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Forum Spamming

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#1 RDewick


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 05:12 AM

When a member deliberately covers a page in spam, moderators have the right to question said member. When said member has a username and profile that is deliberately misleading/useless do you feel it is appropriate for moderators to send these types of so called members an email such as:

'during general site maintenance we discovered your account profile is incomplete, to continue using this account you must fill in the user profile correctly or face termination.'

I have one member with several dummy accounts which I'd like to terminate before he does the same again. Is this something that you do often?

#2 tam


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 06:19 AM

You need to have clear rules for your forum that answer your questions :)

For example are members allowed multiple accounts? If not state that in your rules. Then de-activate the duplicates and warn the member.

What, if any, advertising are members allowed to post? If he's broken the rules, remove the post and warn/ban the member.

The key is having a clear set of rules in advance :)

#3 lee.n3o


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 06:44 AM

Exactly as Tam states.... As long as you state in your rules that its up to you if you want to ban/delete or whatever with no notice then thats fine...

#4 cre8pc


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 08:00 AM

"Dummy accounts" are likely autospam and not real people with any intention of paricipating. We routinely disable them here and ban the IP's of those who register every day or several times a month, but never post.

To help prevent forums spam, which is a huge problem, make sure to require email validation and captcha. This doesn't prevent all of it because spamming software works around it but it does help weed out the beginners.

When in doubt on the intent of a new member, do you have the ability to put them on mod approval to post first? We do that too. Many user names and email addresses are on spam ban lists and when we make a match, the new registration is either disabled or put on preview.

All members have to prove they actually value the community they've joined by respecting the rules and acting like guests. Our regular members are so devoted they often spot offenders for us. They took great care of this place :cheers:

As mentioned above, make sure the registration process clearly states there are rules and they are expected to be followed. Bots will never see it, but it backs you up when a real person joins.

#5 Respree


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 08:03 AM

Each forum is run differently and many times, moderators are faced with a subjective call. On rare ocassions, we don't always agree amongst ourself what is and isn't spam. Its really a judgement of intent.

These dummy accounts, also known as sockpuppets, can sometimes serve a legitimate purpose. Perhaps there is a long-term, well-respected member on your forum who doesn't want to embarass themselves by asking what he/she feels is a 'dumb' question. They may decide to set up this alternate account and post anonomously. We don't have a problem with that here.

Other times, these accounts are set up for the exclusive purpose of spamming, as you suspect in your case. One member poses what appears to be legitimate question, "Hey all, what do you think of this product/service XYZ." The sockpuppet will response, "Yeah, I've used it and think its great. Check it out at www.bitemyspam.com." Typically, its very obvious to see what they're doing and both accounts are banned (provided the moderators can spot it). It also depends on the forum's collective tolerance for spam. Some forums will just let it go. Others will not.

As for e-mailing the member, I'm of the opinion that the answer to that really depends on your forums policies (as the others have mentioned) and volume of occurrences. As for the moderators here, we can't stand spam in any of its ugliest forms and if someone spams our forums, we are quick to revoke membership privileges without any warning or notification.

If its the judgement of the moderation team that the spam is an innocent infraction, we'll warn the member privately and politely, reminding them of our rules. If it happens again, our next duty is pretty clear.

But as I say, you should you run your forum as you see fit.

Hope this helps.

#6 RDewick


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 09:00 AM

Thanks for the help, maybe I'm being too kind in giving out a warning as the username and email address in question is real rubbish and when I say spam I mean:


all over the page. I have email validation set up and could put new members on moderation approval which I'll consider in future but in this case I think I'll just ban them. On a previous topic on this forum it was mentioned to keep track of members rather than ban them and then see them appear again somewhere else so felt this was the first approach I would take.

Thanks again.

#7 Jozian


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 09:24 AM

maybe I'm being too kind

I think you are. If it quacks like a duck...


#8 Respree


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 11:27 AM

I think how you choose to handle these types of situations should be a balance between the resources you have available and your own internal policies. You 'could' monitor people, but in doing so, it also places an unwanted burden on site administration -- time needlessly wasted and probably better spent elsewhere.

If the intent is clear, then so becomes the action you should take.

You should not feel guilty about banning spammers, nor extend them the courtesy of communicating with them any further (anyway, that's the way I feel about it).

#9 RDewick


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Posted 31 May 2007 - 01:41 PM

I think you are. If it quacks like a duck...


I got my good mate Dick Cheney to pull out his 28-gauge shooter, just waiting for the hound to bring it in! :)

Edited by RDewick, 31 May 2007 - 01:42 PM.

#10 DianeV


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Posted 01 June 2007 - 09:49 PM

Richard, if those are the types of spam posts you're getting, then I'd bet those members are not even real people — they're likely just bots spamming forums and blogs alike.

#11 john928


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Posted 22 June 2007 - 05:25 AM

Yep, you need a clear set of rules and make sure they are located in a good place on your forums. You will be shocked how many people say things like "my signature doesn't work, please help" when infact it has the rules exactly next to the place where you input the signature.

I had that happen to me a few days back. Same with the rules. I had them shown in the main navigation menu and someone didn't even see them. I think people sometimes can't seem to find stuff.

I'm not really saying it's their fault or anything as I am the same when it comes to looking for small links sometimes. lol

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