Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Forum news

White flag smileyIn some respects, I feel the need to say “Sorry” since I have been fiddling with the Forum, but only placing brief notes in the ‘News’ scroller at the head of the page, but it’s been unavoidable.

Having taken advantage of the break over Christmas and the New Year – when those using the Forum should really have been busy elsewhere (unless they really did want to be thrown out with the dog) – I started to clear out some of the rubbish that had appeared, although some had disappeared naturally.

I had stopped the incessant arrival of spammers by disabling automatic registration, so was able to see and remove those that had sneaked in earlier – without the hassle of new ones taking their place. We are fortunate to have a mod added to the Forum code which allows the excellent Stop Forum Spam API to be used, which has almost completely cured the problem that appeared towards the middle of the year, when the spammers were able to break all captcha barriers by employing humans to read the obscured text presented, and return the plain text needed to satisfy the challenge. Lining up against a wall would be too good for them, and that INCLUDES the dupes that get paid a few pennies for each captcha they defeat.

Although still irritating (since these spammers still have to be deleted as they are unwanted ‘members’ of the Forum), since they never pass the validation procedure, then never get to post their rubbish, which is either direct advertising  (and people wonder why I despise advertising), or just nonsense. The latter suggest spammers trying to find active hosts to attack with viruses, and create zombienets with, or even just to harvest and sell.

The logs show we would have had about 500 new member over the past 24 hours or so… had they been able to register and not been blocked by Stop Forum Spam.

As it was, only five of these attempts got as far as registering their details, but could not get into the Forum as their accounts have to be validated first.

Their user names, email addresses, and IP addresses all get forwarded to Stop Forum Spam, where they are added to the existing database – currently containing some 41,543,908 spammer’s details, and growing by the second.

The logs will be checked for another day or so, to see if the attack rate is consistent, and if so, registration can be left on. 5 or so a day I can handle… 500 is another story altogether, and makes me really short-tempered and cranky!

(The second day’s worth of bot logging showed slightly fewer attacks, only about 400, with only one of these being an unknown that was able to register, so normal automated registration – with Admin verification – seems to be quiet enough to be left operating.)

Members who have registered and never posted or returned for years have been cleared out together with the spammers.

Those who have registered and only ever made one post over the years will be checked, as quite a few of these have not actually contributed to the threads, and we’ll now take the opportunity to lose these as well, since they are pointless.

Reading and never posting is absolutely fine, and joining is only required in order to post, which is the norm just about everywhere.

A number of posts have been noted where hosted images have been removed, rendering the posts meaningless since the comments they include have nothing to refer to. So, in future, any posts which are based on images that have been removed will also be deleted when noticed, since they are also pointless.

For the foreseeable future, the Forum will operate largely as an annexe to the main site ie The Wiki, basically because that means fewer distractions from off-topic and unrelated content, which may mean more and better content and input to the core functions and reasons for SeSco’s existence.

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January 11, 2013 - Posted by | Site News |

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