Spam becoming a problem on Forum?

Jun 22, 2012 at 11:03am

Spam becoming a problem on Forum?

I awoke this morning to 19 spam messages on the forum. There used to be the occasional 1 or 2 but 19 makes it difficult to see the legitimate posts.

Jun 22, 2012 at 11:38am

just checked back in to find another 10 spam messages – 29 in one morning – successful bot.

Jun 22, 2012 at 12:56pm

Seems to happen just about every night, these days. Someone usually pops in in the morning and cleans ‘em out.

Jun 22, 2012 at 1:38pm


yep, but morning there is afternoon here : one moderator per time zone should be great ;-)

Jun 22, 2012 at 1:45pm

I tried making this point a while ago:

Jun 22, 2012 at 2:58pm

I think there is something wrong now though – there has been another 10 since I checked this morning – so that’s 39 spams in a few hours.

Is that normal? I’ve been busy for a month or two so not on the forum as much but I never saw it this bad.

Jun 22, 2012 at 3:31pm

Is it difficult or onerous for users to enforce a visual copying thing – you know some wobbly letters which you have to type in and verify before posting.

Stops spambots anyway.

Jun 22, 2012 at 4:21pm

a captcha for a new users first 5 or 10 posts maybe? I hate captacha’s but if I only had to do it when I was new to the forum and not all the time it might be okay – if it was explained.

Jun 22, 2012 at 5:26pm

The worse with the spam is that it’s not even effective… a french post talking about dresses for women… this is a place for the alpha nerds, I doubt their spam will work, this is sad.

I think a captcha for the first few posts could help.. a spammer who would manually override the post threshold in order to spam, only to get his account banned after a few posts (that are not worth it anyway) will make it much less tempting to spam here.

Jun 22, 2012 at 8:21pm

Spam is annoying, but i’m really surprised none of the “alpha-nerds” have figured out how to creatively use them in a max patch. i mean people already use tweets to trigger patches, why not spam? Previously when this was a major problem before, someone commented how the spam reads like poetry, some do, might make an interesting project.

As for alpha-nerds being a pants only club, i bet there are more than a few of us who like to wear dresses…

Jun 23, 2012 at 10:41am

the implementation of some captcha for the registration should be enough, but i think
it is easier to simply have the first post of each new user moderated?

Jun 23, 2012 at 12:34pm

I came last night and saw another 10 spams and this morning the first two posts I checked, including this one about spam, had been spammed. I use a few forums and I have never seen one this bad.

Jun 24, 2012 at 6:29am


Or create a “Spam” forum (unvisible in the “All” section) to move that stuff until a moderator destroy them without pity ?

Jun 24, 2012 at 12:48pm
Jun 25, 2012 at 10:34am

This equation would solve a few issues.

nTopicsAllowedToStartToday = nDaysForumMembership – 1

Jun 25, 2012 at 11:16am

+1 for jvkr

Jun 27, 2012 at 7:39am

Man, it’s turning into a daily thing. Pushes most of the front page off now.

Jun 27, 2012 at 8:09am

Seems to be happening whilst America is asleep – which is a bummer for us on the other side of the planet.
If it can’t be killed at source, perhaps a ‘hide topic’ check box, so we can just go through and manually filter before settling down for our morning read ?

Jun 27, 2012 at 8:47am

I report all spam I discover in the morning, but I’m afraid they’re only removed much later. jvkr’s algorithm is nice but may be frustrating for real new users who want to solve their groove~ problem asap.

Jun 27, 2012 at 9:21am

This is unfair!
Spammers can post as many spams as they want.
I can report them only once… ;-)

Jun 27, 2012 at 10:44am

I took a screenshot of the current front page – I count no less than 56 spam posts. Out of (by my count) 101 posts displayed per page.

That’s more than half of the front page eaten up by spam. I’d say this is definitely a problem now.

Jun 27, 2012 at 11:35am

Here is the forum to discuss spam issues in WordPress with the bbPress Plugin:

Jun 27, 2012 at 12:27pm

78 spam posts now. Nearly 80% of home page is spam. 1.30 gmt

Jun 27, 2012 at 1:33pm

Thanks for your patience while we deal with the spam problems. We’re looking into a few different solutions.


Jun 27, 2012 at 2:20pm

We’ve got the Akismet plugin running again, and hopefully it will curtail the spam.

In this type of detection problem there is no perfect solution, especially when real people are at the other end of the spamming keyboard. We previously disabled Akismet because we had complaints of the opposite problem — legitimate people’s posts were being flagged as spam. We’ll keep on top of it as best we can!

