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ANTI-SPAM MOD: Disable links to fight spam in phpBB3

Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 in site by Ian

Spam poured in after our recent move to a phpBB3 forum. Captchas, registration questions, and other measures only stopped the stupidest scripts and annoyed everyone.

No more of that cat and mouse game, we’re trying something new. We deny spammers what they want: most links are now disabled for new users and guests. This dead-simple simple spam prevention method has stopped 100%* of spam so far, while being transparent to most people.

New users can post and join the party right away, no annoying moderation queues and impossible captchas. Common sites are white-listed, your favorites are probably excluded from the filter. Spambots and human spammers leave confused because they can’t deliver their toxic payload. Limitations are removed automatically for obvious non-spammers.

This method has been so effective that we removed all registration hassles, and enabled guest posting**. We may even go one step further and remove email confirmation.  Enjoy forums like it’s August 1993.

Our anti-spam MOD is a feverish 4am rewrite (thanks GPL!) of the fantastic work done by Philthy, Skinny Vinny, and many others. We hope it will be rolled into a future version of the original phpBB3 MOD. For now, you can read our documentation and install instructions on the wiki.

The picture is an extract from the forum log. An automated purge removes zombie registrations like these every two hours.

*After removing the captcha one really stupid scripted attack that thought it had a spammy signature and posted an ego spam “Nice! Thanks for sharing!”. However, because of the link filter no actual spam was delivered.

**We’ll see how that goes.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 at 8:58 am and is filed under site. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “ANTI-SPAM MOD: Disable links to fight spam in phpBB3”

  1. voidptr says:

    cool !
    if we can kill all those spammers life will be great !

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