I've come across 10 different MO user profiles that all have very similar usernames that contain the name of a company. None of these users have any activity on the site except for filling out their autobiographies, which are simply an ad for the company.

How does the MO community handle this situation? I can provide the usernames, but I'm not sure if that's appropriate in a public forum.

  • $\begingroup$ iirc the official policy is to ignore it until they do something bad like start posting spam. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    Dec 24, 2022 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ See here. $\endgroup$
    – Tim Campion Mod
    Dec 24, 2022 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ Also related: "Flagging spam user", but that's substantially older. $\endgroup$
    – Makyen
    Dec 24, 2022 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ "I have found 16,809 similar, inappropriate(?) user profiles. There are more. Now what?" is a fairly similar discussion on Meta Stack Overflow that has some additional background information (one of the things covered is that moderators are limited in their effectiveness). However, other than the company's position of "ignore it", it's really left to each individual site, and the site's moderators (dealing with profile spam may be a substantial workload for them), to establish their own policies. $\endgroup$
    – Makyen
    Dec 24, 2022 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ Another MSE post: "Spam Profiles are getting my goat. Could we have better tools for mods to deal with profile spam?" with multiple suggestions as to how to, potentially, change profile display behavior in order to make profile spammers less effective/less annoying. $\endgroup$
    – Makyen
    Dec 24, 2022 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Makyen Wow, I just looked at the recent recipients of the "Autobiographer" badge, and I had no idea what a high proportion of MO users are just spam accounts. Weirdly, six different user accounts created in the past couple days have user names that literally end with the word "spam". Do you know what's behind that? Does MO have some automated system for adding the word "spam" to the end of the user names of suspected spam accounts? $\endgroup$
    – tparker
    Dec 24, 2022 at 17:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @tparker Yes, there's a lot. There's no automated process. The "spam" and "spammer" in the user's username probably means a moderator on some other SE site identified the account as a spammer (probably profile spammer), at least on their site, changed the account name, pushed the changes to all other sites on the network (except the main SE site, which doesn't get updated when a mod or user does that), and then destroyed the spammer's profile on their site. Opinions differ substantially as to if moderators should make such changes to the profile, so it definitely doesn't happen universally. $\endgroup$
    – Makyen
    Dec 24, 2022 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Since you've mentioned the Autobiographer badge: Filtering out the Autobiographer badge from "Recent Badges". $\endgroup$ Dec 25, 2022 at 7:23