There’s nothing in the online universe that’s detested quite as bitterly as spam is. It seems to have been around since the very dawn of the internet, destined to frustrate forum administrators and spoil the fun for everyone. Today we’ll go over some tips on how to deal with low-quality users and ‘spambots from infiltrating your forums, and we also have a Hostgator baby plan coupon code to help you get your fledgling site hosted.
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7 Useful Tips to Help Eliminate Spam from Your Forums and Websites
Dealing with these devious little deceivers has presented a challenge to forum administrators that doesn’t seem to have a definite end in sight. There are two major sources of spam. First up are the automated bots that are designed to flood unguarded forums and comment sections with unwanted or irrelevant links. Second, and even more insidious than bots, are the human spammers, who are able to adapt to and bypass many of the measures you might use to trip up bots, which are rigid in their behavior and thus easily foiled.
If you’re running your own forum or thinking about starting one up, then this article is for you. Here we’ll list some of the most effective ways of dealing with spam so that you and your community can enjoy your space without this unwanted interference.
Let’s get right to it.
1. Don’t be afraid of the Ban-Hammer
Moderators and administrators cannot afford to show any mercy when it comes to dealing with spam.There are too many cases of useful forums having to shut down due to being overrun by continuous avalanches of spam, so you’ve got to be ruthless. Spam queues should be monitored regularly, and any spammers identified should have their accounts banned and their entire post histories deleted.
2. Set up a CAPTCHA
Those squiggly letters and numbers you are asked to identify and repeat on sign up pages and some forums are CAPTCHA tools. These are an effective way of keeping out most of the spam bots out there that don’t have the sophistication to solve them.
3. Disallow comment edits after a few minutes
One of the ways clever spammers get around the watchful eyes of administrators is by posting a relevant comment, then coming back after a few weeks to insert their spam link into the comment. Disabling the ability to edit a comment after some minutes have passed should keep these guys out.
4. Establish a ranking system
You could set your forum up so that members are rewarded in a point system based on the number of legitimate posts they make and post quality, perhaps with a voting system where the community indicates their approval of posts. Set it up so that only members with a certain ranking, number of posts, or membership duration are allowed to post links and edit comments.
5. Install anti-spam plugins
There are quite a number of useful anti-spam web services such as Stop Forum Spam you can look up to help minimize your spam prevalence. They work by performing a sort of rudimentary background check on posts and block ones with a suspicious histories, IP addresses, email addresses, links, and the content itself.
6. Make your rules clear
If you have a system of categorizing what is useful information and relevant, useful promotion, make sure the entire community is aware of them. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water.
7. Restrict posting frequency
To avoid bots and malicious users from flooding your forum with their useless bilge, you can restrict the number of posts a user can make in an hour, giving moderators a chance to track and ban them before they overrun your forum and ruin everyone’s experience.
The war against spam isn’t an easy one, but it’s worth the effort. One of the major reasons it’s so difficult to combat this scourge is the fact many forum administrators try and avoid making it too difficult for legitimate users to participate in their forums. It’s a fine line between understandable security for the good of the community and making a forum a downright pain to participate in. It’s for you to figure out the right balance for you and your community.
This is perhaps something you can put up for open discussion with your users. Any measures you take are bound to go down a whole lot easier if the community has a say in things. So then, good luck to you, and keep fighting the good fight!