How cool!!

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BearState
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How cool!!

Post by BearState » Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:14 am

This is my first BB of any kind and well, I was quite amazed to see that a Bot could register as a user ...

Registered users: Yahoo [Bot]


It doesn't show up in the Member list though.

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Brf
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Re: How cool!!

Post by Brf » Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:20 am

Bots dont register. They are included by default in the Bots group.

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Re: How cool!!

Post by ToonArmy » Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:17 am

Certain bots are detected by phpBB and given a special user account which is a member of the Bots group, you can take a look at the Bots registered in your phpBB install by going into the ACP and accessing Spiders/Robots from the quick links on the left hand side.
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BearState
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Re: How cool!!

Post by BearState » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:36 am

Yeah, I noted that. I just thought it was so unusual to show the users of the BB that some BOT was making the rounds.

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Re: How cool!!

Post by Eelke » Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:40 am

That's really just a side-effect of how phpBB3 handles bots. It detects bots to be able to cater for their needs. E.g., don't provide links to print versions of topics, because that's just repeated content which at best just wastes a bot's time (which it could spend spidering other parts of your site) and at worst might earn you penalty points. Another reason is that if bots are not detected the way they are, a single bot will usually show up as a bunch of different guest users all connecting at the same time (you could see this happen often on phpBB2, it also makes the "most users online" statistic unreliable). Now, all those connections, from what is essentially a single spider doing it's thing, are condensed into a single entry in the "who's online" overview. Should you not like it, I think there is a mod to not display the bots in the overview at all. Like you say, though, I think it's kind of cool :)

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Farmer Dusty
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Re: Not so cool!!

Post by Farmer Dusty » Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:56 pm

This bot issue is still unclear to me.

Are bots roaming around the board collecting information or not?

Why would anyone want a bot to creep around their board gathering information on who the posters are and what are they saying?

Has anybody else boned up on just what google is all about and its relationship with the NSA?

I have set permissions for bots to everything "never", but still find google or msn logged in as "registered users". I understand they are not in the member list because they have some special status, which is troubling, at least for me.

I would like an answer to the question: Are bots stopped at the doorway to the board with permissions set to "never" or are they coming through a back door provided by phpBB?

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Re: How cool!!

Post by Phil » Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:59 pm

If they're set to no access, they're just spidering what they can see -- a list of no forums.
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Re: How cool!!

Post by Jim_UK » Sun Jul 06, 2008 6:24 pm

But of course if you think that Google rankings are important then what you have done is counter productive. ;)

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Re: How cool!!

Post by Eelke » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:57 am

You seem to be thinking there might be bots that have a hidden agenda. You might be right. But there is nothing at all that you can do about it. The phpBB bot recognition works with well-behaved bots that identify themselves. There is nothing stopping anyone, from a technological point of view, to build a bot that presents itself as just another user. This is exactly what spam bots try to do, and it is stuff like CAPTCHA's that tries to detect them, with varying degrees of success.

Typically, you would not grant the bots group any more rights than guests. Guests is what they would be if they were not identified (such was the case with phpBB2, for example, because it did not have any bot detection). Identifying them allows for certain SEO-techniques. It doesn't do anything for keeping bad bots out of your board, you need to treat those in exactly the same way as human visitors (who might or might not have bad intentions).

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Re: Not so cool!!

Post by Brf » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:44 am

Farmer Dusty wrote: Why would anyone want a bot to creep around their board gathering information on who the posters are and what are they saying?
Who they are? How would a bot find out who you are by the content of your posts? Do you thing the bots actually analyze the content of the posts or something?

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Re: Not so cool!!

Post by yenerich » Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:39 pm

Farmer Dusty wrote: Why would anyone want a bot to creep around their board gathering information on who the posters are and what are they saying?
All the world are trying to appear in Search Engine results.
Perhaps for a local or small forum could be usefull, but for most administrators its CRITICAL to appear fine in ser.

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Re: Not so cool!!

Post by romans1423 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:50 am

Farmer Dusty wrote:This bot issue is still unclear to me.

Are bots roaming around the board collecting information or not?

Why would anyone want a bot to creep around their board gathering information on who the posters are and what are they saying?

Has anybody else boned up on just what google is all about and its relationship with the NSA?

I have set permissions for bots to everything "never", but still find google or msn logged in as "registered users". I understand they are not in the member list because they have some special status, which is troubling, at least for me.

I would like an answer to the question: Are bots stopped at the doorway to the board with permissions set to "never" or are they coming through a back door provided by phpBB?
If you want to stop all (well-behaved) robots at the door, create a file called robots.txt in the root directory of your site (i.e., example.com/robots.txt) with the following content:

Code: Select all

User-agent: *
Disallow: /
However, that will definitely hinder your site from appearing in search engines like Google -- if their bots can't spider your pages, they can assign no directory or ranking information to them.

phpBB is open-source and its code is no secret; you or anyone else are free to scour the code looking for back doors, but I can assure you that there are none; if there were, a great deal of this community (including many of its staff members) would likely be up in arms about it. You're not the only one who values privacy, after all.

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