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Comments December 13, 2008

Flood Interval as Anti-Spam Measure

Filed under: Anti-spam, phpBB — Dave Rathbun @ 11:49 am CommentsComments (3) 

A few weeks ago I posted about increasing the flood interval on my honey pot board. My theory was that since bots seem to have a fairly regular posting process I could cut down on the number of spam posts simply by changing the flood interval.

It didn’t seem to work.

I checked the post stats a few minutes ago, and while the posting did drop on the days around where I first changed the flood interval, it has also dropped like that previously. So I can’t determine whether this was a natural lull in bot activity or as a result of the flood interval change. I realize today that I should have added some code that tracked how many times the flood interval warning was issued, and I did not do that, so I really don’t have any way to analyze my data or justify my conclusions. I’m a little bit disappointed in myself for not thinking about that until now.

Here is a chart of the posting activity. I have marked the point where I changed the flood interval. As you can probably see, it’s not really possible to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of this technique based on the data I have collected.

posting chart

To be very clear, I don’t think that increasing the flood control time limit is a valid anti-spam measure anyway. It does exactly what you don’t want to do as a board owner… it makes your valuable real users alter their own behavior. You want to make your board experience a good one, otherwise people will find somewhere else to go.

At the time of this post there are 5 registered users and 7 guest users online, there are 45,556 total posts and 7,670 total users registered on my honey pot.


  1. You should change your board so it sends out an unlimited amount of 1s until the connection is closed. Just use an infinite while loop, echo a 1, then flush and repeat. haha. :-)

    Maybe that won’t work…
    Anyway, if I were a bot writer, I’d just open more connections to your board. It’s per-user flood limit, so just log in some more users to get around that limitation. Everything is scalable.

    Comment by Dog Cow — December 14, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

  2. So what good anti-spam measurements would you take? On my board I’d be happy to limit the daily amount of private messages and or posts a member can send until he’s been long enough on the system. Perhaps it’s time to look for appropriate MODs….

    Comment by Collector — July 31, 2009 @ 2:21 am

  3. Hi, Collector, welcome to my blog and thank you for your initial comment.

    If you have an active moderator team, that’s the best defense against spammers. I have written a Post Approval MOD for phpBB2 that requires a moderator to approve a set number of posts for each new member before they’re visible, and there is a standard feature that does the same in phpBB3 now. I didn’t include private messages in the same MOD because I have not used them in the past.

    I haven’t checked my honey pot board in quite a while, I should go see how the bots are doing talking to each other. :lol:

    Comment by Dave Rathbun — August 1, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

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