I know that I sound like a broken record, but this version of vB does not support that idea of bad thread ratings that would keep a person from posting. I don't even think the newest version has that, but it's something that we keep trying to deal with in better ways. So your suggestions are appreciated.
Some might say that nothing will get done around here, but I say that alot of members don't know what's going on that they don't see. And you can start a forum and say you don't have that problem, but when that forum has several thousand members, then you'll see those problems. I've been involved with several forums, some small, some large, and the small ones are easy to take care of since the spammers are looking for thousands to see their spam, not a hundred.
Anyway, we're trying to make things better. Your suggestions and constructive criticisms are noted and may help in the future.
The thread rating idea is another good one, and so is reputation that we've talked about in the past. I'm hoping that we'll be able to implement those in the future.
We keep alot of the threads (though closed) so that when an ISP contacts me about those that are spamming, I still have the proof. There are no soft-deletes here, so when we delete it, it's gone. Technically it's only gone when the database is backed up.
There have been several ISPs that have been contacted about members that have been banned, especially multiple times. We have the burden of proof, so we keep their PMs and posts and send it to the ISP with a harassment charge. Even at that, it takes time for them to act upon the problem.
Banning IPs is another option that we do when the IP is static. Banning a dynamic IP, or a range, keeps alot of people from being able to join. I get several emails a day that are about this issue: new members trying to join and it tells them they are already banned. And you wouldn't believe the number of spam emails that the admin account gets!
We've also blocked some emails so that they won't be considered valid if someone tries to join with that email (the @stupid.com type stuff). I can't name those here, but some are not accepted because the spammers use some of these to join.
So, we are trying and IMO, we are doing a better job than ever. But the system can always be better, and that's what we're striving for.
I hope that helps with understanding that we are trying to make this place better.