eruthros: Kari from Mythbusters driving construction equipment (Mythbusters - Kari is awesome)
[personal profile] eruthros
[personal profile] chagrined just posted an interesting poll about how people navigate tumblr, which reminded me that I wrote this post up like a month ago and never posted it. So!

A while ago, I wanted to un-ignore someone on tumblr that I'd added to the block (now ignore) list months and months ago. Because the block page wasn't paginated at the time, and only showed the last 100 people I'd blocked, the only way to do that was to un-block everyone until I finally made it back far enough. Since tumblr also has a bug where you can't un-block banned or deleted accounts, I knew eventually I'd hit a point where I couldn't go any further back - I'd be stuck with a page of 100 banned accounts - but I hoped I could make it back a couple months before that happened. (As it turned out, I couldn't even make it that far back, because of a separate tumblr bug which reduced the length of my block page to just 10 accounts at a time; that wasn't fixed until they finally decided to paginate. Oh, tumblr, why are you so broken.)

I wanted to re-block at least some of the accounts when I was done, so I started making a spreadsheet of which accounts I'd blocked and whether or not I wanted to continue to block them. I thought I might have to do this again in the future, if I ever needed to work backwards, and tumblr doesn't have a notes function, so since I already had that spreadsheet I started adding all the new people I blocked to it. As it turned out, this ended up being a kind of interesting spreadsheet full of Statistics About Tumblr, so I thought I would reproduce some of the numbers here! Obviously this is very idiosyncratic - it's, like, portrait of a person who is trigger-happy with the block button and sometimes regrets it later - plus it's very specific to the tags I track. But nonetheless, here are the numbers from the last 1000 accounts I blocked (some of whom I unblocked later).

To start off, some interesting numbers! I'm going to do a bunch of charts and then talk in more detail below. These numbers are all from the first 1000 accounts I wrote down in the spreadsheet, so they don't reflect the latest stuff.

The overview
Total number of accounts I have ever blocked: 1000
Total number of those accounts I have blocked right now: 681
Total number of deleted and banned accounts on my block list: 496
Total number of deactivated accounts on my block list: 26 (all now unblocked)
Total number of spam accounts I blocked/reported: 451
Which means spam accounts are a whopping 45 % of the total accounts I've ever blocked and 66 % of accounts I currently have blocked. What even.
Percent of my current block list that I can't actually stop blocking (deleted or banned accounts): 73 %

Why I blocked people (in chart form)
a pie chart representing the reasons I blocked people; transcribed below

Why I blocked people (in text form)
  • They used another definition of a tag: 2, 0.2 %.
    (Both medical marijuana accounts IIRC. There are strains of pot called "Bruce Banner" and "Black Widow" and "Tony Stark." Since I did the numbers, I've also blocked people who post about the corset designer Maya Hansen and the wrestler Black Widow.)

  • I just plain don't like the user: 3, 0.3 %

  • Giant text posts: 6, 0.6 %
    (These are almost all people who post long fic uncut to tags. It either requires someone doing it several times in a row, or someone posting such long fic that I spend thirty seconds paging down past it.)

  • Tags inappropriate posts: 8, 0.8 %
    (Mostly people who tag rants about their fandom with other major fandom tags in order to get more viewership. A couple are people who tag porn with unrelated fannish tags for viewership.)

  • Spammy: 15, 1.5 %
    (This is "people who annoy me by posting similar things a whole bunch in a row stopppp.")

  • Fandom secrets-y: 22, 2.2 %
    (Although I call this "fandom secrets-y" it's mostly actually "$fandom headcanons" or "$fandom RP confessions" or $fandom dirty secrets.")

  • Being wrong on the internet: 29, 2.9 %
    (You know. Wrong.)

  • Posting spiders in the "black widow" tag: 47, 4.7 %
    (The biggest category of "used another definition of a tag"! And idiosyncratic to the tags I look at. I don't like spiders and I do like Natasha and thusly I block many people who post spiders to the "black widow" tag after I check that they're not fannish.)

  • Fail: 55, 5.5 %
    (Not actually that much! I thought this was going to be a much bigger category. I guess it's just memorable in ways the spam blocking isn't.)

