XenForo includes a suite of tools designed to prevent, combat, and manage spam.
Spam Management Options
- Log in to the Admin Control Panel.
- Click on Options from the list on the left hand side.
- Select the Spam Management group from the list.
There are several sections on the resulting page which work in conjunction to help keep your site free of unwanted visitors and content.
- The Spam Cleaner can be made available for use on members, based on message count, elapsed days since registering, and the number of Likes that member has received. This is configured via the Spam Cleaner User Criteria option.
To make the Spam Cleaner available at all times, set all three values to 0.For any members who do not meet the criteria, by having a higher message or like count or having been registered for more days than the set limit, the spam cleaner will not be available. It will be necessary to increase the values to make it available for those members.
- The default options control which checkboxes are already selected when running the Spam Cleaner. The checkboxes can be selected or deselected each time it is run, regardless of the settings here.
- The actions to be taken with affected threads and messages include being able to permanently delete them, remove them from public view, and in the case of threads, move them to a specific forum.
- The default email text entered here can also be edited each time the Spam Cleaner is run.
- The IP check will return any matches from other members, for the past number of days specified.
Spam Prevention: Registrations
There are several tools that can be used to prevent spammers from registering. Some of these features are new to XenForo 1.2. These can all be found in the Spam Management options.
- The StopForumSpam database can be checked. This is a collaborative databased used by thousands of forums to prevent known spammers from registering. The integration behavior is tunable based on the confidence of the database result. If you register and request a StopForumSpam API key, you can submit spam information back to StopForumSpam whenever you ban a spammer using the spam cleaner.
- Check one of several DNS block lists. These simply check the IP of the user registering against known spam IPs and takes an action against them.
- Setting a registration timer. This is a weak defense against spam, but it can catch out some automated scripts and prevents them from submitting the forms too quickly. Setting this too high may affect human users.
Spam Prevention: Content
A spammer may manage to bypass the automated registration checks and successfully register. A second line of defence can be added to prevent them from submitting their spam content. These options are found in the Spam Management group and are new to XenForo 1.2.
- Spam phrases can be defined. If any of a user's first few messages matches theses phrases, an action can be taken. For example, some spammers submit messages with "watch film name online". We can match that with "watch * online" and simply block the message.
- For more dynamic content matching, Akismet can be checked. This is a service that uses heuristics to determine if the submitted content is spam. If Akismet thinks the content is spam, you will need to manually approve (or delete) the message.
Spam Prevention: CAPTCHA
There are two CAPTCHA systems available, only one of which can be used at any one time. They work by requiring visitors to enter text strings in the case of ReCAPTCHA, or answering specific questions for the Question & Answer CAPTCHA.
If using the XenForo Question & Answer CAPTCHA system, then you will need to define a set of questions and answers which visitors will have to answer correctly when registering or posting messages, if guest posting is allowed. This can be done by clicking on the Tools tab in the Admin Control Panel and then selecting Question and Answer from the list on the left hand side.
To use the Spam Cleaner, the relevant permission must be enabled. This can be done by way of user group or user permissions, which are explained in detail in the Permissions section.
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.
Clicking any of those links will result in a Spam Cleaner overlay from where you can select the actions to be taken. This can range from a simple IP check, to a permanent ban and removal of all content.
Note that banned users do not automatically show as being banned nor do they have any specific markup applied to their user name or title. Refer to the Discouraging and Banning section for further information.
Restoring Deleted Content
If you wish to restore any deleted content as a result of using the Spam Cleaner, you can do so using the Restore option.
- Select the Applications tab.
- Click on the Spam Cleaner Log icon.
It is not possible to restore content which has been permanently deleted.
Click on the Restore link for the member in question and then the Restore Data and User Status button.
Using The Spam Cleaner
The following video demonstrates the Spam Cleaner in action: