Tools to permanently remove or delete spam?


(Asher Baker) #1

Continuing the discussion from Delete your own reply?:

I feel that proper delete stubs are going to be important to maintaining the flow of conversation, some grey inline text in the “mist” between posts is a lot less disruptive to flow than a whole post that is 0% content.

Also, what tools are there to remove spam? Can / will we be able to completely hide / permanently remove spam posts? Spam is a very real problem for us, even with a completely custom image-selection captcha coupled with reCAPTCHA, we get bots registering - and have noticed people that are paid to manually register accounts and post spam content.

How we currently deal with deletion (~6k active members, ~200k threads, ~2M posts):

  • Spam threads and replies get “soft” (stub with a reason is left, moderators can view it if needed) deleted.

  • For “bad” spamming sprees, an administrator will come along at the request of moderators to “hard” (permanent, no trace left) delete it so there are no stubs left clogging up visual space. (It works like this because regular moderators don’t get access to destroy anything, as they do go bad ever so often.)

  • Rule-breaking non-spam threads are moved to a public “Trash” forum, where they’re locked from any replying or editing by non-moderators (this maintains an audit trail, provides a quick option to undo the trashing, and used to integrate with our user reputation system before we removed it from existence). Any illegal content is edited out.

  • Rule-breaking non-spam replies are soft-deleted, never permanently removed.

  • We allow users to delete their own replies purely to avoid unsightly “-snip-” edits.

  • Users can’t delete their own threads - blanking out threads asking for support / questions is a rule-breaking offence, in order to encourage the sharing of solutions to problems (as a forum aimed at the discussion of a software product, related to gaming, this happens a lot).


Allowing new users to delete their own topics
(Jeff Atwood) #2

Well as far as spam, what we have I covered here:

There have been some partner requests to allow hard deletes of content, to make it so that content does not exist any more. We’d need pretty good staff (mod/admin) action logging before we could get to that.

Of course you can’t delete your own topic entirely, even with no replies, because this would lead to some odd griefing opportunities – create the “you all suck na na na” topic, then quickly delete it before anyone could flag it.

I’d have to think more about this “trash” category concept. We certainly need a way to access all soft-deleted topics because right now, there’s no way to!


(Rahul Dhingra) #4

yea hard delete is needed at least admin should have power to delete posts completely. even with hidden posts bar screen looks messy

admin has a right to see clean clutter free page :slight_smile:


(Jeff Atwood) #5

But that is significantly better than it was, courtesy of @riking, as deleted posts are collapsed by default for staff now.


(Rahul Dhingra) #6

But I do not understand the logic behind not granting the permission to admin to delete posts/spams.

P.S:you said you want be be discourse to be the wordpress of forum.wordpress does allow hard delete so should you :smiley:


(Jens Maier) #7

If you absolutely, 100% have to delete a post, possibly for legal reasons, you can always use the Rails console. For instance, if you wanted to delete your post right here:

cd /var/docker
sudo ./launcher enter app
su -c "cd /var/www/discourse && bundle exec rails c" discourse
Post.find_by(topic_id: 5289, post_number: 6).destroy!

Topic id and post number can easily be read from the share link.

Still… a built-in expunge feature would be nice to have – perhaps limited to admins who are also developers in the config file?


Complete removal
(Jeff Widman) #8

Don’t forget that every new feature has development cost to build and maintain–features are never “free”. Personally, while this feature might be handy once a year or so, I’d much rather that precious dev time be spent on features that my users will benefit from every day.

Especially if this feature would be limited to admins who are also developers, then those are people who by definition should be comfortable enough with tech to google and then follow these instructions for deleting posts via a rails console.


(Rahul Dhingra) #9

@jeffwidman I did’nt know if its that hard to impliment.


(Sam Saffron) #10

Yes we want to eventually allow for “nuke” but it is an extremely risky feature, it allows for destruction of content. At the moment the only way an admin can destroy content is by restoring an old backup.

It is very likely this will require a higher than admin priv (like developer)

This is not something we plan to work on in the next 6 months unless paying customers push for it.


Deleting posts/topics/uploads
(Omni) #11

What about having an option to hide the “x post(s) hidden” message?

It could be a simple on and off configuration. When turned on, staff members would no longer be able to see these big clunky blocks in the middle of a post.

No content would be deleted, and the messages can easily become visible again by turning the setting off.


(Franz) #12

I would also appreciate a nuke feature. I want spam to be nuked, not simply hidden.


(Jeff Atwood) #13

That is already how it works… at least, the user account is fully removed and all posts deleted.


(Franz) #14

I meant spam messages that I have to delete manually.