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Avoiding spamBots registering

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 4:28 pm
by Karl Floitgraf
Uh has anyone noticed several posts about star wars websites and casinos? These are posts by spambots I think. One way to curb that would require an admin to approve all new registered names. There'd be no special standard other than you don't register a name that's obviously spam.

I know it's an extra job but I'll do it if you want me to.

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 8:33 pm
by Jani Soderhall
It's always been there. Wesley and I delete several every day, hopefully before most of you even see them, but of course we're not online all the time.

The only inconvenience with the approved registration is that:

a) someone has to read, evaluate and approve all new registrations
b) new members will have to await approval before being able to post.

If that's not too much of an inconvenience we could do it.

If we do it, we could assign Karl this mission. That would free up a little bit of my time.

What's everyones opinion.


YES: accept any volunteers to do site admin

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 10:25 pm
by Pat Chewning
I'm all for any volunteers doing admin duties....

Re: YES: accept any volunteers to do site admin

Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 12:04 am
by Jani Soderhall
Pat Chewning wrote:I'm all for any volunteers doing admin duties....
Just bear in mind, that a volunteer for this kind of task would automatically be a site admin, with full rights to everything.

Let's discuss here, and then we'll leave it up to the ISSA Board members to decide. (I'm not part of the board, I'm just a volunteer).


Visual confirmation on.

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 10:57 pm
by Jani Soderhall
I was about to change the registration policy today, because I started to be really fed up with all fake users and spam. But doing so I discovered that the visual confirmation setting forcing users to read characters off a series of images, was not activated. I don't know why it was not, but I set it to "On" rather than changing the registration just to try it for a while.

Let's see what it does and if it removes some or all of those spam users.

If not, I'll switch on the "let registration demands be routed to Admins for acceptance" feature.


Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 8:59 am
by Jani Soderhall far so good. Not a single spam users since I turned it on. Unless Wesley has been removing them before I get a chance. I updated the forum software last time to obtain this feature, but then maybe forgot to turn it on.


Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 2:18 pm
by Wesley Tucker
Nope. I haven't zapped one since Tuesday.

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 11:48 am
by Jani Soderhall
My anti-robotic protection was a bit too good. Nobody could register at all...
I've fixed that. Now let's try again and see if we get new members or new spams. Or both.

New users now have to register two visual codes. Let's hope that the spam robots are not that clever.


Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 6:25 pm
by Jani Soderhall
Jani Soderhall wrote:New users now have to register two visual codes. Let's hope that the spam robots are not that clever.
Of course they are, so now I've set it to Admin approved registrations. Let's see how that works.


Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 6:35 pm
by Jani Soderhall
So I tried it, but unfortunately it shows the newest registered user anyway, so part of the spam gets through anyway at least whatever fits into the name and the profile page.
It only prevents users from posting.


Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:06 pm
by Wesley Tucker
There's a new scam going around. I really don't understand how anyone benefits from it, but I'm deleting about 10 new "subscribers" a day because of it.

A new website is called "" Supposedly a user gets paid for every spam e-mail that gets through to this address. That right there gets my antennae up! Anyway, bots are registering with that "" e-mail address with an attached URL that's usually for car insurance, weight loss or porn.

Like I said, I don't get it but my fingers are getting tired going to the Admin panel to delete these profiles and users. Does anyone know of a way of disallowing a user from having a "" e-mail address? Maybe if they can't register they won't try and all this will go away.

I know, there's a slim chance that some skater out there really uses cashette for their server and they'll get deleted. Well, that won't happen IF they use their real name and have a legitimate profile related to skating and slalom.

That is all.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:59 pm
by Karl Floitgraf
I think you can ban members by any number of means, username, IP or email address. I used to run a forum I had to do it a couple times.

On another note, 3 years on since saturday and 300 posts!

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:26 pm
by Jani Soderhall
I've been doing the same stuff, but less. Thank's Wesley for taking over when I don't have the time. I've been thinking like you that maybe the easiest test would be to check for that specific domainname and block all registrations. I just haven't had the time or energy to look into it.

Another simple (I hope) alternative would be to add one more screen or an easy skate question that you have to answer to register. Not that it will prevent anyone indefinitely but the idea is just to introduce something which is different in our installation of phpBB so that the automatic registration wouldn't work on our site.

Maybe we could ask JRads friend who's skilled in php to write the necessary lines.
Unfortunately I cannot be involved this week, but if we can find a php programmer maybe we can start looking at it next week.


New Registration code written, June 26, 2006

Posted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:26 pm
by Jani Soderhall
OK, we've added a piece of code to the registration page to make it different from other phpBB forums. It's not spam proof, but it adds a bit of complexity for the spammers. Those spam registrations was really killing us (both me and Wesley putting more energy into keeping the forum clean than actually enjoying the forum).

Let's see how the new method works - and let's hope that real members do get through.


Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:29 am
by Jani Soderhall
Just to make our site different to other phpBB sites, we've now added a question to be answered when you register. The question has the answer in the question, so it's not really a question, but at least robots will most likely not make the effort to adapt to this new behaviour of the site.

If it doesn't work, we'll turn it into a real question, something that you can only answer if you're really a skateboarder.

Let's see how it goes.

The previous fix removed 90% of all spam registrations, so that was already a good thing. Now Wesley and I will have some more free time and can concentrate on the content rather than admin side of the site.


Care about slalom? checkbox added

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:00 am
by Jani Soderhall
I've introduced another slight difference in our registration procedure compared to other phpBB site. Now when you sign up you have to tick a checkbox that says "Tick the check box if you care about slalom skateboarding". If you forget you will not be able to register. Note: this only affects the procedure for new members.

Riderz had their site updated and Nat Felsen wrote this piece code to avoid spamBots registering on Riderz. Now we're trying the same method. Thanks Nat!