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Non present "members"
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adrianxw
Board Member



Joined: 08 Aug 2011

Posts: 10


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:58 am 
Post subject: Non present "members"

The board I admin is hosted elsewhere. I do not have database access. We have a "problem" which started earlier this year. Almost every day, we get "new members" who never post, just sit there with URL's in their profile for webcrawlers to pick up, thus boost their ranking. I routinely delete these "members" as soon as I see them.

Earlier this year, a "new member" appeared with an odd looking name which the Admin Panel->Select a User panel cannot find. Todays example is "Reanna Killi!ENDVALUE!" , I added the quotation marks, they are not showing on the forum. I can cut and paste that into the admin find but it says "Sorry, but that user does not exist."

Invisible characters or something at play I suspect. What can I try to get rid of these pests? I have mailed the crew that host the site, but they have not replied.
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Salvatos
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Joined: 19 Feb 2009

Posts: 416
Location: Québec


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:00 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

Can't you use a partial search on Find a username (for instance, Reanna*) and select from there?

Otherwise you could get the user's ID by visiting their profile (for example, http(...)profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=12). Even without access to phpmyadmin, you can force deletion using the user ID via a custom-made PHP page.

It would basically be lines 74-214 of admin_users.php, plus phpBB session integration and a few tweaks to delete the appropriate ID. I could make it for you but it's risky, you must back up your database before trying and delete the file as soon as you're done with it.
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adrianxw
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Joined: 08 Aug 2011

Posts: 10


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:16 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

If I search using *Reanna*, the tool returns the users "name", but if I select it into the look up user box, the same no such user message comes in.

I can get the user ID, but I have no access to the server, database or the php files. They are on a server in the US, the admins there have not responded to my mails, and their home side talks about the help I can get from their support forums, but I cannot find them!

What I did see in the profile for this "user", if I float the cursor over "Find all posts by", at the bottom of the explorer window, I can see, amongst other things...

search.php?search_author=Reanna+Killi%10%00%21ENDVALUE%21

... does that get me anywhere? Looks like a couple of control characters in there.
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Salvatos
Board Member



Joined: 19 Feb 2009

Posts: 416
Location: Québec


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:36 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

Okay, I think I found a way that will work even without FTP or database access.

First you need to get the user's ID, as explained above.

Next you'll be going into the admin panel. Copy the URL and make the following changes:

(...)admin/index.php?sid=bunchofnumbers
becomes
(...)admin/admin_users.php?sid=bunchofnumbers&mode=edit&u=99
where 99 should be changed to your user's ID.

That will get you to the regular User Management page, and hopefully you'll be able to delete it from there. If you can't even change their name using the ACP, I suppose the only thing that would work would be going into phpMyAdmin and deleting the entry manually, so you'd have to get access somehow. Best of luck!
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dogs and things
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Joined: 18 Nov 2008

Posts: 621
Location: Spain


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:58 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

Good idea Salvatos,

But I believe the url should be:
(...)admin/admin_users.php?mode=edit&u=99&sid=bunchofnumbers

_________________
phpBB2 will never die, I hope!
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Salvatos
Board Member



Joined: 19 Feb 2009

Posts: 416
Location: Québec


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:02 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

Unless I'm missing another change you made, argument order shouldn't have any effect. I personally tested it with sid&u&mode.
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adrianxw
Board Member



Joined: 08 Aug 2011

Posts: 10


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:36 am 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

I'll try this - as soon as the board comes back up, it appears to be on one of its frequent "day out" trips this morning.
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adrianxw
Board Member



Joined: 08 Aug 2011

Posts: 10


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:47 am 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

Done this. Worked fine. I've deleted a row of these this morning.

Board is operational again this morning, we have gotten used to these outages. I've kept the instructions for future use.

Cheers mate.
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Jim_UK
Board Member



Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Posts: 544
Location: North West UK


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:50 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

The Starfoxtj Admin Toolkit can be used to easily locate and remove those that can not be found by the default method.

Install a mod that stops url's being shown in signatures until after the user has made x posts.

Jim
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adrianxw
Board Member



Joined: 08 Aug 2011

Posts: 10


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:00 am 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

All well and good, if you have access to the server. But then, if I had access to the server, I would not have had the problem I had would I.
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Jim_UK
Board Member



Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Posts: 544
Location: North West UK


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:22 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

You said you did not have database access. Do you also not have ftp access to be able to place a file on the server?
That is all the Toolkit requires.

Anyone that has ftp access can make database changes just by placing a script in the root and executing it. There are sites (phpbbhacks for one) that has convertor that will take sql and convert it to a PHP file.

Jim
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adrianxw
Board Member



Joined: 08 Aug 2011

Posts: 10


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:51 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

We have no access to the system at all, it is hosted and managed by a crew in the US. A crew which does not seem able to answer e-mails, and offers support through an apparently vapourware support forum.
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Jim_UK
Board Member



Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Posts: 544
Location: North West UK


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:01 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

I think that you need to contact the server owners (the hosts) and ask them about ftp access plus Cpanel access.
I don't know how you manage to Admin a site without that basic access as there are so many times that you need it.

If you can not get the access then consider walking away and getting some proper hosting that will give you the access you need.


Jim
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adrianxw
Board Member



Joined: 08 Aug 2011

Posts: 10


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:31 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

We have discussed this. The current board tends to go offline every couple of weeks for a day or two. I could host it on my server here, but it is six years old where it is and a lot of useful info collected resides in the old threads on their server. The members don't seem overly concerned by this, many are not terribly web savvy, so don't know that things could be better.

Another thing is contacting the server owners... we have tried. They do not reply. The board was set up by a not terribly web-savvy guy, who wanted a forum as part of his main site. The setup we now have is the result of that.
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Salvatos
Board Member



Joined: 19 Feb 2009

Posts: 416
Location: Québec


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:07 pm 
Post subject: Re: Non present "members"

You could back up the database from the admin panel and set it up on a new server. Reinstalling those using the interface never worked for me, but the data is still there, so I have to assume someone with a bit of time could at least import the db manually and get it working. I just tested with an old backup from 2007 and I got it working with a minimum of tweaking.
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