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What's the False Positive Rate of StopForumSpam?

Discussion in 'XenForo Questions and Support' started by System0, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. System0

    System0 Active Member

    Just like any forum owner, I need to deal with spam. The "Users Awaiting Approval" link at the top of the admin bar is a handy way of seeing how many users are awaiting approval.

    I was checking some of the users who are waiting to be approved. You can tell that some of them are obviously spam as they have weird random generated names that a human wouldn't use.

    Others are not so clear, however I have not been approving them as I assumed that they could still be spammers. My thought was that if they were genuine registrations, the user would email me about the issue.

    Today, one of the people who was in the approval waiting list emailed me and said that they could not log in. It got me thinking that there may be many other people like her and perhaps have just got frustrated and forgot about the forum.

    Does anyone know the false positive rate of StopForumSpam? Is there any tool available in which I can analyse a registration further to see if it is legitimate?

    I am reluctant to switch StopForumSpam off as it could increase spam registrations. Though I do not want legitimate members to get marked as spam registrations either.


  2. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    If the hit is just on the user name, I tend to allow it, after having checked the location via an IP lookup.

    If the email or IP address has positive hits I reject it.
    Temery likes this.
  3. System0

    System0 Active Member

    Thanks Brogan.

    I can see what you mean. For one user it says (username: 10, ip: 255) and for another it says (username: 95). However, for many other users, no reason is given at all. Does this mean that there were no matches and the user simply looks suspicious?
  4. Martok

    Martok Well-Known Member

    I do the same as @Brogan. I recently had one that just hit on username, it was actually something very common. As it was, I knew who it was so let him in.

    I do check every one though. Some are less obvious but what always gives them away are what they put into the custom fields in the registration form - when I see American sports team names in these instead of PlayStation and XBox usernames (and a notice on sign up asks them to choose a username similar/same as their PlayStation name) then I delete immediately. :)
    System0 likes this.
  5. System0

    System0 Active Member

    There is nothing jumping out at me for users that suggests that some are spammers or legitimate.

    Does anyone know why a user is kept waiting for approval if there is no StopForumSpam reason for doing so?
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  6. Liam W

    Liam W Well-Known Member

    That might not be a spammer. Some people use the gmail + feature to use a unique email for every site...

    The main email looks genuine.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2014
  7. System0

    System0 Active Member

    Ahhh. Thanks Liam. I didn't know that was a feature. I have removed the user's email from my post incase it is legitimate.

    I'm wondering if it is worth emailing people directly about the issue. Is it the "awaiting moderation" status that I need to use to email those who are awaiting approval?
  8. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    If no reason is given at all, as in, there's no line that details what was matched with SFS, then they have likely arrived in the queue some other way.

    Do you have Akismet scanning enabled? Or other anti-spam systems like Project HoneyPot or DNSBL? They may also trigger a moderated user.

    If there is no reason given, try the Spam Trigger Log in the Admin CP. If the user is not listed there, are you sure they haven't been set to be manually approved by some other method? e.g. Manually?

    Another thing I always check with any moderated users is if they have modified any of their account information e.g. avatar, signature, profile information. You can check that out really quickly by clicking through to the user and clicking on the Change Log tab.

    I have recently caught more spammers recently via the change log than ANY other method.
  9. System0

    System0 Active Member

    I have Akismet running on my other forums, but not on this site in question. I should probably activate it.

    Manual registration approval is not enabled. There are still other members registering every day and then posting a few minutes later. I only have CAPTCHA and StopForumSpam enabled at this point.

    I checked a few members who are waiting approval and no details were entered other than their username, email, data of birth etc.

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