Forum maintenance!

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Forum maintenance!

Postby Toby » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:55 am

HI KIDS,

Long time no see. Who is it who manages forum maintenance here? I'm having a lot of problems with spambots over at ye Olde VanCAF forums and I need to talk to someone about mods.

IS IT YOU?? Sam thinks it might be Kelso but he's not sure. What say ye to these charges, Kelso?
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Re: Forum maintenance!

Postby Kelso » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:53 pm

Do you mean moderator mods or plug-in mods? I guess I'm the only active moderator here these days.
If you're looking for a mod for spam cleaning, that pretty much all I do here, since they're the only troublemakers. I could probably add the VCAF forums to my daily routine without too much trouble. Looks like it's the same phpBB system as here, so I know that mod/admin control panel pretty well.
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Re: Forum maintenance!

Postby Toby » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:49 pm

Ah! That's very nice of you but I really do need the plug-ins. I've switched it to Admin authorization for new accounts and I've gotten 40 new accounts in the last 10 hours, so it's pretty mental. You wouldn't want to deal with that--no one would. I will keep sniffing around.
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Re: Forum maintenance!

Postby Kelso » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:02 pm

Ah, then I think Ashton is the one in charge of plug-ins here. I don't fiddle with anything past banning bots and deleting posts. I'm not sure how well the phpBB plug-ins work though, we still get five or six bots registered a day, but maybe 1 in 10 actually posts anything. It may just be that our plug-in are out of date.

I think Agrajag knows a bit about forum plug-in and whatnot too.
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Re: Forum maintenance!

Postby Agrajag » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:08 pm

Ashton is in charge of that sort of thing for this forum. I had offered to help do some phpBB maintenance/updates for Sam but plug-in stuff requires direct server access which Sam pretty reasonably wasn't keen on giving to an internet stranger (I do have access to the admin panel here but I don't think I have permissions to actually do anything useful)

I used to know a decent amount about phpBB. I haven't kept up with it in recent years, but I probably still know enough to point you in the right direction. You probably need an improved CAPTCHA system to stop the crazy amount of new spam accounts. I personally favor ones that ask for simple question responses or to choose from a set of pictures (like "what color is the sky" or "click on the picture that doesn't contain a cat"). These are generally pretty easy for humans to do while difficult for the average robot. And since you can easily customize the questions to be unique to your own website, most automated spam bots won't be able to pass them at all (whereas some commonly used CAPTCHA things like ReCAPTCHA have been cracked in the past, no one is likely to spend time writing a bot to pass the check on just your website). It won't stop spammers that are powered by cheap human labor through services like Mechanical Turk though.


tl;dr version: Vanilla phpBB has pretty weaksauce CAPTCHA and spam blocking and installing a few simple plug-ins should at the very least lower the number of spam accounts to an amount manageable by a human moderator. The plug-ins for this site probably need to be updated as well.

If you want some help feel free to shoot me a PM. I'm traveling for work at the moment and the wifi at my hotel is shitty so it may take me a bit to get back to you.
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