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Jonathan Stuart:
***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.


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?

Graham W:
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.

Jonathan Stuart:
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.

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.


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