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Improved Forum Software for Spam?




No doubt forum spamming has become much more shrewd and devious than before and also much more virulent. But I wonder whether Forum software like phpBB and myBB are still good enough for dealing with spam. For example, I'm sure there must be many more spam posts that staff have to deal with compared with when Forum software was first created many years ago.

What gets me the most is the repetitiveness of steps that have to be followed to get rid of a spam post. Most Forums have a Trash or Spam Can where they move the spam posts to, unless the posts are of the kind that have to be immediately deleted. So first one has to click on "Move Thread" or "Split Thread". Then click on the post if it is "Split Thread", indicate the Spam Can destination to get it to the Trash or Spam Can, etc etc.

Then there is a next step that is also a repetitive step. When the spammer needs to be banned, one has to click on the spammer information from the spam post. Then select banning. Then type in "Spam" in two consecutive lines. Then OK it. And then re-OK it.

And of course if the spammer has opened more than one account it makes the repetitive clicks even more tedious. One has to double back to the spammer link. Then click on the other accounts he/she has opened and go through all of the above again.

So this is what I would have liked to see instead: a Spam Button attached to each post and that is visible to Staff only. Once one clicks on that Spam Button ALL of the above information is available in one screen. One can see at one glance all the other accounts that have been opened by the IP (including their dates) as well as the lists of posts that have been made by each accounts so that one can click on an option for removal of those as well (if needed) either by deleting or moving them to spam can. Another button for banning the user names. Another radio button perhaps for referring this to the owner for banning the IP if needed. Every option that is associated with disciplinary steps in one big screen so that one never needs to double back. If one clicks on posts, then they open up in a new tab. Moreover, there could also be an option for key words that would have been automatically filtered after the spam button has been clicked on. One could select from those - so that if it is a typical product that is being advertised or wording associated with that product that the post will be automatically reported in the Moderator Panel.

Likewise there should also be a spam button attached to the User Accounts. I.e. if one suspects a spammer that has newly joined, however has not made posts yet. When one clicks on the user link, there should be a Spam Button visible to staff only. There may already be cause for banning through porno links that can be dealt with immediately, and sign of other new accounts that have been opened by the perpetrator at the same time.

Bottomline, there is plenty of room for improvement, particularly with getting rid of repetitive steps. Would definitely lighten the load on Moderators so that they can focus on the violation rather than on the technical steps.



6 blog comments below

The forum software alone has not been sufficient to stop spam for several years. Almost all effective anti-spam measures are add-ons to the forum.

Most forums I've been on and administered/moderated do NOT maintain spam repositories. From my experience Frihost is an anomaly in keeping spam in a hidden subforum. Most simply delete the spam outright and get it out of their databases. Maintenance can be as complex or straight-forward as the admins wish, really, though there is a minimum effort required, obviously.

That said, the Spam button would be useful, to some extent, and need not only apply to spam; it would be handy for several moderation efforts, including tracking multi-account users quickly.
Ankhanu on Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:22 pm
@dean: Sounds like you need to brush up on your programming skills and make it happen. laugh
When I was a Moderator on a forum, we just deleted spam and reviewed author's other post.
standready on Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:46 pm
Spam really isn't a problem if you keep on top of it,frihost gets loads because they don't delete it,or the usernames,spam just gets moved to a hidden section,but the spammer will just see that he still has an account and still has x amount of posts.

Also quite a lot of spam still remains on the board,like this one here,two spammers in one thread started last night,i report loads of it but while some gets removed,a lot doesn't,this just encourages spammers to sign up with even more user accounts and more spam links,if i was a spammer i would see frihost as an easy target as the success rate of getting the links in is quite high.

I reported some last night that had one user with different links added to every post,links not in sigs but in posts that are made to look like sigs,so while frihost is no follow regarding sig links,its easy enough to get around for those more wily spammers.
truespeed on Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:31 am
Thanks Ankhanu .... completely agreed about multiple user identification at one glance.

@Standready. Embarassed to say there are no programming skills to dust off. I'm a complete non-geek. BUT I'm a fast learner. Hehe .... Twisted Evil

I've gone through the exact same experience here as you have Truespeed, and from what I've seen in other posts, there are a few regulars including Ankhanu, Peterssidan, and many others who have hit the report buttons on a regular scale. And I agree with you. One has to be in the moment with spam. Even before the moment if one can help it. As sometime one can already pick off spammers after they have registered and they're lurking at the bottom of the Index Page. Ready to strike! I sometimes wish, since Mods can't be around 24/7 that the first five posts could be made in a quarantine of a sorts and only released once a Moderator has had a chance to OK them. During that period one can't have a signature. So basically no one can post freely on the Board before they've passed their first five posts. If there are no mods around, it may take a little bit longer, but at least the Board would be kept clean that way from the all out spammers.
deanhills on Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:33 pm
This is the reason why frihost gets so much spam,this guy doesn't add links to his sig,he puts them in his posts,i have reported him twice i think,looking back at his older posts it looks like the links have been removed from his earlier posts,but unless the user is deleted he will keep coming back adding more links as has been proven by the link above.
truespeed on Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:22 pm
@Truespeed. I think I must have reported him every time as he/she really has me intrigued. I think it was Ocalhoun who let me know that this guy opens a new account from different IPs every time. Unless all first posts get to be checked before they are published, it would be very difficult to sort this one out finally and forever - sort of additional remedies are needed to fix this guy once and for all. Ankhanu's suggestion to filter him out by the product and product link is a great one, but not sure how easy that would be to implement.
deanhills on Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:31 am



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