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Spam is the act of posting content unrelated to the situation where it is posted in, which is likely to annoy other users. Examples include making duplicate forum topics, advertising on others' projects, posting nonsense or gibberish such as typing random keys on the keyboard, or posting off-topic. Repeated spamming will lead to alerts.
|Note:||Elsewhere on the Internet, the term 'spam' usually means unwanted commercial advertising sent to large amounts of people, or content that has been posted repetitively, but the term's meaning has been extended among the Scratch community to mean any off-topic content that can annoy other users.|
Types of Spam
Spam can occur almost anywhere in the Scratch Website, including on pages where commenting is possible (such as project pages or user profiles) and on the discussion forums. Wherever it is, it should be reported.
Comments and Forum Posts
Spam comments or posts are most commonly irrelevant, nonsensical, completely off-topic or jumbled. Advertising one's projects in comments or unrelated topics is also considered to be spam. A lot of spam is controlled by the "similar message" and Sixty-Second Rule features. Prior to the 500 character limit, some people used to spam by posting large texts and entire Wikipedia articles. In the forums, posting several duplicate topics is also considered spam.
Often newer users will post advertisements to their projects on more popular projects. This is generally frowned upon and those comments are usually deleted by the owner.
The trend of replying "low" on the first comment of a project is an interesting type of spam that has developed. These are often replied to with comments like "lower", which are replied to with "lowest". The goal is generally to get the lowest comment on the page and usually develop on popular projects.
Block spam is a type of forum spam in the form of nonsense, offtopic and long scripts made with the Block Plugin. Long scripts made with said plugin can cause lag on the forums (depending on certain circumstances), and are therefore also considered spam. However, on-topic scripts, such as saying a message with the Say block or using scratchblocks to display an on-topic message is considered a speech style and is not considered spam.
The Help With Scripts forum has a topic specifically for experimenting with the block plugin, but those who spam elsewhere should be reported.
The old [blocks][/blocks] tags were also used to make blockspam.
Linkspam is a form of spam that consists of links and images. Posting links to commercial websites is also considered linkspam. Harmful links and images, including links to dangerous websites and inappropriate images, are also linkspam. To help prevent this, New Scratchers cannot post external links or images.
ASCII Art is the arrangement of text to look like a recognizable image. Often when posted, users will copy and paste it and post it themselves, which severely clutters and lengthens the web page and can be annoying to read through.
Some popular images are a thumbs-up, rage faces, skull, Nyan Cat, the Illuminati triangle, you're epic sign, the troll face, the Distraction Dance, and the popular "Doge" meme.
'Chain letter' Spam
Another type of spam is a comment telling the user to copy and paste it on other projects or profiles, encouraging others to carry it on by saying that something good will happen after this, such as romantic situations and good luck. Refusing to paste such letters is known as "breaking the chain," and according to Scratchers' superstitions, is said to lead to negative situations, such as death or bad luck. Even if they are not particularly threatening or do not suggest any effects, these messages should be reported as spam. Many users who dislike spam fall for this. An example of a chain letter would be:
|“||Tag a quality scratcher. You’re it! Quality doesn’t mean that you have a lot of followers or a lot of messages. It means that you’re nice to other people, and you deserve to be happy. If you get this message, someone is telling you that they love you as you are, and they don’t care how many followers you have. Send this to 10 Scratchers who deserve it. If you break the chain, nothing will happen. But it’s just good to let someone know that you love them!||”|
This is another example that involves consequences of "breaking the chain":
|“||DON'T READ THIS. YOU WILL BE KISSED ON THE NEAREST FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. NOW YOU'VE STARTED READING THIS. DON'T STOP. THIS IS SO FREAKY. 1. SAY YOUR NAME 10 TIMES. 2. SAY YOUR MOM'S NAME 5 TIMES. 3. SAY YOUR CRUSHES NAME 3 TIMES. 4. PASTE THIS ON 4 OTHER GAMES IF YOU DO THIS YOUR CRUSH WILL KISS YOU ON THE NEAREST FRIDAY. BUT IF YOU READ THIS AND DO NOT PASTE THIS YOU WILL HAVE VERY BAD LUCK. SEND THIS TO 4 GAMES IN 143 SECONDS.||”|
Emoticon spam, also known as "smiley spam", is a type of spam that uses an excessive amount of emoticons, sometimes even leading to the webpage lagging, or emoticons not related to the topic.
