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Nick
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Sadness (25th Jul 14 at 9:47am UTC)
So I come on here every so often, and become really sad. This place used to be the greatest I've ever been on. Ross never comes on, a few friends I made on here, we either stopped talking, or one of us fell off the planet.

Are there still any forums running on vForums anymore? :/

This service had great potential. {Sad}


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Re: Sadness (1st Aug 14 at 9:07am UTC)
It is a shame that the service has lost some momentum, but unfortunately real life has got in the way for Ross and myself as well; both working web jobs full time means not as much time as we'd like to keep things going. I still check in regularly to keep the house clean and i know Ross hasn't forgotten about the place {Smile}

And yes, there are still some active users of the platform {Smile}
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Re: Sadness (2nd Aug 14 at 11:27pm UTC)
I had started a messageboard here to test the service when I first heard that proboards was going to be forcing an upgrade to version 5. It remained stagnant for years, but I did post occasionally. When proboards did force the upgrade, I dropped their service and pointed everyone to my board here. My list of members is small, but I purge spammers and abandoned accounts faithfully.

The biggest problem I encountered upon gearing my board up was a spammer from an Indonesian IP. He was using anonymous proxies to register on messageboards all over the web. I implemented a huge IP block list, but he was persistent and still found ways to register through proxies and email services like gmail. I even blocked keywords that he was using, so most of his spam was not effective anyway. Despite being persistent, he was sloppy and I was able to figure out many of his tactics. Through persistence of my own, I eventually wore him down and he gave up.

For a short period, I was using trial geolocation scripts from Geolify.com to block anyone from even seeing my board if they were posting from an Indonesian IP service. I was redirecting them to a "stop spam" image. I think it would be a huge improvement to have more robust blocking tools. Geolocation blocking would be a huge plus. I was never able to determine if wildcard blocks on anonymous email services was working, but I entered them on the block list anyway. I wish the blocklist and keyword filters also worked on the user profile web links.

It is discouraging to see that new registrations are blocked. Obviously, the service can't grow and prosper if new people can't join. I like the software version being used here. If it were to upgrade to all the dynamic scripts and interfaces like proboards 5, I would probably just retire from running a messageboard. Perhaps I'm a bit of a Luddite, but I liked a static web better than what it's becoming. I also have no interest in viewing a site like this on a mobile device. I'm using a desktop PC with a 32" TV for a monitor. Seeing a mobile device interface on a 32" screen looks really stupid.

I'm glad the service is still working for me, but I'm not entirely optimistic that it will be worth the effort to maintain it as time goes by. The messageboard format is withering across the web in general. I've seen activity dwindling on messageboards all across the web.

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Re: Sadness (2nd Sep 14 at 8:35am UTC)
I still come on occasionally {Tongue Out} But rarely have time for logging in or posting messages.

The system does need bit of an overhaul, but if it'll ever get it I don't know - there's so many other systems in the queue for development already. I do have a fondness for the traditional message board structure so wouldn't think of anything deviating too far from that. It was the spam bots which really caused us some problems, and took a lot of time and resources to counter. They're the reason that new signups are still disabled.
There are some active vForums running still, but these tend to be the ones with well established communities, either private ones, small close-knit ones or those backed up by communities across other social media platforms.

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Re: Sadness (3rd Sep 14 at 4:19am UTC)
I'm not entirely convinced they are spambots. The entity I dealt with was countering my keyword filters in real time. If I blocked "Kitchen", they were posting "K*i*t*c*h*e*n" in their next post. The user I dealt with seemed to be using a Firefox plugin that allows access to multiple proxy servers. I started blocking the IP addresses they used to view the page as well as the IP addresses of the anonymous mail services. I even tried using wildcard characters to block anonymous spam domains, but I never could determine if the wildcards worked for blocking email addresses. I determined that my spammer knew about 4 languages or more. Some were quite obscure. Although most of my spam hits were coming from Indonesia IP addresses, I have reason to believe it's originating from someone in Hawaii.

When I posted some hints that I knew more about them than they wanted me to know, the spam finally stopped.
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Re: Sadness (5th Oct 14 at 3:25am UTC)
Ahh, Ross! Glad to know you're ok! {Cheesy}

I've been busy, and not able to login.

The spam bots seem to be human like, but are just that of spam. Smarter people tend to make smarter bots. I've had bots with different accounts talk to one another. {Tongue Out}

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Re: Sadness (5th Oct 14 at 7:40pm UTC)
Bots talking to themselves isn't complicated. Bots checking their posts, identifying their post didn't post the right message as intended and tweaking the original post to show a substitute text with the same intended message.. that is quite complicated.

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Re: Sadness (8th Oct 14 at 7:08am UTC)
Yeah, that's true. xD

Unless the person(s) are smart. But, Idk. lol.

People must have so much time on their hands to spam, and go around blocks/ bans and spam some more. and talk to them selves. etc. {Tongue Out}

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Re: Sadness (19th Oct 14 at 9:38pm UTC)
It translates into money for these people. It's no different than hiring a salesman. Messageboard members are sitting ducks for these people and even a small percentage of purchases can make it worthwhile. It can also generate ad revenue with click-through rates. Messageboard spam probably slips through Google's filters to block spam. They can even install scripts on a web page to where your computer is mining bitcoins for them. The incentives are high.

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