  • I dunno: 90, 9.0 %
    (I blocked them long enough ago that I couldn't figure out why I had blocked them on a quick glance.)

  • RP: 272, 27.2 %

  • Actualfacts spam: 451, 45.1 %


  • So those are the basics! Here begins the ridiculous list of long thoughts on same.

    1) To re-block, or not to re-block?
    Because at the time I thought I'd have to manually re-block accounts after I finished working my way backwards, my "should I reblock them" bar was pretty low. Most of the time I could figure out why I'd blocked accounts immediately after I went to their tumblrs: actual spammers, people tagging RP, headcanon or fandom confessional tumblrs, tumblrs organizing or advertising RP, etc. But sometimes it wasn't immediately obvious, so then I'd check to see if they had a black widow tag (statistically speaking, I blocked a lot of people either for posting spiders in the black widow tag or for being sexist assholes about Natasha), a Pepper Potts tag (sexism, character hate), a Mai tag (sexism, character hate), a Lin Beifong tag (usually for racism, sometimes sexism). If I'd probably blocked them in December/January, I'd also check their tumblr archive for the last week of December - I spent a couple weeks crankily blocking everyone who posted Avatar fanart where they were wearing Christmas sweaters; then I stopped because there ... almost wasn't anything left in the tag. And indeed I had to unblock many of those accounts to get fanart in the AtLA tags again. If I couldn't figure out why I'd blocked someone, I didn't reblock them, because that was work.

    2) Spam! There's a lot of it. No, really, really a lot of it.
    Seriously look at those numbers, is that not ridiculous? I report all the spammers I see, but since reporting requires blocking them first, I end up with ludicrous quantities of ex-spammer-accounts on my block page. Seriously, of the people I have blocked right now, 66 % are now-banned spam accounts. Annoying! Also, the spam accounts have really regular naming patterns such that if you gave me a list of new accounts made today I could spot accounts belonging to most of the campaigns I know on first glance. Many, many more notes about spammers below.

    3) RP
    I get irritated by some kinds of RP in tags, especially when people post repeatedly to the same tags. I don't block all of it, but I block most of the ask box RP I see (unless the person doing it also posts their own fanart or something). I tumblr savior some things now that reduce the RP I see - like "omegle" and the names of some specific RP groups - so I don't see all of it anymore, and I can't block what I don't see. I was surprised by how little ask-box RP there actually is, though; it annoys me more than other kinds of RP, because of how it looks on tag pages, but it's actually only 64 accounts (23.5 % of the RP I blocked). Part of why I might've gotten that idea, though, is that the closer you get to the actual airdates of movies/shows, the more ask-box RP there is - I've only blocked a few this month, but four or five months ago Avengers ask-box RP definitely outnumbered the RP communities and the independent RPers who used replies or reblogged to communicate. And now that Iron Man 3 has premiered there is more ask-box RP in related tags.

    I also unblock a lot of RP accounts because they no longer tag their RP or because they stop posting. Of the 271 accounts I initially blocked, I unblocked 189, and an additional 20 have been deactivated, so I actually end up with only 63 currently blocked. And 170 (62.5 %) of the accounts I initially blocked were no longer posting or no longer posting to the tags a month later! Wow. (This is probably at least partly the result of some users harassing RPers for tagging their RP, which I've seen occasionally in notes; it looks like people who want to tag their RP with any regularity must have to get really good at ignoring the assholes yelling at them. Or at the block button.) And actually a whole bunch of the ask-box RP accounts posted several times in a single day and then never posted again.

    I also feel like the RP accounts vary a lot by fandom. I don't know how many posts were in the various Avatar tags I followed vs the Marvel tags, though I know that I had to check the more-popular ATLA tags I followed about as often as the more-popular Marvel tags. But wow do the Marvel tags have a ton more RPers. Especially more omeglers. Giant movie fandom? The suddenness of the movie fandom vs the gradualness of Avatar fandom? Different age brackets? The Avatar people never tagged their RP at all, so I never saw it? Something else? IDK. Whatever it is, it's an amazingly huge difference - I followed Avatar tags for months, at a time when ATLoK was one of the most popular tags on tumblr by the statistics, and only blocked 11 Avatar RPers! I blocked more Doctor Who RPers, and I don't follow any Doctor Who tags at all - I just blocked them when they randomly appeared in some other tag I followed.

