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Family of spammersEdit

Noting here, we've had a number of posts in the past day or two by new accounts that share a common m-o. The headline is generally plausible; the content may start out seeming to match the headline, but ultimately is a jumble and somewhere in the midst of the jumble are some ads with phone numbers. Another anomaly I've noticed with at least some of these is that some letters in some words have been replaced with similar-looking non-ascii characters; a technique that's often used to try to evade abuse filters, except that in these cases it seems to be applied to scattered unremarkable words that seem unlikely to set off any abuse filter. --Pi zero (talk) 04:58, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

IP VandalEdit

174.16.118.49 (talkcontribs (logs)block (block log)) Cross-wiki vandalism, has been blocked on English, Simple, Commons for harassment. RickinBaltimore (talk) 17:13, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Global block requested on Meta. The Dales of Glendale (talk) 17:15, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
Noted and blocked. Cheers, --SVTCobra 17:29, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Information warfare in troll spaceEdit

I'm deleting the following comment in comment space, aka "troll space", which is unusual enough I'll offer some explanation here.

Deleting "opinions" stuff is rare — though I deeply regret that I didn't immediately delete a comment, some years ago, that was just cruelly heckling someone who had expressed a fan's well-wish about a musician, an incident that ultimately led to the posting fan having their feelings badly hurt (we eventually did delete the heckling, I recall, but by then the damage was done). In this case, though, it appears to me that the post is an aggressive mishmash of toxic ravings, and such is a hallmark of modern deliberate information warfare. --Pi zero (talk) 14:18, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

Eh, it is written in all-caps. But it does not seem toxic to me. Unless BDS means something super offensive. --SVTCobra 14:29, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
I looked it up, BDS stands for: boycott-divestment-sanctions which is entirely accurately used in this context. I really have a hard time seeing what is wrong with the comment. Are people going to be emotionally damaged by reading "Bravo to Israel"??? --SVTCobra 14:48, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
@SVTCobra: It's nothing to do with "Bravo to Israel", and although I mentioned a case where the stakes were emotional harm, the stakes are higher here.

In principle I'm open to being convinced, but imo this needs great care; it seems to be to be an important case, in terms of how we are to handle delierate information warfare. Here are more of my thoughts on the case. The first couple of sentences are merely strong opinion; which one might disagree with (perhaps even vehemently), but so what. By the third sentence we're into Obama ebola conspiracy theory and Obama-is-a-devout-Muslim-and-extreme-racist. Fifth sentence (if I've counted right) asserts that Muslims routinely spend their time thinking about monstrous crimes. And this poisonous sludge is mixed in with some other sentences that are "merely" extreme. Standing back and looking at the whole, this appears to me to be deliberate information warfare, seeking to make rational discussion impossible. Further complicating matters, the person actually posting it might, possibly, just be repeating insane sewage from outlets they've been taught to believe. In the case some years ago that I mentioned earlier —which was easier in that it was non-political, yet already difficult enough that we flubbed it— we erred in the direction of "free speech"; this case, though, represents someone —and again, perhaps not the poster, which makes it all the more fraught— deliberately trying to prevent rational discussion, when free flow of rational thought is what we are all about. If we don't treat it as deliberately sowing bullshit (which is what I did in my delete action), what is the alternative? From studies of such things, as I recall, it was found that when the first post in discussion of an article is toxic crap it generally prevents any rational discussion from later developing, which, the more I think about it, the more I feel was almost certainly the deliberate intent here. If we spend all our time trying to "defuse" such things with further comments, it seems that it both would not work and would leave us with no time or energy to do anything else. --Pi zero (talk) 15:24, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

@SVTCobra: Hm, I see to have misread. On very close examination, it appears that in the fifth sentence they did not (at least technically) ascribe those routine monstrous thoughts to Muslims, but rather to extremists/terrorists. That changes things. I'm reconsidering. --Pi zero (talk) 15:36, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
I've reversed the actions taken. It's clear to me that we need to draw a line somewhere, but at least for now I'm not confident that the particular post in question should be on the wrong side of such a line. --Pi zero (talk) 15:42, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
The Obama comments make the person seem laughable. If Obama is such a devout Muslim, it's odd he would kill so many of them. If Obama wanted to cause an Ebola epidemic in the USA, he sure did fail. However, deleting/blocking the comment, would just reinforce some of this person's conspiracy theories. (Little do they know that we were recently accused of pro-Israel bias, lol). --SVTCobra 15:51, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
@SVTCobra: Full agreement here that the Obama stuff, in itself, just makes the poster look silly to normal people; my earlier assessment was based on the combination with the fifth sentence — which on repeated study I eventually figured out does not actually say what I'd thought it said, though I note the attitude it fosters toward Muslims is exactly in line with my initial misreading. --Pi zero (talk) 16:01, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

This is a scam phone number. how it can be showing over here.Edit

This is a scam phone number. how it can be showing over here. you should block this and remove the entire blog name like this —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 199.244.49.44 (talkcontribs) 06:31, 12 January 2018

To what are you referring? --Pi zero (talk) 12:42, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
After what I just saw happen now, I am guessing something might have been oversighted while we slept. --SVTCobra 22:45, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
I don't like aggressive oversighting; admins are generally very trustworthy sorts (or they wouldn't be admins) and will usually be far more able to act correctly if they can see things — and of course if something has been hidden from them there's no way to determine afterward whether it was an appropriate use of oversighting or not. --Pi zero (talk) 23:03, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
I am only speculating, but the edit I rolled back looked exactly like what the Anon described. If it was a global spammer, they might just have deleted and hidden all edits globally. Just a theory. --SVTCobra 23:14, 15 January 2018 (UTC)