Using custom user fields to prevent bot signups

We seem to be experiencing an uptick in spam lately as follows:

  • a new user account is created
  • said account posts on old threads, with somewhat-relevant technical content that isn’t obvious spam at first glance
  • at the end (or in the middle of the post) is a link to something completely unrelated to the question (or the content they are posting) that is obviously spam, such as links to bitcoin trading, porn, or other links.

I’m evaluating a couple of ways to address this, but it seem like preventing bot signups could be one way to nip this in the bud.

Is there a way to pre-set a confirmation checkbox User Field:

https://[FORUM URL]/admin/customize/user_fields

to be checked, so i can do something like this:

other suggestions to prevent spam signups (we have auto silence fast typers on first post set to true, but it is not helping as much as we’d like)

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Are you using akismet?

Are you sure these are automated signups? Typically that’d mean you also see a lot of unused new user accounts. In the past, these have been human-driven registrations, so checking a few boxes is only going to slow them down a little bit.

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Yeah these are almost certainly actual humans.

There’s been a massive uptick in human spam over the last 10 years.