    4) Fail
    Not as much as I expected! Only 55 (5.5 %) accounts I had blocked were blocked for fail. This number is probably the most affected by the length of time since I blocked people, though - it's really easy to identify RP accounts or spam accounts on the block list, but if someone posted racist assholery in the James Rhodes tag four months ago I'm probably not going to find it on a casual glance. But also I probably over-estimate fail because it's more memorable than the bazillions of spam accounts, especially because a lot of it is so overt - like, I recently blocked someone for a text post explaining that all women in the MCU should just die to provide motivation for the real superheroes because all the women characters are boring and pointless and shouldn't even be there. Memorable!

    Most of the fail I block is sexism because I follow tags for several lady characters who are hated by fandom, or Western-centric-ness or racism, because I follow tags for characters of color. The rest of it is pretty evenly distributed between ableism, fat hatred, and heterosexism / LGBTQ hatred.

    That said, had I hit 1000 a week later? The sexism and fat-shaming stats would be way higher, because a week later Roxxxy Andrews made it into the final three of RuPaul's Drag Race and wow is there suddenly vitriolic fail in the tags. I block all of you assholes.

    5) Wrong on the internet
    For blocking people who annoy me. By being WRONG. This is for "persistently posts in my tags about how characters I like are boring" and "explains that Loki is a woobie and the Hulk was unfair to him and really his plans for world domination were misunderstood" and "I will post every single day about the multitude of ways that Sherlock is a better show than Elementary and I will tag it with all the character names." Not fail-y! Just wrong according to my view of the canons. Usually also annoying in terms of spamminess or repeating the same arguments. Like the above, probably a lot of the people I labeled idk were actually here, and I just couldn't remember them or couldn't find them. I also expected this category to be bigger, but again that's probably that's because blocking people who are annoyingly WRONG is more memorable than blocking spammers.

    6) What the fuck is the difference between banned, deleted, and deactivated accounts, anyway?
    This really annoyed me, and there's basically no information about it anywhere in tumblr's so-called "help" section, so I made some test accounts to check it out. Here's the deal: an account that appears with no username in your ignore list is a deleted secondary tumblr. An account that appears with username-deactivated is a deleted primary tumblr (someone deleted their whole account). An account that looks normal in the ignore list but says "Not found we couldn't find the page you were looking for" when you click on the link is a ... whatever tumblr does to spam accounts. (I decided to call them "banned" but I think tumblr also sometimes calls them "suspended." Suspended for LIFE.) The same "Not found" error appears when you click on a link to a renamed tumblr, though, too, it's just their generic "idk what do you want from us" message. (Also, you can unblock accounts marked "-deactivated" but not deleted secondary accounts that no longer show a username. I'm sure there are reasons. I'm also sure that they make no sense.)

    7) Why tumblr continues to suck
    Okay, get this: accounts on your ignore page don't actually stay in the order you ignored them in. No. They mostly sort of stay in that order, but not 100 % - for some reason, some accounts are stuck at a certain position on a page. Probably this isn't very visible most of the time, but I would go down a page of blocked accounts writing all the usernames down in a spreadsheet, and then go back and unblock some of the accounts, and reload the page, and go to write down the new accounts at the bottom of the page, and -- wait, why is this username still second from the bottom? Seriously.

    Plus when I was working backwards, I would sometimes hit two different accounts from really different periods of tumblr at once. Like, this user hasn't posted since last July, so whatever I blocked them for must've been ages ago, and the user right before that I remember blocking in two months ago. I thought I'd be trying to work backwards maybe three months, but instead I took some random jaunts to last May.

    So. Annoying.

    Tumblr claims that this is because of missing-e, naturally.

    8) Spam! The details.
    Because spam comes in waves, the spam in my block list tends to be in giant blocks - I'll go past pages where I blocked 50+ spammers in a row. I can identify at least 6 spam campaigns, of which only 3 have stopped posting in the tags I track. But since I track tags that were more popular several months ago, I don't know if the spam campaigns I don't see anymore have left the site, or if they're just targeting other, more popular tags. Tumblr is also better now at actually banning those accounts in, like, less than a week, so spam posts are now more likely to vanish from tags before I see them.

