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New Members

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Grimbold Theoman on Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:39 am

Hello folks,

I pointed out earlier that since some time in November last year over 500 people have joined our little forum, however I have spent some time this morning looking through some of those who have joined in the last few days.

I have to say that we have become victims of our own success. A large proportion of the new members recently have been bots joining to advertise mostly dodgy medications, contact sites etc. I feel that someone, and I fear having been the one to bring this to notice it may be me, needs to weed through the members list and winnow out the obvious fakes.

As an addition I suspect that the problem will only get worse unless we can find a way to filter out the bots. One way is to use a confirmation e-mail and only activate the account once a confirmation is received. Another would be to use some sort of graphic with letters or numbers in that has to be typed in or the account is not opened.

It is great to have new members but I feel we should keep it to real people rather than bots.

Grim

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Remæus on Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:15 am

Thanks for your input! It is always valued.

Over the past month, I've been working hard at exactly this, and have successfully removed over one thousand spam bots. I use several types of searches to comb the user database for matches, and then manually delete the entries that are so clearly bots.

Unfortunately, due to the advanced nature of the newer generations of bots, creating a fix-all solution simply is not possible at this point. A captcha-based user verification has been implemented in the past, with limited success. Bots could read it anyways in some cases, and others would create their own form to submit for registration, bypassing it altogether. A validation email was also used in combination with this for an extended period of time, but we can not depend upon the spam-blocks employed by some of the cheaper mail services to let our mail through.

We have bans on all email addresses that end in the typical spammer junk, including .biz and .info domains. We also use an external database to supply our ban tables with IPs and email addresses that need to be banned, with varying degrees of success.

Fortunately, nearly 90% of the bots that manage to get registered here on RolePlayGateway fail to post due to the more complicated posting system we use, but this is not the case for some of our other enterprises, such as the Grand Tournament. In all situations, it is important that we work as a team to fight these spammers. From moderators deleting posts to site administrators manually grepping the database, this is a coordinated war that requires all the help we can get.

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Remæus
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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Grimbold Theoman on Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:20 am

If there is anything that I can do with my sometimes copious spare time don't hesitate to let me know.

Grim

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Grimbold Theoman
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Member for 12 years
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