We all know what a pain spam can be. We deal with it daily in our inboxes often relying on clever software to filter it out for us. Even worse, some spam is so well disguised that it can fool you into thinking it is a genuine message.
You've put in the hard work with your community. You've used the built in social promotion tools and SEO features to get it noticed. Now that it's indexing well with Google, you've become a target.
Invision Community has several tools in its arsenal to deal with spam leaving you free to concentrate on your members and content. We'll take a look at these tools in more detail.
First, it's important to know that there are two main types of spam. Computer generated and human generated.
Computer generated spam is malicious software that throws millions of messages out and hopes some sticks to high profile communities.
Human generated spam is more pernicious as it can often bypass automated measures. Human spammers often register accounts and post as members on your community.
The first line of defense
Invision Community comes equipped with Spam Defense. This is free with all cloud and licensed plans. Spam Defense harnesses the combined knowledge of thousands of Invision Communities. It will assess the potential threat of each new user and stop them before they can cause any problems.
To date, Spam Defense has blocked over 3,000,000 spam accounts.
Spam Defense works by evaluating the registering member against its database. It will score the account from 1 (not a spammer) to 4 (a known spammer) allowing you to decide what to do with each level.
If a spammer gets past the Spam Defense, flag them as a spammer using the built in tools. This will clear up all their posts in a single action and report back to Spam Defense that this account has spammed your site. These community led reports allow Spam Defense to learn and adapt.
Preventing spammers from registering
The CAPTCHA ("Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart") is a well tested and robust method to defeat computerised spammers. It is usually a small widget on a sign up form that asks you to re-enter words shown in an image.
Invision Community supports Recaptcha2 by Google, meaning that in most cases your users don't even have to type in random letters. Instead, Google algorithms determine if the user is human or otherwise. Invision Community supports KeyCaptcha. This requires guests to solve a simple problem before they can contribute.
The Question and Answer challenge works on its own or in conjunction with a CAPTCHA. This system allows you to create simple question and answer challenges unique to your community. As these answers are unique, computerized spammers cannot solve them. Also, human spammers not knowledable with your niche are often unable to solve them too.
While the above are great for reducing the number of computerized spammers, we need to be especially clever to weed out human spammers.
Dealing with human spammers
Smart configuration of your community will also help in defeating spammers. Invision Community supports posting without registering. This feature allows for fast engagement but use it with caution. It works best if you only allow it for specific forums.
Invision Community's membership promotion system also has tools which you can leverage.
To make your site less appealing to human spammers, you can configure two membership groups. Let us look at an example which uses "New Members" and "Members".
"New Members" is the default group for new registrations. In this group you can remove the ability to add a signature to each post. Often spammers use signatures to earn referrals on links.
You can also define a limit for posts per day. This will throttle the number of spam posts a member can make.
Now that you have your "New Members" group set up to build trust, you can promote them using Group Promotions.
A good strategy is to promote them to "Members" when they have reached a certain level of reputation. This shows that they have become a trusted member of the community.
You may wish to promote them a week after joining knowing that spammers usually leave after a day or so.
There are many different criteria you can use allowing you to tailor it for your own needs.
Dealing with spam is a reality for every successful community. Invision Community has several features to mitigate its impact.
Through leveraging its built in tools to smart configuration, you can make your community a fortress against spam. In addition, our exclusive Spam Defense system grows and learns every day stopping spammers from registering.
To learn how to configure Invision Community's spam prevention tools, please see our help guide.
Not using Invision Community? We can convert you from other platforms preserving your data. Our migration page has more information on the platforms we can convert you from.
Edited by Matt