Membership changes

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gpraceman
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Membership changes

Post by gpraceman » Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:14 am

Due to an ever increasing deluge of spam membership requests, with all sorts of foul or unrelated info in their profiles, I've had to implement some membership changes.

Many of the user profile fields can no longer be set during the membership application process. These fields can only be set once the application has been approved and the member has made 5 posts.

I'm sorry if new members find this inconvenient, but I am getting tired of having to delete half a dozen or more spam membership requests daily.

So far, this seems to be keeping the spam bots at bay. At the bottom of the forum pages you can see the count of how many of these attempts have been blocked so far. In the 3 days since I have implemented this, we are already up to 22 blocked. Unfortunately, these guys may find some way around this, but I'll get a reprieve for awhile at least.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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gpraceman
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Re: Membership changes

Post by gpraceman » Sat Sep 16, 2006 6:30 pm

I made an additional change, that you likely will not notice, to keep the spammers from even getting to the registration page. Hopefully, I won't have to implement anything additional.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: Membership changes

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:26 pm

Those spammers sure do get around a lot of road blocks (confirmation codes, IP banning, email banning, and other anti-spam countermeasures). I've been deleting about a 5 to 10 spam membership requests a day. I had to research each one (Google searches), since I wanted to make sure not to delete a valid membership request. It is a pain and has caused delays in activating new members.

I've implemented an additional change for people requesting membership that will hopefully foil most of the spam bots. When you register or update your profile, you will need to provide a specific location. You can no longer leave it blank, enter US, USA, or America (common with spam bots). It will expect a more specific location. Anyways, it is more interesting to know where people are from.

If this works out, I might open up some of the profile fields that are currently restricted until the user makes 5 posts.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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BigDozer66
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Re: Membership changes

Post by BigDozer66 » Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:09 pm

I'm glad I am already in the system! 8)

The Spammers have some sophisticated equipment at their disposal. :x

Thanks for the site and keep up the good work! :D

Lynn


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Cubmaster and AWANA Game Director

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sprntrcr
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Re: Membership changes

Post by sprntrcr » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:22 am

Randy,

I know you have mentioned the idea of moving the forums into GrandPrix Race Central and perhaps embedded in Nuke. Not trying to be a salesman here, but just want to suggest perhaps moving away from phpBB in the process.

I run a beekeeping forum, Beemaster.com that was running phpBB and had all the same spammer issues you are experiencing that finally grew to the point of being unmanagable. phpBB was arguably one of the best forum packages a few years back, but they have failed to keep up with the spamming techniques and have now fallen behind in my opinion. Last November I migrated the forums from phpBB over to SMF and have basically eliminated all of the spam bots. We were to the point of getting over 100 new spambots registering a day.

I know migrating from one application to another can be a daunting proposition. But I can tell you I migrated close to 40000 posts and over 1500 members (real members) with avatars and private messages with no issues using a migration script.

SMF has a much better admin user management layout and allows for easily deleting multiple users (spam bots) at a time, unlike phpBB's one user at a time. In fact, I ended up migrating 1000+ spambot ids and used SMF admin to delete them.

Once again, not trying to be a salesman here, but just want to share some experience with you. I know what it is like to run a forum and commend you for the effort you are putting forth. Whatever decisions you make, all the members here are greatly appreciative to you.

Rob...



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gpraceman
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Re: Membership changes

Post by gpraceman » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:09 am

sprntrcr wrote:I know you have mentioned the idea of moving the forums into GrandPrix Race Central and perhaps embedded in Nuke. Not trying to be a salesman here, but just want to suggest perhaps moving away from phpBB in the process.
Rob,

I appreciate the suggestion. Converting to another forum software package is an option. However, as far as I know, only the phpBB forum software integrates with phpNuke as used on the GrandPrix Race Central site. I definitely would not want to convert over everything in both sites to some new software package(s). One is painful enough.

In a few months phpBB 3 should be out and there are some things in there to help thwart spam bots. Being a programmer myself, I also take it as a personal challenge to find ways to thwart these things. I know if I make the registration process just enough different that it will trip them up.

Anyways, no forum software is immune to these bots. As the the other software packages gain in popularity these bots will turn their attentions to them as well.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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gpraceman
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Re: Membership changes

Post by gpraceman » Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:30 am

The good news, so far, is that since I implemented the last change there have been ZERO spam bot membership requests :D


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: Membership changes

Post by doct1010 » Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:35 am

Congrats! Chalk one up for the GOOD guys! :D

Thanks for all you do to provide an invaluable resource.



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