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Author Topic: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY  (Read 4347 times)

Offline ABoretz

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Hello fellow SMF users!

I've been moderating an SMF forum for several years and now the owners have decided to cease active operation but leave all the accumulated info on the forum online as a Read-Only archive.  Their open message to visitors states: "It [the forum] won't be deleted entirely, but it will become impossible to create new topics or reply to old ones."

I've volunteered to tick off all the necessary settings to disable any future registrations and make all boards on the forum "Read only" and am pretty sure how to make that happen:

Admin> Registration> Settings> Registration Disabled
and
Admin> Permissions> Apply pre-defined profile> Restrictive> tick off "Regular members"> Set permissions

I'd greatly appreciate informed opinions on two issues:  First, will the two processes I've figured out actually "freeze" the forum and Second, what can I do to prevent the Ban Log from filling up while I and all other mods are no longer checking forum status daily?

I've disabled the Error Log, so that's gone dormant (yay!)  But I see that the Ban Log continues to show daily attempts to access the forum.
My concern is that without moderated attention the Ban Log will continually fill up and blow up the forum.

Here's why I think that's happening:  between myself and other 4 or 5 mods that have been around since the inception of this forum we've established about 500 pages of explicit bans (a mix of IPs, emails, and hostnames).   

Question: If I were to delete all those explicit bans would the Ban Log go silent or will the Log continue to register attempts to spam the forum?

Here's the Version Information of SMF I'm working with:

SMF Package  SMF 1.1.20
Sources  1.1.18   
Default Templates  1.1.5   
Language Files  1.1.18   
Current Templates  1.1.12


Thanks very much for reading this far into my post!  :)
~Alex




Offline Bigguy

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2018, 03:04:30 PM »
If you removed all the bans the log would go quiet yes. Those people would continue to hit the forum though and there is no way to stop that I guess. Also, I guess you could change the board permissions on each board to read only. That way you ensure no one is gonna post.

Offline ABoretz

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2018, 03:18:15 PM »
If you removed all the bans the log would go quiet yes. Those people would continue to hit the forum though and there is no way to stop that I guess. Also, I guess you could change the board permissions on each board to read only. That way you ensure no one is gonna post.

I appreciate your reply, Bigguy!  Yeah, it makes sense to me that the only reason the Ban Log keeps registering hits is because of the hard bans we've collected over the years.  I'm going to nix the bans (besides, with no registration and read-only permissions how could any spam attack stick to the Ban Log?!)

And Re: changing board permissions to read only, I saw that option too:  Admin> Permissions> Permission by Board> then select Read only right down the line.  Cool.

Thanks again,
~Alex

Offline Illori

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2018, 03:25:08 PM »
depending on the server setup your forum may stop working in the future. i would recommend upgrading to SMF 2.0 before you lock it down to make sure it does not stop working.

Offline ABoretz

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2018, 03:32:58 PM »
depending on the server setup your forum may stop working in the future. i would recommend upgrading to SMF 2.0 before you lock it down to make sure it does not stop working.

Thank you for your input Illori.

I will forward a link to this thread to the forum owners so they can read your recommendation before I lock down their forum.

~Alex

Edit:   Question:  You wrote, "depending on the server setup your forum may stop working in the future".  Could you elaborate on how their server setup might cause the forum to stop working, please?

« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 04:06:41 PM by ABoretz »

Offline Bigguy

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2018, 04:17:47 PM »
If the php version changes SMF could stop working as certain versions of SMF only work on certain versions of php. (I think I got that right, lol.)

Offline vbgamer45

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2018, 04:18:53 PM »
Bigguy has it right
If your host or someone upgrades your server to a new php version such as PHP 7.0 or higher that would cause SMF 1.1.x to stop working.
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Offline Bigguy

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2018, 04:22:03 PM »
Might be a good mod to make, something called forumfreeze or something for people who wanna shut down their but leave their site up for archive purposes. I don't know. (Just babblin now)

Offline Colin

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2018, 10:18:35 PM »
If the php version changes SMF could stop working as certain versions of SMF only work on certain versions of php. (I think I got that right, lol.)

That would likely be far in the future and you could always find a host to host it for you.
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody is not thinking." - Gen. George S. Patton Jr.

Colin

Offline Bigguy

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2018, 10:23:21 PM »
The version of SMF they are running is EOL is it not. ?? So I would think sooner than later it will stop working.

