Spam reporting thread #13

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Spam reporting thread #13

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Sep 15, 2010, 3:53pm

A previous epic has been closed. Here some new turf.

Procedures for reporting spam
-- Spam posts in a Talk topic: flag the post, then flag the member's profile.
-- Spam groups: flag them by adding the tag "spam."
-- Spam members: you can flag commercial spam on the profile page. Note that profile flags are only for commercial spammers, and not for "overzealous" authors, publishers, or booksellers, which should be reported by email instead. See Talk post.
-- Spam works *NEW*: flag them as spam on the work's editions page, and then vote on proposed work spam. Make sure to read the Guidelines; see also the talk post.
-- Spam authors (Note: there's been some discussion about whether to continue this method.) : make sure to flag the works, then combine the author with "Evil Spammer." Please do not add a canonical name to spam authors, because that makes it difficult to track down mistaken combinations and "false positive" spam.
-- Overzealous authors or publishers: do not flag. Report to staff, or send the member a polite message pointing them to the terms, and mentioning the "no promoting" language and pointing them to the Do's and Don't page for authors
-- Spam venues or events: post here.
-- Spam in book links: post here.
-- Not sure if it's spam? Post here, and explain why.
(adapted from Sonya's instructions in an earlier thread.)

Sep 15, 2010, 3:57pm

I'm uncomfortable about the group Dobermantalk. On one hand, they are advertising for an external service (Terms of use: "LibraryThing is not an advertising venue"). On the other hand, they are not egregriously commercial about their operation here.

Edited: Sep 15, 2010, 4:36pm

The member at least has a reasonably sized library, and seems to be on LT to catalog/discuss books relevant to their membership or site, so it seems ok to me. If the only thing they had done was to create a link to their site, it'd look more iffy. And as you said, it's not commercial.

Sep 15, 2010, 5:22pm

They haven't left their url as a link all over the site either like *cough* some other folks have done recently.

Sep 16, 2010, 4:57am

Thank you for these comments. This is what I wanted to think.

Sep 18, 2010, 3:41am

Spammer profiles picked up through
(at the bottom of that wall o' text is a link for a search engine optimizer thingie)

It could be their camp library, or it could be "put yourself on every social networking site known to man" advertising. I'm leaning towards the former, but am not sure.

Sep 18, 2010, 4:11am

Agree with you, Jules. And I think Redwood are probably keeping private because they have children??

Sep 18, 2010, 5:28am

That makes sense, Sarah, and certainly pushes them towards the "real catalogue" end of the spectrum. They don't have many books catalogued yet, but I'd assume that's because the account was only set up yesterday.

Sep 18, 2010, 7:35am

The retire with spam, um, steve: take the first sentence and drop it into google. You'll find it elsewhere.

Sep 18, 2010, 11:44am

Well, retirewithspam does *say* somewhere in the wall o' text that it's ever so easy to post all over social networking sites with whatever it is he's flogging. :-)

(I read it all in appalled fascination.)

Edited: Sep 28, 2010, 5:10am

What do people think about this one?

Never mind - has been flagged as spam :)

Sep 29, 2010, 10:10am

Sep 29, 2010, 10:26am


zoejw seems legit to me (she has four legitimate works in her library); I'm not sure about aiimut. The link seems to be a quasi-commercial blog, so I'd wait and see for her. She's certainly not doing anything overtly offensive yet.

Sep 29, 2010, 6:54pm

I have flagged a member who is flooding threads with a message to go to her blog for news. I went to her home page and followed the instructions from message #1. It is disconcerning to read a thread where LT'ers are wishing good luck to a LT member who will be undergoing surgery and come upon two messages from this person re: her blog.

Oct 1, 2010, 12:14am

To me, this seems like spam, but I'm posting it here rather than flagging away, just in case it's not. Post seeks book recommendations, but post also contains a link to some chiropractic center. User has free account and no books.

Thread: Hello everyone... (in Book Talk)

User: williamhayes78

Oct 1, 2010, 12:18am

Yeah, that's spam. People try to make it seem like they belong on the site, then sneak in a spam link.

Oct 1, 2010, 12:32am

Ah, I see --thanks for the info. Spammers must be getting more clever these days (I've not done any spam-fighting for months, so am obviously not up on the latest tactics). I've flagged the offending thread and the user.

Oct 1, 2010, 12:59am

Yeah, I haven't seen one of these in a while before this one, but it's not unusual to see talk posts (or blog comments on other sites) of this genre:

Really interesting points being made here.
{link to dog washing service}

Hi I just joined and I'm really excited to get to know everyone. I really enjoy such-and-such books as well.
{link to dodgy cash loan service}

Oct 2, 2010, 6:27am

Edited: Oct 2, 2010, 11:27am

I think this falls into the overenthusiastic author category: i.e. profile not flaggable; the Talk posts, though, are possibly flaggable:

I haven't flagged anything, but it does seem like the author should get the "what's ok on LT" talk. (ETA1: On the other hand, s/he's been here for a while, and maybe is just genuinely very excited - and certainly seems to be - about going on Oprah. It shouldn't be posted in multiple places, but I am not sure it qualifies as spam.)
(ETA2: Oh, but wait, then there's the review of own book, the image comments with URLs, etc. All of this is a bit too much. Yep, I'd say overenthusiastic author.)

Oct 3, 2010, 12:25am

Just a tiny little thought/musing: Sometimes it makes all the author-spam annoyance worthwhile to get a nice response from an author who genuinely didn't realize they were doing anything wrong.

Edited: Oct 3, 2010, 10:11am

This morning's crop from the recent pictures gallery:

The picture itself has a spam payload in its description:
and his profile is pure spam:

I don't know how one flags pictures, and there isn't an obvious way to do so -- has it been turned off while Tim considers the DCRM problem?

I will refrain from naming and mocking the over-zealous self-published author with 1 book and 1 five star review and 4 book photos in his account, on "there but for the grace of god" grounds. :-) The other new "author with one book" accounts seem to have refrained from the "my book is the best book ever" review silliness.

