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Moving from a warning system to a control system - PHP, forum spammers

Our railway forum is every-popular - 30,000 visits per month (measured by Google Analytics, so that's pretty close to me saying "30,000 real visitors"), with the average visitor staying long enough to look at between five and six pages.

But, alas, our strong user base also makes us a sort-after target for "forum spammers" - people who sign up to forums to advertise their own products or the product of an organisation for whom they work. The admin team has done a superb job in filtering out these users who we can't accept because they would dilute the real content of the site to the extent that it was useless for its intended purpose, and over time I've added tools to help them pick out what's become the small minority of valid new registrations.

I've now switched from an "AWS" to an "ATC" type system - in other words from a system which warns the admin that a signup is likely to be spammerous to one which actually makes moves to control the spam by automatically blocking repeating offenders. And we'll see how it goes over the upcoming hours, days, weeks and months.

If you're reading this page because you've been directed here when you expected to find the "Coffee Shop" forum, and you're a member or you are interested in what we talk about, please send me an emaill - my email address is absurdly easy for a real user to find, and I'll see if I can sort you out. Quote "34.204.175.38" to help me spot you in our log files. If you're interested in how I do it technically, this is one of the rare occasions that I'm not going to publish the exact details - but I will tell delegates how on our PHP courses, and I'm happy to tell past delegates by email too.
(written 2012-12-07, updated 2012-12-08)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G909 - Well House Consultants - Spam, Spamming and Spammers
  [4520] No cold sales calls please - but delighted to hear from others! - (2015-09-29)
  [4315] Welcoming genuine forum posters quickly - but turning away off topic advertisers - (2014-11-16)
  [4135] Introducing your product to Well House Consultants - single, personally tuned email please - (2013-07-08)
  [3912] Sand to Arabia, Coals to Newcastle or Woodburners to Russia - (2012-11-04)
  [3910] Identifying your real customers and keeping them well informed fast - (2012-11-02)
  [3661] Keeping forum and blog comments clean - (2012-03-19)
  [3506] Cold call contacts - preference services and turning off spam sales approaches - (2011-11-03)
  [3352] World Trade Register - Certainly NOT worth 2985 Euros. - (2011-07-09)
  [3316] Twitter Phishing Trips ... and a great new alert service - (2011-06-04)
  [3190] What do the following web sites have in common? - (2011-03-03)
  [3166] Well house is strong - confirmed? - (2011-02-11)
  [3016] The legal considerations of your web presence - revisited - (2010-10-26)
  [2884] Hotlinked images onto adult material sites - (2010-07-23)
  [2697] Email metrics and filtering - (2010-03-28)
  [2398] Websitemediasolution and a goldfish called Carl Johnson - (2009-09-06)
  [2276] Who is Marc Schneider of Multilingual Search Engine Optimization Inc - (2009-07-10)
  [2179] Offers that I can refuse - (2009-05-12)
  [2177] Preventing forum spam - checks at sign up - (2009-05-12)
  [2019] Baby Caleb and Fortune City in your web logs? - (2009-01-31)
  [1978] From spam to mod_alias - finding resources - (2009-01-05)
  [1817] Marc Schneider is still having email trouble - (2008-09-30)
  [1763] Co-operating to save, yet we dont - (2008-08-21)
  [1532] Comment spam blocked. Please comment via Forums - (2008-02-05)
  [1523] Ive just received an email from myself. Should I be worried? - (2008-01-29)
  [1115] Unexpected visitors to our site - (2007-03-22)
  [1037] Impact Engineering and Backscatter - (2007-01-16)
  [872] Email metrics - (2006-09-20)
  [495] More spam - a success story - (2005-11-13)
  [417] Telephone Preference Service - we're registered - (2005-08-17)
  [347] Frightening and from-friend viruses and spams - (2005-06-14)
  [338] OO techniques are hard to teach - (2005-06-06)
  [276] An apology to Mr Boneparte - (2005-04-11)
  [268] Information request forms, cleaning up spam - (2005-04-05)
  [259] Responding to spam - (2005-03-27)

H306 - PHP - Who is your visitor?
  [3094] Setting your user_agent in PHP - telling back servers who you are - (2010-12-18)
  [2667] Web page to telephone calls / links using an iPhone - (2010-03-08)
  [2380] Object Oriented programming - a practical design example - (2009-08-27)
  [2343] World Flags in your PHP pages - (2009-08-10)
  [2135] What features does this visitors browser support? (PHP) - (2009-04-22)
  [1736] Current visitors from around the world - PHP - (2008-08-04)


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Melksham Spa from Woolmore Farm
Quiet little town? Advanced Technology Centre?
this or self - what are they, and what is the difference? (Python)
Moving from a warning system to a control system - PHP, forum spammers
vargs in Python - how to call a method with unknown number of parameters
Melksham Christmas Lights, 2012
With us for a year already!
Santa Trip - Melksham Railway Development Group, 2012
Building an object based on another object in Perl
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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