THINGS I HATE
There really isn't much to be said here that hasn't already been said by others as frustrated as me or experienced by the average internet user.
To put it bluntly, I once had a dream of having a website that was dynamic. One that would allow friends and family to start a topic of discussion or leave a comment of sorts about a discussion... The "Hey, how did you find me???" at the top of the browser was a sort of message to the random user to leave a message in my guestbook explaining how they got here.
Spambots ruined it. Completely and utterly ruined it. By posting website URLs that went to Viagra sales centers in Chinese over and over again ultimately drowning out any real message left behind in the guestbook, it was effectively a free advertising tool while (probably) being completely ineffective at promoting sales. I initially tried doing sneaky things like changing the URL to the guestbook, and that would stave off the bots for a short while... but it took about three weeks for some human to investigate the website and record the new location of the guestbook and it got spammed all over again. I had to disable it.
As you can see, even though my guestbook is disabled completely, the spambots still think they are spamming it. The following picture is for the month of December, 2007 - a full two years after I disabled it. My guestbook gets by far more hits than any other page on my site.
Every now and again I'll see errors in my error log of someone trying to manipulate the php code into posting new V14gr4 websites, but it fails every time. I manipulated the guestbook code so that a double negative exists, so that if you use the "@" symbol in any part of your email address it cancels your message. As you know, it is already formatted to reject your message if you do not include an "@" in your email address... so a message will never get posted. As a courtesy I blocked out the box where you put your name, in case a real person tries to sign it. I'm a genius.
Somewhere in the mix I decided to put up some forums... PHPBB is the best free forum software out there, so that's what I used... Believe it or not, spambots like invading forums as well as guestbooks. Before I knew it, I was getting five, ten new members a day - all of which were spambots and there was nothing I could do about it. If it were easier to delete the members I may have kept the forums up... but as it stands you have to go through a lengthy menu tree to get the screen where type the user name or type part of the user name and do a search for them in the administration panel. Then you click on them, go into their profile, and then click the "Delete User" box, and then click "Submit" to delete one spambot. From that point it does not bring you back to the admin panel, but instead says "User successfully deleted!" and you are either forced to hit "Back" three times (each time getting a warning of inputting POST DATA to which you have to click "OK" each time) or go through the menu tree all over again to delete the next user. This was a major pain in the rear so in the end I decided that I did not have enough time to moderate the forum so I disabled it altogether as well.
So thanks to advanced spambot technology I have closed down any possibility for user-generated content. It wasn't really active in the first place, so no big loss.
My forum doesn't get the hits that my guestbook does - so it's possible the spambots have stopped coming around the forum... I may reopen them... all I need are a few email requests. :)
THINGS I HATE