(5 minutes later) Belay that -- he's spamming by putting a picture of his book as the venue picture for his favourite bookstore:

redacted - see message 24

Oct 3, 2010, 8:26am

22: Question: What do we do about authors like the last one linked? Unlike some others, it's very unlikely that a kind link to the TOS and such would help, here. We can't flag, 'cause profile-flagging isn't for authors... Do we just hope that an admin sees it in this thread?

Edited: Oct 3, 2010, 10:29am

I put a spam note on the comment box for amphigory's step-too-far picture, and have just got a note back apologising for being over-enthusiastic. Will just go back and edit message 22 now.

Edited to add that I've pointed him at Hobnob With Authors, so at least he now knows where the safe space to promote is.

Oct 3, 2010, 10:22am

22 I don't know how one flags pictures, and there isn't an obvious way to do so -- has it been turned off while Tim considers the DCRM problem?

Picture flagging is only for author and venue pictures, and isn't available for profile pictures.

Oct 3, 2010, 10:56am

And now amphigory's account has been removed... If that was by staff rather than him asking for it to be deleted, I would note that he did clean up his mess and apologise when he got a Terse Note from me in his comments.

Oct 3, 2010, 10:05pm

Another author that could do with a friendly message:

I have flagged the reviews though
(I find it funny that he's rated one of his own books only four stars...)

Oct 4, 2010, 6:52am

#27 - I've flagged that particular company quite recently (the idea of a company specialising in wedding cufflinks mildly surprised me so it's stuck in my mind), so they must have other accounts here.

Oct 4, 2010, 7:36am

#30 - That's the one; knew I'd seen it.

Oct 4, 2010, 8:04am

Oct 4, 2010, 8:11am


Authors who are obviously deliberately spamming should be reported to staff.

Oct 7, 2010, 8:39am

Um ...

... is this spam or overzealous publishing/authoring?

Oct 7, 2010, 11:30pm

What is this? This person has joined two groups, created a third and has just posted the word "test" so far and has an objectionable name.

Oct 7, 2010, 11:34pm

sorry- another objectionable name - has posted in the group "Tea" but deleted it.
who joins with a name like this?

Oct 8, 2010, 2:04am

I know it's not spam, but surely that must be against TOS somewhere.

Perhaps bring it to the attention of one of the LT staff?

Edited: Oct 8, 2010, 2:13am

I did. Both accounts have been suspended for being under 13yo.

eta: Oops, I tell a lie. Only one has. I was sure Tim said he'd suspended them both.

Oct 8, 2010, 2:14am

There is something in the TOS forbidding usernames that are an insult. This may not be an insult, though it could be insulting. Anyway, I think surely the staff reserves the right to delete stuff like this.

The one in 36 is already gone.

Oct 8, 2010, 3:38am

Well, if the user is thinking of this phenomenon - - I can sort of relate. ;-)

Oct 8, 2010, 9:29am

#38- Yay! Good work!

Oct 8, 2010, 9:27pm

This one needs an expert's eye...

This venue looks more like a website than a venue (but my Dutch isn't great):

But it shows as a multiple in one location with this venue, which looks much less spammy:

Any ideas?

Oct 9, 2010, 8:42am

As much as I'd like to exclude online stores from the venues feature, the page "Add venue" has selection "Real place / Online".

That Twilight Book "Club" is more borderline-ish.

Oct 9, 2010, 9:04am

> 44

My understanding is that the "online" choice is limited to sites that have author chats and that sort of thing, and is not meant for websites that are stores only.

Oct 9, 2010, 9:32am

>45 lilithcat:

That is a policy I could somewhat agree with.
I spent a couple of dozen minutes trying to find a policy statement, expliciting your understanding on the venues, so that we have something we can throw at webstores. Do you happen to remember where I could find one?

Oct 9, 2010, 10:42am

Oh, good. I didn't wade the announcement thread thoroughly, it appears.

I think I'll be taking a bit of an edit to HelpThing page on the Local feature and add some text from those threads there. Thank you!

Oct 9, 2010, 11:34am

42 - These were entered by a legit member, albeit a new one. He's been popping up in Talk lately with questions and bug reports. He probably just didn't understand what local is and isn't for.

Here's the Google translate for the two you mention:
The brick and mortar actual bookstore:

The online bookstore:

I think the online bookstore would make more sense added to the "quick links" and deleted from Local.

Oct 9, 2010, 11:42am

>44 ari.joki: - 49

I've deleted the Slovenian and Mandarin sites (and the link to the Twilight page). I used Google to translate and couldn't see anything close to author chats offered on the pages.

rsterling, I'll go combine the online link into the other venue and then delete the online one.

Thanks, all!

Oct 9, 2010, 11:42am

I think the online bookstore would make more sense added to the "quick links" and deleted from Local.

I'd say the same for the 2 middle ones from post 43, which are Slovenian online bookstores.

Oct 11, 2010, 8:37am

I found a number of spam profiles here -

- including these -

- which I'm not sure if I should flag or not. Opinions?

Also note this one -

- which looks legit and is easy to skip past, but actually links to a porn purveyor's site (and it looks like pretty crude porn, too!).

Oct 11, 2010, 8:45am

>52 alaudacorax:
How are those first two spam?

Oct 11, 2010, 8:50am

#53 - Well, I'm not sure if they are or not, that's why I was asking for advice.

Edited: Oct 11, 2010, 9:15am

#53 - To elucidate a bit:

Are the profiles there purely for the purpose of directing traffic to other websites which, as I understand it, is against the terms of service?

On the other hand, it's legitimate for a genuine member to have a link to his or her or its website - is that the case here?

Oct 13, 2010, 7:53am

New poster to talk, no books.

Lots of fashion discussion in unrelated groups (Recommended Site Improvements don't need to discuss Military Uniforms.)

Oct 13, 2010, 8:08am

It's spam. Flag the posts, flag the member.

Oct 13, 2010, 8:29am

Is it just me, or do others find it satisfying to be the fourth person to flag a post and see it disappear? Poof! I conjure thee, begone!

