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free forum - spam prevention


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rcronin

 
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I'm trying to pick a forum to post on a couple of sites I'm making. They'll be for alumni from two different groups. So, I need a good spam filter.

I'm considering http://www.freebb.com/home.php . Is having a "private" forum going to keep the spam out? is there a benefit to a public forum? both of these will be linked to their own sites. I've actually never been on a forum with a spam problem. do I just belong to good legit ones (like mac-forums) that keep it out? (sorry about typing, baby helping). Is this a public or private forum anyways?

Thanks,

Becky
Web & Graphic Designer, LLL Leader, teacher (in my previous life; pre-kids) and Mama to my two daughters (who think the Apple booty is theirs)
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RNDdave

 
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Private forums are usually forums that only members (either all members - or only a certain group of members (example - maybe you have a private forum for moderators to discuss new features)) can view - public forums are available for anyone to see but you can make it so that only registered members can post to the forum.

Dealing with spam is a constant pain in the *** for mods and admins but you reduce it by making it so that only registered members can post to the forum AND making sure that any one registering has to authenticate their email address - that way they can't just use a mickey mouse email address to become a member and then post spam.

This is not fool-proof however and a large busy forum will still attract spam - people can setup free email accounts and then use that account to register with any forums they want, authenticate it and then spam the forum.

Mac-forums is not spam free - I see spam on most days but the mods or admin or iNet people clean it up pretty fast.

Having a spam free as well as (hopefully) a trouble free forum is all about the moderators - people that can spare time to help the forum along and to remove any offending posts.

You can of course only allow people to sign up after you've ok'd their application in most forums - this is however a slow process and unless you really need to restrict who has access to the content - then it's not really recommended as it will give you more work and drive potential members away because by the time you've managed to get round to accepting them as a member - they've got bored and found another forum that can provide the answer a little quicker.

I've not used freebb so can't say what it is like - but as it looks like it's based on phpbb then I'd guess you will have the same administrative options as a phpbb forum so you can control a lot to help you deal with potential spam (blocking words, blocking IP addresses etc)

There is one major benefit of having a public forum over a private forum and that is Google - well all search engines in fact - if you make the forum private - then the search engines spiders will not be able to take a look at your content - they can't index what they don't know about - and you will not be able to catch users looking for answers to questions you've already answered...

typing seems fine - baby most be quite good
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LBmtb
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I can't speak for your free forums but on my vBulletin forums the only thing that really worked was the NoSpam! alternative to the captcha image verification. It's really simple and VERY effective. Search for it on vbulletin.org if you're interested.
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MacHeadCase
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The worst board software I've seen is phpBB. With older versions I've seen forums hacked, databases held for ransom, some forums defaced, etc. With the more recent versions I still see plenty of spambots that sign up just to post as homepage spam links or in certain cases they can join and start posting crap all over.

If you must use phpBB for your forums, maybe you'll want to take a look at this: PHPBB Member List Link Spam. It gives ideas for spam prevention.
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rcronin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RNDdave View Post

There is one major benefit of having a public forum over a private forum and that is Google - well all search engines in fact - if you make the forum private - then the search engines spiders will not be able to take a look at your content - they can't index what they don't know about - and you will not be able to catch users looking for answers to questions you've already answered...

typing seems fine - baby most be quite good
That's the clincher. Thanks. Baby is 16 months and getting better at typing every day. You should see it though, it's like wrestling a little gorilla while at the keyboard, lol.

Becky
Web & Graphic Designer, LLL Leader, teacher (in my previous life; pre-kids) and Mama to my two daughters (who think the Apple booty is theirs)
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rcronin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LBmtb View Post
I can't speak for your free forums but on my vBulletin forums the only thing that really worked was the NoSpam! alternative to the captcha image verification. It's really simple and VERY effective. Search for it on vbulletin.org if you're interested.
lol. 90% of that is total greek to me. I'll go check it out. thanks.

