Forum Spamming

By: Kistina Robin

Forum spamming is the posting of messages that are either rubbish, abusive, a marketing gimmick or useless. Many forums normally set rules against forum spam, as these can be bothersome for other forum visitors and administrators. However, those who often commit this usually do not hold any regard for the rules the forum administrators have set.

In a forum, spamming can happen as often as possible, especially when the forum is left unmediated. It could take place in just a couple of hours, or even minutes and may even bring the forum server to crash. It also can take place in many forms. Forum spam can either be any of the following:

When a user or a forum spammer successively revives more than one thread within a matter of hours. These are threads, which have not been participated into for more than a couple months and have been demoted to the back pages of the forum.
When a user or a forum spammer repeatedly posts the same message in several boards. These messages are normally advertisements in nature, and more often than not, involve pornographic content or website links.
When a user or a forum spammer posts a message that is not related to the topic or does not contribute to the discussion. The message may also be advertisements or promotions.
When a user of a forum spammer simply posts endlessly, just to increase post count and forum ranking. Their posts contribute nothing substantial to the thread and may even be just one-liners or graphics.

For forum administrators, preventing forum spamming is not that very difficult, especially when you already have the measures at your disposal. Forum software's like phpBB, YaBB and SMF have incorporated modifications to their software specifically to combat this problem. These modifications may be installed or set by the administrator to their preference. These modifications are normally very flexible that the controls and use of it may effectively be customized to what the forum needs. Modifications like this can help prevent forum flooding, trolling and forum spam. It can alter posting successions (where the time of last post to the next post is set at a certain interval), image posting (where the administrator can either deactivate it or set a pixel range) or the use of member privileges (like disabling or limiting signature text and avatars).

Additionally, the forum administrator can also double check a forum spammer's identity through his or her IP address, and may act on this accordingly. Banning forum spammers' IP address often does the trick, particularly if the forum spam happens too often and too plenty. Extra measures like moderating new registrants and approving or disapproving their posts, may take up a lot of work. But this is also a very effective way to curb forum spamming.

Also, forum administrators must be wary of bots, crawlers and spiders as they often bring in these forum spammers. There are also special modifications so that these may be prevented. Check with the support group of the kind of software your forum uses as they normally have the fix for these kinds of forum spam.

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