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XF 1.5 Help! Spammers Have Taken Over My Board

#1
A number of spammer accounts (at least 8) have registered on my forum (www.alemontree.eu) and posted thousands of messages promoting whatever. While I am grateful for the traffic, this is not the sort of traffic I want. (If they post so many, do they really expect any of their ads to be read? It seems self-defeating to me.) They have flooded my database and kept it busy 100% of the time.

I have banned them. What I need to learn to do next is:

(1) Hard-delete all of the content these "users" have posted.

(2) Limit the number of posts per day a new user can post until I can review them (specifically, add them to the new "Reviewed" secondary user group).

(3) Find a way to keep these ******** out of my forum.

I'm using XF 1.5 with the Change Date add-on installed. I do not require an e-mail to be replied to in order to complete registration; I do this to protect users' anonymity.

Any help would be appreciated.

Jennifer
 

Martok

Well-known member
#2
1) Use the spam filter to remove all of their posts. You'll likely need to adjust the spam filter settings in the ACP to make them available to these users seeing they've posted so many messages (plus to alter the setting so the posts are hard deleted instead of soft deleted)

2) Set the Registered user group so that posts are moderated (alter the follow message moderation rules permission to Not Set (No)). Set the number of moderated posts to say 5. Also create a user group promotion so that users with 5 posts are promoted to a user group that no longer is moderated (follow message moderation rules permission to Allow)

3) Ensure you have Bypass Flood Check permission set to Not Set (No) and the flood check time in the ACP is set to 30 seconds. Also Bypass Spam check permission should be set to Not Set (No)
Also ensure you have all possible spam settings in the ACP set up (register for an Akismet key, Project Honeypot key etc) all in Spam Management.
 

rainmotorsports

Well-known member
#4
You can use the spam phrases to get effect.

Depending on your target audience there is a slightly better way of doing it in my opinion but it doesn't work for everyone. We don't bother even using a captcha anymore.

Search for TPU detect spam registrations. It is very tunable. Can block or moderate based on the ISP, country and other things and makes a great extension to the SFS settings in xenforos.

We found all out human generated spam. Yes humans because guess what, they can defeat captcha easily. We're coming from 2 Pakistani and 2 Indian isps. Given that we had about 0 target audience there we blocked this isps. As well as VPS providers that they were routing through to have US IP addresses. All the machine generated spam was not getting through after xenforos added honeypots and the vast majority of it was from China.
 
#5
@ Martok - I have Bypass Flood Check on No and have increased the minimum time to 120 seconds temporarily. I looked at the Spam Filter but all I found was Spam Cleaner Log, Spam Trigger Log, Akismet API Key, Enable CAPTCHA for Guests, Automated Bounced Email Handler, Maximum Messages to Check for Spam, Check DNSBL on Registration, Inappropriate Advertising / Spam (message text to send to a spammer), some templates, and some phrases. Shouldn't there be something that says Remove Spam Messages Now? Or am I looking in the wrong place? I specifically want to remove oodles of already-posted messages from specific users by name.

I'll look at the spam settings keys later.

@ Arty - I changed captcha to question-and-answer. Later I'll look into something more sophisticated.

@ Rainmotorsports - I don't really understand what you said but I'll look into those things.

FWIW, there were NO postings since I banned those users.

Jennifer
 

DroidOne

Well-known member
#6
@ Martok - I have Bypass Flood Check on No and have increased the minimum time to 120 seconds temporarily. I looked at the Spam Filter but all I found was Spam Cleaner Log, Spam Trigger Log, Akismet API Key, Enable CAPTCHA for Guests, Automated Bounced Email Handler, Maximum Messages to Check for Spam, Check DNSBL on Registration, Inappropriate Advertising / Spam (message text to send to a spammer), some templates, and some phrases. Shouldn't there be something that says Remove Spam Messages Now? Or am I looking in the wrong place? I specifically want to remove oodles of already-posted messages from specific users by name.

