Spam on a forum like WNY is a little different, in that there's no bulk posting. Spammers usually work off a list of popular and/or related forums, and register on dozens at a time. Then they'll come back to each forum, and paste in a standard post with an advertising link. Sometimes they'll try to hide it in a related thread, but more often it's blatant multiple posts, sometimes one in each sub-forum. All these posts are deleted and the users banned, but they don't really care. The theory is that the more forums they post on, the better the chance that some will remain as free advertising.
Sometimes, I see a banned spammer return and attempt to open a thread, which is blocked. He will either cross off WNY from his list as a waste of time, or re-register a new user ID to start the process all over again.
New members with good intent are hardly ever confused with spamming, which is blatant advertising.I think new members mess up when they initially join up on Wired New York, because they're excited about the content, and they really don't yet have a feel for the community.
See internet trolling.
Unlike spamming, trolling is difficult for us to identify, but unless someone has a lot of patience in setting up the troll-identity, veteran members aren't suspect. So if a veteran makes a troll-like post, you might get a argument from another member in the discussion, but it's ignored by moderators.
However, if a newcomer makes the same troll-like post as #1, warning flags go up. Since there's no familiarity with his posting-personality, he is immediately suspect.
So my advice to a newcomer is to first of all, read the rules. Maybe read through several of the threads in Forum Issues. Get to know the place.