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In the past few months, my support forums filled with spam users and comments, more than 20 each day. There was no way of preventing this using traditional plugins, such as Akismet, Wordfence or VFS Block. I’ve been using Mingle Forum which did a great job for years, however, with each WordPress update and each month of Mingle inactivity, the plugin became more and more vulnerable to spammers. I had to stop this. Mingle Forum used two additional plugins in order to fully reach its potential. One that allowed guest users to comment without register, and one to avoid spam.

At this moment I had two choices. Either merge Mingle Forum Guest Info and Ban Hammer plugins into Mingle Forum and fix all bugs and conflicts (did I tell you my error_log file reached 4Gb?) and lose two weeks of my life or install bbPress.

The only reason for me choosing the first option would have been the coding challenge. Having a full time job, though, is a big setback. Ban Hammer needs additional configuration upon install and would benefit from adding several API keys for some of the big blacklisting services. Akismet is already integrated, so switching to bbPress would be a breeze.

It was a breeze, actually, as the new support forums are now live.

I got rid of 800 spam users, 2 extra database tables and a 4Gb error log. I have used the integrated Mingle import option, but I have avoided converting the existing users, as the tool created an endless loop and I ended up with more than 30.000 duplicate users.

Anyway, no more forum spam, no more database overhead and no more plugin hassle.

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