Forum:Can we lock posts related to merging vcf files?
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3 months ago
4galaxy77 2.3k

There seems to be a lot of spam related to vcf files, particularly on posts related to merging them etc. Most of these threads don't really need any new answers at the moment.

Is it possible to lock these posts for people under a given rep? It's quite irritating having them spammed on the front page all the time.

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this post is becoming a "honeypot" for VCF style spam.

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3 months ago

I think it is important to look at bigger picture, why are there so many VCF related questions, and how could we get ahead of having them there. What is the best way to shepherd the interested parties in the right direction.

Locking a question may feel like we are doing something, but we haven't solved the bigger issue that drives and fuels the problem. We may only end up with people that feel hurt by having their posts locked.

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While this addresses people with genuine questions that don't do even the mildest Google, it does not address address-card VCF format spammers. GenoMax's post addresses that topic. I agree that VCF spammers are annoying and only bump really old posts with their obvious spam, but we cannot micro-target spammers - we'd end up losing legitimate posts thanks to complicated filters.

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why are there so many VCF related questions - maybe I didn't explain clearly - I mean the spammers who post 'answers' to threads regarding merging vcfs with their software/virus to merge VCF files which are totally unrelated to bioinformatics. Locking these threads wouldn't be an issue since there already exists basically canonical answers, and new users would really be unlikely to provide a better answer.

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VCF is also the Windows address card format (if you shared a contact from Outlook, it'd export a .vcf file). Merging such .vcfs is a form of merging contacts and as such, as widely Googled term - hence the spam.

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those need to be deleted promptly - probably are in the SPAM category

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Indeed. The spambot lets a few slip through, but we catch them soon (within a few hours).

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3 months ago
GenoMax 120k

AFAIK that is not possible. There is a lot that already happens under the cover to keep biostars free of spam but it is not possible to avoid every misuse. It is a tightrope act to ensure that new users can contribute constructively and at the same time we prevent spammers (many of whom are thwarted automatically by the spam prevention code in biostars).

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