Spam remover

1.0.4 phpBB 3.3.5
Tue Apr 05, 2022 6:11 am
File size:
114.02 KiB
Validated for:
phpBB 3.3.5
MD5 checksum:
Install directory:

This extension uses the Akismet web service to find, flag and remove spam on your phpBB board. Akismet is mostly used to moderate comments on WordPress sites. Note that there is a phpBB Akismet extension already written by Senky. However, its use is strictly to handle new spam using Akismet. In contrast, this extension helps find and remove old and embedded spam.

phpBB has a number of spambot countermeasures, but it has no ability to clean up old spam other than depending on users to flag it and moderators to delete it. Particularly on boards that have a lot of old legacy spam, it’s nearly impossible to find, flag and remove all the spam.

This extension can go through all your posts, as well as private messages, and flag the spam as Akismet judges it. You can review the spam and selectively unflag posts and private messages you judge not to be spam. Afterward, or instead of this, you can use the bulk remove spam feature to delete the spam.

Use of the Akismet web service is not necessarily free. It can be used for free on a personal board by selecting $0 for the price, but they will encourage you to make a donation. Otherwise, you have to pay a fee, either monthly or annually, to use the service. So although this extension is free to use, the Akismet service isn’t necessarily free to use. You must obtain a license key from Akismet first, and enter the key on the extension’s settings page before you can find and remove spam with this extension.

If you're using Akismet already for a WordPress instance, you can use that same key here. If you have to pay to use Akismet, you can pay for only one month. Or you may want to pay for an annual subscription and use Senky’s extension to find and remove newly submitted spam.

Akismet accuracy

In general, Akismet is very good at identifying spam. However, very old spam may not get flagged and there may be occasional false positives. This may be because very old spam is purged from their database.

A board that is very infested with spam (95% spam content or more) may not be suitable for this extension. The content of falsely flagged spam may be high, leading to purging a lot of legitimate posts, topics and users. In these cases it may be better to see if you can determine when spam posts and registrations started and limit your search from that point forward.

Privacy considerations

In order to make a spam determination, the post or private message content must be sent to Akismet. Currently this extension does not distinguish between content in public and private forums. This feature may be added in the future. I assume but don’t know for certain that Akismet won’t include in its database any content not considered spam that you send it.

In addition, if a private message is flagged as spam, you have the ability to read the private message content.


There are seven modules of discrete functionality with this extension:

If any of these concerns are deal breakers, you should not use this extension.

  • Settings. Here you enter your license key and control some basic settings.
  • Find spam. Your selected posts and/or private messages are sent to the Akismet service for a spam judgment. You can constrain the time range of posts and private messages to scan in the user interface, or opt to scan only posts, or only private messages. The screen will refresh after a batch of posts or private messages are processed. It can take hours, or in some cases, days to find all the spam on a very large board. Akismet will process about four posts or private messages per second. Consequently, you often will want to scan for posts from a date when you started noticing they were occurring. On a test board with 58,000 posts and 300 private messages, it took about 4.25 hours for all the content to be processed.
  • Spam summary. After you run the find spam function, this will provide a summary of the spam found. If you didn’t have all your posts and private messages scanned, it will only show statistics for the range of posts and private messages that you had Akismet scan. Akismet distinguishes between probable spam and blatant spam. Probable spam should be manually reviewed in case Akismet made an error. Akismet says that blatant spam is safe to remove without review.
  • Spam posts details report. You can review the spam posts that were found, and filter them based on whether you want to review just probable or blatant spam. The post text is shown to help in your assessment. There are a number of sort options as well. When you flag a post as “ham” (not spam), Akismet is notified to improve the accuracy of its database.
  • Spam private messages details report. The interface is the same as for the spam posts details report. Note that the private message text can be seen by the administrator. This is necessary to judge whether it is spam or not.
  • Bulk spam removal. This interface removes anything that was flagged as spam and which you did not flag as ham. You can tell it to remove the blatant spam only. If the post is the first post of a topic, all its replies are removed as well. In addition, if after deletion the poster has no approved posts, their account is deleted as well. A batch of posts will be processed and then the cycle will continue to the next batch until all spam is removed.
  • Reset spam data. This lets you quickly clear any spam judgments made by Akismet. Afterward, you might want to run the find spam function again.
  • Test mode. Allows the extension to be tested with no data changed. The mode must be disabled to actually remove spam or report ham.
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  • Revisions
    phpBB Version(s)