I'll look at the spam settings keys later.

@ Arty - I changed captcha to question-and-answer. Later I'll look into something more sophisticated.

@ Rainmotorsports - I don't really understand what you said but I'll look into those things.

FWIW, there were NO postings since I banned those users.

Jennifer
People won't get pinged if you add a space between @ and username.

It should be like this: @LT Jennifer

Not like this: @ LT Jennifer
 

Martok

Well-known member
#7
@ Martok - I have Bypass Flood Check on No and have increased the minimum time to 120 seconds temporarily.
As long as it's temporary as it may be a bit excessive for legitimate members (the default 30 seconds is normally fine). The main thing is that it's not disabled.

I looked at the Spam Filter but all I found was Spam Cleaner Log, Spam Trigger Log, Akismet API Key, Enable CAPTCHA for Guests, Automated Bounced Email Handler, Maximum Messages to Check for Spam, Check DNSBL on Registration, Inappropriate Advertising / Spam (message text to send to a spammer), some templates, and some phrases. Shouldn't there be something that says Remove Spam Messages Now? Or am I looking in the wrong place? I specifically want to remove oodles of already-posted messages from specific users by name.
In Spam Management in the ACP you will need to temporarily set the Spam Cleaner User Criteria all to 0, which will make the spam cleaner available on all members. You may also want to change Spam Cleaner Thread Action to Permanently Delete if you want the spam gone forever.

Once you've done this, on the front end just click on an avatar next to a user's post to view the membercard. Hovering over the avatar on that and you'll see the Spam button. Alternatively visit a user's profile page and it's available in the Moderator Tools dropdown.
 
#10
... In Spam Management in the ACP ... .
@Martok -- I know I sound like an awful ditz saying this, but,

I can't find Spam Management. If I do a search for Spam I get the options listed in my post from a few days before. If I search for Spam Management, I get no results at all. (Is it an add-on?)

All the options I see seem to be about preventing future spam from being posted. I want to obliterate past spam.

A friend of mine suggested a SQL DELETE command. But that might be too much of a meat-axe approach.

@ManagerJosh -- I'll look into TPU. That might be the easiest way; a package all set up and configured already.

Jennifer
 

Martok

Well-known member
#13
I can't find Spam Management. If I do a search for Spam I get the options listed in my post from a few days before. If I search for Spam Management, I get no results at all. (Is it an add-on?)
ACP > Options > Spam Management (no, it's not an add-on, it's in the core)

As Brogan says, you need to use the spam cleaner (which he linked you to). In the information linked to, it tells you about setting the Spam Cleaner criteria all to 0 to make it available at all times (which is what I explained in my previous post).
 
#14
(sigh) I finally found Spam Management and can set the following to zero: Maximum Messages to Check for Spam, Maximum Message Count, Maximum Days Since Registration, and Maximum Likes Received. But I can't find a field that says WHO to delete. I'm afraid if I go ahead with these options, my entire board's content will be deleted.

I saw something under Edit Group that says Group ID (preset to spam). Do I have to put these guys in that group first?

I'm not looking for a tool to try to figure out what's spam and what's not. I already know what's spam. I just want to delete ALL content from users that I specifically name.

Jennifer
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#15
But I can't find a field that says WHO to delete. I'm afraid if I go ahead with these options, my entire board's content will be deleted.
The Spam Cleaner is applied to individual users one at a time.
Changing the settings won't affect any content until it is run against a member.

The help page I linked to explains how to run it against a member.
The Spam Cleaner itself can be run from several locations:
  • On a thread or profile post by clicking the Spam link to the right of the time and date.
  • On a member card by clicking the Spam link which overlays the avatar.
  • On a profile page by clicking the Spam link in the Moderator Tools menu.
 
#16
@Brogan I displayed a spam message, clicked on Spam (in blue), and followed the instructions. It took about 20 seconds to process, but all that user's content was still there!

What am I doing wrong?

Jennifer