1. 5

From time to time, we seem to have users that only submit content from a single domain they control. While we have taken some steps to attempt to reduce our analytics footprint in an attempt to curtail this behavior, I’m wondering if the community feels we need a policy in place to deal with this behavior.

  1.  

  2. 4

    I think the usual flags (spam) are a good first step.

    1. 3

      I concur. They’re pretty easily noticed and attract spam flags quite readily at the moment.

      1. 1

        This especially true if it is caught early, based on the patterns I have seen.

    2. 4

      Here’s an example of a high-self-promotion low-engagement pattern where all or nearly all of a user’s links are to their own site/projects. If they have comments or votes they’re all or almost all on their own stories. (I’m highlighting this user because, after several failed attempts, their first non-github link came the day after their new user restriction on unseen domains expired.)

      My hunch is that stories submitted by users fitting this pattern are significantly less well-received, but I haven’t yet written queries around any of this.

      1. 9

        My hunch is that stories submitted by users fitting this pattern are significantly less well-received, but I haven’t yet written queries around any of this.

        I will state that in the last couple of years, whenever I see “authored by” in a submission and I don’t recognize the account I will take a peek at the account’s profile and possibly its submission history. If I see a lot of the same kinds of stories or many submissions to the same domain I will avoid upvoting it, even if the content seems on topic. (If it’s off topic or clearly spam, then I will flag it.)

        There are a few accounts I percieve to be using Lobste.rs as a way to boost traffic to their site and to use it as their comment system. There are others that do submit almost everything they post to their blog, but they engage in other ways so I am less annoyed by that behaviour. And of course, there are those who submit something from their site but are so infrequent in doing so that I don’t perceive it to be anything other than wanting to share something they think is interesting.

        I do think those in the first group end up as less well-received, but I don’t know how to detect it. Certainly in the IRC chat, the same names keep coming up.

        1. 2

          I do something similar, and agree.

      2. 3

        A hard limit of X stories linking to the same domain (with a few exceptions for big domains like github or the msdn blogs) per Y units of time for each account seems like a good idea to me.

        The last time this was suggested, people complained about not being able to submit articles from their blogs anymore. I’d argue this is a feature, not a bug. I believe that if the lobste.rs community likes what you write, its members will follow your blog and start posting your articles. If on the other hand it doesn’t and you can’t post anymore, nothing of value was lost for the community.

        1. 4

          I believe that if the lobste.rs community likes what you write, its members will follow your blog and start posting your articles.

          This seems idealistic. I don’t think we should prevent people from posting to their own blog. Like most things, it is not a mertiocracy. There is some level of self-promotion that can and should happen for those who have something to contribute.

          1. 2

            Why not make it dependent on the number of votes a particular story gets? It sounds as if the problem is the same person posting things from the same domain, not different people posting things from the same domain (in the absence of large numbers of sock-puppet accounts, if someone’s blog is submitted by lots of people that probably means that it has a load of things different people find interesting ). For each user, track the number of votes a domain has received since the user last posted a story in that domain, initialised at 10. Posting a story in a domain costs 10 from this total. If you post something from your blog and it gets < 10 votes, you can’t post again. Someone else can, and if that pushes the total votes above 10, you can post again. A few possible refinements:

            • Add a -10 penalty for submissions marked as spam.
            • Add a +1 bonus for each {user, domain} pair every month, so you get another try after a bit under a year.
            • Let the user’s karma score adjust the cost of posting.
            • Make new users inherit the initial scores from the person who invites them, so if I post my blog and it gets no vote, no one I invite can post my blog for 10 months either.