Author Topic: Forum Registration  (Read 14162 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Jonathan Stuart

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 616
Forum Registration
« on: 18 Nov 2022, 11:06 »
***Sending the email mentioned below is no longer necessary and forum accounts will be activated when the member clicks the link emailed to them after registration***

Despite our best efforts, spam accounts were still being created on the Swallow Yachts Association forum. To combat this, all new accounts must be activated by an administrator. If you register a new account, please send an email to the address below and explain why you want to join the forum and that you're not a spammer. We will then activate your account. Sorry for this additional step but no-one wants spam posts in a forum.

hello@swallowyachtsassociation.org
Jonathan

Ex - BayCruiser 26 #11 "Bagpuss"
Ex - BayRaider Expedition #3 "Mallory"

Martijn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 112
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #1 on: 20 Nov 2022, 09:56 »
I can see why this is necessary, but this might scare off potential new members.
Most forums have a feature where anyone is allowed to register, but the first post(s) of new members need to be approved by a moderator. Does SMF have something like this?
BC23 #54 "Riff Raff"

Graham W

  • Global Moderator
  • Demigod
  • *****
  • Posts: 2527
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #2 on: 20 Nov 2022, 20:11 »
Yes, if you log in and also have forum moderation rights, you can see the possibly errant posts of newly registered members that need checking - they're highlighted in pink.  A few of them are legitimate and can be released on to the forum but most go in the bin.

I think I know what triggered Jonathan’s new move - a few days ago the boards were filled up with far more pink posts than normal, from a multiplicity of names, all advertising links to similar dodgy porn sites.  There are often pink posts in cyrrilic text that always go in the bin.

While I was posting this, ‘Afrodum’, who registered before the new rules came into force, posted for the first time.  It was in French and as far as I could see was advertising something to do with a betting site, possibly based in Senegal.  Sounds like an unmissable opportunity.
Graham
Gunter-rigged GRP BR20 #59 Turaco III

Jonathan Stuart

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 616
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #3 on: 21 Nov 2022, 21:12 »
Martijn & Graham are both right. We already have a rule that a new member's first two posts must be approved by a moderator. That means only moderators see the spam, which keeps the site clean for most members. Unfortunately, this isn't deterring spammers and we are deleting multiple posts and accounts each week. As Graham said, the final straw came last week when the first 1.5 pages of a forum were filled with spam posts. That's when I added the need for new accounts to be authorised by a moderator. But I agree with Martijn's concern that this may put off new members. It also adds work for me and a delay in new accounts being activated. I will investigate more anti-spam features in the hope I can turn off the need to send an email.

FYI, every time I delete a spam account I block the network from which the spam account was created. That has prevented further spam accounts being created. Machines on one network (46.161.11.*) have tried to create an account 101,764 times since it was blocked - this is the level of attack forums face.
Jonathan

Ex - BayCruiser 26 #11 "Bagpuss"
Ex - BayRaider Expedition #3 "Mallory"

Martijn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 112
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #4 on: 22 Nov 2022, 11:00 »
Thanks Jonathan,

I'm familiar with fighting spam accounts, we've experienced the same issue on our company's website. In our case we chose to write a dedicated program allowing us to remove these accounts in a largely automated fashion, rather than posing limits on the activation procedure.

At the same time I noticed the forum is not quite up to date (latest available version is 2.1.3, see https://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?P=o813no5ldrb33dr11hl9di3epn&topic=584230.0)

An upgrade could solve many issues, including this particular one. There seem to have been several fixes related to spam.

BC23 #54 "Riff Raff"

Matthew P

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 552
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #5 on: 22 Nov 2022, 15:28 »
We are fortunate to have such an active, relevant and interesting forum.  The forum definitely adds to the enjoyment of owning a Swallow Yacht/Boat.

I am sure I'm not alone in appreciating the work and wanting to thank Jonathan for all the work he does to maintain and protect it.  I suspect he does a lot more than is apparent. 

Thankyou Jonathan and also Graham and others who assist moderating as well as contributing to the forum.     

Matthew P

BR17 Tarika
ex-BR20 Gladys



"Hilda", CLC Northeast[er], home build, epoxy ply, balanced lug
Previously "Tarika", BR17, yard built, epoxy-ply, gunter rigged
and "Gladys" BR20, GRP, gunter

Graham W

  • Global Moderator
  • Demigod
  • *****
  • Posts: 2527
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #6 on: 22 Nov 2022, 22:30 »
Jonathan does 99.9% of the moderation work, which includes casting spammers into the outer darkness with a wailing and gnashing of teeth.

It appears that the prolific IP addresses 46.161.11.* to which he refers are located in St Petersburg, Mad Vlad’s former stamping ground.  Bombarding our forum with so much spam wastes a lot of Jonathan’s time.  It’s entirely pointless and just goes to show that AI, if that is what it’s driven by, still has a long way to go.  If it’s driven by humans then its unintelligent direction doesn’t bode well for Russia.
Graham
Gunter-rigged GRP BR20 #59 Turaco III

Martijn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 112
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #7 on: 23 Nov 2022, 07:05 »
Quote
  It’s entirely pointless and just goes to show that AI, if that is what it’s driven by, still has a long way to go.
It's not AI but mostly very simple bots crawling the web for outdated software that can be exploited.

BC23 #54 "Riff Raff"

Graham W

  • Global Moderator
  • Demigod
  • *****
  • Posts: 2527
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #8 on: 23 Nov 2022, 10:39 »
There are parallels to be drawn with the Russian army in there somewhere.
Graham
Gunter-rigged GRP BR20 #59 Turaco III

Martijn

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 112
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #9 on: 23 Nov 2022, 10:50 »
The use of cheap drones with no other goal but to make life difficult?
BC23 #54 "Riff Raff"

Graham W

  • Global Moderator
  • Demigod
  • *****
  • Posts: 2527
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #10 on: 23 Nov 2022, 11:07 »
Or sending in untrained reservists as cannon fodder in the hope that something miraculous will happen, compared to the umpteen previous occasions.
Graham
Gunter-rigged GRP BR20 #59 Turaco III

Jonathan Stuart

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 616
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #11 on: 02 Oct 2023, 21:46 »
Most genuine new members appeared to email us but some didn't realise they needed to do this and were missing out on joining the forum, or activation of their account was delays. I've changed the setup so new members can authenticate & approve their own account but there's additional security that I hope will stop spammers. Let's see whether this works...
Jonathan

Ex - BayCruiser 26 #11 "Bagpuss"
Ex - BayRaider Expedition #3 "Mallory"

Graham W

  • Global Moderator
  • Demigod
  • *****
  • Posts: 2527
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #12 on: 15 Oct 2023, 10:50 »
There are now a fairly large number of dodgy general posts, waiting to be cast into the outer darkness, with a wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Graham
Gunter-rigged GRP BR20 #59 Turaco III

Jonathan Stuart

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 616
Re: Forum Registration
« Reply #13 on: 16 Oct 2023, 22:51 »
Yes, I've deleted those accounts and their posts. Sorry for all the spam. I'll do my best to keep on top of this and find a proper solution but I'm short of time at the moment and the last anti-spam plug-in I tried broke the forum.
Jonathan

Ex - BayCruiser 26 #11 "Bagpuss"
Ex - BayRaider Expedition #3 "Mallory"