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Author:  Andy [ Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:41 am ]
Post subject:  NEW REGISTRATIONS...

...are currently disabled, sorry. I've tried to fix it but there's a bug in the system, some code that needs rewriting, or something. I've also tried to upgrade the forum, but didn't get very far with that either.

Author:  Andy [ Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:29 am ]
Post subject: 

If you think you might be able to help with the registration problem please get in touch. I think it might be very straightforward if you're comfortable with code...

And/or if you think you might be able to help upgrade the forum to the latest phpBB version, and in the process prevent -- to a greater degree anyway -- the spam registrations that caused the problems in the first place, while retaining the integrated look of the forum, please get in touch.

Thanks! :)

Author:  Andy [ Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:23 am ]
Post subject: 

I'm receiving the occasional query from real people (Priya Sharma only this morning, eager to join in) asking why they can't register for the forum, or why they seem to have been banned, so I thought I'd repeat my plea for help. I think I have the script where the registration fault lies (it's something I put in via admin but can't take out via admin) but I daren't delete even a solitary a line of code for fear of wrecking the forum entirely. If there's anybody here a bit more confident with code than I am who can take a look at this file, and simply agree/disagree with me, that'd be a start. Thanks. :)

Upgrading the forum to the latest version without losing all the current threads is still necessary, so we can better avoid the plague of spam registrations, but that is way beyond me I'm afraid. I still recall me and Marie O'Regan copying stuff from an old forum to a new forum, one message at a time. It's apparently a much easier process than that!

Author:  gileadslostson [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:52 am ]
Post subject: 

I'll gladly take a look =)

Author:  gileadslostson [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:37 am ]
Post subject: 

And transferring from one db to a new one is actually fairly simple. You just have to have both on the same server and have the right insert statement =D

Author:  Andy [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:55 pm ]
Post subject: 

I wouldn't say it was fairly simple Marc, but I did make some good progress.

Version 3 is now installed, and I've started the 2-3 conversion procedure. Unfortunately I have a Fatal Conversion Error referencing Colliding Usernames on the old board (this one). They are, of course, the spammers.

The problem can be solved by deleting them. Trouble is, there are thousands of them. And the only way I can see to delete them is one at a time via this forum's rather weak admin. Which'd take me roughly 26 years.

Unless somebody knows better...?

Author:  gileadslostson [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

You could use a filter to keep the real ones. Spam accounts with certain things or patterns in their names would be easy to delete right away. You don't have to do it one at a time. Also you could look for doubled datasets and delete them like that.

I take it you are using some sort of SQL database?

Author:  gileadslostson [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:29 pm ]
Post subject: 

Do you also log activity for accounts? Last logged in, number of posts?

Author:  Andy [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Unfortunately, Marc, in phpBB2 there is no way to access them, no "prune users" or anything like you'd find in phpBB3, whereby you can select all and delete in one go, which'd be slightly quicker. In phpBB2 the only thing you can do is "look up user" then delete that user, then repeat, then repeat...

I daresay there is a Mod for phpBB2 that will allow you to, say, select users with 0 posts and delete those, but it'd require some code editing/writing and I'm not that confident, particularly when said Mod might well contain some bug of its own.

Oh, and apparently you really should *not* delete users from the database, that causes/doesn't fix problems in the conversion at all.

Looking for doubled datasets (presumably the same as a colliding username), yes, but there are thousands of them.

Author:  gileadslostson [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

I am looking just now, most of my experience is with MSSQL and MySQL but the concept for a relational db is always the same, just the syntax that varies.

Author:  gileadslostson [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

Can you post/send me the error message? How many collisions are there?

Author:  gileadslostson [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

It is actually possible to get rid of them on the database directly, the php boards advise caution because you can't generally delete from one table without screwing up the others unless you do it in the correct order.

For example, the user table will be linked to the posts table and perhaps image table or what ever and were you to delete the user first the db would scream and die, you would have to delete images, then posts then user.

It will probably be more complicated than that but in principle that is how it goes.

I am still looking for a way to do it through the admin interface. Maybe with a script.

Author:  Andy [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

The error message is something very like:

"Fatal conversion error

Colliding usernames were found on your old board. In order to complete the conversion please delete or rename these users so that there is only one user on your old board for each clean username."

It then lists the culprits. A few, easy. But there are *thousands* Marc, many thousands. We have over 61,000 registered users, and just before they caused problems for the server and our email these spam registrations started coming in at the rate of one a minute. It'd become impossible to delete them long before that, unless that's all you wanted to do all day.

(Should've upgraded years ago, and then when we upgraded the website. Lesson learned.)

If you're confident we can do it via the database, Marc, I'd be happy to give it a go. This is a MySQL database, btw.

There is a Mod we could try first, if it's better that way, found it on the phpBB. I have it downloaded -- though it might be a different Mod, I'm getting a bit dazed and confused by now. Shall I email it?

Seeing as how the only other option (that I can see) is to do a fresh, blank install of phpBB3 and use it from scratch, leaving the old forum for reference, it wouldn't really matter much if we knackered it up a bit more after all.

Author:  gileadslostson [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

Let me see the mod first and if possible a list of the tables in the db. Changing things directly on the db, as long as it's done carefully is the best/easiest option, it would allow you to make a clean transition or perhaps clone the 'good' data and do a clean install with that.

Author:  Andy [ Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:49 pm ]
Post subject: 

On its way Marc. Thanks again!

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