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Forum Moderators: rogerd
I've been running communities for almost 7 years and I'm currently running phpBB for all of my forums.
Here's basically my problem. I've got a guy who literally re-registers every day for the past 4 months with the sole mission to PM as many people as possible to go to his site. I've even found a way with the word censor to make his URL corrupt, but he found away around that. He has a dynamic IP address, so I can't block the IP. He registers with a different hotmail/yahoo/gmail account every time.
I'm really to the point where I'm considering my options as this is really a headache that won't end. Does anyone know if there is any grounds for harassment legally? Will calling the ISP do anything?
I'm really willing to do whatever to make this end, and that is including paying the darn legal fees.
I'm open to any suggestions or ideas anyone would have...many thanks in advance.
I don't know whether phpBB has this as a built in feature, but I'd be suprised if there wasn't an add-on that allowed this.
I've had some good results, and sometimes no result. The contact is usually on the ISP's website, and is often an "abuse@" address. You might also check the ISP's TOS, which almost certainly prohibits spam of any kind. Quoting that might be helpful, too.
Limiting PMs for new members as bouncybunny suggested is also a good idea.
You could block the use of those free accounts like hotmail, if he goes away you can lift the ban after a few weeks.
There's no simple way out of the box to limit a members abilities because permissions are set by groups and there is no way to auto add someone to a group. What you can do is look up the the auto groups mod on phpbb's site. Set new members with limited permissions, you can then set a threshold for X amount of posts to get into another group with full permissions.
You can do that without the mod but you'll have to manually add the members to the full permission group.
the one I chose was Simple Machines Forum (SMF). It is fast all git-go, and has some powerful administration features, including built-in support for preventing PMs/Posting for some period of time after registering.
I set up my IPB installation so that all new registrants are 'Trial Members' group and their posts are automatically invisible i.e. a moderator has to manually approve it. If their first few posts are genuine, they are made ordinary members.
This 'trial Member' group are not allowed to use the PM system.
Make user profiles invisible to guests/bots and clock with robots.txt also.
Set up advanced captcha
Make post signatures visible to logged in members only.
With all of the above in place... it is impossible for a spammer to spam.
There's a few issues I see with that, firstly if you have a high volume forum its going to be alot of work. Might even present a problem where people might simply not return if they have to wait to see their post.
[edited by: Asia_Expat at 4:55 am (utc) on May 2, 2008]