There are almost certainly some that we haven't caught yet, and there will definitely be more in the next few weeks.
Every once in a while, people from one or another of the less-than-scrupulous sites decide it's time to come in and screw around. The current plan appears to be a mix of scam WSOs and trolling in the discussions.
Some of it is just con artists and thieves doing what they do. Some of it is an orchestrated effort by other groups to disrupt this forum. Doesn't matter. They use the same techniques.
Yes, the moderators could spend every waking minute hunting them. It's going to take a lot less time, and they'll get removed a lot faster, if you all know how to spot them. And, of course, if you keep your eyes open.
They tend to use a combination of the following tricks.
Old accounts they set up as backups and for sneaky purposes. These may be months (or even years) old, and have a few posts to a few hundred in them. Usually, there'll be a gap in the posting dates.
Sometimes they buy old accounts from people who set them up for other things, or simply don't post here any more.
They will often "groom" the accounts. That means they'll post a few useful things, or even a bunch of one-liners, so they look more like active accounts from legit members. While it doesn't always happen, a major clue to this is a noticeable change in the quality of English used in the posts.
This "grooming" is, by the way, one of the reasons that having a minimum post count of 100 to have a WSO won't work.
These accounts will very often be anonymous users. They will almost never be people whose names you recognize as regular contributing members.
The WSO comments will usually follow one of a few patterns. The first is a testimonial that seems both over the top and written like sales copy. A series of these in a WSO made by an unfamiliar member is a solid indicator that something's amiss.
The other major pattern is a number of comments made by, again, unfamiliar members. The most common thing these usually share is that the product comments tend to be written in the sort of English you see from posters in Asia and the Pacific Rim areas, or from eastern Europe.
A third, and less common, pattern is a number of members giving testimonials in each other's WSOs. Again, this is more likely a sign of trouble when the posters are unfamiliar or relatively new.
This is not an exhaustive list, and none of these are conclusive by themselves. But, they're a good reason to report the posts. The mods can get a better look at what's going on than you can, but we don't see as much as the group as a whole.
Two common characteristics of the WSOs these people post:
Big income claims: Yeah. When you see someone talking about making tens of thousands a month, and you have no clue who they are, that should be a Big Red Flag. Of course there are people who do that much and more, but they're not going to sell a $10,000/month formula that actually works as a $27 WSO. Not unless they're talking about building up to those levels over a period of time. (And usually not even then.)
I personally recommend against buying any WSO that makes specific income promises.
"Proof" of income" Please, people, learn something. There is absolutely no "proof of income" that's possibly conclusive in these things. It can all be faked, and most of it is.
Yes, even the video stuff. Anyone who can tinker with their system can make pages on their own PC or web host look like they're hosted at any domain they like.
I have reason to expect a run of this stuff in the next little while. This is not a reason to panic. It's not even a reason to be a little bit worried.
What it does require is that we pay attention. We need to recognize it for what it is, and deal with it in an adult way. Accept that sometimes insisting on having a civilized group will piss off the creeps, and the cost of that is the occasional minor inconvenience caused by those creeps trying to make others do things their way.
As long as you know what's happening, you just report it and move on. There's no reason to be annoyed or get angry.
These people feel powerful because, when they pull your strings, you jump. If you refuse to jump, and you refuse to buy, they have nothing to gain from their games.
Don't feel bad about reporting things if you're not sure. Your job is not to boot people. It's to alert the mods to what seems suspicious. Our job is to make those decisions, and we have a lot more evidence to work with than is available to others.
Also, ignore anyone who talks about "innocent until proven guilty," or who says that the evidence is not 100% conclusive. This is not a criminal court, and we have no power to throw people in jail. The risk of unfairly imprisoning someone is the reason for the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard for evidence in criminal cases.
This isn't even a civil court, where people can be fined huge amounts of money and have their property confiscated. So, we don't even have to adhere to the "preponderance of evidence" standard.
This is a private space, which offers the WSO forum as one of the benefits of membership. Break the rules, or behave in ways that look suspicious, and you can be made to leave.
Membership is a privilege, not a right. Privileges can be withdrawn at any time.
As far as the trolls...
Don't respond. Don't fight with them. Report them, and get on to more useful ways to invest your time.
They have only the power you give them. Give them nothing.
PS: "Shill" means promoting a product falsely, in cahoots with the seller, in order to increase number or price of sales. In the context of an online system like the WSO section, that can be done either by groups of people acting in concert, or by a single individual using multiple user accounts and pretending to be more than one person.