Reducing SPAM Posts, But Minimizing False Positives


  • Community Rep

    So, kind of a question about what others are doing. What plugins, settings, and procedures are people doing to reduce potential spam on their NodeBB communities? In the past, the spam rate for us was very low and not a big deal. Now we are under constant spamming and have to delete easily a dozen spam users per day. I know nothing will reduce it to zero, but there is some low hanging fruit that seems like we could discourage.

    For us, the big bulk of the spam is automatically created accounts, posting once, without any attempt to look legitimate with nothing but straight links or nearly so going to things totally unrelated to the community (often, plumbing or carpet cleaning services in a different country than the community is based in!) Very odd. Our site's URL is in Europe, our host is in NYC, and the spam always targets Dallas or India! So weird.

    Anyway, right now we aren't using any plugins to combat this. We just have moderators who nuke any blatant spam accounts instantly, and who delete spam posts when there is some potential of the person being "real". And we keep up, but there are so many created during the night (US time) that when people start posting in the morning, they tend to see the posts before the mods can eliminate them.

    I don't want to go overboard on spam filtering, but would like to make it more difficult for the obviously automated garbage to slow down or stop. The human-backed, or really complex stuff is going to just require humans to filter out for now. Is there a good Captcha option that people like? I'm assuming that "at registration" is where we want to stop people. I know we are talking about how to modify the "About Me" stuff to make that less attractive to spammers, too.

    What are others doing? What do you suggest? What hasn't worked? Thanks.


  • Global Moderator

    What is your current setup?

    Here the post queue is used for all new users. I think the spam-be-gone plugin provides a captcha as well.



  • @scottalanmiller we have turned "post queue" on for this purpose.

    Settings > Post > New User Restrictions

    we have set the reputation threshold to 1 , so when a real person joins in we can just give him one upvote and he should be cleared. If not, then we either block or delete them.

    I have requested from @baris to add post queue option only for the first post of new users, I believe he already added to the next version. So, wait for it 🙂

    Additionally, we have Spam-Be-Gone plugin and using actively Re-Captcha by Google at the registration. This might also help to you.

    We also have "StopForumSpam" and "Honeypot" keys in Spam-Be-Gone plugin... but I cannot tell 100% if they are acting or not...

    Good luck!



  • I did the following and have very little spam issues:

    • Use all elements the "Spam Be Gone" plugin offers: Askimet post check, Honeypot registration, Re-Captcha (v2) for registration, Stopformspam post check. All at default settings at the moment
    • Disabled "About me" and "Signature" profile elements as the "Spam Be Gone" plugin does not check these
    • Beep plugin to censor prohibited words on legitimate posts / topics

    So far I have not had to use the post or registration queue. Not popular enough yet I guess, so the "Spam Be Gone" plugin suffices for now. I am very grateful for the anti spam tool-suite, which do work great. I know for a fact we would be riddled with spam without it.


  • Community Rep

    @PitaJ said in Reducing SPAM Posts, But Minimizing False Positives:

    What is your current setup?

    Here the post queue is used for all new users. I think the spam-be-gone plugin provides a captcha as well.

    We have SBG but are not using many features. Have been hesitant to be too heavy handed, but with our influx of spam, I have to start turning this up. We are doing a re-branding, however, and SBG breaks on the new domain and requires people to use our primary, which is a problem right now.


  • Community Rep

    @crazycells said in Reducing SPAM Posts, But Minimizing False Positives:

    @scottalanmiller we have turned "post queue" on for this purpose.

    Settings > Post > New User Restrictions

    we have set the reputation threshold to 1 , so when a real person joins in we can just give him one upvote and he should be cleared. If not, then we either block or delete them.

    I have requested from @baris to add post queue option only for the first post of new users, I believe he already added to the next version. So, wait for it 🙂

    Additionally, we have Spam-Be-Gone plugin and using actively Re-Captcha by Google at the registration. This might also help to you.

    We also have "StopForumSpam" and "Honeypot" keys in Spam-Be-Gone plugin... but I cannot tell 100% if they are acting or not...

    Good luck!

    I like this idea, but because of the style forum that we are (technical peer review, which often means help in an emergency) we are very hesitant to add any form of delay as that could cause new members to turn away. My current stance is while spam sucks, losing new members sucks more. We clean up the spam very quickly and leave no trace, so the long term ramifications are pretty small.


  • Community Rep

    @Cookie said in Reducing SPAM Posts, But Minimizing False Positives:

    Disabled "About me" and "Signature" profile elements as the "Spam Be Gone" plugin does not check these

    This, I feel, will help us a lot. We have a lot of bots using this vector and really see essentially no legitimate usage of it.


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