Honestly, whoever has an idea for a spam detection measure for Mastodon, and by that I do mean an implementation, get in touch with me, I'll pay for it.

I've been thinking about solutions for the past few days but the more I think about them the more they appear pointless.


Defining an account as suspicious when it has no local followers can be circumvented by just pre-following them, using account age can be circumvented with sleeper accounts, blacklisting URLs does nothing when the spam does not include URLs, checking for duplicate messages sent to different recipients can be circumvented by randomizing parts of the message...



I don't think it's realistic to think there can be a technical solution to completely eliminate spam. But raising its cost, which can be done by each of these solutions, is still worthwhile because they will make spamming harder.

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@lunar The events that have sparked this discussion is one dedicated person spamming the network. There is suspicious that the person is somehow keeping up with development discussions and changing tactics accordingly. Therefore, unless the solution can help against that type of spammer, it's kind of pointless. Plenty of tools against more mundane spam.

@Gargron Ok. Forcing spammers to create sleeper accounts and sleeper instances would still help reduce the rate of abuses after previous instances and accounts have been blocked. Especially if the amount of messages they can send to people they haven't interacted with before is made proportional to their age. Or am I missing something?

(We've also discussed shared blocklists already. I'm now convinced they come with a lot of problems.)

I wonder if such behavior should even be lumped in with "spam"? What you outline sounds particularly adversarial (but then again, of course all spam adapts to countermeasures)

One person gaming existing mechanisms definitely sounds more like a problem suited for (better?) moderation mechanisms to me.

Trying to combat a dedicated person with ML or regexes or anything like that sounds utterly hopeless to me.

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