2023-SEP-01 Info: This month's Songwriting Competition #073 is spreading awareness about mental health. Please have a look, and "just make music".
Rules, FAQs and a place to post possible issues with both the webpage and the forum
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You might not see it, but you have definitely experienced it's extended effect. The CleanTalk Anti-Spam service has been in use for the Mix Challenge audio community since October 2019.
Prior to using this extension, the forum has been raided and attacked by spam bots several times, resulting in a flood of bot accounts trying to sell shoes, push cryptocurrency, or do other shady things. Always in a foreign language (non-English, mostly Cyrillic and/or Arabic), always with lengthy posts completely unrelated to the conversation, trying to clog up the forum engine.
Most of the time, these posts have been in the "Site Stuff" section. But lately, they have also happened in regular threads as responses out of nowhere. One of the most peculiar instances I've seen to date, was a signed up user that somehow got on the forum, has been changing passwords, but did so through never logging in. After noticing this, I sent out a manual re-activation request. Not even 24 hours later, this user suddenly started to post spam. These bots sure are getting more intelligent.
CleanTalk Anti-Spam works as additional security tool in parallel to the forum-own "Spambot countermeasures" during the sign-up process. The system is running transparent in the background, currently only checking on sign-up if a possible new user might be a bot (the most basic feature).
Over the course of the last 365 days, there have been over 2000 spam bot attempts blocked. With a current average of 3-5 spam accounts trying to get on the forum on a daily basis.
Is CleanTalk Anti-Spam perfect? Definitely not - there are rare instances of false-positives where it prevented users from properly signing up. But nothing that could not be sorted out through a quick email conversation through the Contact Form. And as mentioned above, some bots still sneak in and post stuff that doesn't belong. However, raids have been nigh zero at this point, and the majority of user accounts are legit.
All in all, this add-on has made my life as administrator on this forum a whole lot easier.
I wish I knew of CleanTalk years ago while still trying to use WordPress (I've lost several installations to bots and/or hack attempts). It is such an essential add-on in my opinion if you want a clean running community forum, and the yearly fees are more than fair. "CleanTalk Anti-Spam" is here to stay.