Spam and Design Issues

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by Kevin, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    As you know, Taekwondo Forums has experienced a lot of spam recently from automated spammers. These can be difficult to deal with as once they find a security hole in the software, they can overwhelm the forum with a lot of spam in a short period of time.

    I need to take some responsibility for this as I do not currently make this forum a priority in my projects (due to other work and the fact this forum runs at a loss). However, we can address this issue.

    Over the last few hours I have deleted the spam that had been posted. I have also purchased the new forum update and updated the forum. Additionally, I resolved the issue that was prevalent before with some options not loading correctly. This was a design related issue. Unfortunately, I could not resolve this with the old design so I had to modify the default style so that the forums colour scheme remained the same. You may notice some slight changes to the forum design because of this.

    A few members have kindly put their services forwarded for moderating the forum. I appreciate the offer. I do think that two or three active members having powers to remove spam would help the forum, particularly for manual spam (i.e. spam that was not published via an automated script).

    Another thing we need to tackle is automated spam.

    There are a few ways to tackle this:
    • Install anti-spam registration filters - This can be effective but it can stop legitimate members from signing up.
    • Manually approve all new registrations - This is effective at tackling spam, however it means that someone can not join the forum right away. It is also extremely time consuming to manually approve every single registration.
    • Charge a small fee for joining the forum - Another option is to charge a small fee (e.g. $5) for joining the forum. This practically eliminates all spam as spammers do not want to pay money for anything. The downside to this is that many potentially good members would never sign up as they do not want to pay a fee for joining.
    As you can see, all of the options above have pros and cons.Personally, I am leaning towards installing more anti-spam registration controls to eliminate automated spam.

    I apologise again for the inconvenience caused by all of this. I'd love to hear what your thoughts on these issues.

  2. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Hi Kevin

    Is there a possibility to generate legitimate advertising revenue? I wouldn't be averse to seeing relevant products advertised here (MA supplies stores etc). have you thought about seeking sponsorship from someone like Kicksport, for example? A store like that might be be able to advertise the forum at events too in return for sticky threads pushing latest offers.

    There's also the option of asking established regular members for a donation rather than a registration fee for new members.

    This forum has potential as a business model if you were interested in taking it in that direction, but it needs active support from the members in terms of interesting posts and articles to attract new members.
    Rugratzz likes this.
  3. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    Poxy people. anything that will help would be great
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah the forum definitely has potential.

    At the moment, revenue is not a major concern. I'm more interested in the growth of the forum. That is why registration is free and why advertisements are not displayed to signed in members.

    As long as we can keep spam under control, it will continue to grow.
    Rugratzz likes this.
  5. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    I've been monitoring spam over the last few days and tried a few different things. I'm going to put in some more anti-spam measures and see if that helps. At this point, I'd rather go down that route than forcing people to pay to join.
  6. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Seems like we've had a new wave today!
  7. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah they broke through the set up I tried yesterday. I've tried something different today. I'll keep changing things until we find a solution that works. If I cannot prevent them from spamming the forum, I will switch to paid registration. :)
  8. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    I dont know how the site works, but would it be possible to have every new members posts moderated, until they have say contributed say 10 posts, I know its not your full time job Kevin, but it could be an option (if the software allows it). Or members after a period of time can have a post (obviously spam) sent to be checked, and until it is removed will not show up. There are a number of people on here that are responsible people, maybe they could be allowed to delete posts.

    I am sure you are working on the best solution good luck,

  9. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    That wouldn't really work. There is no option to moderate each post before it is published.

    The moderation system works by pausing registration until I have reviewed the registration details. Sometimes it is not obvious from a username, email address and IP address, that the user is a spammer. So it can be difficult to know who is a spammer and who isn't. Plus it is very time consuming. I would have to check it every day.

    I'm asking for help with this issue from the developers. Don't worry - I'll get it sorted.
  10. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    It s just a thought no worries ☺
  11. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    I do welcome all your feedback and suggestions. It does help.

    I have introduced a policy in which new members cannot post links until they reach a certain level.

    I think it would be good to have some moderators in to help tackle spam too.
    Rugratzz likes this.
  12. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    I am sure there are members that have been around for a while that would be willing to help out.

    Not being able to post links would that be their whole post or only the link?

  13. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    It would just be the link.

    From what others are saying, the spam we have been experiencing has been input manually, not by software. Therefore, traditional anti-spam methods would not be effective. This step will stop them from being able to post links; which will hopefully make them go elsewhere.
  14. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    By the quality of the English one has to wonder Google translate maybe

    Any way hope it helps
    Kevin likes this.
  15. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Just an observation Kevin: on the main page where you can see who is online, it shows 6 Robots....
  16. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    I know this is for Kevin but I think you will find they are bots for search engines, Google, yahoo, and others, you can put code into your site to stop them but your ranking on the net will suffer.

  17. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    Rugratzz is correct. Robots are usually search engine spiders that are indexing pages for their search engine.

    Spam is still a problem. I may have to introduce a small registration fee in order to stop spammers signing up. I realise this discourages a lot of good members from signing up too, however it practically eliminates spam in one fell swoop.

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