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We need better options for guide notifications

In one of my guides (in this case, my HP UPD guide)I keep having issues with spam comments. They get deleted by iRobot, but the notifications persist. While iRobot doing his job is a good thing, I check the notification to find out the comment doesn’t exist anymore and then I end up checking Moderation to see it was spam. This has happened ~4 times, at least.

Personally, I am getting frustrated that it keeps happening and the lack of options outside of ignoring comments is getting annoying. I’m looking at my options as of this post and they both are terrible in different ways:

  • Pull the guide temporarily so the spam subsides (make it private)
    • Hurts the readers
    • Kills the spam problem because they will move on and target someone else.
  • Deal with it and keep the guide up
    • I will keep getting these notifications I’m tired of
    • The spammers will continue to have a platform to do this
    • I can’t setup my comment notifications to not send one for spam or comments deleted within 5 minutes, so I will keep getting these notifications as it continues to happen

I’m out of options that I can utilize. Does anyone know how I can reduce or eliminate the spam comment problem so I can get rid of these notifications without pulling the guide? I don’t want to temporarily pull the guide if I can help it since that will punish everyone over a small group of aggressive spammers but it’s increasingly looking like the best option. I gave it time to sort itself out and I thought it did but now the problem is back and it’s at the point I cannot let it happen and hope for the best. So far, it’s happened 2 times (3 times today) and I’m tired of it. At this point, I need a solution that will make these spammers go away while hurting as few people as possible since zero harm is impossible unless I let this continue to happen.

I would be more willing to overlook the spam problems if there were genuine comments on the guide, but there are zero. They have all been spam.

Update (8/11/18)

It seems like it has subsided, so I’m willing to wait and see on this guide. However, if it happens again I will probably have to pull the guide temporarily since there’s clearly no good option.

Just to be clear, I do expect a small amount of spam on content like this - it’s a prime target unfortunately. However, I’m not willing to put up with waves of spam just because I expect the occasional spammer to come in and try their luck.

Update (8/13/18)

Due to the spam not stopping (and a lack of options), I am forced to pull this guide. This time will not be disclosed. I don’t think it’ll matter much because it only has 1 completion and 3,128 views (TL;DR: Very few actual readers). It seems like the majority are just skimming it. I tried a warning shot and it didn’t stop the problem soon enough.

Next time, it won’t be temporary. I’m willing to try a temporary pull this time because it may be bad luck. If it happens again then I will make this guide private, permanently.

Admin: Do not make this live again, even if someone begs. I’m not interested in giving these people a platform. I will make the decision of how long it remains down myself. If I’ve forgotten, @ me so I can get it done or clear it if I cannot do it for whatever reason.

Update (9/24/18)

And I STILL can’t catch a break from these spammers. This is only the first time it’s happened in a month and some change (11 days) so I’m willing to wait and see as I did last time. I’m willing to hold out on the final option at my disposal if I’m made aware of changes I can use to hide notifications like these but I haven’t seen it yet.

However, if I see it happen more then once the guide comes down permanently. I tried a temporary pull and it only lasted 1 month before it happened again. I’m starting to think this guide was a mistake on my part to make.

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Good point! Thanks for the input. Let us take a look at what's going on under the hood and get back to you in a day or two.

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@kyle I don't think a temporary pull would impact the guide heavily since it only has 3,066 views and 1 known completion, but it's a terrible option - I'd have to pull for an extended period of time to get it off their radar.

The problem is that may be a time someone needs it because they may have tried the Vista .inf driver for a LJ 1012 (or similar printer) to find the driver doesn't play nice and they need a stable driver - this is why a temporary pull is so bad. The guide is *known* to exist, so it is out there. I ran into this issue with my AL2216W caps guide when I needed to clean it up and rework the text - I made it private so I can work on it in peace without generational gaps. However, someone needed it and I had to make quick cleanup edits (which would be built upon) and made it live again. That wasn't an issue since it was a legitimate user and it isn't targeted.

This is a targeted guide - if I keep having issues and my hand is forced within the time a better solution that allows me to keep it live (and I don't need to make it private) I CANNOT open it up for ANYONE and need to stand my ground - even legitimate users. I can't even reveal how long it'll be private. If I budge once or mention ANYTHING, they will know all they need to do is look legitimate and I'll budge or wait it out if they insist on using my guide as a platform.

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And it has happened a 6th time. I'm really close to pulling it in lieu of a better solution.

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@nick since it is such a target for spammers it may be the best for you to make it private or deactivate it.

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Sadly, I'm probably out of options in lieu of better options to keep it alive while clearing this issue up. This will be the last time I even attempt a software only guide that doesn't partially involve tied together hardware.

When we have better options, I'll reevaluate making it live again. The viability without rework may prevent problems, depending on how long it takes so I'm not going to promise a return.

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@nick,

We just rolled out some emailing/notifying changes, namely:

  • We will now keep your inbox quiet when you get hit with spam
  • You will still receive emails/notifications otherwise

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I'll see if it works out by making the guide live again. If it was closer to 6 months I would have written it off in this form and restarted on Windows 10 so I'm ahead of the 1/2020 EOL. My rule on it is if you get close to the EOL of the OS you use by ~6 months you're going to need to rework it soon anyway.

In this case, if the guide was out of commission that long you'd be better off adapting it early so you're ahead of the game and don't need to play catch-up later. Beyond that, it could be done with a "retrofit" (replace the OS steps and images as needed) OR a new guide altogether with a clean slate (best if it's too far gone).

Glad to see I can get some additional (hopefully peaceful) life out of it.

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@jarstelfox and it happened again 17 days later because iRobot didn't catch it, so they found a workaround; it's in the spam file. I'm never making a guide like this again.

I'm torn on how to deal with this - turn off the comment notifications since I've never had a legitimate one or terminate the guide and never bring it back. I've been trying to avoid this just in case someone had a legitimate question but seeing as it's only spam I'm less torn about it but still on the fence. Outside of my favorite I did so I can get to it quickly just in case, it only has 1 favorite and 3, 501 historical (-1 click from me). I have my doubts many of those are legitimate views with how much of a target this guide is.

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Nick will be eternally grateful.
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