How to Fight Spam on a Community Board

A nice way to maintain a community is by creating a discussion board. However one of the problems you're probably going to face are spammers. They're not only annoying for your members, but can also affect your bandwidth. Here's a guide to fighting spam, preventing it from happening and removing it when it does happen.


  1. 1
    Create a 'Board Rules' page and write down some rules that you want your members to comply to. Make sure it's easy to read, and include that spam and advertising are not allowed on your board.
  2. 2
    Some discussion boards have a 'report post' feature. Make sure it's set correctly. Your board members can use it to report spam and unwanted posts.
  3. 3
    Encourage your members to not put E-Mail addresses in their posts. So called "Spam Bots" gather these addresses and send massive amounts of spam to them. Writing an E-Mail address in one of the user profile fields is a much safer method.
  4. 4
    Make use of your board's Post/User Moderation features. You can configure it to put new user registrations in a queue, that must be validated by an Administrator or Moderator in order to post messages. There are also modifications available for most discussion boards to put new posts containing hyperlinks in a moderation queue.
  5. 5
    Image Verification
    Turn on Image Verification for user registrations.
    This is very effective against automated registrations. During registration, an image with some letters or a word is presented to the user. The contents of that image need to be typed in a text box. This way a registration can only be performed by a human and not by a Spam Bot.
  6. 6
    Learn about online resources for fighting spam. Some websites maintain a list of known spammers. These lists include User Names, E-Mail addresses and IP addresses. One of these websites is called Stop Forum Spam ( Use this list as a reference.
  7. 7
    Use the IP banning feature. If a spammer is banned and creates a new user account with the same IP address, then use the IP banning feature of your board to prevent the IP address from accessing your board.
  8. 8
    Disable the Signature feature for members with less than 25-50 posts. Spammers usually use the Signature to put hyperlinks in them. To do this, disable Signatures for the User group "Registered Users". Then create a new User group based on the permissions of the User group "Registered Users", but with Signatures turned on. Set the User Promotion options to promote users from the Primary User group "Registered users" to the new User group that you have created after an X amount of posts are made.


  • Promote board members who report posts. This way you'll encourage your members to keep reporting spam.
  • Instruct your fellow staff members how use the banning features of your board.
  • Members who are actually innocent will try to contact a staff member of your board, trying to prove their innocence or apologize in case of a warning. Spammers however are used to getting banned, so they won't even try to contact a staff member.


  • If you just delete a spammer instead of banning him, he will re-register again.
  • These steps will NOT guarantee that you won't get any spam on your board, but should help reduce it.

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Categories: Internet Forums and Message Boards