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Halil Ibrahim Kayim
Halil Ibrahim Kayim

Posted on

How does dev.to handle bots, fake accounts, and promotional accounts?

I don't know if this is the right place to write this, but I've recently been followed by an account named Craigslist Escort. This account is clearly only for promoting what its name suggests, and has no intention of joining any development related discussions or knowledge sharing. Does this account violate any rules you have on dev.to? If so, is there a way to report this kind of accounts? How are they handled?

On a more general topic, it is inevitable that bots, fake accounts, and promotional accounts will try to swarm a website that has an increasing number of users. What is dev.to's current and future plans regarding the elimination of these malicious accounts?

Edit: I've looked around and saw that there is a report abuse form under Code of Conduct, which seems to be the place to report stuff like these. Even though it's rather easy to find, I think it can be placed somewhere more accessible though.

Discussion (4)

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington (he/him)

Hey Halil,

Sorry for the long delayed response here.

A mod recently pointed this post out to me, and I thought it was well written and deserved some answers.

"This account is clearly only for promoting what its name suggests, and has no intention of joining any development related discussions or knowledge sharing. Does this account violate any rules you have on dev.to? If so, is there a way to report this kind of accounts? How are they handled?"

Yes, it does violate the rules outlined in our Code of Conduct. And once the user is caught, if it's severe enough, like in this case, then the user is permanently banned from the site.

"On a more general topic, it is inevitable that bots, fake accounts, and promotional accounts will try to swarm a website that has an increasing number of users. What is dev.to's current and future plans regarding the elimination of these malicious accounts?"

This is a great question. Right now, we've been acting more reactionary than proactive but are working hard to think of more ways to fight abuse on DEV. We have a great team of community mods who regularly flag spam & abuse on the site. Plus we're in regular communication with them via Connect where they help us think through tougher issues and can suggest new tooling. Not to mention, our larger userbase is also very helpful with reporting abuse.

As for next steps, I've started to flag issues on our GitHub repo with the tag fighting abuse. And while we're absolutely working through these issues as a team, we're also looking to find ways to generate community interest in building out and suggesting new spam fighting tools and abilities on the site.

Ultimately, we have a lot of work to do here, but hopefully will make good progress soon as we continue to push for new proactive ways to fight spam! We're definitely open to new ideas here.

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renannobile profile image
Renan Lourençoni Nobile

I just received a similar request.

Pretty sure it's against dev.to's policy, can someone from the staff verify this?

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6temes profile image
Daniel

I mean, this subject is interesting:

How to deal with Spam in an online community. Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc must have a lot of knowledge about this, but are there tools in the Open Source to help fighting with that?

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halileohalilei profile image
Halil Ibrahim Kayim Author

I was hoping to get an answer to this from the staff but none of them saw this post I guess.