Oct 13, 2010, 8:42am

No, it's not just you!

When I click 'flag abuse' and I see the 'counterflag, it's ok*', I always think "Great, I'm not first, I hope I'm fourth!"

*or whatever.

Oct 13, 2010, 10:40am

52 - I wouldn't consider the 1st 2 profiles spam. One of my tests is usually whether there is something book-related about the account and whether they have any books cataloged. They pass that test, IMHO.

On the other hand, the 3rd one you mention, despite having books, does look a lot like spam, especially since the link is both on the profile and in comments.

Oct 13, 2010, 5:02pm

#60 - I tend to agree, so I've flagged the third and passed on the other two.

Oct 15, 2010, 1:43pm

Reposting a request from theapparatus, for anyone who doesn't follow the spam work proposal thread:

Message 191: theapparatus
Please flag this user:

Been at it for a while now.

Edited: Oct 26, 2010, 12:57am

Spammer has created 1 spam review, and also added a spam "event" to a legit venue (which I deleted). I would normally leave it to the flags to be processed, but I suspect the spam events may be harder to catch, so thought it might be worth posting here to ask for an early account closure.

edited for typo

Edited: Oct 28, 2010, 11:43am

Has anyone noticed the number of spam profiles linking to http :// ?

If you run the search -

- you get a list that I suspect is practically all linked.

ETA - Well, a handful of them weren't linked to that particular site, but all except one were spam (in my opinion, of course).

Edited: Nov 11, 2010, 12:00pm

Can I ask you all to flag this profile:

If you follow the link you'll find one of the most appalling bits of snake-oil peddling I, for one, have ever come across.

ETA Listen to the bit about Einstein - it would be hilarious if they weren't selling some of their trinkets to gullible people for hundreds of dollars.

Edited: Nov 12, 2010, 1:38am

Feedback, please.

I'm not sure if the author of the following threads is being particularly clever in soliciting members or is just innocently being over-eager. What say you?


ETA:The third message in the first link provided above is what leads me to suspect clever solicitation rather than innocent enthusiasm.

Nov 12, 2010, 2:29am

I don't think it's solicitation. The author of Infinite Jest is dead, and this wouldn't be his style anyway. I think it's just someone who wants some company in working through a very formidable novel.

Nov 12, 2010, 2:53am


Yes, DFW is no longer alive, but I thought perhaps this member was soliciting for people to join a different site (starting Jan 1) of his own.

Thanks anyways.

Nov 21, 2010, 9:59pm

Has someone reported this spammer- who is spamming groups now.

Nov 23, 2010, 1:43am

Spammer running amok in Talk. (I've flagged the member's profile, and flagged the posts where I've seen them.) Seems to be an iteration of the spammer referenced by torontoc in #72.

Nov 23, 2010, 1:46am

73: Just came in here to report that! Good to see other are on the ball!

Nov 30, 2010, 2:41pm

Not real sure how you guys see this user's library, so I figured I'd post a question before I started flagging things:

A lot of what is added in the library look like they are just definition of words, not a book, or other movie. I flagged two items, then came back to check on it.

Nov 30, 2010, 4:09pm

If it;s not about trying to get you to buy something or go to some website then it's not spam. Tim has stated that things like this, while not encouraged, are allowed.

Dec 1, 2010, 8:22am

Curious question then. Why would someone wanting to track which catalogs they have be considered spam? I saw on the vote list for the Office Depot Furniture catalog.

Dec 1, 2010, 8:50am


Sadly, Tim's ruled that anything other than commercial spam is a legitimate use of LT. So definitions of words are okay.

Dec 1, 2010, 9:37am

#77 - People propose all sorts of things they shouldn't - but the proposal should have been voted against.

Dec 1, 2010, 9:43am

Yeah, sometimes I think people don't check out the work to see whether it is spam, and especially check out the member to see if the member is legitimate. I've seen several online resources or other non-book works be voted as spam when they shouldn't be, IMO.

Dec 1, 2010, 7:54pm

The nomadic furniture book is for real - they're selling it on Amazon. The member who entered it didn't bother with the authors, which is why it looks spammy - that and the inordinately long title that talks about buying.

Edited: Dec 12, 2010, 11:31am


Also 2 of the books you listed abive should be combined with another book but I don't want to do that until it is not listed as spam. The links below are to the other copy of the books.


This is a 0 holdings book and may not be able to be combined.

The other three are articles from magazines so I did not check the titles.

Edited for clarity.

And further edited: the first 2 books are now combined.

Dec 14, 2010, 2:52pm

Member tolgadrift has started spamming CK:

(Yes, the entries were spam - they all contained links to a sex porn site in .tk)

Dec 20, 2010, 5:40am

> 75
form me is not spam, just a strange and not normal way to use LT.

The user is not promoting nothing is just using LT to keep a definitions list.
Il will write to himm to ask him to post them private.

Dec 20, 2010, 6:01am

> 64
Agree completly, almost 99% of profiles liste here are spams :

Edited: Dec 20, 2010, 9:28am

This article: Acai: a super fruit: even if you're not sure how to pronounce it, you can be sure it is healthy.(HEALTH GUIDE: trend watch): An article from: Vibrant Life is by Winston J. Craig and is from a recognized magazine. The complete article is available in PDF through ProQuest.

Please vote no.

Edited to try and get touchstones. I give up.

Dec 20, 2010, 10:31am


Il will write to himm to ask him to post them private.

It doesn't matter, they'll still show up on searches, they just won't have the user attached.

Dec 20, 2010, 6:11pm

>87 fdholt: That "work" is only owned by one person who only has that one book. They link on their profile to the buyacaiberryselect website that was recently implicated in hacking Twitter accounts and spamming Twitter.

Distasteful, if not actually spam.

Dec 20, 2010, 10:43pm


But what is another member wants to have that article in their catalog? The article isn't spam, the member is.

Edited: Dec 24, 2010, 3:20pm

Removed. Just noticed 87 up there. Amazed folks are trying to justify spammers.