    So here are the six spam campaigns! Let me know if you've seen these, I'm curious about how this compares to other people's experience:

    a) Nameish alpha, 4 or 5 digits, nameish alpha, 2 or 1 digits (sample usernames: lenee1375grimston39, madeleine6086handler73). Posts things that look like videos that are actually images disguising outgoing is.gd links. Ongoing. There's some variation in the number of digits, but usually it's 4 / 2.

    Since a single account belong to this spammer will target multiple tags, it's kind of an interesting picture of tumblr - like, a recent account I reported for spam was posting to the taylor swift, harry styles, one direction, homestuck, anime, ellen degeneres, shinee, cute couple, dragon ball z, celebrity gossip, celebrity news, porn, hardcore porn, hentai porn, animated porn, miley cyrus, milf, dance moms, steve rogers, thor 2, and beyonce tags, just in their first two pages of fake-video-posts. They often appear in my tags a few days after a spike of tag popularity - like, I saw them in the Steve Rogers tag following elevated posting volume due to the first images from Cap 2.

    ... actually to make my point about this spam coming in waves, in the 24 hours since I started writing this entry I blocked 92 new people of whom 89 are this spammer. Probably there were more but I gave up on my tags at that point because I couldn't see real posts. That brings the total spammers I've blocked to 540, which is 49.5 % of all the accounts I have ever blocked. Yeeeesh.

    b) Eight-digit random letter-number (sample usernames: r3tyus89, dty3789a). This is not actualfacts random, because there's consistency in the numbers used, probably to track which spam campaign it is. I honestly have no recollection of the content of these posts even though I block them all the time. Ongoing.

    c) Nameish usernames, all posts are text links to rtgossips (sample usernames: evathomber, patrickhuetty). The posts are all tagged with celebrity names, usually also "celebs." I find them occasionally in actor tags, but I don't see them much because I don't often browse actor tags. Ongoing.

    d) Eight to twelve alpha characters, two numbers, sexy lady usericons (sample usernames: hdwalhdgz54, dhlawhdgz54). Every account I blocked had one of three numbers at the end (54, 65, 87) so probably that's how they're identifying their targets. This one is not ongoing in my tags, and I don't remember exactly what their spam looked like, but based on the icons and where it was in my block list I'm guessing that this was the porn-in-the-lady-superhero-tags spammer that really annoyed me last fall. The spammer might still be targeting tumblr but in some other fandoms/tags now.

    e) Long usernames with no numbers and weird repetitions, sexy lady usericons (sample usernames: ryharvayhaydamhamry, ycormakiuscormakkcuri). I think this was the porn-in-the-lady-superhero-tags spammer before they changed username strategies to #d. Or it might be an unrelated porn-in-the-lady-superhero-tags spammer, I guess!

    f) Name, long number sequence, sexy lady usericons (sample usernames: moore986520231, taylor68530231324). And this was probably the porn-in-the-lady-superhero-tags spammer before they changed username strategies to #e.

    ... of those, #a is by far the most prolific and most annoying.

    The average length of time it takes tumblr to ban a spammer after a report: getting way better! Maybe one to three days, now, on average? When I started blocking and then reporting people, it usually took them longer than a week. I didn't check on every account, but sometimes when a tag was getting particularly slammed by spam and I got sick of it, I'd go in and check a couple usernames every day after I read my dash. Most were not banned for about a week and a half, and some lasted longer. And we're talking a lot of spam, like, half the posts on a tag page would be spam. It would be so bad that fans would post to the tags saying that they could recognize the spammers by now and would the spammers please stop. Now, at least some of the people I reported for spam yesterday are gone already. Hurrah! I don't know if that's different in other parts of tumblr / more popular tags, though.

    Also, I uploaded this spreadsheet with all the usernames blocked out except those of the spammers, in case anyone is curious about the numbers. Since I started writing this post I've added, like, another 150 accounts or so. Because the ignore button is awesome.

