Masses Of Spam Memberships & Reviews
Efiction Version: 3.5.3
Could I please get some help and advise? My website is being hammered by hundreds of spam reviews and memberships (It could be thousands of reviews. I am still trying to determine the damage) and they’re coming back daily.
I had a bad car accident in 2016 and went on hiatus to recover. My mod quickly became overwhelmed with all of the complaints from Authors who are receiving nothing in reviews but advertisements, some porn for the last 2 years.
I’ve been going through the logs and it’s really bad. People are not coming to my site anymore or posting Fanfics due to the spamming and I’m at my wits end. I have been going through more than 9,000 members and at least half are spam accounts. I’m having to go one by one and lock the accounts and ban IP addresses, but they’re still coming. I also turned off annonymous reviews but the spammers just created proper accounts. I can’t keep ahead of it.
I’m not very skilled with coding and I’ve seen that something can be added for reviewers to verify with pictures, but I’m not sure what pages to add the coding into.
I was really hoping that there would be a way for Admins to verify memberships and check reviews before they go to Authors, but I can’t find anything. Is there a way to do this?
I’d appreciate any help at all.
I had exactly the same problem with my site.
Eventually, I implemented a "challenge" question for all registrations (memberships) and it has cut down the spammers to basically zero. As most of our authors only receive logged in comments, it's worked well. Bliss!
Here's the details of how to add a challenge question (tip: BACK UP any files before you edit them in case of disaster).
In my case, I made the question easy enough so that a fan of the show would know it, but cryptic enough so a bot wouldn't (as an example, on my Wordpress blog, bots have learned to do math and bypass the math problem challenge to leave comments).
There's also a post in here somewhere where someone shows how to add an email alert when someone registers (I haven't received any for spam ages but it keeps an eye on how things are ticking over).
I also went through and deleted all the spam comments and then the spam users (I'm pretty sure there's directions for those here too). I'll see if I can find the posts.
One quick change I would make while you sort out changing the coding is go to Admin > Settings > User Settings and for Password at Registration select "Randomly Generated". This makes it so new users are sent a password to the email they enter rather than choosing a PW they can use to immediately log in. I had the same issues when I took over my archive and this seemed to at least slow down the spam reviews.
But yes, the spam test question has been a god send, feel free to ask me if you have any issues with it!
Hi Princess Destiny,
I would recommend installing the following in addition to changing the password to Randomly Generated:
Big shoutout to HPFanFicArchive.Com for creating these - they've been invaluable.
I still get spam accounts signing up, but since they can't log in without the randomly generated password... well, they're not leaving any reviews. Then I just go through once every week or so and clean the bad users out.