Dec 24, 2010, 3:17pm

Re work/9468964:
See message #90 talking about the same work.

Edited: Dec 24, 2010, 6:06pm


Tried to PM you but can't. Under possible spam, the book United States Pool and Billiard Tokens by Mike Gross is a legitimate work held by a library, over 1000 pages. (OCLC#495994038) By subject headings, it is a catalog and held by an LT member who has a lot of numismatic books. Please vote no.

Edited to try touchstones again but won't load this time. Tried again so I give up.

Dec 24, 2010, 6:21pm

And another book: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Book One (Book Two) with 0 holdings. Granted I'm not sure if it's supposed to be Book 1, Book 2 or both. There are 3 vols. in this series according to WorldCat. I have other Calvin & Hobbes but not this.

And the touchstone will not load yet again so I'm giving the URL instead.

Edited: Jan 7, 2011, 11:44am

"member" BuyCarisoprodol is actively spamming CK Book Descriptions: as I type this...

Jan 7, 2011, 11:49am

Edited: Jan 7, 2011, 12:38pm

Here are strange accounts :
(and probably more like them)

All of them have
- exactly 50 books
- children related books
- strange SI624fall09 tag
- links with good reviews to websites

Some websites are books related or stroy telling (like project gutemberg) but some seem very promotional too me like : ;

I thinks it a spammer trick to look like legitimate libraries with legitimate children books, and add a few spam links.

Jan 7, 2011, 12:40pm

I think that tag may be related to this:

It looks like a school group thing.

Jan 7, 2011, 12:43pm


I think it's far more likely that they were students taking this class. They all joined in September 2009 (or, in the case of those using SI624fall10, in September 2010), and don't have books added after the corresponding December.

Jan 7, 2011, 1:44pm

Thanks staffordcastle ans lorax, so they are legitimate user. I will only not flag the non-book related websites, because i think than even their intend was not to spam (for money or ranking) is still a sort of spam to me.

Jan 7, 2011, 3:20pm

101 - The spam work guidelines state that spam flagging should not be used to flag non-book works. So things should not be flagged simply because they are websites. We need to look at the context. It is permissable for someone to catalog a website or online resource, as long as they are not engaging in commercial promotion.

Jan 7, 2011, 3:39pm

95-96 - The same members were also adding spam to Published/Media Reviews. I've deleted some there.

Jan 8, 2011, 5:36am

101> Ok thanks rsterling i will not flag more website from this users. I have only flag before posting here.

Jan 8, 2011, 11:03pm

Possibly some sock-puppetry and rating- and recommendation-stacking going on with this author's books. See a post about it here.

A lot of the members who've favorited the author, and who are rating it 4-5 stars and recommending it repeatedly, are very new to LT. Might be worth looking into.

Jan 9, 2011, 1:55am

Okay, I'm convinced this author is spamming, and will take very serious action against him.

Can someone look at the author page and screen out what is and isn't his. Is he also the author of the computer books?

Jan 9, 2011, 2:03am

Looks like it's all him:

Oh, and I gather he sues people. Great.

Jan 9, 2011, 2:07am

Yeah, I think he writes both the children's stuff and the computer books. FYI, there are some legitimate members with copies of his children's books, and his computer books.

The books in the "series" listed on the right side are the ones that seem to be getting heavily and spammily promoted.

Here's one of the author's homepages, which confirms that he writes under both names:

Edited: Jan 9, 2011, 2:31am


I took a look at who favorited him. Out of 70 favorites, there are only 48 distinct IPs. That's an unusual number. Here's a list of authors who have been favorited at least 50 times, and what percent of the IP addresses of the favoriters are distinct, sorted low-to-high.

stanekrobert 68%
allensarahaddison 88%
ilesgreg 93%
ginsbergallen 93%
davidsonmaryjanice 94%

with all others above 95%, and most way way above it. That's stands out very clearly! Incidentally, this can't be because of name combinations.

Other signs point similarly.

Jan 9, 2011, 2:37am

Take back one dot from the IP address—almost all of which resolve to the same city—and you get

stanekrobert 54%
allensarahaddison 88%
ilesgreg 93%


Jan 9, 2011, 2:48am

So, I'm going to collect some more data and do a blog post about him, by name. Then I'll disable every account that meets a threshold of suspiciousness—with the option to ask to bring it back, of course.

Jan 9, 2011, 3:08am

... Wow. That is.... wow. Some mighty heavy spamming. Some mighty heavy IP-address proof, too!

Edited: Jan 9, 2011, 7:15am

>106 timspalding:

That book list has him as the copyright holder, so it's not even written by anyone else. The publisher only seems to have five authors. (Mind, I don't know how unusual that is.)

It also looks as if he did a puff piece on himself on Wikipedia that got deleted as non-notable.

First nomination for deletion. Buried in there is a link to an article on Ansible that shows how creepy the guy is.

Jan 9, 2011, 7:27am

J. R. King. Now where have I seen that name before? Oh yes, same publisher as Robert Stanek.

Jan 9, 2011, 11:47am

So, I'm going to collect some more data and do a blog post about him, by name.
Big guns! What are you planning to reveal in the blog post about how you caught it? I worry that that revealing too much about spam/sock-puppet catching techniques might just allow others to figure out how to get around them in the future. This is also not the first case we've had of an author using multiple sock puppets to stack ratings etc. for his/her book.

Jan 9, 2011, 12:02pm

Yes, a lot of the same members have favorited J.R. King and Robert Stanek.

The publisher website claims J.R. King is a teen author, though of course it could just be a pseudonymn/alternate identity:

The other 3 authors published by the press (Jay Giles, Jon Hickman, Tom Schwartz) do have books on LT, but their books don't seem to have the high ratings and heavy promotion.

Edited: Jan 9, 2011, 2:30pm

Just found this upright person all over the new pictures gallery.

ETA - It's very hard not posting abusive comments on some of these profiles - I can think of some straight-up naughty ones for this person.

