How to Rid Your Forum of Spam
Maintaining a healthy, vibrant forum is a chore for those who embark upon such a venture. Whether you are having to worry about keeping a steady flow of incoming traffic, making sure that content is moderated in an effective manner or providing users with uninterrupted access, the various elements that go into running a successful forum community take time and dedication. The last thing a forum administrator wants to worry about is keeping undesirable spam away from their forums, but it is a task that every administrator has to do from time to time. The following tips are helpful to those who are experiencing unwanted spam and need a way to purge their forums of such content.
Perhaps the simplest solution in order to prevent a lone spammer, blocking an IP will prevent any user from returning to the forum and being able to post. Every computer has a unique address, so by blocking the IP you can prevent that computer from accessing the forums (at least when it comes to posting). While this tactic will work well for an individual who is causing mischief, it may not be very beneficial when it comes to blocking an armada of spambots that may be using dozens or even hundreds of unique IPs when pinging servers like yours in order to spread their content.
Registration Form Tweaks
You can throw registration bots and other malicious would-be programs off by altering your registration form at regular intervals. Most forum bot registration programs can only operate knowing what type of information will be needed prior – and in what order. By switching around various input forms or even adding new elements to the form, you can create snags for would-be botters trying to inundate your forum with garbage. While this will not be a permanent solution to keep away the most dedicated spam bots, you will be able to at least temporarily halt their progression.
Another great way to limit the functionality of a bot is by implementing a Captcha code either on the registration form or in the reply and topic functions when posting. Most people use the registration form as the place where a Captcha is implemented, but you can also add one so that every time a human posts, they have to enter a small verification code to prove that they are human. The latter method will all but assure that no bots are able to spam your forum, but may end up frustrating your human posters.
If the spam appears to be coming from one or more particular networks, then using IP range blocks may be effective in culling the infractions. You may want to try pinging servers that appear to be hostile first, however, as they may be university networks or large corporate networks from which many people access your forums. Using a range block can be effective if it is aimed at a botting operation, but may prove to be detrimental in the event your range blocks other people from using your forum.