Massive review spam from anonymous users


#1

For the past week I have been getting an excessive amount of review spam by “Anonymous user XXXXX” accounts, ranging from 1 to 5 stars with no review content whatsoever. I have been reporting all of them and while most have been removed, for some strange reason the reviewers are allowing a single 2 star review while all the other reviews are removed, including a two star review, the exact same reviews contain absolutely no review whatsoever, just star ratings. Is there any reason why all of those reviews are removed but a single two star review is not?

The majority of these accounts were created on the same day of the reviews they posted as well, all of them are accounts of type “Anonymous user XXXXX”.

So far this has been my email inbox for the past week:

A user has left a review for your add-on, YouTube Plus.

Rating:
1 out of 5 stars

Pending review https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/850050/

A user has left a review for your add-on, YouTube Plus.

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Review:

Pending review https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/850030/

A user has left a review for your add-on, YouTube Plus.

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849800/

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Review:

Pending review https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849790/

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849747/

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849551/

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849537/

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849516/

Rating:
1 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849404/

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849244/

Rating:
1 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/848847/

Rating:
2 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/848473/
This two star review has been removed, yet another exactly like it has been approved multiple times…

Rating:
1 out of 5 stars

Review:

Removed https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/848472/

And yet, for some strange reason, while all of the above have been removed, this one in specific with two stars has been approved twice already by the same reviewer: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/youtube-plus/reviews/849855/

It is exactly like all the others above, including another two star review which was removed, but somehow while all of them are removed, this specific one happens to be approved multiple times? Why?

I have also noticed that I am not the only one receiving this review spam, from the past year: https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/user-review-issue-spam/9830

Will there be anything done to control this kind of spam? Or should we, developers, just give up on AMO?


(Noitidart) #2

This is a change in the system to promote users to leave more reviews. Here is a message I received about it:

A couple of people have aske about empty ratings showing up on AMO. See,
for example, some recent ones here:
https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/adblock-plus/reviews/

This is because the new mobile site was recently launched. You can test
it yourself by visiting AMO on a mobile device, or scrolling to the
bottom of the page and clicking on “View Mobile Site”. You’ll notice the
new rating UI lets you submit a star rating without a written review.
This is intentional. We think this will encourage more people to rate
add-ons, and will reduce the instances of written reviews that don’t say
much or end up being deleted because of the way they’re worded.


#3

Is this a joke?

This is intentional. We think this will encourage more people to rate add-ons, and will reduce the instances of written reviews that don’t say much or end up being deleted because of the way they’re worded.

So we don’t get any announcement about this change to be prepared, let alone express our opinion and the reason for this decision is because reviews were getting deleted?

Does this even make any sense? Because people were leaving meaningless reviews Mozilla decided to just let anyone post empty reviews to encourage what? Empty reviews? How is this even going to improve AMO?

This is a MAJOR downgrade on the AMO website, one of the biggest reasons for why it was better than the Chrome Webstore was because user ratings needed a review, this helps the developers know the users’ experience, what can be changed or not and it is a big checkpoint for new users since AMO reviews are an invaluable feedback.

Who in their right mind though this was a good decision to make and how did this even got through? Does it look like it is working? Look at the review spam I just posted, is this what AMO is suppose to become? A pointless cesspool of pointless reviews that are basically a facebook style of likes-dislikes?

Users are rating the add-on based on their distaste, without any valid justifications, this means that if a user has something against a developer, there is nothing stopping him from posting 1 star empty reviews on his add-ons because AMO has decided that this was a good idea.

User demands developer to add features the user wants and the developer doesn’t have the time or resources to do it? 1 star empty rating.

Add-on explicitly warns that it is not compatible with X, user ignores it and gets angry because it doesn’t work with X? 1 star empty rating.

User downloads through the desktop an Add-on that is not mobile compatible and finds out it doesn’t work on mobile? 1 star empty rating.

I can’t believe that this is happening, AMO just became another repulsive place for threat-hate ratings, like Yelp.

I really hope that this will be reverted.


#4

And, to make things worse, AMO enables “compatible with Android Mobile” by default when uploading the add-on, meaning that until I understood what was happening and changed it, I was receiving all of those reviews based on Mobile user experience on an add-on which wasn’t even intended for Mobile platform, yet the reviews are no longer being deleted.


(Noitidart) #5

Many devs share your same feelings.

I think it’s what Google does though on CWS no?


#6

It is exactly what Google does, I even pointed that out and how it is a TERRIBLE thing to let it continue:


(Noitidart) #7

Thanks for sharing so much details. I’ll add your comments here to the email that is discussing this.

I’m actually the odd ball out, I was hoping users could leave reviews without an account even haha.


#8

I don’t mind that they have an account or not to leave reviews, but to go as far as even letting ratings with no review whatsoever? That’s something I am completely against.


#9

An update to this situation, it seems like the mobile comments for this specific case are now hidden, for the time being. I hope this doesn’t mean that mobile users can see these hidden ratings while the add-on developer and desktop users cannot.

It would be very troublesome to have mobile users complaining of add-on problems and the developer never getting that feedback.

I’d like to thank Erosman for helping out through this strange situation, he has been on it since before we knew what was going on. And Noitidart, for always trying to help everybody.


#10

This is terrible. Rating without comments are saying literally NOTHING.

Just got a 4/5 rating. So… this gives me what information? People seeing this get what information?

It simply opens up abuse.