Author Topic: How do I deal with this member?  (Read 8677 times)

Offline sundog

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How do I deal with this member?
« on: August 16, 2006, 10:23:48 AM »
SMF Version: SMF 1.0.7
Hi everyone

I have been using the SMF forum software for over a year now and have been very pleased with it. A HUGE thank's to all the developers and others who made it possible!. Like many of you here, I spent a great deal of time lovingly nurturing my forum, growing my member base, advertising, gaining trust and respect and my forum has grown to the point now where it has a very large and dedicated following with lots of content. I mean...I have really poured my heart and soul into this thing and it has become a major success.

Then one day this member (I won't give his name out) joins and for awhile, he is just like any other member (respectful, polite, posts good content, etc). About a month goes by and he suddenly begins saying all kinds of off-the-wall things and attacking my regular members. At first I tried to be nice to him and I gave him at least 4 chances to modify his behavior but in the end, he continued unabated and I was getting complaints from other members about him, always having to lock his threads and he was just being a real troublemaker so ultimately, I banned him.

The next day, I sustained a massive DDOS attack that lasted for several hours. I hardly think this was a "coincidence". Upon doing some investigating, I was able to determine that this guy was from Russia and had been posting under a myriad of different usernames. After I deleted his usernames and dealt with the DDOS attack, everything went back to normal again for several months.

Now it's important that I tell you at this point that for a long time we have had a bunch of regulars on the forum and we all know each other pretty well and only once in awhile does a new member sign up but a few days ago, I suddenly get maybe 10-20 "new members" signing up each day and at that point, I though "gee, this is kind of unusual" but of course, I was happy to get the new traffic. All of these new members posted normally, were polite, seemed legitimate and so I though nothing of it although I still though it was kind of strange how all of a sudden all these new members start showing up.

This went on for days until I must have had over 100 new sign-ups (highly unusual) and it was at this point that I thought to myself "now wait a minute...something really funny is going on here!". So I'm sitting there last night and suddenly I see this guys name pop up in the "Users Online" section at the bottom of the forum and it's the same guy I banned and who I think DOS'd me). Now, I KNOW something funny is going on!. I promply went to ban his account but because of all these different IP's, I figured maybe he was using a list of spoofed IP's or a fake proxy to create numerous accounts so I had no way of knowing which ones were legitimate and which ones were not.

This has really created a dillema for me because all of these new accounts (which may be his own spoofed IP ones) are just sitting there and I'm sure he's hiding among them continuing to play his little games. What should I do?. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am my wits end with this guy and am not sure how to tell which IP's are spoofed and which ones are legitimate.

- Regards, Sun Dog

Offline !Hachi!

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Re: How do I deal with this member?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2006, 11:09:08 AM »
if i got such member on my forum "wish not in next 100 years atleast :P " i will make newbie group really no pms.and no other rights.just to make THAT guy suffer and boring.yeah new member will suffer two but its all for REAL members.and i will ban those ips if i got any littel indication.
                 and most important protect your server by updating your script files.yeah i know no one can gurantee 100 % safety but if we take good care of server we can stop it.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2006, 11:10:49 AM by hassan »
Happy Ramadan

Offline Remaker

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Re: How do I deal with this member?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2006, 11:50:02 AM »
Not much you can do, but the time can fix things...

I'm sure he will get bored of that after a while and will go away...

Offline r'acquel

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Re: How do I deal with this member?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2006, 10:19:18 PM »
Hi Sundog,

> I have really poured my heart and soul into this thing and it has become a major success.

Congratulations! :D It's been the same for me at my end - a labour of love spanning a little over 3 years for me ;).

I used to operate my group via Yahoo groups before making the transfer to SMF. At first i used to let members just drop in without saying anything. After a few months, i established an "introductionnaire" - upon which all new users had to submit details about themselves - who they were, what they liked. Very much like how the SMF team have done over here - a series of questions;

It became a really good way for the regular members to welcome/greet & connect with the newbies on the basis of their interests.

I used to allow a whole week for members to submit details, then with time, i reduced that time-frame to fall within 24hrs of signing up. People who failed to answer the intro within the time frame, were promptly bumped off the list. This separated the chronic lurkers from those who were sincerely interested in joining the group with a spirit of active participation. There was another lurker rule established that people who failed to submit anything within 2 months after the first intro were also bumped off. It'd be a really handy feature if the SMF board could do this automatically, and i haven't been able to find something like this in the admin panel yet. I noticed that WowBB had this membership trimming option, though I'm glad to have gone ahead with SMF as the design of the system was a lot more comprehensive on many other important levels.

Using this method of screening newbies lead to a much smaller member base in the end, however the group has had a participation level of about 75-80% - a very low level of chronic lurkers. There's no profit from a large member base if most of them hardly ever contribute anything at my end, so going for quality over quantity has worked well. My group also organises f2f meet events too - with the publication of details of where people are meeting up. The monitoring & deletion of lurkers has been important to aid with group safety as well.

It's not been safe to allow unknown silent strangers to hang around. We had journalists & students trying to utilise the board for research without gaining permissions at the beginning - very perturbing for an online mothers group that shares a lot of personal information. We had one man trying to parade as a woman. I studied the intro he submitted, spotted language cues to keep an eye out on (e.g. a new mother who has a strong preoccupation with wanting and getting a lot of sex after just having given birth is very odd indeed!)

One of the most confronting questions we have on the list is;

"Do you like the smell of your own farts?"

If any newbie can survive answering that one then they're definitely in! :D

It's been worth making it hard for newbies to get in. The intro system was able to eliminate a great deal of redundant members upfront. With time, we could tell which members would be the lasting kind on the basis of how they wrote their intro ;)

< I figured maybe he was using a list of spoofed IP's or a fake proxy to create numerous accounts so I had no way of knowing which ones were legitimate and which ones were not. >

I don't know how things run where you live, though i know that some internet service providers here tend to frequently change the IP addresses for internet connection, so it's never a static number for some of our users. The SMF system is still able to track who is who with it. My concern is that some members have up to 30+ different IP addresses in their user profiles with the board only being in operation for 3months. I'm worried that list will continue to grow into such a huge chunk of this information living in user profiles across a long period of time time.

Perhaps you can consider turning the registration feature off for a short while to give yourself a bit of headspace until you get to know the position of the sudden large number of newbies that have recently signed up? There's been a fair degree of ruthlessness that I've had to exercise upon spotting rogue members who've attacked productive members of the group. It's never been easy for me to hit the "f-off" button, though i did find that things always got better when such members left the board.

All the best ;)

« Last Edit: August 19, 2006, 11:24:40 PM by aycasmith »