FHO gets a lot of spam. I see it more than most because I live in Europe and it doesn't get deleted until the moderators in the USA wake up.
Could we please have a "Flag as inappropriate" function for threads and posts?
And a great addition to that would be to make posts/threads automatically invisible if they are flagged by 5 different members... Then a moderator could go and permanently delete the invisible posts, or make them re-appear if they aren't actually bad.
Or you could make it impossible for new members to add new threads until they have first contributed a post to an existing thread.
You should read this thread. We already have a "Report to Moderator" tool that will make spam threads disappear as soon as a member reports them. If you don't see that function at the top right corner of each post, it's likely because your permissions need to be tweaked. As Eric explained in that thread, overseas IP addresses sometimes cause the system to not allow that functionality automatically, and Eric has to manually set your permissions to allow it. But once that happens, you can join the rest of us in reporting spam posts as soon as we see them, and they will magically disappear.
For some reason spammers have been hitting the FHO hard for the past few months. We've taken some additional measures to reduce the issue, but they're still coming so now we're working on taking it to the next level.
The next change we're implementing is to prevent members from posting links (in forum posts/replies, as the homepage for their profile, in blog posts/replies, etc) until they have posted in the forum at least 3 times. That should at least stop spammers from signing up and posting link-heavy initial posts. We'll see if they have the patience to post a few non-linking spams before they can post what they really want to post :-)
The problem here is it's not automated spammers (bots)! These are real people posting, so there is no simple solution that will block them all while letting legitimate members use the site freely. Screening the spammers takes a variety of approaches, because none of them work 100%.
So everyone knows, here is what we currently do to stop spam:
Captcha form on signup (which blocks bots from signing up)
Email verification--you can't post until you click a link in your mailbox (one more hurdle for spammers)
Querying StopForumSpam.com database for malicious usernames, emails, and IP addresses. This is a tool used by thousands of forums who report bad users so other forums can block them automatically (currently blocking ~20 signups per day)
Member "Report to Moderator" tools with automatic actions: members can report posts as spam, and those posts are automatically hidden and the originating account is locked.
Post editing timeout: you cannot edit your reply once 15 minutes have elapsed. This stops spammers from posting something benign then coming back in and editing it.
Ability for members to report PMs as spam, which gets the originating account locked.
IP Blocking: this is more for malicious bots trying to hack the site, but we do some automated blocking by IP address when malicious activity is detected.
I've gotten in the habit of knocking off a few spam posts every morning before work by clicking the "Report to Moderator" button. Sometimes a half dozen. It's not like the contents are surprising, given the user names and topic titles. They stand out without being at all outstanding.
Eric--Any chance you could make it so clicking the submit button on the Report to Moderator window would take us back on the main screen with the page refreshed? It would make it more efficient to report spam when there are multiple posts and so it would feel a lot easier to go through the process. :)