A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum …

Zero Mostel? Nope, more’s the pity, this isn’t about the immortal Broadway show and 1966 movie. It’s about our site’s installation of the ever-popular phpBB bulletin board forum.

For some reason, it’s become a magnet for spammers. The gimmick is, the spammer usually just registers as a member user, probably by “bot” at as many sites as possible. They rarely bother to attempt a post. If you follow their email and website links, these invariably point to poker sites and Viagra web pages. I deleted 150 such bogus “users” last night. Another one has since found its way through security to register their erectile dysfunction links.

You may wonder, why do they bother? Most of us aren’t dumb enough to click a link just to see what it does. You can see in the browser bar where the link points anyway (bottom bar on IE).

Well, Google scans all these pages, even those safely tucked deep in the site databases. A link is considered a point in the search engine?popularity algorithms, increasing the likelihood such links will float to near the top of a search results page. So, we don’t take?all this?personally.

Are we running out of patience? No, not yet. But, for a newly started?Forum with a scant 9 posts, it puts phpBB in the “very high-maintenance” category. This wouldn’t be so bad if the Forum was very popular, but it isn’t. If our experience with the mordant old YaBB is any indication, forums at Summitlake.com will never take off: unlike “Cloudy Nights”, we don’t have a critical mass of like-minded users ready and willing to devote an hour a night to exchanging ideas, info, witticisms and social bonding.

We’ll go the extra mile to support this poor ol’ feature, but don’t be too surprised if one day it simply disappears. Creating content is a lot more fun than wet-nursing the destructive, anti-social whims of spammers and taggers.

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