts, then posts would be made just to make posts and IMHO, would confuse the person who came here for help. In addition, the way it is now, the more posts indicate that that person is probably a reliable 'help,' a regular who knows what is happening (myself excluded - my rating is based on the number of posts I made in the beginning of the forum to keep the focus on helping the newbie though I do read enough that I am not hopelessly out of it).

This forum (with the exception of the Lounge) should not be particularly active, hopefully, because it exists for those who need help.

Miss Betsy

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Well it doesn't have to be hooked up to the forum... but on the reporting page or whatnot. That being said, I think you're wrong about the forum just being there for help. The forum itself can help build a community, which is what will keep something like spamcop.net alive in the long run.

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I'm with “thebassman” on this one - I arrive 30 mins early for work every morning to allow myself enough time to report the daily spam.

Whilst I see the level of spam decrease for a short period, it nearly always returns to the same level (or worse).

Although I see some signs that ISP's are taking the matter seriously, more often than not, you are lucky to even get an auto reply to your reports. Although this is an issue for the ISP's and not Spamcop, i'm interested in the idea of having an incentive - my time is too valuable to spend 30 mins a day for nothing.....

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There could be other motivators, but points for the number of posts should only be for the Lounge. Creating community is always a good thing, but for somebody who wants help, they want an answer, not a community.

I won't be much help because I don't respond to motivators, but I am not disagreeing with your ideas in general. I just don't think extraneous posts in the help groups would be beneficial. I suppose you could have 'vote for best answer' contest or something.

Miss Betsy

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I think you misunderstood me... I'm not saying it has to do with anything to do with posts... that was just an example of something that I do on my own sites. In the case of SpamCop.net, it wouldn't even need to have anything to do with the forum... just a graphical representation, along with ranks or something, of spam reported, yadda, yadda, yadda would help the average user to show that they're making a difference.

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Just an idea...

If a website is referenced in the spamvervised e-mail, a way of confirming that it has been shut down would be fantastic. I know that you could just go and check the site yourself to see if it is still up, but SpamCop records these sites as part of the reporting process. In the same way that websites like FriedSpam hammer the sites until they are shut down, could SpamCop visit them anonymously to check if they are still up; and if they are not, send an e-mail to those who reported the site?

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No, I don't think I misunderstood you. You want to have little motivators to get and keep people interested. There are two areas - one is spamcop reporting (where notification to the reporter that this report triggered a bl listing, for instance) where motivators might make people more interested in reporting spam consistently. and the other area is the forum where people who get support from the community are more likely to stay interested in spam reporting and may even come up with alternate suggestions to support spam fighting (there have already been threads in the ng and the forum about ways that others handle their spam problems including a lengthy thread on the use of FriedSpam).

I agree that it is a good idea and that some people are interested in motivators. Since I am not interested in motivators (a personality trait - not a criticism), I won't be much help in finding what would be good ones.

Creating community is always a good idea which is why the Lounge was created because it happened naturally on the ng's and there, a separate ng was created because those who came for help and technical discussion complained. And the spamcop technical discussion was separated later from the main group. There had already been a help group established that did not contain discussion, but only answers to questions and was supposed to not contain any than polite, helpful answers. If people got into a flame or a general discussion about spam, they were asked to move it to the main group to avoid cluttering up the answers. The help group became primarily for newbie questions and the spamcop group was where the techies hung out and answered questions about spam and spamcop from other techies (and still do - the web forum has replaced the help ng for newbies, but those who know more about the internet still visit the spamcop ng for help and discussion - it is a more rough and ready environment - few apologies there).

So I don't think using a motivator that rewards the number of posts is a good idea in the help groups. In the Lounge that's fine (if it could be done separately). And other motivators would be ok with me. I have a feeling though that the old line spam fighter is like me and isn't interested so you might not receive a lot of encouragement from the old timers.

Miss Betsy

Edited by Miss Betsy

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Not off the top of my head, but the fictitious number "umpteen zillion" comes to mind in my case. :)

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Hehe... I think even a stat like that would help the average spamcop spam reporter.... to see that you've reported 10,000 spam, etc... would be motivating. And at big milestones, you get a congradulatory email or something.

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If you are a paid subscriber spam comes with no. the number of spams you reported so far. What I want to know is the ratio of reports to that of closed down spammers. Seems to me mine is getting rather small as I report more spam, like 10,000 : 1. I seem to be stuck with the worst of them.

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