[CentOS-devel] Forums

Thu Aug 9 06:23:17 UTC 2012
Yedidyah Bar-David <didi+centos at isoc.org.il>

Hi all,

I am a sysadmin in isoc.org.il, lurking here for some 2 years or so,
hardly ever posted. So Hi :-)

I have a little experience with phpbb3, which I thought would be
insignificant compared to others here, but I see very few here actually
talk about their own experience so I might share mine.

Some company developed a web site for us in 2008, and they chose phpbb3
as the forum software. IIRC one of the main creteria was Hebrew support,
which is irrelevant for the centos case, but which obviously limited the
choices considerably. It was a one-time contract, and I was to maintain
it. Basically all was well. The main issues we had were with spam. Not
sure how the CFA - Centos Forum Administrator - is going to take care of
this, and I have a feeling that spammers are attracted to phpbb-based
forums more than to others - so it might be an issue more than it used
to be. In our case, we first installed recaptcha - quite recommended -
slightly changing the anonymous posting policy and related stuff every
few months, then writing some cron scripts that would alert us if they
identify something that seems like a spammers attack, the common case
being  many new user registrations that did not post for a few hours or
so - the assumption being that real normal people register to a forum
when they want to post, later making these crons automatically delete
these users, and eventually giving up, as the forums were basically
dead - a few posts a year - and closing them for posting, later dropping
them altogether. Noone later complained about them being closed, so we
didn't bother spending more time and thought about this.

Making phpbb3 use recaptcha wasn't that easy, BTW - it was 4 years ago,
but IIRC there are no real "modules", something you plug in and activate,
as in e.g. drupal, but actually "mods", which are more like patches, with
most of them, instead of being real diff files, are human-directed
instructions about how and what to change. I might be wrong about this,
but this needs to be checked prior to deciding.