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2) changed the default activation email message to something more tailored to my site in order to avoid spam filters.
Anyway, now that I've taken preventative action for future users is there any way for me to bulk resend activation emails to all the users who remain inactive on my forum?
As far as doing it with phpbb2 I don't know about out of the box but I'm sure there is a mod. There's one called auto groups, I'd start there.
I've found verizon.net to be problematic for activation emails. AOL can be problematic, too. For an established forum, you may find that members who tire of getting post notifications may flag them as spam instead of cancelling their subscriptions.
Chances are you are still getting caught in spam filters, and a mass remailing might not help much. I'd see if particular ISPs seem to dominate the unactivated list. If you find a few standing out, try to work out any deliverability issues first.
I reckon I'm being caught by end-user spam filters and not ISP filters (there aren't lots of activation emails a day being sent to one provider).
I have newsletter software which allows bulk re-sending of activation email and when using it I changed the boilerplate template to remove common spam words and tailored it for my site and got plenty of activations (even from people who had originally signed up months ago).
Anyway, I'm going to write off those inactive and hope steps 1) and 2) prevent future problems.
Thanks for your advice guys!