Jan 9, 2011, 11:51pm

This person has no books but has set up a lot of groups that refer to poker and gambling websites.All have been flagged by LT members.
just joined on Jan. 9

Jan 10, 2011, 12:44am

110: Tim - with the sock-puppets, can you also delete or suppress all their spammy member recommendations?

I'm sure there's a bunch of them, but see for example the recommendations page for the guy who initially reported this:

(Note, to avoid confusion: ncgraham is a legit member who reported being spammed by recommendations for that author's books.)

Jan 10, 2011, 4:04am

Wow, my own recommendations page is even worse: - 10 of the first 14 recommendations.

Edited: Jan 10, 2011, 4:11am

I'm working through the Stanek business. It's such a massive number of accounts--and it's giving me a chance to make sure every cranny gets updated when spammers are caught. Recommendations are on my list, don't worry. Stanekian "members" recommended 286 works--making him the most frequently requested author, after Neil Gaiman (183).

Needless to say, pro-Stanek emails now arriving, eg., long email ending in:

"The party responsible for this removal should be reprimanded and demoted. I am informing members in my organizations that librarything is no longer an approved organization for library/school reviews or activities. You've lost our trust. I will take this matter to the county and state levels. Any friend of the library knows better. I am ashamed for you."


Jan 10, 2011, 4:34am

I don't doubt it. Just don't forget to demote yourself afterwards ;-)

Jan 10, 2011, 12:03pm

120 - That's hilarious.

Jan 10, 2011, 3:51pm


I'm glad Mr. Stanek is ashamed, but it's clearly for the wrong people.

Jan 10, 2011, 4:26pm

He's a piece of work. New accounts sprouting up constantly. I spent the day on it. On the upside, tags made by spammers now disappear more easily.

Jan 10, 2011, 6:05pm

Jan 10, 2011, 9:56pm

120: I'm sitting here shaking my head in a "whaaaa.....?" way. Just... wow. Very interesting.

(I'd actually looove to hear *why* this person thinks that this sort of over-the-top spam should be allowable, lol)

Edited: Jan 11, 2011, 3:08am

Christ! More fighting this gutless wonder (or his friends, although I'd bet a million dollars it's just him). Accounts popping up constantly, and unfortunately, as a computer expert, he knows some of the tricks.

Having spent much of today, I'm looking forward to another day of it tomorrow. I have better things to do.

The evidence against the author is so utterly damning, here and elsewhere, I think I'm going to proceed directly to the final step of such things—removing him entirely from the global level of the site, perhaps with an exception to logged-in members who have a book by him. This would render him completely gone as far as search engines and casual users are concerned, while not destroying any user data for people who have one of his earlier computer books. (Killing the spam utterly eliminated all owners of his "bugville" books, and left only a handful with his other fiction.)

For now, I've merely done it to his author page:

Jan 11, 2011, 5:50am

>127 timspalding:

I looked to see if there were any other R. Stanek or W. Stanek or W. R. Stanek authors and couldn't see any immediately, but we might still need to be able to do combining/separating of the author name. Is there any way this could be enabled separately?

Jan 11, 2011, 10:48am

Actually the W. Stanek should probably be separated, as one of the books listed is by a different author:,2010...

In the short-term, though, separating might cause more problems?

Jan 11, 2011, 11:55am

Let's not do anything to his works for a while.

I've added notices like this to the top of all his works and his author page. The pages themselves are only visible to logged-in members, making them perfectly useless for search engines and etc.

Jan 11, 2011, 4:29pm

Awesome notice. I hereby mark the first occurrence of the LibraryThing Death Penalty. Well, at least as far as authors go. Couldn't have happened to a nicer fellow.

Jan 11, 2011, 4:35pm

Yes. I was sad to do it, but he just wouldn't. Once he realized I was scrutinizing favorites and recommendations, the spammer moved to ratings, etc. I can fight him today, but the scale of his work is so extensive and obstinate it really calls the data into question, now and going forward.

Jan 11, 2011, 4:56pm

Wow! I just googled this guy. What a piece of work!

Jan 11, 2011, 5:01pm

I think you're being too lenient. Why try only to suppress him? I'd like to see the pages visible in search engines, with a big spam warning at the top. He should be getting negative publicity out of this, not just positive or nothing. It's sad to see the few negative reviews of his books on Amazon, by people who were tricked into purchasing them by all the good spamming.

The evidence against the author is so utterly damning, here and elsewhere

Blog about it. Tweet about it. Show future spammers that LT is not a site they want to touch.

Jan 11, 2011, 5:27pm

My dream would be to persuade Amazon to post similar spam warnings on all his books. They've succumbed to customer demands in the past....

Edited: Jan 11, 2011, 5:45pm

>134 _Zoe_:

Don't worry. I am. I have a blog post in the works, full of charts and graphs and detailed data. I like these fights, you know. It would have gone out yesterday, but the spamming picked up and I had to return to the fray. It may be a few days now, but it'll get out.

I'd like to see the pages visible in search engines, with a big spam warning at the top.

They have the spam warning, but no content below it. With content you get the potential for link-juice, direct to his sites or through members that have his books, etc. I'd rather cut it off before any link juice is acquired. This reduces the promotional value to zero. As that eyeglass case recently made clear, even negative links can be helpful to a scammer.

Jan 11, 2011, 5:47pm

Don't worry. I am. I have a blog post in the works, full of charts and graphs and detailed data. I like these fights, you know.

Oh, good. I'll look forward to it :)

They have the spam warning, but no content below it.


Edited: Jan 11, 2011, 10:32pm

What are the guidelines for authors reviewing/rating their own books? I've seen mention that there is supposed to be some way to for an author to delineate reviews for their own book, but poring over the info from Hobnob produced no solid guide. Is it just that somewhere in the review it says "I'm an author"? Of course, that doesn't really help the ratings skew...

Moved to:

Jan 12, 2011, 3:33am

Ah, I should have expected the notorious Robert Stanek here, too. He's famous in the publishing and web promotion worlds.

