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amner 12th Aug 2011 10:57

Barbarians at the Gates
We are under constant attack by spammers and bots and assorted cyber pillocks. We have had more reported posts (thank you all) in the past few weeks than I care to remember.

Is it time to pull up the drawbridge and accept no more membership requests?

amner 12th Aug 2011 11:58

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
Five of the little fuckers since I posted the above.

gil 12th Aug 2011 12:37

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
Well, I've just attempted a registration, and it was quite easy to become a member. Anyone planning spam would find it simple. There are more stringent options on registration we could take, aren't there?

jeremiah 12th Aug 2011 12:40

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
This is me as Jeremiah. Too easy. You may delete jeremiah now.

amner 12th Aug 2011 12:53

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
I guess. Stewart is our man, really, but he's a busy lad. I know NOTHING about it, gil, except that I am fed up deleting the little shits.

gil 12th Aug 2011 14:11

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
Had a look at the vBulletin manual:

You can have lots of "human verification questions" which make spambots a little harder to use. If we make all our HVQs as bookish questions, then a spammer might find them hard to answer, unless they are a book reader. Some spam bots can even answer simple arithmetic questions and the kind of question I was asked as jeremiah (which I now forget, but was trivial). Sometimes a human spammer answers a number of HVQs and passes the answer to a spambot, so the more HVQs we have, the better.

There is also a Moderate New Members option. Don't know how it works, but I'm not sure how effective it would be.

David 12th Aug 2011 14:38

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
I do modding and admin on another forum (although admittedly we only have 116 members, all from roughly the same profession) and the simplest way I've found of making sure spammers aren't posting about their latest male enhancement products is just to approve membership requests rather than them being automatic, which I suspect is what gil is referring to. Only takes a few minutes every few days - genuine email addresses and user names are very easy to spot, any you're uncertain about you can do a quick google search of to see if they're spambots, all the others (the .ru addresses with loads of numbers and random letters in them) you can just delete without a second thought.

Actually, we haven't had any spammers at all in more than a year since (due to the sensitive nature of some discussions) I made it so that none of the forum's content is cached or searchable by Google. In effect the board is invisible, though that wouldn't work for Palimpsest I know as it becomes almost impossible for new people to find you unless they have been invited.

KevinfromCanada 12th Aug 2011 17:52

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
Once this particular issue has been solved (David's suggestion seems to offer the most time-effective solution), I wonder if the administrator's could open another broader discussion about Palimpsest. It seems to me that the Twitter world has overtaken some aspects of what Palimpsest was about (and I am a relatively new member, so dismiss that observation if it is wrong).

What seems to have suffered as well, however, is a lack of posts (of more than 140 words, let alone characters) around the kind of themes and archived information that this site can provide. I have posted few copies of my reviews (acknowledging that books and authors are my main interest), even fewer of the DVD series that I watch.

I may be completely on the wrong track, but it seems to me there is real value in "re-focusing" the site (sorry, that sounds like a re-branding exercise but grant me some licence) so that its considerable strengths are brought more to the fore.

Only a thought, and dismiss at will if you will.

Stewart 16th Aug 2011 12:12

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
We could sign up to RECAPTCHA, if someone wants to do that, get the private key, and then change the Human Verification options in the Admin Panel.

Stewart 16th Aug 2011 13:52

Re: Barbarians at the Gates
Would also be nice if Wavid reappeared, upgraded the forum to the latest version, and bought an Akismet subscription to capture spam before it gets posted.

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