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Admin Dashboard Settings Part 9: Spam settings

The menu Spam in the Admin Dashboard allows to tick certain check marks to avoid PhysicsOverflow to get clogged with spam, noise, or generally trolled by ill meaning folks, which I think is important. Also, from a legal point of view we will be responsible for what gets posted on our site, so there will certainly be a need for people who watch out a bit and help with detecting and removing really bad things …

The first few options deal with settings concerning the registration and confirmation of emails by new users:

  • Request confirmation of user emails: I will have to ask Polarkernel if this is needed for the Regain TP account plugin, currently the check mark is set
  • All new users must confirm their email: Stack Exchange does not have this and I am not sure if we need it either
  • Enable moderation (approval) of users: this seems too restrictive IMHO
  • Email me when a new user registers: I think we don’t need this
  • Temporarily suspend new user registrations: this might be a good option for our technical private beta to come, to prevent too many users to register already. The intention behind limiting registration during this test phase is that we do not want to worry too much about loosing nice serious content while testing. Polarkernel will probably write more about this soon …

The next few options allow to enable CAPTCHAs under different conditions. I personally think that having to deal with CAPTCHAs all the time in cyber space  (to comment in blogs, etc) sucks; but who knows, if bad spam issues should arise, we might use it ? For example if certain “EnergyNumbers” and other “friends” decide to massively spam attack PhysicsOverflow  etc, it might come in handy  😉

  • Use captcha for user registration:
  • Use captcha on reset password form:
  • Use captcha for anonymous posts:
  • Use captcha if email not confirmed:
  • Use captcha on feedback form:
  • Use captcha module: here you can only choose reCAPTCHA whatever this means …

Then you can use moderation for things that might get troublesome (but normally they shouldnt IMHO). I am not sure if we need these, and rather think we should avoid copying the paranoid negative attitude of the Meta Stack Overflow (MSO) crowd who always assumes the worst about the character and intentions of other people, which leads to the well-known large bureaucratic overhead, draconic punishments,  and oppressive overmoderation of most parts of the SE network …

  • Use moderation for anonymous posts:
  • Use moderation if email not confirmed:
  • Use moderation for users with few points:

Next comes a text field, where you can list the IP addresses of trolls that should be banned. Maybe we could gather the IP addresses of people who we do not want to see on PhysicsOverflow by all means in advance, I have several (user) names in mind (joking) … ;-P

Finally you can rate limit many actions, which is good for keeping spam bots out I think. Unfortunately these options are not effective to keep out the spam bots developed by a certain aggressive and destructive System Administrator who tests and trains his malware (which is intended to interrupt any serious theoretical physics discussions everywhere in the internet as soon as certain keywords like SUSY or ST appear) on his personal homepage …  Such spam has still  to be taken care off manually … ;-).

  • Rate limit for user registrations: 5 per IP/hour
  • Rate limit for logging in: 20 per IP/hour
  • Rate limit for asking questions: 20 per IP/hour, 10 per user/hour
  • Rate limit for adding answers: 50 per IP/hour, 25 per user/hour
  • Rate limit for posting comments: 40 per IP/hour,  20 per user/hour
  • Rate limit for voting: 600 per IP/hour, 300 per user/hour
  • Rate limit for flagging posts:  10 per IP/hour, 5 per user/hour
  • Rate limit for uploading files:  20 per IP/hour, 10 per user/hour
  • Rate limit for private and wall messages: 30 per IP/hour, 5 per user/hour
    These limits might need to be set to higher values, if we want to use user walls as chat rooms


  1. “reCaptcha” is just a type of captchas I think. It used to be very common till last year, from then for some reason, I see some different type of unreadable, annoying captchas, and words dancing on a graph paper.

    Using captchas for anon posts and email not confirmed posts is very annoying and may discourage participation.

    I agree that using “moderation” is highly restrictive.

    I remember’ that as per this answer to my question on Q2A, it is possible to delete users and revert all their posts (incl. comments) easily, so I don’t think one needs such spooky “auto” instruments.

  2. Rate limits on the other hand would be useful, especially for uploading files, since that could be a malicious attempt to slow down the site or waste the server space of the site.

  3. “Use Captcha on feedback form”

    I think this option only appears if admin/emails has the “Provide a page for users to send feedback” option checked. I think it should be unchecked, as we have a meta.

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