The spammers have won - I'm shutting down our forum

Discussions that don't fit elsewhere & discussions not related to phpList (This does not mean spam is allowed).

The spammers have won - I'm shutting down our forum

Postby patmoore » 1:59pm, Wed 13 Jun, 2007

I give up. I've run a forum for our ski club for a number of years and it went smoothly until the spammers started posting their garbage. I downloaded the PHPBB Admin Toolkit and set it to require pre-registration before posting. I get over 50 requests a day from the bozos and I have to check each one to be sure I'm not missing a real request. It's too time consuming and the limited use our forum gets doesn't warrant the wasted time.

If someone can think of a better solution. I'd sure like to hear it. Otherwise, I'm going to scrap it.
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Postby velvetpixel » 12:31pm, Tue 19 Jun, 2007

track their IP and ban it from your domain using a .htaccess file.
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Postby patmoore » 4:53pm, Tue 26 Jun, 2007

Thanks for the suggestions. For a while I was blocking their IP addresses but the sheer numbers of the bozos took up too much of my time.

The members of our ski club just werent' using it enough. I hate to give in to the bad guys but I shut it down.
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Postby goblin » 7:09am, Fri 29 Jun, 2007

I had this problem on a couple of forums. There are a few hacks in the phpBB forum that help. I did the following...

- Enable visual confirmation
- Change the URL on the register page so there's a mix of upper and lower case letters (see the phpbb forum for details of how to do this)
- Added a check if registration included a website, and fail if it did. Added text on the registration page and T&C to inform users not to register with a website URL - they can add one later. You need to add some php code to do this.

Spam registrations went from several a day to one every few days.
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Postby jezza2243 » 2:37pm, Tue 18 Sep, 2007

There is a module you could have installed

Antispam ACP

phpbb DOT com/community/ viewtopic.php?t=393503

It worked for me.

I also deleted the "website" many guys registered to have their site in the member list....

Now they still can register but there site is not there any more on my forum.

And once a month...everybody with no deleted...This rules is indicated on the registration page.
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Postby Denver Dave » 5:21am, Fri 02 Nov, 2007

Here are three ideas:

(1) This one I've used, but may not be feasible for your boards. There is a mod to disable registration, which I use and the person has to call me and then I enable and shut it down after they register.

(2) I've seen a mandatory text field where the person explains a little about them self and then the admin approves or deletes based on the content. I've seen this used and I like it, but I haven't used it.

(3) There is a mod to fill out a hidden field with a certain value with javascript, if a bot does not use javascript the registration fails. Just found this when researching for this post, I would like to try.
Denver Dave
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Postby jsherk » 8:38pm, Tue 27 May, 2008

Bad Behaviour 2 is php script that is highly succesful at preventing form and comment spam. I modified to work with phpList, but it might be an option for your fourm as well!
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other suggesion: implement "signal this post"

Postby pkw » 6:43am, Mon 09 Jun, 2008


I've seen a new spam on the forum, and I noticed I'm unable to do anything... That's too bad.

My suggestion: most forum engine do have a "signal this post" (maybe "signal unapropriate content", don't know the exact wording in english);
Why not install this base function, and modify a bit the engine behavior:

- Accessible only to "major" (10 posts/7 days+ old) member
- each time a post is "signaled as spam":
if the post is signaled for the (2nd, 3rd,...) time, moderate it automatically

I'm pretty sure many forum member are ready to spend 3sec to fight spam on the forum by clicking a button.
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Postby vancoovur » 7:09pm, Thu 25 Sep, 2008

A few lines of code and my board no longer gets *any* spam. It's a simple question and answer field included with registration asking the sum of an addition problem. Simple stuff but it stops 'em cold. Occam's Razor. :D
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Postby Guest » 1:53am, Sat 15 Nov, 2008

I had the same problem some time ago so I can share my experience:

1. I tried turn on captcha. It helped a little, the number of spammers was reduced. But it was still time consuming.

2. I used advanced captcha. The image was not too good readable. But it caused more problems to the visitors then to the spammers.

3. Later I have seen some simple advice -- to change the parameter of the registration page -- profile.php?mode=register&CHANGEthis=true. If I remember well there are about 2 or 3 places in the source code where is necessary to change that. To find all of them I used Total Commander and used fulltext search the files using ALT + F7.

My latest attempt was successful -- I didn't get any spam from robot.

Re: The spammers have won - I'm shutting down our forum

Postby NYChris » 8:49pm, Thu 06 May, 2010

I switched to Simple Machines and never looked back.
It's too easy to lock the bots out and far more customizable.

I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but I think you'll be happy with the switch if you go for it.
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Re: The spammers have won - I'm shutting down our forum

Postby jodamy » 4:41pm, Sat 08 May, 2010

This is an ongoing problem for many, so just let that problem help you learn your system even better. In other words, when this happened to me, I did a lot of research on it. During the solution process, I found out so much more info about my forums capabilities, and it definitely helped me out in the long run.

Letting the spammers win is not an option. :twisted:
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Re: The spammers have won - I'm shutting down our forum

Postby AndyG » 2:49pm, Tue 11 May, 2010

Turning on email activation deterred most of the spammers from my forum.. we had a sudden spate of people registering on a daily basis but leaving no comments as they had to verify.

Then it is just a case of deleting all unverified accounts which can be done at a click of a button when you login to the admin section. I run a few 'yet another forum' forums for our clients, and it only seems to be the electric bike one attracting the problem.

Another extremely effective method is to prevent the free email sign ups. This means your users will have to have either an email from a domain they own personally, a work email address or one from their isp. This works well, but can put off some potential forum users. Though in turn it attracts the people who really want to contribute to the community.

Encouraging users to flag spammy posts and having vigilant moderators and admins is key too. This will help weed out the ones that slip through the net.
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Re: The spammers have won - I'm shutting down our forum

Postby turntwo21 » 5:41pm, Fri 21 May, 2010

Visual confirmation and email activation should solve most of your problems, no?
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Re: The spammers have won - I'm shutting down our forum

Postby ppman35 » 4:35am, Wed 02 Jun, 2010

And what about answer a question instead of a captcha, something the like "What year did George Washington die?" Type of question, that only a human could Google and answer easily...
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