What is PM Spam?
PM Spam consists of sending the same or effectively same unsolicited Private Message to multiple users. PMs that are not part of a response chain are considered to be unsolicited.
If my PMs are private how do you know that I am spamming?
Contrary to popular myth, iHub does not "read" PMs in order to detect spam anymore that ISPs "read" your email to detect spam. There are two primary means of addressing spam; Collaborative Detection, and Automated Detection.
This is one of the most common means of identifying PM spam. Members report receiving an unsolicited PM and send a copy/paste to site Admins. The Admins then run a database query using some of the text of the reported spam. The English version of the query is, "How many PMs were sent by this user that contained these keywords over this time period?" A number is returned and a determination is made. Certain scoring methodologies are also used similar to those employed by our Spam Daemon.
iHub runs an automated spam daemon at random intervals to detect PM spam. This daemon utilizes methods commonly used by automated email spam filters, such as checksum-based filtering, recurrent pattern detection, rules-based filtering, and statistical content filtering. Scoring is based on repetition, frequency, and rules that identify common types of spam. Spam scoring determines if a violation has occurred and if it is sufficiently egregious to warrant automated removal and/or administrative intervention. These methodologies are periodically adjusted to reduce false positives and increase detection of bona fide spam.
Why don't you use the automation on public posts?
While it can be used to detect public spam the criteria is different on public boards and we don't want to inadvertently delete on-topic posts that may not really need to be removed. We also have the benefit of a vigilant member community, board Moderators and our Mod Squad to report and deal with public spam.
What Happens to Spammers?
That depends on how egregious the spam is and if it is a repeat offender. Spam that is considered to be advertising, promotion, solicitation, or phishing will typically result in automated removal of spam messages and sanctions ranging from warnings to account termination.