Whilst certain blocks are currently in place it's evident from the first fews days of activity on the forum that spambots are getting through. These can be an extreme nuisance if left unchecked. Suggestions so far to improve forum security have been:
-Require e-mail verification for all new forum accounts
-Use a harder to crack distortion text picture
-Human checking of all new account requests
-"I'm a spambot" checkbox to be unticked when registering
-Non-standard question when registering, such as "Spell ADOM backwards"
-Filtering of certain keywords used by spambots (xxx, porn, goatse, etc)
-Filtering of messages containing more than 5 links
(the last two could be disabled for members who already have say over 20 messages, and who want to post lots of links and talk about goatse as part of regular ADOM discussion)
[-Require e-mail verification for all new forum accounts]
This will only work if it is the site admin who does the verification. User's activating via email is proven NOT to work.
[-Use a harder to crack distortion text picture (or is this feature simply not working correctly?)]
Kinda depends. If we take it to the extreme, some people (colorblind, like myself, not to look too far) will be unable to read them.
[-"I'm not a spambot" checkbox when registering]
Some Bots have learned to check boxes. Believe i or not. The trick is to leave the box checked: I am a spambot (-:
Automatic e-mail verification can work if done correctly - being told to remove certain characters from a link for instance. Or being given two links, but being told to only click the second - if the first link is activated the account is immediately disabled. I'm sure there are other inventive methods out there by people more involved in this than I.
Obviously, distortion text, which this forum is using IIRC, is hard to crack, but it has already been cracked by someone, and spambots happily use the crack on any forum they find. Even asking a very easy non-standard question should work, like "Which one is older, ADOM or JADE?". A bot can't answer such a question if it has never seen it before (unless it asks for human help).
(Note that I *think* it would work, and it works on my small site, but I am not completely sure. Maybe these bots are able to ask humans, and/or have very good AI.)
It's important to add some feature that isn't already in other boards - bot writers are lazy. If you add even a small layer of protection that doesn't exist, then the bots will leave you alone because they aren't able to learn that specific feature. So just add a thing like "Which of the following words is bold:", because it's new, and it's easily extensible if it actually does get cracked (but who would bother cracking this forum when there's other, more vulnerable forums out there)?
Even though the automatons are gone, I would like to comment that the options of using a harder to crack distortion text picture is not a good idea. When I signed up for the forums, it took me three tries at guessing wtf the letters meant to create my account. Stopping bots is dandy but stopping humans kind of sucks balls. You're all just lucky I liked silfir's guide site I found via google enough to endure the guessing game.
I used to work a bit on spam bot protection, whether it is for protecting the email disclosure or the spam in the website itself. I then, started a stupid website called http://fuckthespam.com where I will gather some spam (the funny one) but also listing some anti-spam techniques :)
I am really really frustrated. The current amount of Spambots is overwhelming and I lack the time to continuously monitor the forums. I already spent hours this evening killing spambots and I will need some more hours.
For now I have deactiated automated user adding but I know that this will cause new problems as I lack the time to continuously moderate new user requests.
Are there any folks interested in taking up a moderator hat and getting some responsible positions allowing to ban users, prune threads, etc.? If so I will see if I can set that up since I right now see no way of continuing like this. But I also do not want to give up the forums :-(
Couple of suggestions that anyway playing ADOM should be able to answer:
Name a class in ADOM beginning with 'E'.
What race in ADOM is similar to halflings?
Which stat in ADOM starts with 'P' and affects your sight range?
Just thought I would say, this has to be the least newbie friendly suggestion I have ever seen :) I mean, what sort of percentage of our legitimate first-time posters come to the forums in need of advice relating to improving the perception of hurthling elementalists, that oh so popular noob r/c combo?