Jun 27, 2012 at 3:57pm

Looks like we’ve got some hard-workin’ individual spammers clipping crap onto “real” discussions, even as I type.

Jul 2, 2012 at 10:22am

A new high seems to have been attained this evening AEST.

Jul 2, 2012 at 12:00pm

As a long time forum user it’s hard to even bother checking the forum now, to wade through all this junk. For a first time user I could see the forum being an immediate write off.

Jul 2, 2012 at 2:47pm

We feel your pain, and are working on a solution.

Jul 2, 2012 at 7:09pm

We’ve disabled the akismet spam filter (which didn’t seem to be doing much anyhow) and created a plugin that requires captchas from first-time users for their first 3 posts. We’ll see if this helps!


Jul 3, 2012 at 10:24am

It strangely doesn’t seem to help much!


Jul 3, 2012 at 12:25pm

I think it is helping, actually – new spam this morning seems to all be new topics, not contributions to existing topics. (Let me know if that’s not the case.)

Jul 3, 2012 at 12:57pm

As far as I remember, most of the spams I saw and reported the past week were new topics. But I may be wrong.
Good luck!


Jul 3, 2012 at 9:51pm

Thanks for your patience, all!

Jul 3, 2012 at 9:52pm

We now require a captcha for anyone who has less than 10 posts, or has not posted in the last month.

Jul 4, 2012 at 6:55am

There is already a spam this morning (but only one so far!), from a new member, in an existing topic:


Jul 4, 2012 at 8:42am

•max runtime error: ginger != lilly

Jul 4, 2012 at 12:23pm

One is better than the spurts we were having before! We’ll keep monitoring.


Jul 17, 2012 at 10:09pm

Spam seems a lot better — ? ?

Jul 19, 2012 at 6:21pm

Thanks for the sane policy on the captcha. I hate those things.

Jul 20, 2012 at 12:20am

I’d had a thought about spam messages in pre-existing topics, and perhaps something along these lines is already being done.

What if, when an entry/reply to a topic is marked as ‘spam’ by 3 (or however many) registered/longstanding users, it is not only added to the ‘for review’ list of topics, but it is also immediately made invisible, and goes to the top of the review list for the admins?

Obviously there’d be some room in there for abuse, but I think the users are generally trustworthy here.

Jul 20, 2012 at 3:58am

@MuShoo- yes, something like that would be great.

Aug 16, 2012 at 10:15am

It seems that the new spam protection is not enough. I just fired 6 spam reports during the past hour. I think MuShoo’s idea would be worth to consider. I’d happily volunteer to report spams as soon as I discover them here…

Aug 16, 2012 at 10:19am

yep, it’s been getting worse again in the last days

Aug 16, 2012 at 7:20pm

Thanks for the reports. Were most of the spams from the same user? What seems to be happening is that we’re not getting any spam from new users. However there are accounts previously created by the spambots that are being reactivated. So it may just be a matter of pruning for a while longer until the old accounts are gone.


Aug 17, 2012 at 10:07am
Aug 17, 2012 at 2:49pm

It’s sad that there’s such a strong correlation between likelihood of being spam and the apparent gender of the account name.

Aug 19, 2012 at 7:55pm

Hi all, I’m mostly commenting to check out the captcha thing seeing as I’ve been AWOL from the forum for a while but I’m sure this xkcd strip has popped into a few people’s heads after reading this thread!

Sep 5, 2012 at 1:11pm

Eugh, haven't followed this thread entirely but I started one of my own a while ago. Any chance of becoming a moderator? I could have pulled this as soon as I woke up this morning:


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Sep 12, 2012 at 9:34am

Most of the first page today is spam. Its keeps annoying a lot. Isn’t there a good mixture of blacklists who actually are updated immediately anybody is reporting spam, but you would only block them for creating a account?
This could be even done locally, any long time user who is reporting spam on a new user, will block that user for publishing. It should be removed from the forum immediately…
I know that spambots just use any address they can get hold of, but they have to do send it via specific gateways. There is a probably a pattern.
What about using something like akismet, but in a way, to notify a new user that his post has to be approved but let askimet not intervene if a user is approved already…

Just some thoughts…


Sep 12, 2012 at 10:53am

Checking the forum in the morning is an exercise in futility most mornings.

Sep 12, 2012 at 11:02am

i don’t care too much. seen it, now it’s gone, forget it.

