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Gmail ban

PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:10 pm
by RickLewis
We have a serious spambot problem at the moment, meaning that unless I delete them every day much of the forum becomes overrun with spam within a week.

I've noticed that about 95 percent of the spambot signups use email addresses ending either .ru or @gmail.com
Therefore to save the forum from being over-run I've temporarily banned users with email addresses of those two types from signing up.

Obviously this isn't ideal - effectively I've just banned the entire population of Russia and all the millions worldwide who have gmail addresses. Still, it should solve the problem, which otherwise will make the forum unusable. Anyone who has an email address of either of these kinds (.ru or gmail.com) and who wants to sign up on the forum with it, please contact me at rick.lewis (AT) philosophynow.org as I can quite easily exclude your address from the ban.

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:56 pm
by RickLewis
I've temporarily lifted the ban on gmail addresses but will have to restore it again tomorrow due to the number of spambots that are getting in.

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:40 pm
by JamesG
You are getting hit because the boards been targeted as not having any security up.

On my boards and Yahoo groups I have either a Turing Test or they have to write something relevant (like why they want to join) and are manually approved. On a board as low traffic as this one, that will solve 99% of the problem and not take anymore time than you are now having to sweep up the trash...

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:24 pm
by RickLewis
All of what you say is true, but...

The thing is, we used to have a much less interesting design for the forum, and in those days we had an anti-bot question ("What colour is milk?") which new users had to answer on signup. This worked perfectly and reduced successful spambot registrations to a tiny trickle.

Then we redecorated and installed this theme which you see now with a starry background, view of the Earth etc. I really like it but it has a few bugs, one of which is that it fails to display the anti-bot question.

Probably Bora (our webmaster) could find a way to fix this but he's very busy starting his Masters degree and I don't like to bother him this this right now. Therefore for the moment I'm deleting the bots manually.

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:33 pm
by JamesG
But after they've already delivered their "warhead" which in all honestly makes this board seem amateurish and badly run. Both of which, IMHO, are hurting you in attracting legitimate user/readers. You need to get this fixed.

Also the theme is... kind of difficult to use. Dark with light characters is harder to read, and it has this habit of displaying new posts in unreadable black. And I have not found a way to adjust it or set my acct. to the default UBB theme...

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:28 am
by RickLewis
I really like the look of this theme, but sadly I think you are right about its limitations.

I'll have another look at this in a couple of weeks when I have a little more time. In the meantime, I'll set it so that I have to manually approve new signups.

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:34 am
by RickLewis
OK, instead I've changed the theme and re-enabled the anti-bot question, just for a limited period while we think about what best to do....

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:03 pm
by JamesG
Eh, you're right.

I'd forgotten how bland the default theme was. LOL.

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:26 am
by Intranaut
Yeah, not going to lie, I feel considerably less inspired about space.
I understand though Rick, the bots were getting pretty bad.

Re: Gmail ban

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:09 pm
by RickLewis
Bland is the word.

Sorry folks, I just think the new look is too sad, and I'm going to change it back to the starry version now, spambots or no spambots. :(