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spam, spam.. how I loath it

Posted: 2018-12-21, 14:53
by arfur9
I think it maybe worth putting some sort of filter on for new users posting links or some sort of question on registration?
Spam or cold selling/calling is my pet hate, I'm a really nice person but I become an arrogant A'hole with this type of thing lol

Spammers find phpbb by the "powered by" in the footer, changing it to a picture link is supposed to work, or used to

Re: spam, spam.. how I loath it

Posted: 2018-12-22, 13:35
by Carsten
Hi arfur9,

yes, you're certainly right. I hate spam as well, and who doesn't?

We already have a question on the registration form in place in order to make automatic registrations by spam bots more difficult. Custom, unique questions are supposed to be one of the most effective measures against spam bots, and I can verify that they work well. (Have to change this one soon, though.) A problem with such questions is to come up with good ones: Ones that are in fact custom and mostly unique and can still be answered by humans. :cheesy:

On the other hand, I don't want to make the registration process for legitimate users overly hard or unnecessarily frustrating. I've been reluctant with e.g. the manual activation of user profiles by an admin, because that would force the user who registered for the forum (typically to ask a question or write a post) to wait hours or days until someone verified and activated his profile. As a compromise, I've chosen, along with the above question on the registration form, to check the forum regularly (typically once per day) and delete the occasional spam account manually (and tolerate the spam post until then).
Obviously, this is not ideal, but as forum spam seems to be declining anyway, it used to and seems to be a viable solution – with compromises.

I didn't know about the search by the "powered by" line in the footer though! It is certainly worth to consider taking it out, but note that the phpBB folk's rule was (and likely still is?) that they provide no support if this line is altered or removed. I've never needed such custom, board-specific support, but we would still remove their attribution line.

There is another consideration: I like this forum's style very well, but as Arty is no longer developing it, it is no longer compatible with the latest releases of phpBB, so we're stuck with a version of phpBB that is still good, but cannot easily be upgraded. Fortunately, it looks as if for a solution, we can soon take not one, but two steps forward: The phpBB dev team is planning a new style system and a new default theme, see for the plans. My intention is to wait until this is released, then upgrade phpBB and switch to the new default style (or a slight variant thereof). This will involve a customization step within which we can review issues with spam bot prevention. :up:

Re: spam, spam.. how I loath it

Posted: 2019-01-09, 12:23
by arfur9
Yes I must admit some spam prevention options are horrible.. my broadband provider does the 8 pictures thing.. ie which pictures have traffic lights and one pic has a light 3km up the road lol

The Visionaire game engine forum gets hit really hard with spam and its humans doing it, it seems the idiots are on a mission, they are offering essay writing services but their grammar and spelling sucks :/
They wrote their own forum but you can't do much if humans are the problem.
Most of Visionaire support is done on Discord these days.

It'll be interesting to see what phpbb come up with :)

Re: spam, spam.. how I loath it

Posted: 2019-07-26, 05:03
by TheWhiteLion
I realize that there is not a lot of activity on these forums even so I would like to put the suggestion for Carsten to make some of the more active users moderators that have the power to delete posts that would be considered spam.

Re: spam, spam.. how I loath it

Posted: 2019-07-26, 22:14
by Carsten
TheWhiteLion wrote:
2019-07-26, 05:03
so I would like to put the suggestion for Carsten to make some of the more active users moderators that have the power to delete posts that would be considered spam.
That's certainly right, especially as there are occasionally strong spam waves, such as today and yesterday.

The problem is that deleting the spam posts is not enough: Spam is posted from fake users that were registered by spam bots.
If we only deleted the spam posts we still had the spam users and it would still be possible for spam bots to register more.
So when there are spam posts, also the related users must be deleted (along with all their posts). But even more importantly, it is necessary to prevent automated registrations of fake users by spam bots. This in turn is done with a captcha question such as the one that you have all solved when you registered your user account here. When a new spam wave occurs, that means that an existing captcha question was broken and the question plus its answer is available to spam bots.
When that happens, the problem can be addressed by replacing the broken captcha question with a new, unique one.
This is what I have just done and I'm sure that it will get us rid of the problem for at least several months.

Having said that, if you are interested in helping with administrating this site, please let me know (per email).
:www: :up: