[2.0.21] User Shield

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mobile homeless
Registered User
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:24 pm

Post by mobile homeless » Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:36 pm

Your User Shield mod looks very compelling and I am having a terrible time with spam bots and a certain user I banned but cant get to stop registering under different names.

My forum has 25,000 posts and over 600 members. Trouble is, I have never installed a serious mod besides adding text/links and pics to template. I have not installed easymod either.

I have 2.0.21 up but am skeptical about getting into something like this. Is there a step by step install that doesnt involve easymod that's fullproof?

I dont want to create a quagmire tying to solve one problem and creating a larger one.

I realize that this answer might be buried in this thread but have yet to find anything step by step. What are your suggestions?

idea
Registered User
Posts: 247
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2003 8:29 am

Post by idea » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:08 pm

This mod allows me to delete users that haven't activated their account through email.... Can this mod delete users that haven't visited the forum for awhile or delete users with 0 post (eventhough they activated their account through email already) ??

Wo1f
Registered User
Posts: 2039
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:20 am

Post by Wo1f » Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:11 pm

Hi idea,

Sorry about the delay in answering your original issue with EasyMOD, was busy (still am) with mobile homeless's request. Was that solved? Seemed to be some EasyMOD files not in the proper location.
idea wrote: This mod allows me to delete users that haven't activated their account through email.... Can this mod delete users that haven't visited the forum for awhile or delete users with 0 post (eventhough they activated their account through email already) ??


Not the current version. The next version will. Even though a user might not show any posts, or any activity per say, since the account was activated there could of been pm's and topic watch activities (to name a few) and so on. The current version of User Shield is not coded to properly check and clean all tables that might of been affected by these activities, so deleting them through the "non-actives only" filtered list could potentially leave "orphaned" data in some tables.

What I would suggest to you at this point, is to do a cleanup of all these accounts using for example:
  • Starfoxtj - PHPBB Admin ToolKit v2.1
[/url]
Once you have successfully cleaned accounts according to your criterias, you can then use User Shield's "delete in bulk" feature knowing that all displayed users from that point forward, will be deleted properly.

I hope this answers your question. Let me know.


Best regards,
Wolf :wink:

Wo1f
Registered User
Posts: 2039
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:20 am

Post by Wo1f » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:52 pm

Hi mobile homeless,

Thanks for understanding and reposting your request here. :wink:
mobile homeless wrote: Your User Shield mod looks very compelling and I am having a terrible time with spam bots and a certain user I banned but cant get to stop registering under different names.

There are 2 distinct problems at play here.

1 ] Spambots (automated and human)
2 ] Troublemaker

Let's concentrate on the spambot problem for now. User Shield's role is NOT meant to stop "automated" spambots from registering. It is meant to remove the incentives spammers are after which is, to introduce themselves into the memberlist with a clear intent on increasing popular search engine rankings for the sites they promote. That in itself is not a security issue. User Shield will also protect your members from this constant activity by hiding it from all except the administrator. User Shield also offers management tools through the memberlist, displaying "non-activated" new registered users with it's own filtered list and enabling bulk deletion for a quick resolution. Since the majority of spambots still do not at this time activate the account, it is very effective.

So in effect, User Shield is your last line of defence, meant to work in conjunction with a "first-line" antispam defence. This is not a requirement, but has been demonstrated to be quite effective.

My current recommendations concerning "first-line" antispam MODs are as follows (start with 1 MOD and live with it for at least a week. If you're satisfied with the results, great! - if not, uninstall the current one and try another):
  • The humanizer
[/url]
  • [RC1] myVIPcode - fight spam registrations
[/url]
  • [RC2] Anti Bot Question
[/url]
This is by no means an exaustive list. It is based on user feedback in these forums. Also of importance, what works well for your neighbor might not work as well for you and the effectiveness of any of these "first-line" antispam MODs can change at anytime. The more widely used a MOD is, the more likely spamners will code the spambots to work around it. Which brings me to conclude that any "first-line" antispam MODs that offer a feature which will make it unique for each site will be difficult to circumvent. All 3 of the mentionned MODs above, offer this feature to some extent.

Also keep in mind, that a MOD with an [RC] prefixe has not been validated by the MOD team yet, and may not install correctly when using EasyMOD. Since all board owners make sure to backup the database and forum files before installing any MOD, this is usually not a problem, come what may ( 8O ... in a perfect world).


mobile homeless wrote: My forum has 25,000 posts and over 600 members. Trouble is, I have never installed a serious mod besides adding text/links and pics to template. I have not installed easymod either.

You do not have a "small" forum and since this is your first time installing MODs, we need to be able to fall back to a pre-modded state if anything goes wrong. This means a full database backup and forum files, before we install anything.

Very important questions:

1 ] Do you have a reliable backup strategy (proven to work when in need)?
2 ] Aside minor personal modifications, have you installed any MODs at all (just re-confirming)?


mobile homeless wrote: I have 2.0.21 up but am skeptical about getting into something like this. Is there a step by step install that doesnt involve easymod that's fullproof?

Yes and no. Yes there is a step-by-step approach offered via User Shield's installation template. No, there is no fullproof method as these changes need to be done (through a series of very specific actions) by a ... human being. It will be as accurate as the human installer is willing to make it. I will not try to convince you to try EasyMOD, even though it offers an "error free" installation on unmodified phpBB/subSilver combo along with full backups of files about to be modified by a MOD, allowing you to revert back to a pre-MOD state etc. But if you do want to consider it, this guide will be helpful to you:
  • How do I install User Shield with EasyMOD?
[/url]

Otherwise... read on for details on how to install User Shield manually.
  1. If you are installing manually
    Do NOT proceed with this section if you have installed User Shield with EasyMOD

    You will also have to decide which of the following two installation methods to use, TXT/MOD or XML. The number of files involved and the location from which you will work with them will vary depending on this choice. Note that User Shield's "zip" package does not include the "MOD" file extension as the "TXT" file extension is without doubt universally recognized for what it is.
    1. Using the TXT installation file type:
      1. Extract "install_user_shield_v1_x_x.txt" into a folder on your local machine
      2. Open it in a rudimentary text editor (Aranea, Notepad++)
      3. Follow the installation instructions until completion
      4. When done, proceed with #2 (Database update)
      5. You can safely ignore the [SQL] action at the beginning of the installation file (will be taken care of in step #2)
      6. You can safely ignore the XML installation file type in the zip package
      or...
    2. Using the XML installation file type:
      1. Extract "install_user_shield_v1_x_x.xml" along with "modx.subsilver.en.xsl" into the same folder on your local machine
      2. Launch the XML installation file (double-click on "install_user_shield_v1_x_x.xml"), to display it's content in your default browser
      3. Follow the installation instructions until completion
      4. When done, proceed with #2 (Database update)
      5. You can safely ignore the [SQL] action at the beginning of the installation file (will be taken care of in step #2)
      6. You can safely ignore the TXT installation file type in the zip package
  2. Database update
    1. You can execute the required database update by copying the code in the "SQL" action at the top of the installation file, and pasting it in an "sql execution window" offered by such database console utilities as phpMyAdmin or cpanel.

      or...
    2. If you are using a MySQL database, then you can use the database updater file (as explained in the [DIY INSTRUCTIONS] action at the end of the installation template)
      1. You will need to create the "install" folder off the root of your forum such as: yourforum_root/install
      2. Upload (copy) "update_config_v1_x_x.php" to the newly created "install" folder on your server
      3. Then, run the file in your browser URL field such as:

        Code: Select all

        http://www.yoursite.com/yourforum_root/install/update_config_v1_x_x.php
      4. Once done a message confirming a successful update will be displayed along with a reminder to delete the "install" folder including it's content, before returning to your board. If an error message is displayed, you must note down (a screen capture is good) the error message content and post this information in User Shield's release thread.

        You will also need to seek support in User Shield's release thread if you are not using a MySQL database (eg. MSSQL or MSAccess) and are not able to convert the needed database update for your database format. There is no universal "out-of -the-box" database updater.
    3. Test User Shield's functionality thouroughly

Hope this helps you make the right decision for your board, and if in doubt just ask before attempting anything.


Best regards,
Wolf :wink:


Edit #1 - Clarified that there is no need to install more than 1 "first-line" antispam MOD at a time.
Last edited by Wo1f on Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

idea
Registered User
Posts: 247
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2003 8:29 am

Post by idea » Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:54 pm

thanks Wolf for the link! I'll check it out ...

Great job ! I like this mod

The Jeep
Registered User
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2002 9:43 pm

Post by The Jeep » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:42 pm

Wo1f wrote:
The Jeep wrote:One problem with listing the mods, is that I recently 'inherited' this site, and I don't have a list of definite mods. I know the "attachment mod" is there, and since it has a "top ten" in the list that must be something. I installed EasyMod also, but that was after the attachment mod was already installed, and prior to trying to get yours on there.

That's a shame as it could of helped in determining if a conflict was responsible for this, but readng though all of your reply, I'm just not sure that anything I might suggest will help anymore.
The Jeep wrote: Also I started trying to change things at version 2.0.19, so I upgraded it to 2.0.21 and at that point is when I realized the attachment mod was installed.. I just assumed it was part of the general installation. So I ended up recopying the 2.0.19 files back in to get the attachment to work, but the admin panel still says I am using 2.0.21, so I guess I really don't know what version I am running... LOL

That was not in your board's best interest. According to your description and depending on how many files were affected by it you would be running a board that needs attention. Upgrading to v2.0.21 must be a priority. Seriously. If the prospect of re-installing MODs is not one you look upon positively, it's possible to start fresh with the "Attachment" MOD pre-installed. That's not a bad start. As a rule of thumb, install only MODs that you will need and use, but mostly it would give you a chance to properly manage the upgrade (for security reasons) and regain adminstrative control of your inherited board.

In the meantime and until the above is done, I really think we gave it our best shot, unless you have an idea I haven't considered. I'm stumped. :?

OK, I have now updraded my board to the latest 2.0.21 version. I still have attachment mod working, and that top-ten mod thing.

I put usershield into the easymod and ran a preview on the files, and I get the following error:

Code: Select all

Critical Error

FIND FAILED: In file [memberlist.php] could not find:

'ROW_NUMBER' => $i + ( $start + 1 ), 

MOD script line #268 :: FAQ :: Report

CRITICAL ERROR: Could not modify [memberlist.php] 
What would you suggest?

mobile homeless
Registered User
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:24 pm

Post by mobile homeless » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:48 pm

I had read up on the actual benefits of your User Shield mod so knew what it could and couldn't do. That being said, the initial lines in your post did a nice job at another overview. I also thought your recommendations for the First Line of defense were well considered. I am probably going to uses these as well. Right now, the User Shield would go a long way in taking care of my current issues. Frankly, I don't know why PHPBB does not use this in the basic program. I know it's sometimes an advantage to show users before being activated, but these days, with all the spambots around, this is becoming more and more a liability, and major weakness in the PHPBB program (the bulk delete is REALLY needed, too). To be frank, and as most who have a popular board realize, the included PHPBB anti-spam bot measures are mediocre at best. They are actually far from foolproof and akin to a gill net with four foot holes.

I do full backups of my forum but probably not enough. I surely did one the other day before moving from 2.0.20 to .21. I had wanted to install EasyMod but to be honest, some of the problems in full view here left me feeling a bit leery, especially since my forum has been running without a hitch. I just didn't feel like jumping through a cavalcade of problem/error hoops.

I will let you know how I get along on the install, reporting any problems. It appears you have done an excellent job with this mod, and a needed mod at that. I am only hoping for a problem-free install, regardless of method.

Kudos for the well-considered post/instructions as well. Thanks for providing a service and all in an extremely timely manner. Well-Done!

The Jeep
Registered User
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2002 9:43 pm

Post by The Jeep » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:33 pm

ok, so I modified my memberlist.php file prior to running easymod, and it then edited it to what your mod makes it.. but I get this error

Code: Select all

Parse error: parse error, unexpected ',' in d:\domains\pnw4wda.org\wwwroot\forum\memberlist.php on line 282
So, obviously my memberlist.php file is jacked up right?

here is a link to the text version
http://www.pnw4wda.org/forum/memberlist.txt

Wo1f
Registered User
Posts: 2039
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:20 am

Post by Wo1f » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:47 pm

idea wrote: thanks Wolf for the link! I'll check it out ...

