Bobby, spam hunter extraordinaire!

March 30, 2011 by . 0 comments

In this interview we’ll talk with Bobby. With a flag weight of over 600, he’s one of the main flaggers on our site, but Bobby has a specialty: fighting spammers! In fact, if one of your posts gets flagged by Bobby, chances are your account is on its way to merge with Deposit

Q: So Bobby, tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do in your daily life?

My name is Robert, I’m living in Vienna, Austria. I’m a learned electro mechanic and somehow I made it into a programming job, and I’ve been working for the last three years with the .NET framework. In my spare time I’m mostly strolling through the internet, trying to code in Java and other languages and playing Minecraft with my brother. I’m also training Ju Jutsu…but I fear that pretty much sums it up.

Q: How did you become a Super User?

I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I can remember that one fine day I stumbled over Stack Overflow and of course Super User and I just liked it. I stayed because I like the Q&A approach more then the traditional forum style especially if it comes to specialized questions and problems.

Q: You’ve been a member for well over a year and have several other SE-accounts, but only Super User and Stack Overflow seem to have significant rep. Is there a reason you like these two more and which of the two is your favorite?

I think I favor these two because they are my specialty (and they’ve got a head start). I’m a coder and I’m a computer user, I’m not a server admin and I’m not a hardcore player and I’m especially not an artist of any kind. I’m also mostly sticking to these two accounts because I’ve got enough reputation there to edit what I see. Whenever I’m on another SE site my first urge is to retag the questions and add a little formatting, which is of course not that easy with low reputation. I also don’t have a favorite between these two, but if I had one, it would be Meta.

Q: You do have some accounts on some of the other SE-sites, do you just like to lurk around or does your ideal SE-site not exist? What site do you think would be a great addition to the network?

I’ve created these accounts because I’m also very interested in these topics and I swear tomorrow I’ll start contributing to these sites! Joke aside, yes, I like to lurk around and just looking occasionally into the other sites. And the Stack Exchange family is growing so fast, that I’ve already lost track of all sites and communities. So whatever I can think up is most likely already there, I just have to go look for it.

Q: You’re a living proof that you don’t need high rep to be useful to a site. You edit a lot of posts and of course find lots of spam. Do you plan to ever reach 10k on Super User? Or are you happy with your current status and see no need for the 10k tools?

Yes, I’d like to hit 10k some day. But right now I’m very content that all my decisions will be reviewed before they get finalized, especially my flags. And as you might know, I like flagging very much and I enjoy spamming you guys with them. ;)

Q: So about your fascination with spam, where does it come from?

Spammers do not want to contribute to this community, but want to use it for their own interests. That’s just not nice.

Q: Do you use any special tactics for detecting spam? And do you have any tips that other users could use to help you in the battle against spam?

I’m just scanning the new answers for 1 rep users and then check those answers and any other answers from that account. If I find a spammer I do a site-wide search for the spammed link and I’m looking for similar topics which could have got hit by another spammer. I’m also clicking the spammed link to see if I’ve flagged it in the past at the Web of Trust. I also have assembled a small query at the Data Explorer, but the results have become quite thin in the last time. If I have tips for other spam hunters? Sure, just keep looking, Spam is like the the truth, it’s somewhere out there.

Q: Any suggestions for making the review tools more useful in finding spam?

Unfortunately I have no ideas right now, but if I have some, you’ll find them on Meta.

Q: What is it about Stack Exchange that makes you keep coming back to the sites?

The simplicity. A question gets asked, a question gets answered. That’s it. No fancy graphics, no chit-chat, no friend invitations and no private messages. It’s just that. And of course the community, the people. You can bet that someone will make a funny comment which will make you laugh.

Q: Do you have any favorite question or answer that shows what you find so awesome about the site?

I can’t think of one question or answer right now, but I can think of multiple comments which just made me laugh out loud when I read them. On second thought, yes, I have one favorite question on Meta.SO, “Embrace the non-Googlers”. Simply because I can’t stand finding suggestions to Google it while running my searches on Google.

Q: Do you have any questions you want to answer, but we were afraid to ask?

No, sadly, I never had the opportunity to eat real spam and yes, someday you’ll get all those coffees and donuts I promised.

Well, perhaps Stack Exchange can FedEx you a can of spam! We’re happy to have Bobby as a part of our community and hope he serves as a great example for other users. If there’s any Super User you always wanted to ask a question, drop a comment to help us pick the next to interview. If you have any other questions for Bobby, feel free to ask those in the comments too and we’ll add them to the post!

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