Forum spam management?

Discussion in 'Ask EvilDragon Questions' started by Wally, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. Wally

    Wally I am a banana! Staff Member

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    Hi Michael,

    The spam is driving me (and probably others) absolutely bonkers, we shouldn't be getting this much so i've done a little research on the matter and have been looking at the Xen Foro Spam management page and a few things have come to my attention:

    1)
    --
    The StopForumSpam database can be checked. This is a collaborative databased used by thousands of forums to prevent known spammers from registering. The integration behavior is tunable based on the confidence of the database result. If you register and request a StopForumSpam API key, you can submit spam information back to StopForumSpam whenever you ban a spammer using the spam cleaner.
    --
    This would be extremely handy here. It doesn't look like it's in use as a few spam users have shown up and should block a lot of spam that shows up.

    2) Perhaps you have a way of disallowing threads that have a html link in the title. That's 99% of the spam right there. This plugin looks interesting

    3) One last thing, if a spammer has existed for some time we cannot run the spam cleaner on it. This is tricky as we're not able to remove these accounts, except for deleting the stuff manually. There's an option in the spam cleaner that allows for this but it seems to be disabled.


    Just a few things to think about. :)
     
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  2. Binky

    Binky Death's Steed Staff Member

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    The volume of spam here does seem to be increasing (maybe 10 to 15 posts per day at the moment?), although most of it gets automatically routed via the modqueue, it seems like the system could be far more automated than it is.

    Perhaps we could simply forbid first posts containing URLs? That would stop most of them.
     
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  3. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    I clear out 10 to 15 each day myself, so I think the volume is a bit more than that.
     
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  4. Kippykip

    Kippykip BFG 9000

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    This whole time the StopForumSpam wasn't enabled?
    Geez that must've been hard work!
    I had a spam problem on my own forum which also uses XenForo, and I've found these are the best settings as I haven't gotten spam since while still having legit accounts being registered.
    Take a look if you need reference.
    upload_2017-1-19_2-1-12.png upload_2017-1-19_2-1-20.png

    HOWEVER you gotta edit one of the spam checking PHP files and disable the part that checks their Usernames as well, because if someone was named something simple like "Bob", it will be picked up by the spam filter and have to be manually approved as there's probably millions of spammers that's used the name "Bob" before.

    Hope this helps in a way!
     
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  5. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    There are a lot of genuine and legitimate user posts here that contain URLs though. Product suggestions for solving particular problems, links to articles, every post with a suggested keyboard layout, etc. No posts with a URL subject line would be OK though. Maybe rules that someone has to have X number of 'likes' prior to being allowed to post a message with a URL? That might quickly get more complex than it's worth.

    Wally's idea of using and contributing to the StopForumSpam database is a good one.
     
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  6. Kippykip

    Kippykip BFG 9000

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    Yeah the StopForumSpam one is a must! I'm actually surprised it's not enabled as that would definitely cut down on the spam.
    Also I don't mind the X number of likes idea, that might be trickier to implement though.
     
  7. Binky

    Binky Death's Steed Staff Member

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    That's why I said "first posts" i.e. the first post made by a particular user. Anyone with a non-zero post count would be able to use URLs as freely as they do now.
     
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  8. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    The StopForumSpam-database IS used already. Besides the spam, you don't see the 30 users per day I need to manually reject or accept in that database...

    I think the best idea is to disallow HTML links as first post and delete it right away automatically.
    This can be mentioned during the registration, so any user who is able to read should be able to do a quick first "hello"-Post before posting an HTML link.
     
  9. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Sounds good to me.

    Now that the man has spoken I can post the suggestion I have been waiting to make all day: Ban all users and disallow registering new users. Thanks mods, this one's for you! :p
     
  10. Kippykip

    Kippykip BFG 9000

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    Sounds good!
     
  11. Silent-Hunter

    Silent-Hunter Hardcore Member

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    I would recommend this, I can't think of any reason not to.
     
  12. Wally

    Wally I am a banana! Staff Member

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    I like your thinking ED! Thanks :)
     
  13. PowerGod

    PowerGod Advanced Member

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  14. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Okay, I made a few changes:

    1. The spam cleaner HARD deletes the threads now (so that us mods won't see all those already spam-cleaned threads anymore)
    2. Instead of hiding the threads with all that spam crap, they're now deleted right away. This is based on keywords on the first thread. As far as I've seen it, the spam cleaner did a great job hiding these threads and there never was one that was legitimate... so it should work fine :)
     
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  15. Wally

    Wally I am a banana! Staff Member

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    THANK YOU!
     
  16. Kippykip

    Kippykip BFG 9000

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    That's awesome! On my forum I made a "Post Hell" section where all the spam and useless posts get moved to, since I couldn't be bothered to figure out how to change the setting.
    upload_2017-1-20_11-56-23.png
     
  17. Silent-Hunter

    Silent-Hunter Hardcore Member

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    We still seem to be getting a lot of spam, have you given any thought to the disallowing URLs in first posts?
     
  18. Wally

    Wally I am a banana! Staff Member

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    Not as bad tbh..
     
  19. ClockworkCoder

    ClockworkCoder Chaotic Neutral

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    I really appreciate the work of the mods here, and spam does get dealt with really quickly. However, it's still a pain when using Tapatalk as the thread titles still come up as unread threads.

    I think that's a problem with the app though, as they shouldn't show as unread if they don't even exist anymore :-/
     
  20. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    The system doesn't support that out of the box.
    Can you forward me any spam mails that still occur?
    I can easily add more keywords to look for.
     

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