Spam - my forum is flooded with spam, what can I do

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Revision as of 16:52, 25 May 2012 by Trekkie101 (talk | contribs) (Tidy up, some grammer changes, needs "Activation Settings" bit filled in.)
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SMF by default offers three tools to help you keeping spammers out of your forum:

  1. Account Activation - Administrators can decide to either ask their new members to visit an activation link sent to the newly registered member by email or to put all the newly registered members in the approval queue and then personally activate only the non-spammer accounts.
  1. The Captcha - Administrators can set a verification code (also known as a 'captcha') that users have to decipher in order to be able to proceed with the registration.
  1. Verification Questions - Administrators can introduce a number of custom questions and answers, thay users that are registering have to answer to allow registration.

The first measure is available through the Administration Center: Admin > Members > Registration > Settings.

Here you can enable - COMPLETE ME!!!!!! -

The second and the third can be configured in the Administration Center: Admin > Configuration > Security and Moderation > Anti-Spam.

The level of complexity for a verification code can be set from none (no verification code displayed) to extreme (the letters are extremely distorted and it should be very difficult to decipher for the automated spammers).

For the verification code, there is the box used to configure the verification questions. Usually this is the most efficient anti-spam method provided by SMF due to its forum specific nature. There are a few things to note about this method to increase its efficiency:

  • Automated registration bots are usually quite good at math, avoid questions like: what's the result of 2+2? and similar.
  • International audiences may not understand local slang, or local terminology, ensure that questions don't alienate an otherwise active member base.

From the Administration Center it's possible to set as many questions you want, and also the number of questions that each user will be asked to fill during the registration. If you configure 10 questions and then set to show 2 in the registration page, SMF will show two random questions from the 10 configured each time a new member tries to register - a good bank of questions will stop automated bots from building a set of "known answers".

But that's not all!
Of course one of the most important SMF features is its ability to be modified, and at the mod site there is an entire category of Spam Prevention mods.

At the moment some very clever anti-spam mods have been created by our community (in alphabetical order):