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Back Up and Migrate?

 
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StrangeMagic
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 637

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:09 pm    Post subject: Back Up and Migrate? Reply with quote

Dear All,

I think many of us have wandered off on various different directions over these years. We started this board on the 18th of April, 2007, so there has been a lot of history. There have been bursts of activity every now and again which is great to see.

I've also been occasionally getting emails about new people wanting to join the forum. However, as some of you might remember, there was a big problem with bots a while back, so I disallowed a whole bunch of usernames using the * as a wildcard character. I ended up using all the letters and symbols of the keyboard. Unfortunately, I am now unable to un-disallow them, as all I get in the dropdown menu is a blank box.
This means I can't add any more new people. So I was wondering if anyone knows how we might be able to solve this?

I found this on the website which hosts our board, which might be useful: http://phpbb.bizhat.com/phpbb_forum_backup.html However, I have no idea how to do a MySQL restore...

Another plan is to perhaps migrate the forum? Perhaps start anew? Yet, I do fear that our posts here might be lost one day, so I'd like to hear your suggestions on how to at least back up the forum.

I look forward to hearing from you (including the lurkers!)

StrangeMagic[/img]
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eldin raigmore
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Joined: 03 May 2007
Posts: 1621
Location: SouthEast Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Back Up and Migrate? Reply with quote

StrangeMagic wrote:
…. as some of you might remember, there was a big problem with bots a while back, so I disallowed a whole bunch of usernames using the * as a wildcard character. I ended up using all the letters and symbols of the keyboard. Unfortunately, I am now unable to un-disallow them, as all I get in the dropdown menu is a blank box. ….

I've been a mod on a phpBBoard before -- the conworlds.com CWBB, for one.
I've been able to un-disallow usernames and URLs etc. I'd dis-allowed; so unless we have two different versions of phpBB, and this one won't let mods do things that one does let them do, there should be a way for you to un-disallow them here. (See below!)
In any case, the ultimate solution, at CWBB, was to disallow all usernames by just using a single * wildcard character, and finding a way to notify everyone who needed to know that they needed to e-mail a certain address to request to register. You could talk to Xhin (the boardmaster at CWBB) and find out how. You might also talk to Blake; he's also a mod there.

(This is the "below" I said to see!)
I am on a screen that looks like this:
Quote:
Username Disallow Control

Here you can control usernames which will not be allowed to be used. Disallowed usernames are allowed to contain a wildcard character of *. Please note that you will not be allowed to specify any username that has already been registered. You must first delete that name then disallow it.

Add a disallowed username
Username
You can disallow a username using the wildcard character * to match any character
Remove a Disallowed Username
Username
You can remove a disallowed username by selecting the username from this list and clicking delete

Powered by phpBB 2.0.23 © 2001 phpBB Group

I drop down the "Delete" submenu to get to the bottom, which is:
*atsnammi
I select it, then push the "Delete" button (or just press the "Return" key), and it removes it from the "Disallow" list.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I recommend not disallowing a username-pattern with fewer than four non-wildcard characters in it.
(You may prefer "three" rather than "four". I think "four" is safer, but you're the boss.)
(Even then you might run into problems; suppose you decide to disallow names that match *cunt*, and then someone from Scunthorpe wants to use their hometown as a username?)

I also, and independently, recommend not disallowing one with more than two wildcard characters in it.
Matching a pattern with one wildcard in it is pretty much a single operation (check the beginning, or the end, of the username), or just two operations (check the beginning and the end of the username).
Matching a pattern with two wildcards in it is linear in the length of the username; it involves finding a particular substring, wherever it is in the username (it may also involve checking the beginning and/or the end of the username).
Matching a pattern with three wildcards in it is quadratic in the length of the username; that can be pretty time-consuming.
Matching a pattern with four wildcards in it is cubic in the length of the username, which is usually prohibitively time-consuming.

I strongly recommend, avoid using a pattern like *x* or some such thing, that disallows a particular single character no matter where it occurs in the username!
If you must, disallow names that start with it (e.g. x* )
and/or end with it (e.g. *x ),
or are in longer strings with it ( *xx* ).