Edited: Jan 12, 2011, 5:04pm

Is it really one Robert Stanek? The author of the fantasy novels and those computer books?


ETA: I just love the picture where he photoshopped himself into a book signing but forgot to add legs. Too bad we don't have that.

Jan 12, 2011, 6:05pm

>140 krazy4katz:

Yes. Career change.

Strictly speaking, that photo was photoshopped differently. Google around about it. An original photo exists and clearly shows him there, crouching down. He photoshopped out some garbage in front of him, arguably making it seem more like he was signing with the author, although that's more of an interpretive call.

Jan 12, 2011, 6:06pm

140> He didn't photoshop it, you scoundrel; he was astrally projecting.

I believe he's also the Robert Stanek who invented the communications satellite, first cultivated crops and stole fire from the gods.

Jan 12, 2011, 6:45pm

141 - Looks like some of the garbage was photo-shopped out, but there's still the top of some crumpled paper, if you look at it closely.

Jan 12, 2011, 7:30pm

Ah me!! I have unjustly accused... Mea culpa and all that.


Jan 12, 2011, 11:27pm

No need retreading the whole photo analysis as there's already a great writeup here:

Jan 12, 2011, 11:49pm

145 - Yup, I read that, but I don't think they mentioned that wad of paper :). The top of the paper is still there, in the same place, but now as though the paper trash is hovering in the air between his torso and the edge of the table. And, the book on the edge of the table is trapezoidal instead of rectangular.

Jan 12, 2011, 11:52pm

I didn't do a lot of looking this up, but in the one analysis I read, the fact that the new book on the far right is a copy-and-paste of the left book in front of Jacques was not mentioned.

Jan 15, 2011, 8:38am

Am I the only one enjoying the irony that his own websites seem to have been hacked by Eastern European spammers (look at the links right at the bottom of all his pages).

Jan 22, 2011, 3:27am

Why was this group flagged as spam?

Doesn't seem a clear-cut case to me.

Jan 22, 2011, 3:30am

Nor does this one:

We have several groups that are set up around communities/users of other online social networks; I don't see anything different about this one. Nothing really spammy looking about the user who started it either.

Jan 23, 2011, 4:30pm

I can agree the first one is not a spam group.
The second one... I don't know. I'm on the fence about that one.

Jan 23, 2011, 4:42pm

Why? What about it or the member looks spammy?

Edited: Jan 25, 2011, 1:32pm

The website itself looks questionable to me. It doesn't feel like a gamer site or a social site. It feels like an advertising site. That may be because I'm not a member and all I can access are ads.

ETA: Funny, it became a moot point, as someone already deleted both of those groups.

Jan 29, 2011, 4:59pm and his works: might be a "grassroots" campaign for Bulgarian yoghurt?

Both, the flickr page in one of the reviews and the movie page on the profile, mention and link to (yoghurt_brand).bg.

(Thanks to

Jan 29, 2011, 5:05pm

153 - I suspect it was deleted because there's already a group for TeamLiquid members. The person who'd created the new group just joined the old one and posted there to see if anyone wanted to revive the group.

From the blurb underneath the link when you search Google for TeamLiquid:
"Team Liquid is a community site focused on StarCraft and StarCraft 2, with an emphasis on pro-gaming."

It's just site for gamers. I don't see anything spammy in that, and the member who started the flagged group is a legitimate member.

Edited: Jan 29, 2011, 5:25pm

> 154: Well, Bulgarian yoghurt is good stuff - if you're not lactose intollerant. If otherwise: yummie! ;-)

So what are the rules here? I wouldn't dream of trying to spam on LT, but I am working on my website, and it is going to be somewhat commercial. I have to make a living too. Are you guys saying that users can't/shouldn't publish their web pages if/when they are self-employed? So how about official author home pages? They advertize themselves too.

But don't get me wrong : I'm posing this as an open question - if it really is a problem I won't put a link to my website on my LT page.

Jan 29, 2011, 5:35pm

I don't think it would be a problem for you to put your website link up. I think sometimes people are a little too quick to flag.

Why else would we have a link for homepage on our profiles, if not so that people will click on it? If the LT designers disapproved of external links per se, they wouldn't provide ways to include them. Simply having a link to another website is not, in itself, spam.

Writing one's whole profile up in a way that is aimed at selling one's book or product generally crosses the line. If it's clear that someone's whole participation on LT is basically geared at selling something, that's a problem. It's often a question of degree. When someone joins, only catalogs the books s/he personally has written, and only interacts in order to promote his/her own books, that's an "overzealous author" - who can sometimes be brought around to site norms, so we notify staff of those, rather than flagging them. If a business joins, and seems to be here only to promote the link to the business, that's spam. If a business joins and posts its office library, and also happens to include a link to the business's website on the profile, I don't see a problem with that, because they're engaging with the site in other ways.

Jan 29, 2011, 6:00pm

Thank you. In my case it's just me and my personal library, but I just happen to also be self-employed (a one-person business if you like). If/when I post a website link here it would be more like : hey guys, this is what I do for a living. I don't really expect to get business because of LT anyway. Generally I only buy books, not sell them ;-)

Jan 30, 2011, 9:45am

I'm pretty new but I'm assuming that ghd straighteners are not anything to do with a london area event and all help topics point me here, so hope I am right

Jan 30, 2011, 10:08am

159: If you go into 'edit venue' you can delete it yourself. I've just done it.


Feb 1, 2011, 2:56am

I flagged these, but here are links in case we are supposed to report that, too.

Spam user:

And his spam group:

Feb 1, 2011, 4:42am

I'm not sure if this counts as officially spam, or is more a case of an author flogging his own book over several groups without understanding the terms of service, etc. (He does appear to be a non-native English speaker. Are TOS available in other languages?) I've listed info here but have not flagged the user or his topics.

The user:

His (very similar, sometimes identical) threads:

His personal Web site (from his profile):

which states:
"I am glad to see you on this site which is devoted to my book."

Feb 1, 2011, 4:57am

One of those threads was in Pro and Con (Religion), if he survives and they don't leave his shattered corpse by the wayside, he will be fine!

