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Old 02-15-2013, 08:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

I noticed that there are 55k users here (54 thousand and something of which are bots) and when you look at the active users list it shows a ton of bots online. Is there a plugin or something that can be done to strip those out?

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Old 02-15-2013, 11:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

We have been in the process of launching a forum for our tuning site and have gone through a lot of these same issues. We've had to shut down twice at this point to clean house. I know it can be very very hard to control both bots and human spammers on websites. So far it seems like you are doing very well. We added a few small things to help mitigate some problems that you may be able to implement here as well. PM if you'd like details!

You're doing great work with this forum though!
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrossTrekFan
I noticed that there are 55k users here (54 thousand and something of which are bots) and when you look at the active users list it shows a ton of bots online. Is there a plugin or something that can be done to strip those out?
Bots are the bane of my existence! A few days ago I actually removed the "Board Stats" block from the homepage. I felt like it was false advertising for new members since it says 50,000+ members, when I know the vast majority of those are bots.

I have tried cleaning some of them out (deleting inactive accounts, etc) but the problem is I don't want to accidentally delete a real user's account that just hasn't posted yet. Because of this, I set my threshold to delete VERY large, so it ends up not removing many accounts.

I have looked into it quite a bit through the SMF (forum software) website but I haven't found a solid solution besides just banning anyone from the major bot countries like Russia from signing up.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

That's always an option. We've used those before with some success. We've also added a "roving" mod with the ability to ban user who are obvious spam while they float around the forum. The inactive bots are a pain, and like you said mass deletion has its risks. Generally accounts that are inactive other than registering for more than a month or so are bots and can be trashed but you still run the risk of removing someones account if they're just lurking the forums.
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

I tend to look at the email address in conjunction with the user name. Usually one or both are clearly bogus.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:37 PM   #16
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by chasem
I tend to look at the email address in conjunction with the user name. Usually one or both are clearly bogus.
Very true. At first I was doing that, but then the amount of bot signups got out of control and I couldn't keep up.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:48 AM   #17
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

They're a never ending problem. Even very well established forums still have constant bot issues. The only thing you can do is try to stay ahead of them and make sure they don't get to posting. Those are the ones that cause a problem. We got flagged as a spam site at one point due to a known malicious link posted by a bot. On that note I've noticed one currently: Eddie007
This cat has only 7 posts, but almost off of them are basically impossible to read except for the link on the bottom in perfect english advertising for a website claiming to sell roof racks and roof rack parts based out of Port Melbourne Aust. Looks like maybe the company is legit but clearly here for nothing other than advertising aforementioned website.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subir_roo
They're a never ending problem. Even very well established forums still have constant bot issues. The only thing you can do is try to stay ahead of them and make sure they don't get to posting. Those are the ones that cause a problem. We got flagged as a spam site at one point due to a known malicious link posted by a bot. On that note I've noticed one currently: Eddie007
This cat has only 7 posts, but almost off of them are basically impossible to read except for the link on the bottom in perfect english advertising for a website claiming to sell roof racks and roof rack parts based out of Port Melbourne Aust. Looks like maybe the company is legit but clearly here for nothing other than advertising aforementioned website.
Yeah, I wasn't sure about him at first, I thought maybe he was just incompetent, but then after he hit five posts he was allowed to post links and I realized he was spam.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

Ok, so I installed a new modification for SMF (our forum software). What it does is scan every new register on the site against a gigantic backlog of known spammers' IPs/emails/usernames. If they are clear across the board it lets them register like normal, but if they get a hit on at least one of those triggers, then their registration will require admin approval. This will hopefully let me check all and reject spammers from joining the site.

I can also go through our currently registered members list and scan everyone to see if they trigger anything. If so, I will then use my best judgement in determining if I should delete their account or not.

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like for new registers who trigger spam protection and get sent to admin approval:
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:59 AM   #20
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Default Re: Spam Prevention

Yay database! That's a good tool for sure! Should help mitigate some of the issues.
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