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Have been surfing around forums for forum owners tonight, and an ENORMOUS problem seems to be bot spam. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself and all of the custom tools that I wrote to keep bot spam at bay since switching off of vBulletin. :) It's really seeming like we are leaps and bounds in front of just about everyone else in the industry here, with most other big forums paying monthly fees to services like Akismet and/or continuously dealing with the issues that we dealt with on vBulletin and left behind us in 2012.

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Good stuff :)
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Last Post by happygeek
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    Dani 1,638   3 Years Ago

    But now think of how long it took you to come up with that post and write it. Probably longer than it would take us mods to delete it! Go to any other forum and use a bot to automate spam X 10000000 and mods simply won't be able to … Read More

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    I know what you mean about the 'working for yourself' thing. I often get told I have it easy, not least as I leave the office in the early afternoon. What people don't get is that I'm usually in the office at 5am while they are asleep, and that I … Read More

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Edited by pritaeas: Oops. Sorry, didn't read the thread... ;)

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But now think of how long it took you to come up with that post and write it. Probably longer than it would take us mods to delete it! Go to any other forum and use a bot to automate spam X 10000000 and mods simply won't be able to keep up. Bot spam is pretty much eliminated here, and that's where we win.

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What she said :)

The spam hasn't vanished from DaniWeb, and mods continue to work behind the scenes deleting the stuff on a daily basis, however the automated spam which was threatening to destroy us a couple of years back is no longer an issue. I think we all should be grateful for the work that Dani has put in to achieve that, members and mods alike.

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Agreed! You've built something awesome here Dani! Thank you for your hard work. I will cheers a drink for you tonight ... with the above mentioned awesome bbq chips ofcourse.

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Davey, what amazes me is that what nearly destroyed us back in 2011/2012 sooooo many other forums still struggle with to this day. Could you imagine if we hadn't switched off of vBulletin?!

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I'm not sure we would still be here, to be honest. The mod workload was such that none of us could have kept pace with it. I was doing five or six hour shifts for days/weeks on end doing nothing but tracking and deleting spam, banning spammers etc - and I was not the only one. If a solution had not been found I suspect that the entire mod team was close to simply walking away...

Edited by happygeek

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What frustrates me is all of the people back then, and still people today, who think that because I work for myself I have no deadlines, no one to answer to, and no responsibilities that need to get done by certain dates. The biggest thing that I get a lot is that because DaniWeb is so mature, everything runs itself, the entire system is written with no need to change it, and adding features, or deadlines for features or functionality, are a foreign concept. I try to explain to them that I sell advertising and then they kinda get that I have to collect money from advertisers in exchange for setting up campaigns (wich LOL isn't even the half of it) but nothing beyond that.

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Dani, well done.

Can you briefly describe what measures you put in place to reduce the spam bots from a technical POV.

Such as sign-up, then blocking ip addresses of known spammers and the tools you give to the mods to let them ban users who violate those rules?

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While other forums are constantly dealing with bot spam and are using services like Akismet and StopForumSpam.com, and it still isn't catching it all, and it's also catching a lot of false positives, we have a very simple Q&A CAPTCHA system that does little more than ask "Are you a spam bot?" that works awesome under the hood. I can't really get into the details for obvious reasons. Oh, and we block the IP address of a member who gets banned for 3 days if we detect that they are trying to use the same IP address to sign up again immediately after being banned. That's it :)

Moderators cannot directly ban members. They can influence a ban by infracting members for specific rule violations on a post. Each rule violation is associated with an infraction that carries a certain number of points for a certain duration of time. 10 or more active infraction points will begin a ban until the number of active points falls below 10. It keeps everything really objective and ensures a system of checks and balances :)

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Dani, on sign up, do you send that user an authentication link to their email address. So they must click on that link to authenticate their account?

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When a new member signs up using Log In with Facebook / Google+ / LinkedIn (which is the primary way people sign up nowadays) then they are automatically verified members.

When a new member signs up with our traditional login form, then they become a verified member immediately, where they have the ability to post right away (for instant gratification). However, they are also sent an email with a verification link. If they don't click the link within 24 hours, their account gets demoted. They are resent the email link 2 more times over the upcoming week and encouraged to click on it to reactivate their account.

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I know what you mean about the 'working for yourself' thing. I often get told I have it easy, not least as I leave the office in the early afternoon. What people don't get is that I'm usually in the office at 5am while they are asleep, and that I work through until 1pm without breaks other than the odd five minutes to make a coffee or go to the loo. They don't see the juggling of deadlines and the pressure to get things done. They don't see that I do this seven days a week and, unless things are really bad, that includes when I am sick. They don't see the checking of emails and dealing with work stuff after I have left the office, right through to when I go to bed and until I fall asleep. They certainly don't see all the stress that accompanies being self-employed in a freelance capacity; the lack of security, uncertainty about if you will have a roof over your head next month, the certainty that you will never be able to afford to stop working...

All that said, I love my job and wouldn't want to do anything else :)

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the mod workload was such that none of us could have kept pace with it.

I most certainly remember that ~month... Almost every single free minute went into deleting spam from DW. It's good to see that there's a lot less spam now!

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Great job Dani! Staying on top of your game!

I remember when I became a moderator. I think it was right in the thick of it, and I remember that the listing of "unresolved reported posts" (for non-mods: this is where "flag as bad post" reports go) was usually full (10-30 reports) all the time. Now, that listing is usually almost empty, meaning that just deleting spam posts here and there as you stumble upon them in the forums you visit as a mod is enough to keep up with the spammers. That's impressive!

There is still the occasional spam burst of posts, but those are easy to see, and quick to clean up and infract-to-ban.

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The spam that we get now, though, is human generated ... There isn't an automated way of keeping a human whose intentions we don't yet know from not posting. It's the automated bot spam that was the killer because it was coming at faster than human pace.

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Tired of the same old boring flavour of barbeque chips? Visit www.the-most-awesome-kick-azz-mofo-space-invader-bbq-chips.com to get a free bag.

Lol pritaeas gave me a spam infraction for this before retracting it. Lmao! Thanks man :P I apologize if the joke was in bad taste.

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Pulled the gun too quickly, eh?

Indeed. I saw the post on the homepage, so without context, hehe. So hammered it away. Kinda funny IMO.

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I very nearly did the same thing, but have learned to always check the context before pressing the spam button through hard fought experience :)

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