That does not necessarily mean they are seeing that forum. If they do not have permissions to "read" that forum, then they would be seeing a login page or an error message. But they should not be able to browse to a forum that they do not have permissions to "see", unless they are following a visible link from somewhere else.
Thanks. That was my problem. All the bots were Registered Users. Is that default behaviour or an artifact of my brief foray into SMF before migrating to phpBB?
Probably a leftover from SMF.
Oops My mistake. Brain-malfunction. I clicked on a bots name in the Whoisonline and it didn't open so I assumed something without checking the users table (which I have done now locally), and thinking about it - it was a stupid mistake since I added some bots a couple of years ago with a script and had noticed that they were added in the users_table (which implies they must have a user_id).
This is correct. When a group is not listed under manage groups and is listed under add groups all permissions default to none.
Thanks. Yep, I've got it. Everything is explained by all the bots being in the Registered Users group. Fixed now.
Jinx! I did exactly the same thing, and also assumed you couldn't do anything with a bot user, because you couldn't search for them on the user page. I finally opened the members page for every single group to "prove" that something was fundamentally wrong with phpBB, and then found what was wrong with my installation.
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