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#1 2017-05-24 10:55 pm

Alex Kemp
Moderator
From: Nottingham, England
Registered: 2009-12-02
Posts: 1,925
Website

Some Statistics on Rates of Profile Spamming

OSM Diary 24 May 2017

Bottom Line:
 5 in every 30 OSM users (1 in every 6) (17%) sign up purely to spam the site via their profile.
14 in every 25 OSM users (56%) never contribute in any way whatever to OSM
 6 in every 25 OSM users (24%) contribute minimally to OSM (1, 2 or 3 edits)
 5 in every 25 OSM users (20%) contribute to OSM (more than 3 edits)

More info:
OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a crowd-sourced Map of the World. In it's way it is very much like SFS:–

  • It is by the people, for the people

  • It's users contibute to a database

  • Anybody can make use of that database

One of the biggest differences between the two is that SFS is highly aware of spamming, whilst OSM seems mostly to try to pretend that it doesn't exist (I'm quite sure that others would disagree with that statement). There are lots of similarities between OSM & 'normal' forums/blogs, but I thought that the differences might help to illuminate spamming issues for SFS readers, and have made a stats writeup of these 30 users.

I started contributing to OSM on 21 March, 2016. Signing up as a user gets you a Profile page (also the Home page for the user), and those are the ones that these stats refer to. On that page is a list of “nearby users”. There are currently 30 such nearby users in my Home page. Today, and for the first time, I went through them all to discover the spammers. These are common features for each spammer on OSM:

  • Zero contribution to OSM
    (this is measured by the number of map edits, traces or diary entries uploaded)

  • Use of an image/gravatar

  • Inclusion of text + link in Profile

One common feature of Profile spammers is that they then drop a (usually useless) comment into a Diary post, which gives a link back to their Profile.

The other feature to make note of is that OSM hates to remove non-contributors, no matter how old the Profile. Various excuses/reasons are given for this, but one unstated reason is, surely, that the high number of those that signup flatters the organisation. That, for me, is nonsense.

Anyway, I hope that this snapshot is useful. Below is the raw info, showing the signup date in each case:–

(19 users with zero edits):–
31 Jul, 2007
07 Jul, 2008
29 Jul, 2008
13 Feb, 2009
27 Feb, 2009
25 Mar, 2009 (Spammer)
16 Apr, 2009
04 May, 2009
14 Jun, 2010
01 Oct, 2010
22 Apr, 2011
12 Oct, 2012 (Spammer)
04 Jun, 2013
11 Jan, 2014
13 Mar, 2014 (Spammer)
11 Apr, 2014 (Spammer)
01 Aug, 2015
22 Nov, 2015
10 Apr, 2017 (Spammer)

(6 users with 1, 2 or 3 edits):–
19 May, 2009
07 Aug, 2009
01 Dec, 2012
26 Jun, 2013
31 Mar, 2012
07 May, 2015

(5 users with >3 edits):–
219 20 Feb, 2007
018 12 Feb, 2009
004 27 Feb, 2009
010 08 Aug, 2009
006 25 Nov, 2010

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#2 2017-05-24 11:55 pm

kpatz
Member
Registered: 2008-10-09
Posts: 1,308

Re: Some Statistics on Rates of Profile Spamming

It just goes to show, if you provide any sort of Internet service that allows users to post/submit information, spammers will invariably abuse it.

Have you told them about SFS and how they could use it?


We need better spam proofing technology - preferably the kind that electrocutes spammers with 50,000 volts 100 amps the moment they click "Post".

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#3 2017-05-25 1:41 am

Alex Kemp
Moderator
From: Nottingham, England
Registered: 2009-12-02
Posts: 1,925
Website

Re: Some Statistics on Rates of Profile Spamming

kpatz wrote:

Have you told them about SFS and how they could use it?

Yes. My latest mention is within a diary entry in OSM that correlates with this SFS post. I never get the sense that any of this info is actually welcome (“shoot the messenger”, as so eloquently expressed by Cleopatra).

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