I’ve noticed that “PM Spam” seems to be the new thing. A spammer signs up and sends private messages to lots of people. They’re usually not terribly obviously-spammy, either.
On one site, where I basically never used my account and never uploaded any info at all to my profile, I just got this private message:
i waz browsin over for people like me, and I unearthed ur profile. You look like you’re a rather noticeable person, but I’m somewhat inexperienced at how things work here, and dont know where to go. Shouldn’t they have some sort of chat thing here? i hate writing messages to ppl, & maybe not receiving a responce! Well, if you are interested in talking with me, you can catch me over @ [link to another site], my name over there is [redacted].
So, ya, hope to see you there. I’m always lookin’ to meet more ppl.
My profile is totally blank, so I’m definitely not a “rather noticeable person.”
I think this is an easy problem to fix, though. For one, it should be easy to institute fairly sane limits on PMs. Don’t allow them to send more than [their total number of posts] PMs per day, or more than one a minute. (And you should have backend monitoring, so that if PMs are being sent exactly every 60 seconds, you catch on pretty quickly…)
Plus, when I have a PM, why not display, “This user has sent n private messages in the past 24 hours.” I can see, “This user has sent 1 private message in the past 24 hours” and think, “Wow, a real person! Contacting me!” But in this case, I’d see, “This user has sent 152,524 private messages in the past 24 hours,” and think, “Wow, way for the admins to be oblivious!”