Great job ! I like this mod


Thanks for the kind words idea, and good luck to you.


Best regards,
Wolf :wink:

Wo1f
Registered User
Posts: 2039
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:20 am

Post by Wo1f » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:56 pm

mobile homeless wrote: I will let you know how I get along on the install, reporting any problems. It appears you have done an excellent job with this mod, and a needed mod at that...
...

Kudos for the well-considered post/instructions as well. Thanks for providing a service and all in an extremely timely manner. Well-Done!


Yes, it's important to me to know how you managed and if the installation instructions are concise and effective. Thanks for the kind words and you are most welcome. 8)


Best regards,
Wolf

Wo1f
Registered User
Posts: 2039
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:20 am

Post by Wo1f » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:59 pm

Hi again The Jeep,

Really glad to see that you persisted and are back for more. :lol:
The Jeep wrote: ok, so I modified my memberlist.php file prior to running easymod, and it then edited it to what your mod makes it.. but I get this error


No problem, I'll check it out for you and let you know what needs to be adjusted if need be. Be back in few.


Best regards,
Wolf

Wo1f
Registered User
Posts: 2039
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:20 am

Post by Wo1f » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:57 pm

The Jeep wrote:

Code: Select all

Parse error: parse error, unexpected ',' in d:\domains\pnw4wda.org\wwwroot\forum\memberlist.php on line 282


From the same "memberlist.php" you linked me to, go to line #292 and completely delete this snippet of code:

Code: Select all

$row_number = $i + ( $start + 1 ),
Integrating your corrected "memberlist.php" in my User Shield v1.2.1a environment confirms that it is error free and all User Shield edits required for that file have been done correctly. So at this point, can I assume that all other files modified by User Shield still contain those modifications?

I would copy the corrected "memberlist.php" back to the server and see what happens. You may not have to do anything at this point, as User Shield seems to be installed. If you persist in using EasyMOD to install User Shield without making sure that it was properly uninstall, EasyMOD is going to throw all kinds of errors at you that it cannot find this bit of code and that one etc etc...

Whatever the case, let me know what happens and we'll take it from there.


Regards,
Wolf

The Jeep
Registered User
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2002 9:43 pm

Post by The Jeep » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:06 pm

SWEET! it appears to work now!! man, what a fiasco. Thanks for the help on this.

I do wonder why that line of code was there though, kinda weird isn't it?

Wo1f
Registered User
Posts: 2039
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:20 am

Post by Wo1f » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:22 pm

Great news! You are most welcome and as far as to why it was there, I don't have a clue.


Best regards and good luck to you!
Wolf :wink:

mobile homeless
Registered User
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:24 pm

Post by mobile homeless » Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:42 am

Wo1f wrote: I will not try to convince you to try EasyMOD, even though it offers an "error free" installation on unmodified phpBB/subSilver combo along with full backups of files about to be modified by a MOD, allowing you to revert back to a pre-MOD state etc. But if you do want to consider it, this guide will be helpful to you:
  • How do I install User Shield with EasyMOD?
[/url]

Well, I'm back to report that I finally got around to installing User Shield. Your detailed post above was a big help and, ironically enough, I ended up using the advice in the quote instead of going with the manual install

The Easymod instructions were good, especially when combined with your reminders and pointers on the installation. I realized this was the most prudent method and can recommend it highly as a hassle-free approach if you follow the directions, which are near full-proof.

The User Shield mod installed without a hitch and was working immediately. Seems to be an excellent mod and I was actually shocked to find I had close to 48 inactive members, most of them I didn't realize! I spent the next 30 minutes going through them. I would have never seen them all in one place without the aid of your mod.

One question. Is it possible to make an inactive forum member with quite a few posts, profile visible if a member clicks on it or ventures into the memberlist? I have made him inactive but don't want it to seem like no one can see his profile as he has @3500 posts.

Again, thanks for the effort and the detailed instructions, outlining both the manual and Easymod approach.

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