Necroposting is the act of posting on an old and abandoned forum topic. Necroposting is generally frowned upon, for it clogs the forums with outdated forum topics and posts; thus, necroposting can be considered spam.
|This article or section documents something not included in the current version of Scratch (3.0). It is only useful from a historical perspective.|
- Main article: Project Tags#Problems
The tag "Waffles" was a particularly popular spam tag, which was posted on thousands of projects. Other popular spam tags were "username was here" and obvious descriptions like "project" or "made by username". The text "[+]" was often spammed in the form of "click [+] if you like something". Similarly, the "Click =>" tag told the reader to click the plus one link to its right. Tags with rude language were also considered spam. Spam tags could be flagged with the flag button next to them.
Since users lost the ability to tag projects other than their own in Scratch 2.0, tag spam is no longer a major issue.
- Main article: Project Types#Spam
A spam project is easy to spot. They are projects with no exact purpose, containing either gibberish or nothing at all. Inappropriate projects are also counted as spam.
|“||Hi! I'm [...] and I work in the [...] industry! Check out this website! [spam link]||”|
Another example of commercial spam would be:
|“||Thank you for your article. [spam link]||”|
It is commercial spam because it does not contribute anything to the forum topic, and it has a spam link to a commercial site. Commercial spam can also be found posted on random topics or projects.
Search Engine Optimization
- See also: What is SEO spam?
Search Engine Optimization is another form of commercial spam, which aims at making search engines such as Google display posts which link to commercial websites, etc. Search engines prefer ".edu" domains like "scratch.mit.edu", thus SEO takes place a lot on Scratch. Due to the New Scratcher status on the forums, most commercial spammers cannot post clickable links there to external sites, so most search engines will ignore them. In comments, URLs are also not transformed into hyperlinks.
Unnecessary reports of comments, projects, studios, etc. is a form of spamming, as it uses up the Scratch Team's time and data, thus blocking genuine reports.
A spammer is a user who intentionally spams constantly. Even though there are human spammers, there are also spambots (see the section below). Spammers can risk getting banned.
- Main article: Spambots
Spambots are programs written by spammers to create accounts for the purpose of spamming on websites automatically. Spambots are slowed down by certain features implemented to help stop them, such as slower posting times (for comments and forums posts) for New Scratchers, email account confirmation to stop spambots from posting spam projects and comments, and IP bans to try to prevent future spambots from the same source from being created.
Spam Prevention on Scratch
New Scratcher and Scratcher ranking system
- Main article: New Scratcher
The Ranking System is a system whereby new users on the website have certain limits imposed on them, which spammers are unlikely to want to work around. This was implemented to prevent attackers from using disposable accounts to post spam on the website. These limits include not being able to post images or links in the Forums, and not having access to Cloud Data.
60 Second Rule
- Main article: Sixty-Second Rule
Regular users cannot post on the Forums more frequently than one post every minute (two minutes for New Scratchers). This is to reduce the rate at which spam can spread. New Scratchers must also wait 30 seconds between comments on the Main Site.
Warnings About Duplicate Comments
If a user tries to post an identical comment too many times, the 'Post' button will be disabled and a tooltip explaining why they cannot post will appear next to the comment box. This also helps to prevent spam.
Avoiding Duplicate Warnings
To avoid the warning, some people add “RTNAS:<random number>” at the end of the comment. This is only acceptable if you are not spamming. If you use this to spam, you will be banned.
Bad Word Detector
Some common chain messages and ASCII art have been blacklisted to prevent them from being spread any further.
- Paddle2See. (09/06/2021). "Sorry if you felt the Spam topic was closed prematurely. I saw what looked like to me sufficient responses. I don't believe we have an "official" definition - but I'll give you my best shot. We consider spam any content that is not-contributing to the topic and is annoying to others." users:10goto10/#comments-145703564
- Paddle2See. (16/4/2020). "Where is it not okay to advertise? / Any place where your ad would be considered “off-topic”, such as: / Comments on someone else's project [...] On areas of the Discussion Forums other than Show and Tell" topic:396541
- Za-Chary. (13/06/2020). "Small uses of scripts is okay for us — but long and laggy scripts in a place where it doesn't belong might not be." post:4123141
- Paddle2See. (15/06/2020). "If you find that somebody has put a bunch of blocks in their post that do not contribute to the conversation, that is off-topic or spamming... However, if they are using the blocks as a way to format what they are saying, that is not blockspam and should not be reported." post:4127402
- Za-Chary. (07/05/2020). "...'blockspam' is okay if the scripts are short and are related to the topic at hand." post:3993497
- If you want to give a instructions to a prizegiver in your contest, such as “You were a prizegiver in my contest, please follow the winner <username>”.