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Spam @ Elgg Sites

Started by DhrupDeScoop 1534 days ago Replies (97)

How do we handle spam users/ content on elgg-based web sites ?


  • rjcalifornia 1534 days ago

    well, so far we haven't experienced that, however, we have moderators who keep an eye on the users of milocker....


  • Ron Wallace 1534 days ago

    We have experienced it. On a site we have not even opened to the public yet. A number of folks have left porn. We will moderate, but when users build porn blogs and whatever it's time-consuming to have to delete it all. And the users can only be banned, not deleted, which leaves a bunch of messy pics and files.

    So rjcalifornia, how do you keep bad guys out of your site. And what do your moderators do with the user profiles and activitey when you ban them?

    Do you admin approve groups. Or allow anyone to set up groups as they wish?

    Do you admin approve all uers when they sign up, or can anyone signup whenever they please?


  • DhrupDeScoop 1534 days ago

    "not even opened to the public yet. A number of folks have left porn."

    *** we are same --> closed site, still see spam and porn ;-(


    And the users can only be banned, not deleted, which leaves a bunch of messy pics and files.

    *** we're working on this code =  "banned user" --> they and their content becomes *invisible*


    Do you admin approve all uers when they sign up, or can anyone signup whenever they please?

    *** for us --> anyone can sign up... BUT

    if they are bad -- we do log their IP and other details AND they got nowhere to hide

  • Ron Wallace 1534 days ago

    I see Brett has left a message in another group about spammers they are having problems with here. It appears this is going to be an issue that we need to take seriously and fix however as effectively as we can. I realize it'll be an onoging issue, but we need to stay in front of it.

    We are willing to admin approve every user, but there isn't any way that I know how to do that aside from Site Access which isn't being supported.

    We are willing to admin approve every group before it's open, but I don't know of plugins that will be 1.7 compatible.

    We're basically in a holding pattern until 1.7 gets further down the line and we see who comes up with what.

    It's best for us to keep our communities as tight and clean from the start as possible rather than chasing down the bad guys. But it doesnt' appear there's anyway to do that quite yet.



  • mick bullock 1534 days ago

    'Ban' seems to be the answer.

  • rjcalifornia 1534 days ago

    @Ron Wallace  Anyone can join milocker... We got a Terms of Use Policy that everyone has to accept before they sign up....


    I got a case where a the mod posted a link to rapidshare (music) which was against our policy, so I sent him a message and he changed to a link to Amazon Music Store....

  • Ron Wallace 1534 days ago

    "Terms of Use" - we've got one of those too, but spammers and porno jerks don't care. Sending them a message wouldn't do any good. Ban them and they'll just come back some other way. It's our wish to stop them before they mess with us in the first place. I ran my first bulletin board (pre web) in the late 70s. There were jerks then too. We then moderated all user signups and all message entries. We only had then 600 uers but then we still needed several on our staff to watch over them. We expect several thousands once we open our elgg site. And we're willing to man it. We've already got a relationship with police to prosecute. But we need simple tools.

    It's been 30 years since my first bbs. We've been to the moon and back. I can't believe we can't stop spammers.

    All we want is an effective way to watch over things. 1) admin approve all users. 2) admin approve all new groups. 3) EASILY delete bad guys and all their files. To much to ask of elgg?

    Actually, best of all, although not mandatory, we'd like to admin approve everything. One porno message in a family-friendly site that a mother or child or teacher could see, is dangerous.

    @ Dhrup - I remember reading in another group that you guys were working on something. Where are you with it? 1.7 compatible?



  • rjcalifornia 1533 days ago

    @Ron Wallace So far we don't have spammers or copyrighted content.... We got a dozen of russians thou...

  • alfalive 1533 days ago

    some sites let user pay for registration 5o cent per sms


    and here are my spammers table :)


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  • Ron Wallace 1533 days ago

    @ alfalive - same kind of stuff we are getting. How are you handling it?

    What we do now.

    1) Ban the jerks.

    2) Change their profile name so the dirt and promo doesn't appear in activity

    3) Change email address so it doesn't appear anywhere.

    4) But, unfortunately, the generic icon for the user still appears in our new members on the home page. It's not clickable, but it's there. Really looks ugle, cause now we have lots of new users with no purpose.

    5 -- Then they come back and we do it all over again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

    We now have 3 sites in the making, 2 production sites waiting for 1.7 so we can test and open and 1 development site. Only one of the 3 sites is being spammed. If the other two get it, it'll be too much wasted time and I think we may just give up on these projects.

    As said before, we would want, an effective way to watch over things. 1) admin approve all users. 2) admin approve all new groups. 3) EASILY delete bad guys and ALL their files.



  • douglerner 1532 days ago

    I've only gotten a few spammers coming in a week. Banning doesn't really help hide the info (though it would presumably help with them signing up again with the same address) so using the Dashboard to see what they've done I go through and delete the spammer and any posts they made.

    That cleans them up, but doesn't prevent them from signing in again with the same address afterwards, though that has not happened yet.



  • DhrupDeScoop 1532 days ago


    I have been working on some code to take care of this... not quite finis'd testing the code yet...


  • Ron Wallace 1532 days ago

    @ douglerner -You said you "delete the spammer". I'm under the impression that we should NEVER NEVER EVER delete a user. I've seen this mentioned a few dozen times in various groups that has strictly warned against doing so.

