It’s a real bummer and it seems to lead to a reduction in real posts.
To reduce the abuse, what if each new member had to be approved?
This is how it was done on another forum I habitat, it was certainly more work, but it can’t be any less work deleting spammers and their accounts…
A quick fix could be to add a mod or two.
How about publishing the e-mails used to create the spam accounts and letting members do what they will?
Another thing that I’ve seen done is limiting the number of threads a new user can create. E.g. One new thread per day limit for users with less than 50 posts.
Spammers will still spam but at least they’ll be limited to creating one thread instead of 5 or 6.
So the question is, how much work is it to approve new users - ie how many new users a day? Ignoring today, as that’s presumably all the spammers, looking at http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/memberlist.php?&order=desc&sort=joindate&pp=30&page=1 it seems only 2 or 3 a day usually. Not a huge workload, but a bit of a pain if it only falls on one person - what it needs is farming out to a group of people. Do we already have an admin group on here? If not, how much difficult would it be to create a group of people able to approve new users - I presume there are plenty of regulars willing to help out.
The biggest issue though is presumably setting up the mechanism for new users to be approved.
You think this is bad, go to runners world.com forums. OMG! That is where spam seems to breed lately.
What I don’t get is that the spam isn’t selling anything, it is to watch things for free online. So is it really just to clog up forums and be annoying? I guess that’s what they are doing, like being forum vandals and gumming the place up with graffiti.
This thread is also spam, just of a different variety. Keep it to JC guys.
When I see spam I click the “Report Post” icon and say “spam” or “spammer”.
I assume Gilby or some designated admins see this and take action as needed.
If there’s something else I can do, let me know.
In my opinion this thread is warranted to live here. Sure it’s not about unicycling, but it is about this forum. And if you’re like me, you don’t frequent JC as much so you’d miss this relevant topic.
Exactly why I broke down and posted it on the main forum, because this is getting out of control, so much so that I leave the web site if the front page is spammed out
I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault, certainly Gilby does a good job keeping this website up and running, but this spamming is not good for business and this time of year business is slow enough.
It is terrible at the moment, it is probably all bot spam so maybe a later version of vBulletin software is in order as we are on a creaky old version.
Limiting thread creation until 50 posts is a good one to stop spammers (time is money) as well as prohibiting links being posted until a certain post count.
Also there is a cool mod lots of people use that shares IPs email address etc to auto ban the spammers across the vB community Clicky (I have not used this myself as my days as a webmaster/forum admin are long gone.
In the short term some trusted moderators would be good.
The forum you want to use for threads like this is “Requests, Questions, and Bugs on this site”. I believe new threads in this forum are automatically emailed to Gilby.
And before you break out the torches and pitchforks, guys, keep in mind that this site isn’t the only thing that Gilby is doing… and it may likely be the least profitable use of his time. Show Gilby some appreciation and keep the criticism constructive.
Uhh… what exactly do you think is going on here?
He’s clearly selling his opinions.
I think people simply want to lend a hand. I’d be happy to step up and clobber spam posts when I see them.
No tar and featherin’ necessary, I don’t contribute anything to maintain this forum, so who am I to complain, though I have sent Gilby some loose change. Like others said, we still want a better forum if we can get it.
I’m sure there are users who would help, but how do you decide to trust someone with the keys to the henhouse, if you even want to do that at all?
On the whole this site is better maintained and a far sight calmer than the other forum I once inhabitated, but these spammers need to be shown the door.
If it’s easy to do, I’d be all for having those limits, though it would be hard on new posters, so maybe a work around would be making all auto new registers conform to these criteria, then allow them to upgrade via a personal email conversation with the admin.
And for sure, if you haven’t sent some cash Gilby’s way, think about making a small donation, it’s the least we can do to show our appreciation
I’d definitely agree on that account. Everyone (mostly) that has posted here wants to help. It would be interesting to create some moderators with very basic permissions. Primarily spam. Or just add a CAPTCHA code when registering. I always make a point to report the spam messages in order to make Gilby’s life easier in finding them.
If I’m not mistaken, a newer version of vBulletin would include this.
Gilby, what’s the price tag on upgrading vBulletin? We could pass around the virtual hat here and get it done if money’s the issue…
I think the major price tag is Gilby’s time.
Over the past 14 days, I have had some personal matters I’ve been very busy with and this site and my other responsibilities have been somewhat neglected. I would love to have some help in managing the spam and advancing this site. The recent donation initiative did produce part of the funds needed to upgrade the forum software to the latest version, but not enough to cover the full cost if we stick with vbulletin. I do intend to upgrade to the latest version once it becomes a release candidate, but I am open to suggestions on anything else available out there.
Scott is right in that the major pricetag is my time. I’d like to figure out a way to make more people involved so that this site is not dependent on my time. We should make this site be a community run site. I’m open to how to make that happen. For me, this site loses money and it’s not cheap, but it has been a launchpad for my livelihood, mostly TinyURL, so it’s been worth it for me from that standpoint. With that said, it would be nice if this site broke even.
Regarding the captcha code when registering. The current version of vb we use does have that, but I’ve found that it’s not effective, and that the question/answer option is more effective if the questions are changed often. I changed the questions last Friday, and most of the spam I’ve dealt with since then has been from accounts that registered before then. To limit spam, I need new questions that we can have for the registration process, so that these questions can be changed before the spam software has them.
I am happy to spend some time and effort to that forum. So if you want to involve me, please let me know how I can support. For instance I could do some moderator/admin tasks for the German forum. Recently there were some issues with spam, forgotten passwords, … And there were complaints about the admin (you?) being reluctant to respond. So that’s an area where a German native speaker like me could be helpful.
I know it wouldn’t help with Gilby’s time dilemma, but I’m sure if we ran a fund raiser here to get money to upgrade it would be successful. I don’t think the site needs to lose money, we just need to be made aware of the costs vs how much is being pledged.