Website SOS and general unsolved problems

For a while, the site had a user login and a forums section, the hope being that I would attract enough people who enjoyed my work enough to want to discuss it with others, or at the very least were confused enough that they’d try to get some answers. As the more astute of you may already have checked, they’re gone – for now, at least.

Despite the best attempts to dissuade bots from spamming the heck out of the forums, including setting up a CAPTCHA and mandatory email confirmation for new accounts, we were getting somewhere in the region of a hundred new spambot accounts every day, each one of them hammering the site with repeated posts.

That part was bad enough, but then the software used to run the site had a rather nasty exploit uncovered. It’s been patched and fixed since, but when I logged in one morning to find one of the latest bot accounts had sitewide administrative status – essentially allowing it to edit and alter any part of the site it saw fit – I decided that was enough. I’m patient, but I’m not a saint.

I am kind of annoyed, to say the least. If there’s one thing any creative type likes, it’s to know that people are enjoying their work. Right now I can’t do that, because if I try, I’m going to get slapped in the face by a deluge of cheap advertising. I’ve been locking out known spammer IP addresses, but the site’s logs are still filling up with dozens of “access denied” messages from deleted accounts trying to sign back in.

I’m not sure what I can do, except maybe apologise. It was a nice experiment, but I’m going to wait until there’s a vocal enough demand for the forums to come back before I risk the spam overload.