Sep 12, 2012 at 11:25am

Annoying, but as xidance says, a little like a traffic jam on the way to work. An inconvenience. But I find the random text ones quite funny……your ancient customized trailer supercedes these camping facilities unless she moaned for weeks jewellery at low low prices particular smelting variations donate her captivating spleen. Very Spike Milligan/Lewis Carroll/Woody Allen…etc

Sep 12, 2012 at 11:28am

Why hasn’t anyone made a Max patch that finds spam on the forum, and turns it into poetry?

Sep 12, 2012 at 11:29am

something like ?

Sep 12, 2012 at 11:43am

cut up poetry, somehow it really is. it’s so inspiring i really went on shopping for some shoes. haven’t bought any since two years or so.

Sep 12, 2012 at 2:28pm

I guess it also depends on the time of day that you happen to check the forum. I like checking it in the morning, but it’s next to impossible at the moment because of the spam and my time zone seem to coincide nicely.

I’ve not encountered any other forum with this level of persistent spamming though (though this is a different forum platform/interface than the generic phpBB forums.

Sep 12, 2012 at 4:04pm

Yep, we Europeans get treated to our daily dose of spam every morning…

The other side of this medal is that I can post a question before going to bed and have my answer when I wake up in the morning ;)

Sep 12, 2012 at 5:09pm

Hi guys,

Rodrigo I agree, the spamming is impressive. It’s real people taking the time to make an account, solve the captcha and post their barf. Perhaps they’ve identified as particularly lucrative. Stop buying those shoes and ringtones, everyone!!

We have some more tricks up our sleeve. Thanks for your patience.


Sep 13, 2012 at 11:53am

Maybe Ben needs a tray of those to help him hunt 'm down 24/7?

(sorry couldn't help it when i saw this in the supermarket last night, it's energy drink ;)


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Sep 15, 2012 at 12:17pm

I didn’t buy any shoes, ringtones (or wedding dresses for that matter) but the first 2.5 pages here are now full of barf from user ieng0147. Is there a moderator in a euro time zone?

Sep 15, 2012 at 12:22pm

Another problem that surfaces is that by opening 200 random topics of the past 5 years, the timeline gets completely scrambled, rendering the forum useless. How could this user get trough? The poor soul has been working for over three hours…

Sep 15, 2012 at 7:53pm

captchas are clearly not getting the job done. If any user with less than some threshold of valid posts went into a moderation queue before posts from them were allowed onto the forum or into the RSS feed, I think this problem would be much better. As it stands now, even if a post is removed from the forum, it still might show up in an RSS feed.

This sort of moderation might be seen as a problem for new users, but everyone else would benefit.

Sep 15, 2012 at 8:00pm

Honesty, I think the solution here is to appoint some power-user sub-moderators. I know some of us who have been here for a while have the ability to move threads to other sub-forums. Why not let some of us flag things as spam? I’m often up all hours of the night looking at the forum, spot a bunch of spam, and would love to be able to just mark ‘em and pooft ‘em myself. Ideally also tossing the poster into a probationary status for at least a few hours, where they’re restricted from posting until a real mod can take a look at the stuff the sub-moderators have flagged.

Essentially promote some users to not full moderator status, but if a power user flags a message as spam, it should immediately disappear from the public view of the forum until it can be reviewed by a real moderator. Maybe if the same user gets three or more spam flags within a short period (20 minutes?) they get probated and can’t post for 24 hours – by which time a real mod can either repeal the probation, or permaban.

Sep 16, 2012 at 12:56am

That only treats the symptom, and poorly. Those sub-moderators would still wake up to shitty mornings of clicking the 2.5 pages worth of spam.

I don’t remember if it was mentioned (and this thread is kind of long to look completely through) but are the first couple of posts of these spambots moderated before being allowed to post more?

Sep 16, 2012 at 1:26am

^ya, what Rodrigo said.

Sep 17, 2012 at 9:46am

Opening the forum in the morning to see this.


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Sep 17, 2012 at 10:35am

great idea! let’s all post screen dumps of the spam as well, help ‘m spreading it out a bit more ;)

Nov 7, 2012 at 11:05am

Ben, did you try WangGuard? I don’t have any experience with it, just came across the plugin.

Nov 15, 2012 at 7:55pm

Have not tried it Karl – thanks for the heads up!

Jan 4, 2013 at 4:21am


Lovin’ it.

Jan 4, 2013 at 7:00am

Aww, the spam posted in the spam thread was removed. THERE WAS SO MUCH IRONY YOU GUYS

Jan 4, 2013 at 10:49am

Spambots with a sense of humor. Perhaps singulariy *is* near.

Jan 13, 2013 at 7:03am

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