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XF 1.5 Help! Spammers Have Taken Over My Board

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Problems' started by LT Jennifer, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. LT Jennifer

    LT Jennifer Member

    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.

  2. Martok

    Martok Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. Arty

    Arty Well-Known Member

    Try changing captcha. You are using recaptcha that is very insecure.
  4. rainmotorsports

    rainmotorsports Well-Known Member

    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.
    Infopro likes this.
  5. LT Jennifer

    LT Jennifer Member

    @ 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.

  6. DroidOne

    DroidOne Well-Known Member

    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
  7. Martok

    Martok Well-Known Member

    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.

    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.
  8. ManagerJosh

    ManagerJosh Well-Known Member

    Infopro and DroidOne like this.
  9. LT Jennifer

    LT Jennifer Member

    Why would I want to be pinged?

  10. LT Jennifer

    LT Jennifer Member

    @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.

  11. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Don't ever do that - it will result in database corruption, orphaned records, etc.

    If you want to remove existing spam, use the Spam Cleaner.

  12. DroidOne

    DroidOne Well-Known Member

    I have absolutely no idea? But maybe you'd like to ping the people you @mention, so that they're aware that they were mentioned? Or maybe not? Just trying to be helpful :) Do exactly as you please.
  13. Martok

    Martok Well-Known Member

    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. LT Jennifer

    LT Jennifer Member

    (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.

  15. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  16. LT Jennifer

    LT Jennifer Member

    @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?

  17. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Did you check the various options to delete the content?
  18. LT Jennifer

    LT Jennifer Member

    @Brogan Under Spam Management, Move / delete spammer's threads, Delete spammer's messages, Delete conversations by spammers, and Permanantly delete are all selected.

  19. LT Jennifer

    LT Jennifer Member

    @Brogan It seems there should be a way to permanently delete all content by a particular user, without having to say it's spam.


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