Friday, February 27, 2015

9 Ways to Eliminate Spam in Your Community Forum

Spam is the scourge of the internet and can do significant damage to your community if it is left unchecked. There are two kinds of spammers to worry about: spambots and human spammers. Bots are unintelligent software programs that automate the posting of spam and can usually be easily defeated since they are rigid in their behaviour. Human spammers present a greater challenge since they can bypass the traps that catch bots and can quickly change their behaviour.

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Why would humans be spamming your forum and how can this make money? Most forum spammers aren’t trying to get you to buy something, they are attempting to get higher rankings in search engines by creating lots of links from your pages to their own site.

Here are some suggestions on how to defeat the spammers:

1. Make sure links in your forum are set to ‘nofollow’. This tells search engine crawlers not to follow the links and therfore, SEO spammers will derive no benefit from spamming your forum. (Vanilla’s links are nofollow by default.)

2. Make sure registration includes a CAPTCHA. Captcha’s are those slightly deformed images of words and you see on sign up pages. Captcha’s do a pretty good job of keeping out spam bots.

3. Require email confirmation before allowing someone to post. Bots and humans can get around this but it’s an extra bit of efforts that most real people won’t mind.

4. Enable anti-spam plugins. These plugins can automatically detect suspected spam based on links, IP addresses, email addresses and the comment itself. Keep in mind that these plugins are not 100% effective and do sometimes return false positives.

5. Don’t allow editing of comments after a few minutes have passed. A frequent trick used by spammers is to create a comment that doesn’t look out of place (For example: “This is a great post, very insightful.”) and then will come back after a couple of weeks and edit the comment to include spam links.

6. Get the whole community involved. Ask members to help out moderators and flag spam. In Vanilla, this can be done with the Spam Reaction.

7. Be ruthless. Moderators and admin should review the spam queue on a daily basis, ban spammers and delete all their content.

8. Only allow members that have proven themselves and have a reputation to be allowed to post links. In Vanilla, it’s possible to prevent members with a low Rank from posting links, editing comments, etc. Ranks are earned by accumulating reputation points or making a certain number of posts.

9. Provide information on advertising and partnering opportunities you might offer and make it clear in your community guidelines what is and what is not acceptable promotion. This can help with accidental spammers who are trying to legitimately sell something to your audience.

While spammers are always looking for ways around your defenses, following these suggestions will help to eliminate spam.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Are you a robot? Introducing “No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA”

reCAPTCHA protects the websites you love from spam and abuse. So, when you go online—say, for some last-minute holiday shopping—you won’t be competing with robots and abusive scripts to access sites. For years, we’ve prompted users to confirm they aren’t robots by asking them to read distorted text and type it into a box, like this:

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However, CAPTCHAs aren’t going away just yet. In cases when the risk analysis engine can’t confidently predict whether a user is a human or an abusive agent, it will prompt a CAPTCHA to elicit more cues, increasing the number of security checkpoints to confirm the user is valid.

As most of the time this is sufficient, there are times the bots have gotten clever in providing a “generic” response to entries that are indeed readable, and not just cut-and-pasted quotes or series of random words.

The purpose is to add URL links to backlink to web sites.

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NOTE : I am seeing the text overflow in the Preview sections so far as shown below. It does not affect the posts I make, so I am ignoring it for now. I am not sure where others are seeing this, as I have checked everywhere to see what else is being affected. Perhaps a screenshot or any specifics to exactly where ELSE this is occuring?
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Welcome to the Hackerzinc Blog!!

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It’s been a long time since I used to blog, website had been messed with so I gave it up. Well here’s another attempt on this endeavor. Let’s see how it goes 2nd time around.

NEW Posts can be made in the other Blog, Classifieds, Guestbook, Shoutbox, and Wiki.

Please check out the “other” Blog. Under “Add new article”, No password is needed for new posts, for now. I find it easier to use, actually.

Flatpress Information

This is a sample entry, posted to show you some of the features of FlatPress.

The more tag allows you to create a “jump” between an excerpt and the complete article.

[Read More…]