    Are you saying that you "DO" delete the users? And if so, could someone please clear this up for me, can we or can we not delete users? I was under the impression that if we do, it will corrupt our database. Or is there some times we can delete them and other times we can't??

    If necessary, I can trace the various conversations about this down, as long as they are not ones in groups that have recently been deleted.

    In summary - can we or can we not delete users?   I'm assuming in 1.7 we will be able to. Does anyone know the facts about this?


  • douglerner 1532 days ago

    I have been deleting those users. There is no other way of getting rid of them from showing up in various places. Banning still leaves a lot of stuff visible.

    Maybe deleting is something that is ok in 1.6.1?

    I haven't noticed any issues after deleting these users. But I still have a small database, if that matters.


  • Imoutofhere 1532 days ago

    i have 1.6.1 and i can tell you that i had a horrible issue with loosing my css and database after deleting users, as far as i know the fix is on 1.7 but as of now i am not del any users, i will change their account info so they cant log on, i have a default hash that i use for the password so they cant log in but i wont del anyone till i have a fix in place.

  • Ron Wallace 1532 days ago

    I have 1.6.1 and that's what I've been hearing - that horrible things can happen when deleting users. Maybe it only happens if the user is very active and has opened groups and discussions and added files and pics and videos. Don't know, so we never do it. I'm very glad to hear that it will be fixed in 1.7 cause like doug says there is no way of getting rid of them from showing up in various places.

    The whole thing is quite messy right now. Glad we didn't go live with our sites and am waiting till 1.7. Hope things will be better then.


  • Kevin Jardine 1532 days ago

    To clarify the situation on deleting users:

    If a user owns a piece of content that is managed by a custom class associated with a plugin that has been de-activated, then the attempt to delete all the content owned by that user may fail, and you may end up with an inconsistent database.

    There are not that many plugins that create their own custom classes. (Files or tidypics are examples.)

    In general, it is a bad idea to deactivate such plugins on a live site.

    This issue is described here:


    If you are not in this situation, you will probably not have any problems deleting users in Elgg 1.6 or higher. At least I am unaware of any other problems with deleting users and have deleted many test user accounts myself.

    The deactivated plugin issue will not be addressed in Elgg 1.7 so far as I know (Brett or Cash please correct me if I am wrong about that).

  • Ron Wallace 1532 days ago

    Thank you Kevin for clearing this up. Other than the fact that Tom said ....

    "Ok, I was not aware the problem was still present as such. I know
    Dhrup wrote a lot about it...

    "Rough info: 1 month ago we had clean install of 1.6.1, v 2009072201,
    on a new *dedicated* server with nothing else running. Made about 20
    test users. Deleted one user and could not start the members Tool to
    list that user. It would show a blank page where it was supposed to
    list that specific user. Later found that one table had the right
    number of users (19) and another still had 20 users. Sorry I forgot
    details and table names so my info is now useless for Trac. However, I
    will try to replicate error and with more sensible info make a new
    ticket in Trac."

    It appears that we should be ok deleting spammer users as long as they haven't gone balistic in entering pics and files. I think I'll cross my fingers and give it a try. I assume that if there is any problems they will show up immediately and not pop up six months from now or during an upgrade to 1.7 - correct?

    This sounds like good news. Thanks again, Ron

  • jaypee 1532 days ago

    Hi Dhrup, shelved a  Elgg project for few weeks and came back to see my site  completely taken over by spammers .. sad and disillusioned .. I have several moodle project sites and they all  remain untouched.. why can't  there be some manual registration only plugin for elgg.. is this something too much to expect from elgg.. Thanks JP

  • James 1472 days ago

    (edited) ..sorry! ...whoops!

    I was considering implementing a few questions at the time of registration. Three very basic trivia style questions pertaining to the purpose of the social networking site. If the user can't get ONE of them right, then alarm bells should probably go off that they are either intellectually impeded or a spammer.

    Just a random thought - haven't looked thoroughly into how i'm going to achieve this.

    Happy spam free elgging...one day....for everyone :)


  • DhrupDeScoop 1472 days ago



    1)    STOP cut/ paste from MsWord b/c the Ms cwapz comes thru lolz ;-)
    2)   We ourselves kinda (99%) have spam-free elgging..
    3)   Spammerz on our main elgg-site get hit v-e-r-y hard within about 1- 4 hours of their spam
    4)   We have blocked *whole countries when the spammer was bouncing their ip#s
    5)   We have some sophisticated (non-gpl, $commerical only) utilities to track spammerz and hackerz


  • DhrupDeScoop 1472 days ago


    We  have 0.01% spam ;-)



  • Shouvik Mukherjee 1472 days ago

    Personally, I haven't experienced anything like this on my Elgg site yet.

    But, I have the 'tracker' plugin and I have made it work for Elgg 1.6.1. May be, after 4 spams, I would block that IP.

  • Georges Gillard 1472 days ago

    i have add some spammers (30 ) at the begining but as i delete them very fast they don't come back 

  • DhrupDeScoop 1290 days ago

    Sometimes I wonder how it is.. that FbdKids.Com can spot a spam user within minutes of their posting funky spam on their own messageboards.. I will be working on an automatic detector for particular types of spam and yes there is an automated solution! so that we can block this as it happens for our own (biggest in the universe ~156,000 users!) FbfKids.Com.I have called this AI solutiion of mine - "Zaptor" - because it "zaps" those spam suckkerz...

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