There has been numerous confusion in regards to spammers/spambots, especially with what they post, per say. So, this guide is to help you identify and what you should do whenever you suspect/see a spambot. But first, here are some simple basics:
Firstly, what is a spambot?
A spambot is a bot which will appear as a regular user (they are completely different than the regular bots, such as 'spider'). The Spambot's purpose is to usually advertise or collect specific data. They are partial in posting around the forums with pointless posts (ones which don't specifically relate to anything here).
What are the differences between a spambot and a regular bot?
- Colour of name - Easiest difference to spot is that they both have a different coloured name. The regular bots will appear as a faint grey colour, while spambots have the same coloured username as regular users.
- Accessible/Non-Accessible profile - Regular bots do not have profiles like regular users, they are non-accessible. On the other hand with spambots, since they appear/sign on as regular users, they will have an accessible profile, like everyone else on the community forums.
- Names - All regular bots will have the word '[bot]' somewhere within it's name, while a spambot usually just has a random combination of letters, numbers, etc.
How do I know if an account is a spambot (locating signs)?
- Username - As stated previously, spambot username are usually a random combination of letters, numbers, puncuation, etc. for example "kjsasfh". This is one of the more obvious signs of a spambot.
- Profile - If you look on their profile, they will usually have a number of odd details within their profile. As an example, spambots may have their age listed as '40' or so, with an unusal occupation, suspicious email, etc. (be aware that this only applies for some spambots, the majority usually have nothing listed on their profile).
- Avatar - Check if they have an avatar or not. The majority of spambots will not have an avatar on their profile (though, if this is something your checking into, make sure to take the other factors to consideration, as this alone would not indicate it directly). However, there is the odd spambot or so who actually do have an avatar listed, though to inform you, spambot avatars are actually around 50x50 pixels or so, so keep an eye out for that!
- Posting - If they are actually posting on the forums, check what they are posting. If it's nothing relating towards the subject they are posting on or if it's a completely pointless thread they have made, thats would be a dead giveaway (also, as a tip, check the subject for the post, especially if they are posting on a current thread discussion. If the title is different/random, again, that would be an obvious give away). Usually they are advertising something or posting a random article discussion, as a brief notice.
- Reporting posts - Reporting the posts that spammers make is a huge help in order to help the moderator catch the spammers. Though, please note, it is not necessary to report every single post they make. It helps a lot more if you include links to the other posts they have made in one report or so you may.
- Messaging Moderators - If you suspect a spammer (especially one which hasn't posted), it would help if you could message the moderators all the information you've gathered from that specific profile that you assume to be a spambot. The moderators will then look into it with ease.
- Do not post on their threads - The one thing you don't want to do is this, since the posts you make will be fairly unnecessary, considering the spambots don't 'listen', and it has no effect on the spambot either way ;)