    Oh, and I am [tumblr.com profile] eruthrosish on tumblr, but I don't post/reblog anything using that account, I just follow people, because I'm not really interested in having conversations on tumblr. I do reblog to a secondary tumblr, [tumblr.com profile] thingsfortwwings, which is for things [personal profile] thingswithwings might like and feeds an rss account on dw; mostly marvel, mostly fanart, some comics pages or movie stills, rarely gifs or videos. I try to tag for tumblr savior; thingsfortwwings tag list here.

Date: 2013-05-28 05:39 am (UTC)
copracat: bowie with text "someday I'll fly away" (bowie fly)
From: [personal profile] copracat
Wow. Wow that is fascinating. I have mostly found myself blocking wrong on the internet tumblrs. I wonder what our different usage is that I almost never see spam? Mostly I read my own dash of followed tumblrs and I might look into a tag occasionally, but I stop scrolling when it is too full of things I don't want to see.

By RP do you mean role playing games?

Date: 2013-05-28 06:16 am (UTC)
copracat: dreamwidth vera (Default)
From: [personal profile] copracat
OIC!

Yes, the small fandom tags are easier to navigate and inspire many fewer clicks of the block button.

Date: 2013-05-28 06:29 am (UTC)
torachan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] torachan
I think I've gotten like ten asks ever and half of those have been spam. XD But that's the only spam I've ever encountered, since I stick to my dash. (I've also never banned anyone due to the aforementioned sticking to my dash.)

Date: 2013-05-28 06:48 am (UTC)
torachan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] torachan
Yeah, I haven't gotten one in ages and usually when I get one I'll see other people on my dash saying they got the same one. (The usual type I've gotten has been like those email spams where it pretends to be someone interested in dating you but is very obviously spam.)

Date: 2013-05-28 07:22 am (UTC)
chagrined: Marvel comics: zombie!Spider-Man, holding playing cards, saying "Brains?" (brains?)
From: [personal profile] chagrined
for me, askbox spam definitely comes in waves. like, last week i was getting one a day, and it was quite annoying b/c i'd get all excite thinking i had a message haha. this week i have gotten none.

Date: 2013-05-28 05:58 am (UTC)
chagrined: Marvel comics: zombie!Spider-Man, holding playing cards, saying "Brains?" (brains?)
From: [personal profile] chagrined
portrait of a person who is trigger-happy with the block button and sometimes regrets it later

hahaha GPOY WITH YOU RIGHT THERE BUDDY, gpoy. :'D

damn i love random mostly useless personal statistics XD AS U WELL KNOW

hahaha I WILL ALWAYS LOVE "POSTING SPIDERS IN THE BLACK WIDOW TAG" hahahahaha

man your beautiful pie chart is making me kind of sad that i haven't kept track of shit like this haha but NO KRIM IT'S WAY TOO LATE AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS NOW EITHER haha. anyway p sure that like, more than half of mine would be british music hipsters, lol.

haha it's nice that for the purposes of these stats your block # was at a nice even 1000!!

*THERE'S BASICALLY NO INFORMATION ABOUT ANYTHING ANYWHERE IN TUMBLR'S SO-CALLED "HELP" SECTION <= there i fixed that for you hahaha

WHOA THAT IS SUPER WEIRD ABOUT THE ORDER OF THINGS ON THE IGNORE PAGE!!! i don't think you told me about that be4. so strange. i wonder what is causing that. (oh yes of course, missing e! hahahaha)

SPAM ACCOUNTS I HAVE SEEN:
A - yup, the vast majority of spames i've seen are this one
C - i think i've seen this one, but in the form of sports news spam? on the detroit tigers tag haha. when i figured out they were spamming and started blocking them then i'd notice that new accounts with diff names would spring up all the time, and they always post the same damn links that yup, go to like, some site that just also posts links to the actual original sports articles on other sites. it became more obvs they were spammers too b/c they'd link like 4 diff versions of the same article in a row.
?? - i mayyyy have seen some B or D ppl, idk. but mostly lots and lots of A. especially in the homestuck tag, gd, so annoying.

THIS WAS A FUN POST BB YAY I'M GLAD YOU POSTED IT :D :D

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eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
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