Forum sites which allow users to post content publicly, such as Dialogue, are often targeted at random by automated spambots in an attempt to peddle their wares. To date, spambots have been able to register on Dialogue, but never post any public ideas or comments. Spambots are a fact of the Internet, but one that we're doing our best to protect you from, while keeping registration simple for your genuine users.
What happens if we are targeted by spam?
If your Dialogue is targeted, then you'll receive an increased number of user registrations, which will be visible in your 'Users' dashboard as registered users, and in data exports.
You'll almost certainly recognise that they are spam, because there'll be lots of them (probably 100s per day) and the email addresses will be kooky, as well as fake. This means you would receive bounce-backs from any emails you send - as it is likely they will 'opt in' to receiving email communications (because robots will indiscriminately fill in every field on your registration form).
As you might become aware of this kind of activity before we do, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org - once we're made aware of a new occurrence of spam attack, we'll treat it as an absolute priority.
The security threat to your Dialogue is not increased - the spambots are just looking for high-traffic websites to post marketing messages. They're not after your data.
How will Dialogue stop spam registrations?
We have already put in place a couple of security measures which won't affect your genuine users' experience, although we can't divulge the details here. If you would like a more in-depth explanation, please email email@example.com and we'll be happy to tell you more directly.
However, spambots continue to evolve, which means that what works now may not work in the future. (Incidentally, this is why CAPTCHA forms are increasingly more difficult, in case you thought it was your age ;) There will always be a reactive element to how we handle spam attacks, as we're not quite sure how they will behave.
That said, we've added the ability to more easily enable a visible CAPTCHA form on your Dialogue registration page, which can be set up on request.
But what about all these fake users?
Once we've managed to block these pesky registration attempts, we'll turn our attention to developing an automated script which will identify and delete the fake user profiles in your Dialogue. This will be based on certain criteria to best match the profile of these, but there will always be a small risk that the script will delete genuine but non-active users. That's why we will always offer you the option to run this script, instead of running it automatically.
If you decide against running this script, you'll still be able to identify genuine, active registrations from your exports, by exporting only Ideas and Comments.
If you have any further queries or concerns, or notice a new wave of spam registrations to your Dialogue, please continue to report it to us, at firstname.lastname@example.org