All of us who have ever managed community forums have experienced spammers who come to our communities, create an account, litter up our forums with spam, then leave. We are left to clean up the mess. With YetAnotherForum.NET and improved Sueetie "Kill User" processes, it’s easy to keep your forums on-topic and pristine.
Let’s walk through a typical hit-and-run scenario of a spammer. “Temp Dude” is going to visit our community around 3:00 AM EST from somewhere in the world where it’s still Prime Time for spamming and drop a couple of posts about horses. We need to do two things, clean up the mess and shut this guy down.
Fortunately, since we’re using YetAnotherForum.NET, we’ve got everything under control. We’ll Kill the bastard with YAF’s “Kill User” feature shown below. Using Kill User we can delete Temp Dude’s horse posts and optionally ban the IP with a single click.
The are a couple of problems in banning an IP. First, since we’re using Sueetie for front line authentication, we want to block access to the site, not forums only. We can block a user’s IP in Sueetie User Administration if we wanted to go that route. But another issue with banning an IP is that we’re banning a range of IPs. Banning a single IP is often not effective and banning a range is overkill, so we want to use IP Banning as a last resort.
Okay, we killed Temp Dude and our forums are now back to pristine content condition.
Spam Residue Outside of Forums
We killed Temp Dude and his forum posts, but we have another problem. His spam was added to Sueetie Data Core and appears in the Activity Stream as well as the search index.
This is where the new updates for Sueetie v4.1 come to play. In the past, when you killed a user in YetAnotherForum.NET you had to go into Sueetie Membership Administration to mark the user inactive. (When marking a user as inactive, thus preventing them from logging in, both the Active and Approved checkboxes should be cleared.)
We also have an Activity Stream Management tool in Sueetie Administration to remove items from the stream quickly.
We can re-index the site search database with a single click, so that’s not an issue either. The problem is that when we kill a user we want those things done for us. In Sueetie v4.1 they will be! When you kill a user in YAF, any trace of them will be removed from the activity stream and search index, and their account will be marked as Inactive and Not-Approved.
Preventing Spammer Logins
The Login form has also been updated to discourage the spammer from attempting to return to crap in our house. When a valid user attempts to login and enters the wrong username or password, they see links and information to help them as shown below.
When a blocked user attempts to login, whether they enter the correct account information or not, they are presented with a different message saying that the account requires reactivation and they can use the contact form to request it. Because Sueetie can be configured to require email validation, as is the case at Sueetie.com, Temp Dude must create an account with another valid email address. For Sueetie sites configured for automatic account creation, the more effective blocking approach would be using IP Banning, which is what we would employ if Temp Dude persists with multiple email addresses. In that case, when we killed the user and purged his content on the site we would go into Sueetie Membership Administration and ban his IP.
So whether you want to create user accounts or kill them, Sueetie has you covered!