Well, I never said that it's the most effective system... I'm mostly going off of what I've seen before and what I can infer. I can't argue with the fact that it still poses an inconvenience to registering users, but make the question easier and it's no longer anti-spam, and make the question harder and it becomes anti-everyone.Tempus wrote:The person paid to solve captchas is going to be totally thwarted (not just slowed down) by a question that can be easily Googled but the newbie isn't going to be inconvenienced? How are we so certain of this asymmetry? That sounds like total nonsense, honestly.
There are some forums out there that have limiters on posting new threads - something like requiring new users to post ten times before they can start threads on their own. This is a feature that I know for a fact phpBB can handle, although it might be too restrictive for a forum like this one; a lot of people will register so that they can ask a question related to the creative process or Ren'Py scripting, and requiring them to post ten times in other threads could turn away a lot of traffic.Tempus wrote:In my observation, most egregious spam (the stuff that links offsite, offers you various crap, etc) is made as a new topic. Spam elsewhere, such as posts in existing threads or profiles is relatively innocuous. In existing threads it's usually "wow I really like this! I'm totally a genuine human!" — harmless and short. Given those content-less posts few will visit their profiles. So, test the combination of a user's first post that starts a thread against their registered details and if they match the pattern prevent them from starting new threads (or from posting a new thread if that was their first post). Anyone who's restricted gets placed in a simple list for review by mods.
If anti-spam questions and captchas are out of the question (I'd rather have a captcha than nothing), the best defense against spam would just be moderation. Spam isn't something that is fatal the moment it gets through your security measures; it's very easy to deal with it after the fact, which is why most forums have volunteer moderators to delete or move spam threads whenever they occur. Otherwise it comes to a point where preventing spam becomes too costly, either in time or implementation or loss of traffic.