Most online communities use content moderation as a way to ensure that comments and other pieces of user-generated content (UGC) comply with the set of posting guidelines and adhere to the website’s overall theme or image. Content moderators are responsible for monitoring submissions with conscious judgment while an unmanned tool takes care of automatically blocking unwanted content more commonly known as spam.
Although blocking programs are able to filter out potentially dangerous comments, they don’t completely guarantee that your portals and comment sections would be spam-free. This is because some filters don’t recognize certain types of unsolicited posts as spam, so they allow seemingly acceptable content to get through. In some cases, they even block legitimate comments instead of just filtering out spam.
Combating spam through pre-moderation
Websites that implement lenient post-moderation processes are more prone to receive spammy content. With post-moderation, comments get posted first before being reviewed. Pre-moderation, on the other hand, puts all submissions through a review phase before getting published if deemed appropriate for viewing.
It may seem arduous, but going through every post and sorting insightful opinions from junk messages enhances reader engagement. Letting poorly-written, useless comments float among valid ones could distract readers and even turn visitors away for the low website quality and data threat that spam brings.
Common types of spam
An effective content moderation process usually identifies the following as spam and marks them for deletion or blocking.
• Gibberish comment
They can be written in unrecognizable characters, foreign language, or meaningless phrases.
• Link comment
It’s a blatant spam if the comment is accompanied with a link that leads to pornography or a website of a suspicious product that is not related to the subject of the commented post.
• Short, vague comment
Comments such as “Good post” and “Nice info” don’t usually add value to the discussion. Sometimes, the username of the commenters who post comments like these leads to a malicious site, so it’s better to be cautious by removing them.
• Long, unnecessary praising
Some spammers veil their posts with unnecessarily long compliments to increase the possibility of getting approved. Moderators should check if the links within the comment are harmful or if the comment contributes well to the conversation.
More than quality assurance, content moderation guarantees safety and order in online communities. Moderators should be very vigilant in protecting websites from spams that could dwindle the website’s quality along with the number of loyal visitors.