Filtering users on the website

Because we are such an active website, opened to any type of users, we are also targetted by a lot of spammers. This means there is a regular flow of spammers trying to register on the website, so to avoid spam, we have set the registration on the website to be through approval. Luckily, they are still easy to detect.

Filtering users is done through the users administration page:
As an admin, open the page and check out how many "blocked" account there are. Hopefully, you will just have half a page. In the worst case, you might have 10 pages worth of users to filter.

To unblock users, tick their box at the beginning of the user line, then select the "Unblock the selected users" option into the Update options box, then click "Update".
To remove spammers, tick their box at the beginning of the spammer line, then select the "Delete the selected users" option into the Update options box, then click "Update".

If in doubt, delete the user. There are far more chances of loosing time because of a spammer than gaining time thanks to a lost contributor (this is from experience).

Now how do I filter them?

One of the fastest/most efficient way to do this is to open every user on the page in a new tab in your browser, then check their details and close the tabs where you found spammers. The remaining tabs will be the users you will have to "unblock". Luckily, they show the users logins as a title, so (at least in Firefox) you can easily see them without opening the tab again.

What are the signs of spammers?

When opening the tabs on users details, you will easily recognize users thanks to the following hints:
  • most spammers indicate websites in the corresponding field (this generates links to their website, which positions it a bit higher in search engines). For example:,
  • most spammers have very long, un-understandable e-mail addresses
  • a lot of Spanish-names type people are not spammers (a few are), and a lot of the legitimate users are from Latin America (Perú, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, México, etc...)
  • at this point in time (2010), most spammers mention websites in Russia (.ru). If you have doubts, open the linked website to see what it's about. If there's anything for sale to the great public, it's spam.
  • at this point in time, many spammers report themselves as living in the USA (for example: Bobactho, USA, Green Bay,
  • some spammers have very explicit spammer logins. For example: sunglassesonline, viagracheap, etc
  • if you have doubts (no spam URL, no weird details), then click on the "edit" tab for this user to see his e-mail address. You'll find some e-mails have nothing to do with the user login (for example: , )
  • spammers are smart, sometimes, so if they see a lot of latin american users, they will use latin american names, but their e-mail will generally still be located in russia
  • spammers generally don't want to give details if not interesting to them, so some will not indicate a country nor a city

Updated by Yannick Warnier about 10 years ago · 4 revisions