Really weird Wordpress issue

I know you’re all Wordpress geniuses so I need one of you to help me out with this :slight_smile:

Readers of one of our blogs have informed us that they can’t comment. Every time they try they get:

“forbidden - number in author name not allowed”

This has never been a problem before. A lot of our readers have numbers in their names. We didn’t change anything to make this a problem.

I tried to replicate it and had the same problem. Any name with a number in it is instantly blocked.

There’s no setting to change that I can find, no info out there about this problem either. It seems to be specifically impacting our blog and I’m completely baffled.

Anyone know what’s going on?
I wondered why comments had dropped off a cliff, now I know! lol

sounds like a policy enforced by your security plugin.

I thought that might be the case but the only security plugin we have is Wordfence and when deactivating it the problem persists (tested in private browsing).

It’s really strange.

Do you have the plugin Stop User Enumeration installed on your site?

I found those references to it also, but we don’t have it.
Baffled to be honest, so little info out there about it.

Really weird. What comment system are you using?

Just the standard WP comments.

have you made sure you cleared all caches after disabling wordfence, including cache at your CDN ect? I remember an issue like this when (not with comments but something else security related) just deactivating the plugin wasn’t enough to remove the rule, deactivating all rules, deleting plugin and then clearing all caches was the only way to get around it.

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If you are using cloudflare or something like that, you should also purge cache there.
Now sure how big you website is that but when I have an issue I can’t figure it out I move the website to a new server (while others still see the old one) if the problem is also there or not.

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In that case, you can try the old-fashioned solution. You turn off the blog cache, turn on the Cloudflare development mode so it doesn’t cache content, and turn off all plugins before starting to turn them on one by one to figure out which one is the problem.

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i have had to do that to figure out which plugin was causing an issue.

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I also had the same issue. It must be a WP core bug or plugin conflict. You can solve the issue by installing the free wpDiscuz plugin. It overrides the standard WP comments. It has much more functions and also different styles and themes.

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Thanks for all the replies! I did all kinds of things thanks to your suggestions, but special thanks to Nick. wpDiscuz is amazing, and not only did it solve the problem it looks amazing too!

Thanks again guys, I greatly appreciate the help