We're back, and forum software

Forum for sailing club and sailing association webmasters to exchange ideas.

Moderator: aptanet

Post Reply
User avatar
aptanet
Site Admin
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 11:02 pm
Location: Waterlooville
Contact:

We're back, and forum software

Post by aptanet » Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:56 pm

Well we've actually been back for a while now, but I thought I'd mention it in this post anyway!

One thing that was bugging me before these forums went off line, and has caused even more hassle since they've come back on line, is the amount of spam posts. These are increasingly now of a somewhat less than appropriate nature. I am regularly clearing out spam memberships that haven't been activated and spam posts from members that have, presumably automatically, activated and posted. It is a pain and likely to put off legitimate people joining in.

I may, it seems, be forced to employ one of that horrible "type these characters in" systems which presents a set of disguised characters to read and type in. This is a pain for several reaosons:
  • o They can be difficult for anyone to read at times due to the fact that they have to be impossible for a computer to read

    o They can limit accessibility to some, which is neither good or acceptable

    o It is one more annoying hurdle to people joining in
If I am forced down this route I will ensure that all are catered for, even if this is managed by people emailing me to help them join. If I can find a version that will read you the code as well as display it I will look to use it.

One thing I will also do is look around at alternative forum software. phpBB is an extremely popular solution, but 'out of the box' it seems sadly lacking in features necessary to managing users and preventing spam. Does anyone know if the Simple Machines forum software is any better in this respect. It looks good, but I have to say I'm less than happy with the license terms it uses.
Paul Tansom
Sailsite Forums Administrator
BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic
--
http://forums.sailsite.co.uk/
http://www.plsa.org.uk/
http://www.aptanet.com/
http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/

User avatar
aptanet
Site Admin
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 11:02 pm
Location: Waterlooville
Contact:

Re: We're back, and forum software

Post by aptanet » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:18 am

Well, having decided that I really had to do something about the sheer amount of (increasingly unpleasant) spam that was arriving on here I gave in and enabled the visual confirmation feature on registering. A quick tip here for anyone else using phpBB (version 2.x, although no doubt it may well apply to other versions and the principle probably holds for other software) - do make sure the installed theme is up to date. Mine wasn't and the option I required didn't show initially! :oops: As a complete sidetrack, I note from working with Wordpress that this, quite sensibly I think, doesn't apply themes to the admin/control panel side of things.

Anyway, the built in visual confirmation for the 2.x series of phpBB is about as good at reducing spam as a sieve is at holding water :cry: Thankfully phpBB version 3 has just gone gold and so today I have both installed a test environment to play with, and (following a very favourable experience with that) installed it on the live server. This looks to be a very big improvement. To my mind version 2.x was a very poor piece of software given that it couldn't be easily used, even without any spam problems, without extension from various 'mods' available for it. There may well be extra features needed for version 3 once I've had time for it to bed down, but from the few hours I've been using it so far I'm quite impressed. Version 2.x didn't lead me to expect much from the next release I'm afraid.

So, time will tell whether spam is going to be an continuing problem with the upgrade, but I've seen nothing yet (and with the previous version I would have expected to have seen some!), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Paul Tansom
Sailsite Forums Administrator
BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic
--
http://forums.sailsite.co.uk/
http://www.plsa.org.uk/
http://www.aptanet.com/
http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/

User avatar
aptanet
Site Admin
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 11:02 pm
Location: Waterlooville
Contact:

Re: We're back, and forum software

Post by aptanet » Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:56 am

This seems as good a spot on these forums as any to put an apology up for the increased amount of spam, much of it again increasingly unpleasant. It seems that the spammers have finally caught up on the internet arms race where webmasters want to create an area for visitors to interact without too much inconvenience, but the spammers are determined to plaster their garbage everywhere and make things unusable. You can see forums all over the internet, as well as wikis, etc., that have been abandoned because they are too much hassle to use because you can't find the real content.

I've tightened up the restrictions on creating an account, and this has improved things, although not completely eliminated the problems. I will be putting some other changes in place under the covers shortly too, so don't expect these forums to be abandoned. If you are having problems creating an account let me know at the webmaster email address for the domain (i.e. @sailsite.co.uk) and I'll sort things out. I can't see any likelihood of problems though, unless your email address ends in .ru or .cn, or you are trying to use a username that clashes with one of the blocks I've put on.
Paul Tansom
Sailsite Forums Administrator
BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic
--
http://forums.sailsite.co.uk/
http://www.plsa.org.uk/
http://www.aptanet.com/
http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/

User avatar
aptanet
Site Admin
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 11:02 pm
Location: Waterlooville
Contact:

Re: We're back, and forum software

Post by aptanet » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:56 pm

Well I upgraded the forum software again a while ago, and it seems to have done the trick - for now. No doubt things will change over time in the software arms race that seems to exist between the spam / malware writers and mail server / website administrators - oh, and the anti-virus / anti-malware software, but they seem to benefit as much from this as the other side do!!
Paul Tansom
Sailsite Forums Administrator
BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic
--
http://forums.sailsite.co.uk/
http://www.plsa.org.uk/
http://www.aptanet.com/
http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest