Phantom PMs?

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Jasper Krynn
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Phantom PMs?

Post by Jasper Krynn » Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:23 pm

Greetings all,

URL: http://the-scholars.com/
Template(s) used: subSilver (Modified)
Any and all MODs: No.
Do you use a port of phpBB: No.
Version of phpBB: 2.0.17
Version of PHP: PHP 4.3.11.
Which database server and version: MySQL 4.0.24
Host: Burton Hosting
Did someone install this for you/who: No.
Is this an upgrade/from what to what: 2.0.11
Is this a conversion/from what to what: No.
Have you searched for your problem: Yes.
If so, what terms did you try: invisible phantom PMs notifications
State the nature of your problem: See below.
Do you have a test account for us: Available by request.

Some members in my forum are complaining that they are receiving PM notifications, but with no PM to go along with them. I heard a few complaints at first but suspected a member was sending them, then deleting them, but now there’s been around seven different people. I haven’t been deleting any troublemaker accounts, and the forum is pretty intolerant of those random account creation bots.

Any thoughts are more than welcome.
Last edited by Jasper Krynn on Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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lurttinen
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Post by lurttinen » Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:30 pm

You have a prankster in your forum.
Someone is sending them and deleting them immediately.
Signature is here

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Jasper Krynn
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Post by Jasper Krynn » Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:36 pm

lurttinen wrote: You have a prankster in your forum.
Someone is sending them and deleting them immediately.

Reasonable speculation, but I’m not so sure. The members aren’t really related in any way (by posting habits or areas) so it wouldn’t be a friend, and there’s been no precedent set in relation to our reaction (a prankster would be doing it for attention from friends or the forum, and the first seems unlikely, and there’s no guarantee they would get their effort’s worth through a forum reaction).

I’ll keep the possibility in mind though. :)

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who_cares
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Post by who_cares » Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:47 pm

do you know which user these fake PM's are coming from?

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Jasper Krynn
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Post by Jasper Krynn » Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:54 pm

who_cares wrote: do you know which user these fake PM's are coming from?

I’d probably know how to solve the problem if I did. :(

Problem is that when they members go to view their PMs they aren’t actually finding a PM there, though they received a notification. I created the thread because I felt I had reason to believe in the possibility of a phpBB bug or error, and felt that the reactions and feedback from people here would help to gauge the possibility of this.

The first thing I considered was spam accounts sending out emails, then getting deleted by an admin, but for the last two months, since we took steps to resolve that issue, we haven’t had to delete anything. I considered a member as well, but for the reasons above, I’m not sure of that.

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who_cares
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Post by who_cares » Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:01 pm

you could look in your database for messages in the outbox

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biscuitkeeper
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Post by biscuitkeeper » Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:10 pm

Temporarily hack the code to disable the delete button when viewing the outbox! Then if its a prank they cant delete the message.
Patience of a Saint :: Memory of a Goldfish.

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Jasper Krynn
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Post by Jasper Krynn » Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:54 pm

who_cares wrote: you could look in your database for messages in the outbox

I took a quick glance, but didn’t see anything. I don’t want to go into actually reading them. It stands to reason that if someone is creating messages only to delete them, they wouldn’t put a lot of detail into them. Probably just nonsense characters?
biscuitkeeper wrote: Temporarily hack the code to disable the delete button when viewing the outbox! Then if its a prank they cant delete the message.

Now that is a cool idea. It would certainly solve this problem if this is the problem. I went in to try and locate the code, looking in privmsg.php under $read, as well as through linked files, and the only related code I could find is this (on line 479):

Code: Select all

		'L_DELETE_MSG' => $lang['Delete_message'], 
This assigns the text to the delete button, but something else actually creates the button and its associated action. Any advice on where this bit of code is, exactly, would be more than welcome.

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lurttinen
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Post by lurttinen » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:01 pm

Might be privmsgs_body.tpl in the /templates/your_template/

Code: Select all

		<input type="submit" name="delete" value="{L_DELETE_MARKED}" class="liteoption" />
I'm not sure thou, but there are few privmsgs_***.tpl's there.

EDIT: Dont tell anyone you are deleting the delete button, or the prankster goes away and you cant catch him/her.
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Black Fluffy Lion
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Post by Black Fluffy Lion » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:06 pm

There are a few things you'll need to delete/comment out:

templates/subSilver/privmsgs_read_body.tpl:

Code: Select all

<input type="submit" name="delete" value="{L_DELETE_MSG}" class="liteoption" />
templates/subSilver/privmsgs_body.tpl:

Code: Select all

		<input type="submit" name="delete" value="{L_DELETE_MARKED}" class="liteoption" />
		&nbsp; 
		<input type="submit" name="deleteall" value="{L_DELETE_ALL}" class="liteoption" />
I think that's all you need to change :)

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Jasper Krynn
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Post by Jasper Krynn » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:57 pm

Thanks for the feedback, guys! That would effectively remove a user’s ability to delete private messages, which turns into a double-edged sword. I think I’ll wait to see if we start getting more of this problem before playing this card. It would probably be pretty disruptive to a forum this size if I took away that functionality and that would be worth it if I caught the culprit (i/a), but I don’t think I’d have very good luck with it right now given the small amount of reports I’ve received. And if I did that now, I’d not be able to catch them off-guard if I did it again.

I think if this is, indeed, a prankster, they’ll probably do it more often with some attention, and that would probably mark the best moment for this trick.

I take it then that this isn’t an issue other people are seeing, or have seen? I didn’t see anything in the search. I guess if that is the case, and it turned out to be a non-prankster-associated problem, it would be a very difficult-to-fix MySQL issue. That wouldn’t be pretty.

Thanks, guys! :)

Edit: Is there some sort of variable, flag, or edit that could be used to strip delete capabilities specifically from the Outbox directory? If a prankster were sending PMs to members, that would be the only place they would be able to remove them from!

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who_cares
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Post by who_cares » Wed Oct 26, 2005 6:15 pm

as for deleting in outbox only: You could but it would take too long for such a temporary use

you can always put normal delete code back once you catch the guy

fmal
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Post by fmal » Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:34 pm

I have the same problem, and my users are few and trusted.
Sometime they receive a notification and don't find any message.
The guy which sent it is sure and is keeping it into "sent messages".

QDSP
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Re:

Post by QDSP » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:52 pm

Jasper Krynn wrote:
who_cares wrote: do you know which user these fake PM's are coming from?

I’d probably know how to solve the problem if I did. :(

Problem is that when they members go to view their PMs they aren’t actually finding a PM there, though they received a notification. I created the thread because I felt I had reason to believe in the possibility of a phpBB bug or error, and felt that the reactions and feedback from people here would help to gauge the possibility of this.

The first thing I considered was spam accounts sending out emails, then getting deleted by an admin, but for the last two months, since we took steps to resolve that issue, we haven’t had to delete anything. I considered a member as well, but for the reasons above, I’m not sure of that.



Just today a bunch of our community members are getting these phantom PM's including myself on the BBADMIN account.

Have you learned anything new?

My main concern is that this is not some sort of spam/harvesting/or other not so good activity

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bonelifer
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Re: Phantom PMs?

Post by bonelifer » Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:31 pm

Didn't read every post here, but this seems to be phpBB REGULAR behavior. Once a PM is sent, it can be deleted/edited by the sender before it is read by the receiver. Hence the reasons for a OUTBOX and SENT MESSAGE boxes. Before it's read the message is in the OUTBOX where it can be edited and deleted. Once the receiver reads it, it goes into the senders Sent box and they can' t edit it anymore. They can delete it on their side but it will remain available to the receiver. You might try installing one of the mods that puts the SENDERS name in the email sent when they get a PM. That way they can report the user and if enough people report them you can just go to user management in the ACP and turn off their ability to use the PM system.


Extended Private Message Notification -->> http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=211614
Includes Sender Name and MESSAGE. Problem solved.
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