Feb 1, 2011, 11:34am

Has he left nonsense profile comments for anyone else? It read as unwelcome proselytizing spam to me, but the format so strongly resembles the nonsense that gets posted as blog comments for pharmaceuticals that I didn't read the whole thing.

Feb 1, 2011, 2:47pm


He's a run-of-the-mill science crank.

Edited: Feb 1, 2011, 4:41pm

> 164 Yes, I received a spam/gibberish comment from him on my profile as well, and he has now posted his stuff in the Happy Heathens group too. At this point, I consider him spam or at least in the "overzealous author" category.

And now in the Pro and Con group too.

And Non-Fiction Readers

And these:

At what point is it okay to consider it "spam" and start flagging an author and/or his posts? I know we're supposed to avoid doing that to authors and grant them the benefit of the doubt, but.

Feb 1, 2011, 6:22pm

I consider it spam. It appears to me socratus is just going through membership lists and sending personal messages randomly.

Feb 2, 2011, 3:29am

Socratus also posted the identical post here:

which is a religion topic, wonder if he's hitting all those.

Feb 2, 2011, 3:50am

I'd report him to Tim, but I'm a little too unstable right now to do so myself. I did leave a comment on his profile, in response to *his* comment that people telling him to stop spamming are only doing it because they disagree with his views.

Edited: Feb 2, 2011, 3:52am

For what it's worth, Socratus posted a reply (below) on his profile to this of us who wrote on his profile (e.g., I sent him the "How Authors Can Use LibraryThing" link and so on). I don't know if he read that Authors page or not, or if he understood it. I wanted to provide for him the Authors page/TOS in Russian (which, after seeing his book's Web site, I think may be his first language), and I poked around on the Russian LT, but a lot of it was in English anyway, plus I don't know Russian. Maybe if someone could provide him the "How Authors Can Use LibraryThing" in Russian, it would help. Just a thought.

Edit to add: Sorry, Heather19's comment wasn't there when I first began typing, hence some overlap.


I looked some links where people is interesting in religion,
philosophy and the connection between them with science.
And after, I sent copy of my small article
' God as a Scientist : Ten Scientific Commandments.'
to some people . And then I received emails:
posted by Essa
posted by teelgee
posted by keristars
posted by justjim.
They say that I sent "spam".

Why did they say so?
I think the reason is that my opinion doesn’t fit
to their opinion about this conception.

But that doesn’t mean I sent "spam".
Another example:
If there’s nothing wrong with me then,
maybe there’s something wrong with the Universe.
/ One physicist ./

Feb 2, 2011, 9:09am


Unfortunately, he appears to have written what he calls a book, which means the site considers him an "overzealous author", who at most can be politely asked to stop, and is not flaggable. I wouldn't waste time politely suggesting anything to him; he's a textbook crank, and is not going to listen to reason. He'll almost certainly take any such suggestions as conspiratorial attempts to silence the TRUTH.

Feb 2, 2011, 9:38am

A rite of passage: he's my very first blocked member. Maybe I should crack open a bottle of something.

I don't know if he'd have got round to posting on my profile, but I was getting irritated at seeing that great chunk of woffle in threads.

Feb 3, 2011, 11:20pm

172 - Yeah, but when authors really cross the line, the staff can ask them *sternly* to stop, and/or take more severe measures. It sounds like some staff intervention is needed here.

The differences between overzealous authors and commercial spammers are really only 1) how we report them (flag vs. email/comment to staff), and 2) whether they're given a second chance to learn and adapt to site norms - authors usually are, at least at first, commercial spammers never.

Feb 4, 2011, 5:06am from #154 has added two new works, and one of them is a direct ad for this yoghurt.

Google translation:
XXX Breakfast is a new offer! XXX contains a Breakfast cereal is quick, easy and more useful than ever! Now you can enjoy the gentle taste of XXXs in conjunction with irresistible crispy ...

Feb 4, 2011, 5:33am

Btw, this is a large, multinational corporation.

Feb 5, 2011, 6:11pm

175-176 This spammer is, like many of the spam accounts, continuing unchecked, adding spam works on a regular basis (Jan. 27, Jan. 28, Jan. 31, Feb. 3, and two today on Feb. 5).

However, we're at almost 2,666 above threshold spam works as I'm writing... that's almost 1,000 more than when lemontwist started a thread on it Jan. 19 ( There's been no spam works or members closed in a long time, so both are piling up like the never-ending snow... Maybe lemontwist's post to Bug Collectors ( might get some attention.

Feb 5, 2011, 6:47pm

I'm going to get Jeremy on spam seriously on Monday or Tuesday. We had him up for a week but we never got to it.

Also, I made groups disappear from "new" when they get flags. I'm working on a way for people to de-flag them, so good stuff stays, even if it's attacked.

Feb 5, 2011, 8:19pm

178: Tim, as the member who has flagged about 25% of the removed spam works (so I'm not counting the 2,700 still waiting to be closed), I'd really appreciate it. Until something actually happens, though, I'll take a spam-fighting holiday. It becomes more difficult to find spam works with the count so high, let alone so discouraging to find the same old spammers adding new spam works day after day after day.

I'd also be appreciative if we didn't have to nag you to take care of the spam build-up. I really don't mind finding and flagging spam members and works, and voting on spam works; however, I don't like how this has become a cycle: we find spammers and spam works, they get voted on… and then they linger, languish… or worse and most commonly, they multiply. And we write in various threads and groups, asking for your help in finalizing our efforts, and nothing gets done and we get semi-promises for weeks on end. This makes our work harder and less satisfying… and just as all love is about to fly out the window, you finally go and do something spamtastic that makes us love you all over again such as massive spam and spammer clear-outs, and even using our work to find additional spammers. But then the cycle of nonresponse begins all over again, and well, you get the idea. I’m getting up in years, and I’m yearning for an even keel on this spam-fighting relationship rather than the peaks and valleys that were so exciting in our early days!

