Preventing Spam on Community Forums

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Preventing Spam on Community Forums
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For more information on Intel IT Best Practices, please visit www.intel.com/IT
 

IT Best Practices: Intel uses social community forums to engage publicly with customers, developers, and industry experts. It is an important part of fostering discussions, ideas, and knowledge sharing that often lead to industry-wide solutions. In spring 2015 Intel experienced a significant escalation in spam attacks on its public community forums—as many as ten thousand unwanted posts per day. In response, Intel employees and volunteer moderators had to spend valuable time managing and preventing spam to preserve the integrity of the community.

The negative impact of this spam was far-reaching:
• Brand image. Irrelevant and otherwise inappropriate content degraded the user experience, making it more difficult for people to find relevant information in our forums and projecting a poor brand image.
• Moderator focus. Volunteer moderators spent time cleaning up spam instead of helping community members.
• Expense. Intel spent a significant amount of money each week managing and deleting spam.

Intel needed a rapid and less labor-intensive solution. After identifying a third-party spam prevention service, we worked with another third-party developer to create a custom plug-in to connect the service to our community forum platform. Within one month we deployed the solution as a production pilot and experienced an instant decrease in spam to its pre-attack levels. We saw the following benefits:
• Spam prevention. Known spam is deflected, and suspicious content is flagged for moderation. Appropriate content is posted immediately.
• Machine learning. The spam filter service continuously learns from its collection of global implementations, deflecting new attacks of similar spam.

We have made incremental enhancements to the spam filter since the launch. This automated solution has enabled our employees and volunteer moderators to focus on the community, protecting the user experience and Intel’s brand while saving Intel significant time and money each week in the avoided cost of managing the spam manually.

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