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Comments April 29, 2010

Registration Protection Isn’t Enough Anymore

Filed under: Anti-spam, Board Management — Dave Rathbun @ 9:58 pm CommentsComments (3) 

The focus for the past several years for board owners has been to prevent (or at least have some easy way to ignore) spammer registrations. When spammers thought it was useful to have an entry on a board memberlist they were often satisfied with getting through the registration process. They didn’t bother to activate their account. As a result, one of the most popular (and fortunately very easy) MODs for discussion boards was to prevent inactive members from showing up on the member list. This is the standard configuration for phpBB3, no MOD required.

Spammers reacted by altering their process so they can activate accounts. (I as well as other board owners have seen a dramatic increase in use of gmail accounts for this, so clearly Google’s registration process has been cracked and automated as well.) Like many board owners, I would like to have a “clean” database. But it wasn’t a huge imposition to get spammer registrations. If they never posted, they were not a contributing member of my board but at least they weren’t getting in the way. I had a MOD that prevented board members from entering a web site until they had a minimum number of posts on my board, so at least I didn’t get a member database sprinkled with unsavory web links. There are also MODs available that prevent zero-post users from showing up, and for pruning inactive or zero-post users after some specific period of time. All of these were okay in their day, but are not as effective anymore.

I’ve posted many times about my Checkbox Challenge code. It has served very well in protecting my blogs, several phpBB boards, and even my comment forms from spammers. However I am starting to see some issues, and that bothers me. Why? Because the new spam seems to be coming from humans rather than bots. I don’t know how we can combat that. Spammers seem to be quite creative with their posting strategies as well. More…

Comments April 19, 2010

Recognition Versus Reputation

Filed under: Board Management, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 9:33 pm CommentsComments (4) 

A few weeks ago I had an interesting conversation with a woman from England who is doing a thesis on the psychology of online communities (discussion boards). During the conversation she dropped a phrase that I immediately stopped and wrote down so I could think about it further. Here is the basic question that was invoked by her comment:

What is the difference between recognition and reputation? More…

Comments April 12, 2010

Libertyvasion 2010

Filed under: Libertyvasion 2010, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 9:53 pm CommentsComments (2) 

Well, this is what I get for skipping out of visiting phpbb.com for a while… I completely missed the announcement of Libertyvasion 2010 that came out last month. Now I have to go log in and see if there’s anything I can talk about this year. Last year I had fun pulling together a talk about board spam. I’ll have to see what I can come up with this year.

Definitely need to try to make it.

Comments April 1, 2010

April Fools?

Filed under: Board Management, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 7:23 am CommentsComments (1) 

In the past I have done a number of tricks to celebrate today. One year I posted a very official looking press release stating that the board had been bought out and would no longer be a free resource. Another year I used to tricky CSS to flip the “off topic” forum upside down.

This year I used a suggestion from my wife… it’s evil. :twisted: I will post what I did after today is over. 8-)

How about you? Any fun tricks to share?

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