As some of you have undoubtedly noticed, we had a small onslaught of spam bots and posts over the past few days. This could be due to any number of reasons, but it's also one of those facts of life of having a busy forum: the busier the Vault is, the more likely we are to get spam. Oops!
In light of this, though, we did want to do what we could to prevent this from happening again, so we thought it was important to sit down and address this so that we can keep the Vault as spam free as possible in the future.
Steps we have taken as a staff team to prevent spam...
- Many unused, "newly registered" accounts with 0 posts have been deleted. These accounts were registered between September 1, 2015 and February 7, 2016 and had not made a single post on Vault 713. We tried to avoid most character accounts, but may have accidentally grabbed a few accounts intended to be OOC accounts. Please know that if you have a friend or family member who plans on registering an OOC account, or if you were someone who registered without posting a welcome, you must post at least either a work in progress character sheet in the Character Workshop or an introduction in the Meet & Greet fourm. We have set in our rules that newly registered accounts may be deleted after 3 weeks without being used, so we plan to adhere to that policy more closely in the future to help prevent spam accounts from lurking around without warning.
- Newly registered accounts can no longer send private messages. Again, if a player posts in the Workshop or Meet & Greet, the account will be unlocked for receiving private messages, but this way any spam accounts will not be able to send unsolicited private messages to you or anyone else here at the Vault.
- A new CAPTCHA system has been put in place to help prevent spam accounts from registering. While we love the Q&A system we've had in the past that allows you to answer a simple question instead of typing in funky looking words, it seems that we need to come up with some bot-proof questions if we want to continue using it. In the mean time, a new CAPTCHA has been installed.
Steps you can take to help us address spam...
- Don't click on any suspicious links! Though we hope this goes without saying, if an account you don't recognize tries to send you to a link via PM or posts a link on the forums, please don't click it. Please note that the Vault staff is not responsible for anything that occurs offsite or as a result of clicking links that are posted on the Vault by members, spambots, or otherwise: our only territory is everything attached to vault713.com and vault713archives.com!
- Report posts and private messages that look suspicious or spam-like! Look for the little flag on any post OR private message that you think looks like it shouldn't be there, just like you do for archiving threads, and choose the "Spam" option to let us know the post needs to be deleted. Please note that if someone else has already reported a thread or message, it should let you know that it has already been reported so you do not need to report it again. If you get a PM from someone that looks suspicious, you can also just delete it. :)
- Encourage your friends who are registering to post a Meet & Greet or Workshop Character as soon as possible. This lets us know that the account is a real account that will be used by a real person so we can flag it as such and make sure that they don't end up in the pile of spam bot accounts.
Happy roleplaying, and please let us know if you happen to have any questions about our anti-spam measures we have taken.