Offline GL700Wing

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2018, 12:05:05 AM »
Just a question for those in the know - wouldn’t putting - and leaving - the forum into Maintenance mode with the specified visitor message achieve the desired result without the need to change permissions and/or reconfigure the forum?

Offline shawnb61

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2018, 12:09:53 AM »
Don't forget about webserver logs, access logs, and any stats automatically compiled & saved by the host.  Those can accumulate.  If you want to get "REALLY" frozen, you may need a cron job to prune those. 

Once you've gone down that road, you can have a cron job to prune any other logs, e.g., ban logs, etc.   

I have a forum "in stasis" also, it was superseded by our current forum but is kept around for some specific history.  Lots of videos, etc...  Despite my best efforts at ignoring it, standards changing on YouTube, etc., caused most videos to go blank on my read-only forum.  (So I had to upgrade the video embedder mod from the old AEVA to SAVE...)   Things happen, and despite my best efforts to ignore it, it needs occasional TLC. 

Also, I keep it current on SMF patches for security reasons. 

My lesson is that I don't think there is any such thing as a completely ignoreable forum other than a deleted one... 
Address the process rather than the outcome.  Then, the outcome becomes more likely.   - Fripp

Offline ABoretz

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2018, 12:53:26 AM »
Just a question for those in the know - wouldn’t putting - and leaving - the forum into Maintenance mode with the specified visitor message achieve the desired result without the need to change permissions and/or reconfigure the forum?

Hi GL700Wing, That was my first thought also but...

"When maintenance mode is enabled, only administrators have access to the forum. Other users will see the forum header and the main menu, but won't have access to any part of the forum."

The idea is to allow access to the information collected on the forum without having to also do the daily maintenance of erasing spam, banning spammers, and clearing out the Error and Ban Logs again and again and again.   :o

~Alex

Offline ABoretz

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2018, 01:06:14 AM »
...I don't think there is any such thing as a completely ignoreable forum other than a deleted one...

And that's exactly what I'm aiming for, shawnb61, "a completely ignoreable forum".   :/

I truly appreciate all the input I've been reading, friends.  Thanks much!

My current plan is to disable new registrations, make all forum boards Read-only, then delete all 500+ pages of hard bans so the Ban Log (theoretically) won't fill up while I'm not monitoring the forum.

As for PHP modifications that might f*k the sleeping forum in the future... I don't have a plan for that yet.

Will update as soon as the forum's locked down on April 30th and I've emailed the forum owners about what I've learned here.

Again, thanks for all the help!
~Alex

« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 01:48:49 AM by ABoretz »

Offline GigaWatt

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2018, 06:59:07 PM »
"When maintenance mode is enabled, only administrators have access to the forum. Other users will see the forum header and the main menu, but won't have access to any part of the forum."

There is a mod that allows global moderators to enter the forum while it's in maintenance mode. Don't know if it'll work for users though.

Yep, there's a setting in Permissions to allow users and guests to view the forum in maintenance mode ;). Haven't tested it though with other users or guests.
"This is really a generic concept about human thinking - when faced with large tasks we're naturally inclined to try to break them down into a bunch of smaller tasks that together make up the whole."

"A 500 error loosely translates to the webserver saying, "WTF?"..."

Offline Illori

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2018, 07:32:31 PM »
there no permission by default to allow access while in maintenance mode. i am not sure that mod got fixed but i know a few years ago it was broken.

Offline GL700Wing

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2018, 09:58:35 PM »
"When maintenance mode is enabled, only administrators have access to the forum. Other users will see the forum header and the main menu, but won't have access to any part of the forum."
It’s a pity maintenance mode doesn’t work by disabling non-admin login while also allowing browsing.

Offline Kindred

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2018, 12:31:57 AM »
That would sort of defeat the purpose of maintenance mode...
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Offline GL700Wing

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2018, 02:49:13 AM »
That would sort of defeat the purpose of maintenance mode...
Now that I've thought more about it I realise you're right - the forum could at times be unusable due to work that is being undertaken.

Offline GigaWatt

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Re: Seeking informed opinions for best way to freeze a forum COMPLETELY
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2018, 10:19:44 AM »
@Illori: Well, it's working on my forum... at least for the global mods. I haven't tested it with users or guests. I'll try and check if it works for users and/or guests ;).
"This is really a generic concept about human thinking - when faced with large tasks we're naturally inclined to try to break them down into a bunch of smaller tasks that together make up the whole."

"A 500 error loosely translates to the webserver saying, "WTF?"..."