Thursday, January 31, 2008

What works in Yahoo! Groups spam control ?

Having a healthy mailing-list without spam is difficult but not impossible. If you have much time on your hands you can set about approving every member and message that shows up on your list. ;)

The mailing-list or a group (as Yahoo! calls it) that I mention in this post is hosted on Yahoo! groups service. The list is set as unmoderated (all messages get posted directly) and has open membership policy (anyone can join and leave the group as they please). For spam control the Yahoo! SpamGuard filters are enabled but the spammers did sneak in.

Since I abhor any kind of message moderation on this list and didn’t want the moderators spend all their time approving membership requests (which were quite a lot), I looked at other strategies for eliminating spam. I observed that most of the spam we received is from newly joined members, so it seemed to be a good idea to moderator the posts of newly joined members only. This create a sort of sandbox where all new members should spend time until one of the moderator manually changes their status to unmoderated.

Here is an extract from the Yahoo! groups help page that explains the settings in detail.

  1. Click Management on the left side of any group page.
  2. Click Messages in the “Group Settings” section.
  3. Click Edit next to “Postings and Archives”.
  4. Select the New Members button in the “Moderation” column.
  5. Click Save Changes. Now go on and moderate!

This setting means that new members to the group will require moderation for all messages they post until you change their setting to either “Use current group message posting setting” or “Messages by this member are not moderated”

One other setting I recommend for moderators to get notified of a pending message via email this way you can attended to the request faster and help weeding out (or banning a member) spammers from the sandbox. This strategy seems to work in controlling most of the spam we get on this list. But it doesn’t prevent any of already existing members from spamming the list.

Please do share your experiences on managing a Yahoo! group mailing-list.!!

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