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Do you not see a "Remove a Disallowed Username" or "Delete" sub-screen?
If you do, is that "Delete" dropdown menu really blank, or is it just that the top name consists of invisible or whitespace-only characters (or, worse yet, an empty string)?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, I'm at the Ban Control screen, which looks like this:
Quote:
Ban Control

Here you can control the banning of users. You can achieve this by banning either or both of a specific user or an individual or range of IP addresses or hostnames. These methods prevent a user from even reaching the index page of your board. To prevent a user from registering under a different username you can also specify a banned email address. Please note that banning an email address alone will not prevent that user from being able to log on or post to your board. You should use one of the first two methods to achieve this.

Ban one or more specific users
Username:
Un-ban one or more specific users
Username:
You can unban multiple users in one go using the appropriate combination of mouse and keyboard for your computer and browser
Ban one or more IP addresses or hostnames
IP addresses or hostnames:
To specify several different IP addresses or hostnames separate them with commas. To specify a range of IP addresses, separate the start and end with a hyphen (-); to specify a wildcard, use an asterisk (*).
Un-ban one or more IP addresses
IP addresses or hostnames:
You can unban multiple IP addresses in one go using the appropriate combination of mouse and keyboard for your computer and browser
Ban one or more email addresses
E-mail address:
To specify more than one email address, separate them with commas. To specify a wildcard username, use * like *@hotmail.com
Un-ban one or more email addresses
E-mail address:
You can unban multiple email addresses in one go using the appropriate combination of mouse and keyboard for your computer and browser

Please note that entering a range of IP addresses results in all the addresses between the start and end being added to the banlist. Attempts will be made to minimise the number of addresses added to the database by introducing wildcards automatically where appropriate. If you really must enter a range, try to keep it small or better yet state specific addresses.

Powered by phpBB 2.0.23 © 2001 phpBB Group


Once I banned all e-mail addresses from Russia and mainland China. I had never had anyone but spambots from those countries try to register.

I never used wildcards in the usernames of banned users. (I did in the disallowed usernames, though.)

I was very careful to limit banning of IP addresses and/or hostnames; in fact I think I only ever banned one of them, and didn't use any wildcards.

It was my habit, though, when disallowing a "convicted spammer's" username on the "disallow names" screen, to use not only the actual name, but each version of the name obtained by replacing one particular character with the wildcard.
And I did the same thing with the e-mail addresses in the "ban control" screen.

As you can tell all that bot-scrubbing turned into a lot of work. Eventually Xhin and/or Blake came up with the "just disallow all of them and then let them know they need to e-mail a mod to get registered" idea.

But for the time being I think you ought to be able to allow new people to register by un-disallowing and/or un-banning selected things (maybe most things?) you've disallowed and/or banned.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't know how to back up and migrate.

I'm pretty sure Xhin and/or Avaronald and/or Blake have had to do it, several times, for the CWBB.
I can get to the appropriate screen:
Quote:
Database Utilities : Backup

Here you can back up all your phpBB-related data. If you have any additional custom tables in the same database with phpBB that you would like to back up as well, please enter their names, separated by commas, in the Additional Tables textbox below. If your server supports it you may also gzip-compress the file to reduce its size before download.

Backup options
Full backup
Structure-Only backup
Data only backup
Additional tables
Gzip compress file No Yes

Powered by phpBB 2.0.23 © 2001 phpBB Group


But then I'm not sure what to do.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As for whether to backup&migr8, I wouldn't until you know how; then I'd say it's up to you.

Allowing more members is important; if the bkup&migr8 is the best way to do that, then I'm for it.

Otherwise, I think I'm still for the backup. Migrating is more iffy; if you can find a safer (and/or simpler) way to let more new people join, I'd go with whatever method that is, instead of the migration.

--------------

Does any of that help?
I hope so!

Thanks for being the guy who worries about this stuff!
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StrangeMagic
Admin


Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 637

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your reply.

It seems like we have the worst case scenario: I see an empty string where the dropdown menu of disallowed usernames are.

