Keeping spam out of forums
I’m currently using PHPBB for my forum software but I get SO MUCH spam. I’m considering either putting a recaptcha code on there for each post, or I’m looking into other software like bbPress. I love WordPress and so I would really like to use bbPress but I see there is no code that must be entered before posting so I wonder if spam will again be a problem.
What are your thoughts people? How do you control spam in your forums? I’ve had to lock my forums until I get a good solution.
bbPress has Akismet plugin. Akismet block all spam to spam folder in admin. http://akismet.com/
Akismet is in bbPress package, you need just a one free api key.
Akismet is really good. I can’t say I know just how good because I’ve never had spam.
I also use Project Honey Pot which checks the respective website for actve spam IP addresses.
With both of those, you’re sorted.
Thanks for this Akismet plugin recommendation hpguru and Michael R, much appreciated. Seems like bbPress + Akismet is the way to go for forums!
Absolutely. Now, if you want to avoid spam users from even registering, then you might want to install Project Honey Pot as well. Has worked brilliantly for me.
Honey Pot sounds good.
Is Akismet very similar to recaptcha and if so is it better?
Not sure about the rest of you, but I certainly seem to have quite a few spambot users signing up. They don’t seem to actually leave any spam but I notice them registering and sitting there. Kind of freaks me out, like they are sitting there all quiet, planning an attack!
There are various ‘human tests’ type plugins but I’ve had problems with them not working properly and preventing legitimate users from signing up. Anyone else had issues with those plugins not working properly?
Akismet is a plugin that automatically determines if a post is spam based on certain criteria. That criteria though is set up for a blog, in which users (commenters) act differently than on a forum. Akismet will catch say a very large percentage of your spam (close to 100% of obvious spam), but has a tendancy to mark alot of forum posts as spam when they are not. These false positives generally occur with forum posts that have more than 2 links, are longer than 2 paragraphs, or from someone who has posted too quickly or too often for the algorithm to accept it.
It is really up to you and your particular forum whether you think Akismet is a good fit. I’ve disabled it on quite a few of my forums simply due to the huge number of false positives, and the feeling of hostility that generates from long term posters.
Captcha’s , of any kind, should be avoided if possible. Users hate them, and the data out there suggests that they’ve become fairly redundant in the past year.
Project Honeypot, and equivalent plugins, work well, but again have issues that hit a small percentage of users. If you have a small forum, that small percentage may be every easy to manage. If you have a big forum, its more of an issue.
Moderation is really the best way to beat spam, especially on BBpress. As Grassrootspa stated above, BBpress forums get an huge amount of people/spammers/fake accounts registering but not doing anything. I personally dont allow anyone from “.ru” or “.cn” on my forums, becuase they’re not aimed at that market, and that has cut down on a HUGE amount of my spam (and i apologise to anyone legitimate who has one of those email adresses). My other action is to spend 2 minutes everyday deleting users and their posts. Mass-Delete by _ck_ is a wonderful plugin that shows you the forum’s users ordered by actual useful info , god only knows why this functionality is not in the core, and you’ll find that this will allow you to handle alot of the spam very quickly and before it happens.
After about a month of one of my forums getting a large spurt of spam, i wrote a simple sql script on a page to delete anyone who matches very cimple criteria (12 hours between registering and activating, username included certain words etc). I set that up as a cron job to run every hour and now spam is non-existant.
Basically, if you want a spam free forum, and that forum is going to be a considerable size or easily found on google etc, you will have to think outside of the box and self-moderate regardless of the forum software used.
Spammers suck, they are impossible to stop it seems. Recaptcha seems good but people don’t like typing codes just to post their forum posts. It’s sort of a crap shoot.
@grassrootspa I read that Akismet may not work perfectly as a plugin, so I don’t know what to do.
Awesome info @kevin thanks for all that! I’m using PHPBB and there is no way to manually delete posts, you can only wipe out entire forum content which isn’t good because it’s not usually all spam. Any way around this? Or maybe there is a way to manually delete each post individually, I just wasn’t able to figure that out. Seems like bbPress is much easier to use though.
Akismet can be OK, but every few months it flips out and starts sticking a lot of ham into the spam queue.
After using it for 3 years, I’ve realized that it’s not reliable enough to depend on – especially since it even checks admin and moderator posts! This plugin helps on that front:
I have a separate plugin which stops sending posts to Akismet after they’ve been around for a certain amount of time and certain number of posts…
Between those plugins, that limits the amount of damage (e.g. false positives) that Akismet can do!
In my forum Akismet works good. I have 2 bbPress. Of course my 2 WP have Akismet also, with no problems.
Interesting info @johnhiler wow you’ve been a Akismet user for awhile now. Is there a way to delete individual posts on PHPBB?
so you have no spam at all with Akismet @hpguru? Do you have some good posts that get removed because Akismet thinks they are spam?
I have maybe 1-3 good posts in spam queue / month. And 0-1 spam that Akismet not detect. My forums in Finnish.
I get a lot more than 3 good posts in my spam queues every day… but my forum does 3.5k-5k posts/day, so on a percentage basis I can’t complain. The real problem is when a long-time user gets stuck in spam – they get SO upset! That’s why I wrote some code to let them skip the spam software completely…
@onthebeach96 – Dunno much about phpbb… sorry I can’t be of more help! I used to really struggle with undeleted spam posts, before I installed this batch edit plugin which made life so much easier!
@onthebeach96 I had the same problem as you with phpBB. I was getting bombed every hour by spam. When I installed BBPress I forgot to activate Akismet, and although spam users where registering they didn’t post anything (maybe because the bots weren’t ‘smart’ enough to think that the password was emailed at them). By activating Akismet and reCaptcha plugin no spam users have appeared.
Sounds like I need to use bbPress with Akismet and reCaptcha @mentalicgr. Do you feel you lose posts with the use of reCaptcha though?
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