Changes in the pipeline.....

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Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby Mandrake » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:54 pm



Following the upgrade of TM last year, there are some further enhancements under active consideration.

TM has always been supported by the advertisers, this will continue and you may notice more advertising in due course – it all helps to pay for the forum.

Each day we attract seventy or so new members but many are just spammers who only register to sell or promote their tatty, and sometimes revolting, activities. The new style TM made it more difficult for ‘bots to register and, with a few exceptions, those who do register find it more difficult to post their adverts. Even though a lot of Moderator time is spent checking new registrations and manually weeding out the undesirables, those who get through tend to use the Signature feature for promotions and links to their sites so this feature will shortly be turned off. However those who pay to advertise on TM and who use the Signature as a link will be able to have this feature maintained.

In due course, some other changes will be introduced which will give added features for TM members – watch this space!

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Re: Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby DJBenz » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:51 am

Mandrake wrote:Even though a lot of Moderator time is spent checking new registrations and manually weeding out the undesirables, those who get through tend to use the Signature feature for promotions and links to their sites so this feature will shortly be turned off. However those who pay to advertise on TM and who use the Signature as a link will be able to have this feature maintained.


While this is one way of approaching it, a fairer way would be to create a "New Users" group that disallows signatures until a set amount of posts (say 20). No spammer, or bot, will make it to 20 posts anyway so the liklihood of a signature spamming member who makes it that far is almost zero.

To me, it matters not as I have signatures turned off for viewing the boards, but longer standing non-advertiser members may wish to keep theirs.

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Re: Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby Mandrake » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:18 pm

Thanks for your input, this has been considered, there's already a New User group which is where the first 5 posts have to be manually approved and the PM system isn't operational until all 5 posts are OK'd. This works to a certain extent but there are ways around it which some spammers have discovered. I’m not saying what those ways are but phpBB have been advised!

There’s no doubt that any changes won’t be universally accepted but we fell this is worth trying – if it doesn’t pan out OK it can always be amended again.

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Re: Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby DaveM » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:30 pm

With most spammed new users being created by bots, it's fairly easy to foil them (I've sent you stuff on this before, Mandrake).

They hunt for PHPBB forums and assume they work a certain way due to recognising parts of the html. By adding 2 fields to the reg processes, you take most bots into unfamiliar territory and they wont be able to get any further. One field would be a question a human can answer, e.g. 'What colour are bananas?' and the other is a blank hidden field that has a fake name like 'postcode' that has to remain blank to allow registration to happen, as most bots will try to fill in as many fields as possible that they find in the html.

There are tutorials on the PHPBB site for adding both of these types of field and it means you don't have to be so strict with registration.

Another way to reduce spam users is to change to a different catpcha image generator so it is harder and less familiar.

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Re: Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby Mandrake » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:49 pm

Thanks again, yes you did kindly send some excellent suggestions but I don’t have access to the appropriate buttons to twiddle for them so I can only pass the ideas on! I think I’m right in saying that most of those points have been considered especially the 'human only' question and answer and that may be one of the further enhancements to be made later on.

At the moment we can change the process so that all registrations are dealt with by a human being but, with well over 60 new registrations a day, we just don't have the time. Even if we did vet and approve individually, the problem still exists that once registered the spammers we're really trying to frustrate could behave for a while then change their details, add sigs etc and show their true colours - it happens even now.

The spammers who fill in all the boxes give the game away immediately in many ways and there are several cross checks which I can make to check the validity of some of the information. However a lot of the newcomers are crafty enough to not fill in all the fields and they take a bit more work to check out.

The genuine new arrivals usually make themselves known fairly quickly one way or another and the last thing we want is to turn those people away, far from it - we want to attract more and more members who have a real interest in Magic of all varieties. Most members don’t use the Sig function in a serious fashion so if we limit it to those who are paying to keep TM going can have a clear field. There are a few other considerations to be taken into account and, all being well, there will be some additional features on offer at some point.

It’s good to get this sort of feedback, I can only do so much with the features I have access to but I know the Forum Owner reads these threads so all constructive suggestions will be of value.

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Re: Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby DaveM » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:01 pm

No probs. Here is a newer version to the reg question I sent anyway. It involves 1 tiny and unnecessary code change. You could implement it without the code change as it is only there to give a meaningful error message when they get the question wrong.

http://www.phpbb.com/kb/article/custom- ... mmer-tool/

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Re: Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby Mandrake » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:05 pm

Ta!

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Re: Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby DJBenz » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:26 am

I have to say, one of the best anti-spam measures I have ever done with a forum is to install it in a non-standard directory. A site I manage has its forum address as http://www.domain.com/_forum/ and we get minimal (less than five registrations per month on average) human spam and no bots as far as I can tell. That's with 35-40,000 unique visitors each month too. Granted it is slightly different to TM as it is a site with separate forum, but it still seems to have worked.

Don't think it's anything that TM could use, but I thought I'd share. :)

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Re: Changes in the pipeline.....

Postby Mandrake » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:41 am

Thank you anyway!

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