I've made you and LingoDingo admin, so when you have the time, please feel free to see if you can figure it out.

Thanks in advance!
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eldin raigmore
Admin


Joined: 03 May 2007
Posts: 1621
Location: SouthEast Michigan

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

StrangeMagic wrote:
It seems like we have the worst case scenario: I see an empty string where the dropdown menu of disallowed usernames are.
I've made you and LingoDingo admin, so when you have the time, please feel free to see if you can figure it out.

Like you, I got an empty string where the dropdown menu of disallowed usernames are.
I pushed the "delete" button anyway, just in case; and it said the disallowed name was deleted.
I have no idea what to deduce from that; nor whether it will help anything.
------------------------------------------
At this point I think we (and by "we" I think I mean "you") should contact bizhat's "help desk" (or whatever their version of that is) and ask for help or guidance.
-------------------------------------------
Can you think of a way to test whether I changed anything?
Maybe try to create a new account and add a new username?

[ EDIT ]: I don't think I did change anything. I just tried to register "Rigel Kent", and it told me "Sorry, this username has been disallowed". [ /EDIT ]
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LingoDingo
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Joined: 25 Oct 2011
Posts: 100
Location: Eastern US

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm flattered that you would trust me with Admin privilege on your board, StrangeMagic! I shall try my best to act in your interests heretofore (unless you planned on revoking it after this issue is resolved of course)

_______________________________

Anyhow, Having looked in the administration panel I see the same thing as both you and eldin have said: An empty dropdown bar in the Disallow Usernames section.

However, upon encountering the terminology in the panel, and doing some research on the phpBB forums, I came upon this topic discussing a "tool"(a program, I think?) called "phpmyadmin", supposedly provided to the forum creator. The thread seems to be discussing exactly the problem you are currently facing, and I suggest reading it carefully.

Should the solutions in the aforementioned thread not rectify the issue, then all that is left is to contact BizHat or phpBB directly via e-mail and/or phone.


*Note: I also went through several other threads discussing this issue but all solutions provided in them are also given in the one I linked to
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LingoDingo
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Joined: 25 Oct 2011
Posts: 100
Location: Eastern US

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*Update:

I tried entering the username, "maybethiswilldosomething" into the disallowed names list in the hopes that it my jig the system into gear and, while it claimed that the username was added to the disallowed list, when I returned to the page, the dropdown bar was still empty.

I then tried, as eldin did, to register a user, "ignoDingoL," and was met with the same result as him.

I have since pressed the delete button next to the dropdown bar again, but I assume that will still do nothing.
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Fluent or nearly fluent in: English, German, Japanese
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Constructed Languages: Aalsen, Aalmok Repurpose, Samamisu

.aď sodai peťās sokās na asnā;šustās buntai mokā aaťal. - One never truly knows a culture until they learn its language.
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eldin raigmore
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Joined: 03 May 2007
Posts: 1621
Location: SouthEast Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LingoDingo's latest update proves that the "Delete Disallowed Usernames" software is malfunctioning; at least as far as showing the list of currently-disallowed usernames, to pick one to delete.
Bizhat needs to be notified. The software needs to be fixed. It may be a Bizhat-only problem, in which case it's probably a bizhat-generated problem. OTOH it might be a problem with this version of phpBB.

Is there a phpBB BBoardmasters' group one could post this question on?
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eldin raigmore
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@StrangeMagic;

Were you able to contact BizHat about this problem?

If so, what did they say?

---------------------------

Did you try to contact the makers of phpBB about it?

If so, with what success?
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StrangeMagic
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 637

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eldin raigmore wrote:
@StrangeMagic;

Were you able to contact BizHat about this problem?

If so, what did they say?

---------------------------

Did you try to contact the makers of phpBB about it?

If so, with what success?


I haven't been able to find good/reliable modes of contact for either of them. I think that BizHat would be less useful. Their website seems very outdated and abandoned.

phpBB has said that no more support is being provided to such old versions of phpBB.

I'm not entirely sure if we will be able to find any assistance, unfortunately.
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