Forum Spam – Private Messaging Now Disabled

I’m really pleased with all the great content people have been posting on the DIY Packraft Forum. It’s inspiring for me to see the pictures and videos of the packrafts you’ve made, and there are useful tips and ideas being posted there that wouldn’t otherwise be shared.

One of the drawbacks of hosting a forum on this site, however, is that once every few weeks a spammer sets up an account and starts sending unwanted messages to the members. I have put a number of barriers in place to make life more difficult for spammers, such as requiring you to complete a captcha test to prove you are human before registering or posting, but these methods aren’t perfect, and once in a while a determined spammer gets through. This is an annoying problem, but I think it’s outweighed by the value the forum, which has only been active for a few months and already has lots of great content.

In monitoring the forum, I find myself running to stand still in a minor arms race, where I’m continually adding more hurdles and the spammers are continually developing ways over them.

If you receive an unwanted message, please contact me! Most spammers are smart enough to avoid sending spam to the site’s administrator, so I am usually the last to know when a spammer has gained access to the forum. As soon as someone tells me they’ve received a spam message I act immediately to block the offending user, figure out how he gained access to the forum, and plug the breach.

Unfortunately, if you receive a junk email and mark it as “Spam” in your email client, it doesn’t help. In fact, it just trains your email provider to treat all future messages from the DIY Packraft server as Spam. That means you might not receive legitimate emails from me. Enough Gmail users have done this that now people who place orders using a Gmail address aren’t getting their order confirmation emails. If this happens to you, please check your Spam folder and mark emails from DIY Packraft as “Not Spam” to help retrain the algorithm to direct legitimate emails to your inbox.

This morning a new spammer gained access to the forum, and as a result I have disabled Private Messaging and Group Messaging in order to cut off those potential spam channels – I don’t know how many members had been utilizing those features, so if you miss them and want me to turn them back on, please let me know.

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