oddsod - 3:47 pm on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)
On actual forum spam posts, we've seen a pretty sizeable decline, mainly because its so difficult now to get past some filters I've created, along with some anti-spam services; posting is also banned from much of the third world now.
Andem, sorry you're having such problems.
But I don't see why it's such a big issue. Spam on forums is relatively easy to control. OK, I'm going to get some flak for this, but I genuinely feel that it's not a big problem. I run a forum myself (in my profile) which is about a year old now and has near zero or zero spam. Further, the mods have hardly any work to do from one day to the next.
You don't need to ban whole countries, you don't need to have a complex system of filters. You just need to accept a simple truth and deal with it.
I've had extensive discussions about this on my own forum with the likes of people like the Sitepoint admins (a forum much larger than mine which was struggling with spam) and advised them on how to do this. With a few simple steps 99.9% of all forum spam can be eliminated very easily. We did it and that's on a forum about buying/selling websites and making money online - a spam magnet if there ever was one!
The simple truth is one that forum owners are reluctant to accept: If you kill the account of any new poster who makes a fluff post, you'll eliminate most spammers. The problem is that forum owners want to allow fluff but stop spam. It gives them more members, more posts, more threads. But fluff and spam are too closely linked and it's not worth keeping the fluff posters. Further, it's not worth keeping lurkers either. If they've never made a post, delete their butts. No bans, no infractions. That's all little girl stuff.
Since fluff and spam go hand in hand you need to have all kinds of systems in place to try and differentiate one from the other. Systems and filters make life difficult for everyone. Eliminate fluff and spam together!
Here's a simple solution:
1. Tie in with stopforumspam or someone to block known spam IPs from opening accounts.
2. Make clear that all facilities on the forum - from access to editing a profile to signature links to PMs to even posting are privileges and need to be earned (and accounts keep getting moved up the ladder based on account age and number of posts).
3. All new users' posts go into moderation till they've earned the right to post live.
4. Have strict rules about fluff. Anyone with less than x posts has to demonstrate his ability to make quality posts. If not, he's history (I know, I know, most of you admins are squeamish about this. But I have no mercy with low quality posters - kick them out!)
5. Periodically delete every account that has less than x posts. Low quality posters will never acquire enough posts to become regular members. This also eliminates the low post lurkers. Contrary to advice here from people whose opinion I value and who have a lot more experience than I do with forums, I decided to not tolerate lurkers. That's been one of the best decisions I made. Even the ability to subscribe to threads etc., are privileges. You earn them by posting. If you can't/won't contribute you can just bl**dywell browse the forum as a visitor, you don't need to be hogging an account!
For an established forum that already has thousands of members, this can still be done but you need to proceed a bit more carefully. However, the core principles still apply. It doesn't matter how many posts a member has. If they can't make anything except fluff posts, kill the account. I've tested this on a forum I bought that has tens of thousands of members, has been around for several years and has hundreds of thousands of threads.