Recent Posts

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Due to the persistence of spammers in recent times, I've changed some of the back end of the forum.

The main change is that new registrations have almost no functionality at all beyond reading the general areas, and being able to post.

But the first post will be subject to moderation before being seen by anyone.

For this purpose, a new thread has been placed in the Bar & Grill area where first posts can be made. I chose that as spammers never use that area.

https://writersanctum.com/index.php?topic=4805.0

For most genuine users, a post there will enable full functionality. But there might be a time lag between posting and approval of up to 12 hours, depending on if the post is made while I'm away from the computer, or asleep. Please be patient.
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So it looks like at some point I might need to cull registrations which never log in. Have to wait and see. That's another question for sometime. Do I cull registrations where no posts have been made, and no-one has logged in beyond a certain time frame? Not essential to answer now, but will become a question since I cant tell a spam registration immediately now and so are not deleting them.

There are 1736 members currently.  Of those, about 950 have never posted a message.

Some may be lurkers, but lurkers tend to log in, especially if they want to read content from areas that require login or membership.

Checking some of those 950 at random show that some of them have not logged in again since they registered.  I'd say if someone registered in 2018 or 2019 and hasn't logged in since registering, they are probably not coming back.  Maybe they are reading without logging in but it seems doubtful.

I know some forums purge after twelve months of inactivity; that is, no posts or logins.  I had that happen twice on another writers' forum.  They purged without notification either.  So it was like you get busy, go back and, poof!, you have no account and have to start over.  That forum is long gone now.

So, probably the best thing would be to set an inactivity period.  A year is okay.  After six months of inactivity, send an eMail--this can probably be automated--saying we miss you and want you back and inviting them to come back.  After a year, send an eMail warning them that due to inactivity their account is subject to deletion, but all they have to do to keep their account is login or send you an eMail.

If there is no response, or the eMail bounces, you can probably purge them.

Of course, before implementing any of that, change the terms of service to warn people that their accounts are subject to deletion after a year of inactivity.
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This sounds like a good idea. I tell you, I don't know what's going on in our world but I had 100 spams in my inbox last week. I never open them. All it takes is one and it's all over. I can't imagine the headache for a forum. Hopefully your solution doesn't become too labor intensive you.

I get some 200 a day on average. Most of which is deleted unseen.

At the moment, the changes seem to be working. New registrations are not able to do anything, not even put their crap into the profile.

So it looks like at some point I might need to cull registrations which never log in. Have to wait and see. That's another question for sometime. Do I cull registrations where no posts have been made, and no-one has logged in beyond a certain time frame? Not essential to answer now, but will become a question since I cant tell a spam registration immediately now and so are not deleting them.
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Charge $1 to join.

Will cut out 99.99% of spam.
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This sounds like a good idea. I tell you, I don't know what's going on in our world but I had 100 spams in my inbox last week. I never open them. All it takes is one and it's all over. I can't imagine the headache for a forum. Hopefully your solution doesn't become too labor intensive you. :ws
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In light of the amount of spam getting through, I've finally looked seriously at a part of the forum which is fairly complex.

And made some changes.

They shouldn't affect most members.

Those affected will be those who haven't made a post yet.

Their ability to do anything except post has been removed. This includes not being able to PM. Their posts will go into immediate moderation. And until that post has been approved, they can't even update their profile.

Once an approved post has been made, they get most functionality again.

Essentially I've redefined the standard registered member as unreliable until proved otherwise.

This will affect genuine members who for whatever reason hasn't posted yet, but their first post should be approved, and then they'll be fine.

Let me know if any functionality has been lost, in case I goofed somewhere.

The changes allow me to scale up functions if any spam still bypasses the new change. In that case, I'll need to scale back on those below 10 posts, but hopefully I won't have to.
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Forum Announcements [Public] / Re: Slamming the door on Spammers.
« Last post by TimothyEllis on November 12, 2021, 02:40:39 AM »
We just moved to the big city and found the local library won't issue cards online unless you prove ID by submitting a verifiable credit card # thru a secure system.  U.S. Copyright Office does the same.  Is that too cumbersome an anti-spammer tool for WS?

Yeah. Takes too long for a start, and those who are not using real names would object. Some very strongly.
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Forum Announcements [Public] / Re: Slamming the door on Spammers.
« Last post by Hopscotch on November 12, 2021, 02:37:46 AM »
We just moved to the big city and found the local library won't issue cards online unless you prove ID by submitting a verifiable credit card # thru a secure system.  U.S. Copyright Office does the same.  Is that too cumbersome an anti-spammer tool for WS? 
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Forum Announcements [Public] / Re: Slamming the door on Spammers.
« Last post by Eric Thomson on November 12, 2021, 12:37:03 AM »
Tim,
I've beaten the spammers by setting "Admin Approval" for new members. The spammers are easy to recognize - their email addies are garbage and when they bother with a domain name, so is that. I literally delete a dozen registrations awaiting approval each day before the spammers can even get to the point of posting. Here's a screenshot of the relevant panel in SMF.

I tried that, but with that turned on, they can't update their registration, so nothing wonky shows. You can only activate them, and then they update and post spam anyway. You can spot some of the email addresses, but not all.

Strange, but I have no problems. Every morning, I go to the members awaiting approval panel and delete the ones with wonky email addies, and after a while, you get to recognize them immediately. If by chance I reject a legitimate registration awaiting approval (hasn't happened since I set admin approval last spring) I figure the individual will contact me via other means. Saved me a lot of grief last summer when over sixty of the fake accounts congregated at the same time and tried to log in for whatever nefarious purposes. I can only imagine the mess that would have ensued.
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Forum Announcements [Public] / Re: Slamming the door on Spammers.
« Last post by TimothyEllis on November 12, 2021, 12:33:01 AM »
Tim,
I've beaten the spammers by setting "Admin Approval" for new members. The spammers are easy to recognize - their email addies are garbage and when they bother with a domain name, so is that. I literally delete a dozen registrations awaiting approval each day before the spammers can even get to the point of posting. Here's a screenshot of the relevant panel in SMF.

I tried that, but with that turned on, they can't update their registration, so nothing wonky shows. You can only activate them, and then they update and post spam anyway. You can spot some of the email addresses, but not all.
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