Feb 6, 2011, 6:09pm

Can the OP modify the instructions in post #1 to indicate that we are no longer supposed to combine spam authors together?

See this thread, and posts 31-34:

Edited: Feb 10, 2011, 7:18am Created: Feb 9, 2011 by andrewnel is actually
Trying out this page I got the following message: Website blocked by Trend Micro Titanium Adres: Trend Micro has confirmed that this website can send damaging software or is involved in online online scam or fraud is actually from were you can go to Created: Feb 9, 2011 by orgege00 Created: Feb 2, 2011 by orgege00 is actually and you can click on is actually is actually Created: Feb 9, 2011 by kriss073 is actually Created: Feb 5, 2011 by kriss073 is actually Created: Feb 9, 2011 by stine123 is actually Created: Feb 2, 2011 by stine123 is actually which is Created: Feb 5, 2011 by stine123 is actually which is

Feb 10, 2011, 1:21pm

Yeah, we're getting slammed.

I've posted a couple of bug reports relevant to this. Basically, there are supposed to be measures in place that strip certain html tags from new members and their new groups, at least initially, until they meet certain conditions. Those measures were meant to - and actually worked to - discourage spammers from leaving their link droppings around.

See here for when this was instituted:

Basically, something's not working correctly any more, and spammers have noticed that they can easily post links in groups and sometimes profiles. Then we get repeat offenders who come back day after day to start new groups. This is exactly why some kind of html sanitizing needs to happen: to nip them in the bud initially so at least the same ones don't keep coming back and creating more crap for staff to clean up. It might not always cut down on new spammers, but it should cut down on repeat spammers. And, since you know there is information out there in the spam world about what sites to hit and how to hit them, shutting down their outlets for spam here - in ways that are immediately obvious, i.e. links don't go live - might over time prevent new spammers too.

Feb 12, 2011, 6:34am

geery now spamming.

Feb 12, 2011, 8:04am

178> It's been another week and spam works and members still aren't being taken care of.... What's the deal?

Feb 12, 2011, 8:41am

184: I think it's what someone else noted in another group: many new shiny objects. created his/her second spam group, on Feb. 12.

Feb 14, 2011, 3:59am

Looks like the spammers might have figured out the 'single flagged post gets deleted' trick!

Feb 14, 2011, 9:01am

Edited: Feb 14, 2011, 9:18am

#188 - Personally, I think he's genuine. I suspect he might be doing a little research for his own ends - but then he's a writer, and we know what that lot are like! That was meant to be humorous ...

Feb 14, 2011, 1:17pm

This newly baked group doesn't even try to disguise its spamminess...

Feb 14, 2011, 2:11pm

The easiest way to make it disappear from your home page is to click on the gray 'x' on the far right end of the line the post is listed on. It will not remove it, but will let your home page 'ignore' it, so it won't be a bother.

Feb 14, 2011, 2:31pm

191> The only way that can happen is if someone logged into your account, so I'd change your password if I were you.

Feb 14, 2011, 3:56pm

191> If it definitely wasn't your post, but is being attributed to you, email a member of the staff, report a hack and have them remove the reference. That would be the only way to get rid of it from your statistics.

Feb 14, 2011, 7:43pm

Member with no books, nothing on profile, seems to be here only to promote his website... but the posts are technically relevent to the threads he's posting in... It still looks spammy to me, tho, 'cause these threads were dormant before he posted.

Feb 14, 2011, 8:37pm

I agree that it is on topic, and perhaps he is promoting his website. I think this may fall into the category of 'overzealous' instead of pure spam?

Feb 14, 2011, 8:54pm

The only 'spam' we flag is commercial spam. This guy provides a free service which is appropriate to LT and is letting us know about it.

Jeremy or Abby (whoever is doing library database integration these days) should take a look at this site and see if we are missing any libraries. And then thank him for his efforts.

'Overzealous' is only a term we apply to authors on LT.

Feb 14, 2011, 9:06pm

195-197: My McAfee security program is recommending I not open the link, and all the searches on that site by McAfee reflect his is an untested and unreliable website - maybe it's just my settings are overly cautious, if no one else is getting unsafe messages?

Feb 14, 2011, 9:14pm

I haven't tried it, and don't have reliable anti-virus so I won't try it.

I know flagging is only for commercial spam, but I still think it's at least "not right" to bump a dormat thread *just* to promote your own website, whether it's relevent or not.

Feb 14, 2011, 9:16pm

He only posted two messages on threads where it was on topic. I don't think it's spam and have counter-flagged the posts.

Feb 14, 2011, 9:45pm

It opens fine, and looks legit and helpful for whoever is doing database integration. It actually looks more user friendly than the one listed previously in the z-server thread. Thanks for the clarification!

Feb 15, 2011, 1:10pm

Another new fringe group--it contains a plug to an organization that addresses emotional and/or behavioral disorders in children.

Looks like spam to me, but could also be an overzealous member.


Feb 15, 2011, 1:25pm

>202 anglemark:

Not that I understand how that's a reasonable description of a discussion group, but clicking through to their site they do have a lending library, so I don't think it's meant as spam.

Feb 15, 2011, 1:31pm

Since it isn't commercial it isn't spam, at least on LT.

Feb 15, 2011, 1:50pm

Thank you, I was focusing on relevancy instead of the noncommercial aspect!

Feb 15, 2011, 1:56pm

> 199: I (...) don't have reliable anti-virus

Then I strongly advize you to get some.

Feb 15, 2011, 5:19pm

Not sure about the review to this -

- lady is trying to sell a copy.

Feb 15, 2011, 5:37pm

I would be inclined to view it as carelessness if it wasn't the only book listed in her library...

Edited: Feb 17, 2011, 9:59am


These members have been adding spam groups daily:

Eleven groups:

Ten groups for this one:

Four spam groups:

five spam groups:



They need to be shut down.

Feb 18, 2011, 5:23pm

We've passed the 200-post mark, and some procedures have also changed since this thread has started, so I've started a new thread, with revised guidelines. I've also edited the wiki page on spam to reflect the latest procedures.