Becky
Web & Graphic Designer, LLL Leader, teacher (in my previous life; pre-kids) and Mama to my two daughters (who think the Apple booty is theirs)
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rcronin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHeadCase View Post
The worst board software I've seen is phpBB. With older versions I've seen forums hacked, databases held for ransom, some forums defaced, etc. With the more recent versions I still see plenty of spambots that sign up just to post as homepage spam links or in certain cases they can join and start posting crap all over.

If you must use phpBB for your forums, maybe you'll want to take a look at this: PHPBB Member List Link Spam. It gives ideas for spam prevention.
Hi there,

So what's good board software? I unfortunately just set up two phpBB boards, didn't see your post until after. These will be for a group of 100 and a group of 200 people. Do you consider that large? I was thinking that's in the sm/med size range. Are there good free ones? I don't mind ads. Thanks MHC!

Becky
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MacHeadCase
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I think you can run IPB in demo mode. I have no real experience with vBulletin like Mac-Forums has except from a member perspective. Those two would be very good IMO. But if you want a real licence they are not free.

There are freebies but some of them have huge security holes like punBB which was used at the ResEx board. Spam was a major problem there. I have know of Vanilla but have no idea how tough it is against spam attacks (or any other type of attacks).

That's about as far as my knowledge goes on this. I know CB (CrossBones) runs a board. Others too I bet. Maybe they can come in here and give their two cents worth. :girl:
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I have a phpBB board and until recently it was completely spam-free. Then we suddenly started getting new members with no connection to our forum. None of them ever posted a message, and all of them had www links in their profiles that were to things we wouldn't allow (adds for drugs, porn, etc).

One easy way to identify friend from fake is to look at the user profile as an Admin and see what language they chose. "Albanian" is the first choice listed and almost all of the fake accounts choose it. Since we have no Albanians on our forum, I just delete them.

We get 2-3 of these fake accounts per day. At first we sent them all emails asking them to verify, but never got a response back from a single one. So now we just execute anyone who looks suspicious. The way things should be.

The other option I have is SMF, but unless there's a very painfree way to convert my phpBB database (users, forum structure, posts, etc) over to SMF then I'm just going to live with things as they are for now.
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MacHeadCase
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SMF = Simple Machines Forum?

How is it for security, Todd? Have you heard good things about the software?
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Everything I've heard about SMF has been positive, but I have only used it fooling around on my domain to try it out (another thumbs up for Fantastico). I've never put it out to the live web so I couldn't comment on its security.

I've found some good -- but involved -- ways to add better anti-spam security to phpBB but I think I'm just going to let things be for now. I might make some modifications so new users don't show up in the memberlist until they've been approved by an admin; other than that, I'm stuck for now.
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MacHeadCase
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Well check out the link I posted , PHPBB Member List Link Spam, up above. The guy who wrote the article has a phpBB forum and offers tips to prevent spam and stuff. Looks like good ideas from what I can tell.
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MHC -- yup, I did and got some good ideas. A lot of the best stuff requires more comfort with scripting than I have, but we'll see what we can do. Thanks again!
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MacHeadCase
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No worries, Todd! :girl:
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rcronin

 
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nak

thanks everyone. i actually dwnld'd vanilla but instantly had probs as it bypasseed all admin setup stuff. i have a fourm with no access to the admin panel! and so couldn't even log in! and there seems to be no tech support at all for it which is a bit strange but common on free forums, im finding. i did a google search for support and only found people complaining about it's probs. I was going to go with SMF, but then someone here recomm some phpBB ones so I went with that.

WHICH seems to have been a REALLY bad choice. I spent a good deal of time setting up 2 of them yesterday (www.freebb.com/) and as of last night neither of them NOR the 86.freebb site are up at all. Nice. After I emailed the urls to about 80 people.

So I may be off to SMF to start from scratch. How much are ones you pay for anyways?

And what are the other basic types...?

1. phpBB
2. vBulletin (type or brand)?

Thanks,

Becky
Web & Graphic Designer, LLL Leader, teacher (in my previous life; pre-kids) and Mama to my two daughters (who think the Apple booty is theirs)
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