Customizing SMF > Building Your Community and other Forum Advice

A Guide to Combating Spam on a Simple Machines Forum

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Thanks for the article.
I always preferred the question type mod that rotated through several questions.

Thanks Shawn for taking the time to write an in depth article.
This reply is for info share only.
Seems there are differences in effectiveness between SMF's V2.0.x Anti-Span Verification Questions and the SMF MOD Anti-Spam Verification Questions for SMF 1.1.7 found at

Background: My club's SMF forum was under increasing foreign registration attack since March 11.  IP Bans failed to stop the registrations and BotScout helped slow the flow but did not halt the attacks.  Finally in August 2011 I installed SMF MOD Anti-Spam Verification Questions for SMF 1.1.7 with three questions.  How many sides to a triangle, How many sides to a square, What is the sum of 3+4.  I had peace at last.  Implementing that mod stopped all foreign registration attempts.

Fast forward to today.  I upgraded  the club SMF forum from version 1.1.15 with the Anti-Spam Verification Mod listed described above, to SMF version 2.0.2
I implemented the same three questions with the built in anti-spam verification features of SMF V2.0.2.
Within the first 12 hours under this configuration, there were sixteen successful registration attempts. 
All User Registrations require Admin Approval, so I get to delete these Foreign Registrations.  No impact to our members.
I just find it peculiar that the Anti-Spam MOD used in SMF V1.1.15 was 100% successful but the same verification functionality using the same questions in SMF V2.0.2 has a crack in the armor.   
Just wanted to share my experience.

Not really surprising, though.

If you use questions that are obvious when put in a search engine (and sufficiently generic you'll get consistent answers out of a search engine), it becomes trivial to automate... Especially when you realise that the markup in 2.0 is now consistent.

But the same markup area is different in 1.1.x with the questions, meaning that bots wouldn't necessarily pick it up while they would in 2.0 - to them it might be seen as a customised 1.1.x that they don't know how to beat automatically.

Or, alternatively it could just be coincidence... Just because you did the upgrade, there is no direct evidence to show a correlation in spam changes (though I think that in this case it is more likely not to be a coincidence)

I'll admit when I'm an idiot. 
"I swear officer, I only had a little to drink tonight!" 
Must be an age thing kicking in... I swear that that I tested the registration with validation questions, but when I investigated today, no anti-spam measures invoked.
Finding the errors in my ways, I checked the box for "Require verification on registration page " and I'm using two questions with answers that are specific to the club.
Then I went back and tested to confirm.  Yep... it's there.
Will check over the next 24 hours to see if the anti-spam measures keep foreign registration bots at bay.
If no news from me... then we'll all know that I had a brain fart.

I have a really dumb question - how exactly do you install the third-party verification Stop Forum Spam? I downloaded the file SFS_StopForumSpam.1.0.tar.gz, but I'm not sure where to put it to activate it.

Thanks for the guide!


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