Comment headaches

The scourge of bloggers, comment spam, has been absolutely crushing lately. I get literally thousands of spam comments every day and it’s getting much worse. Luckily, MT Blacklist has made it relatively easy to block spam commentrs after their first strike, but spammers are very creative and aggressive, and they always come up with new URLs, and lately they’ve been demonstrating a scary ability to subvert MT Blacklist.

Blacklist makes it easy to delete the comment from my site, but if I get 600 spam comments, that still means I need to delete 600 email notifications, and that can be an agonizingly slow process, since Yahoo only lets you see 25 comments at a time.

So in my frustration I got a lot more aggressive with my Blacklist entries this weekend, and unfortunately this caused some big headaches. Several people’s comments were deleted, and I’m really sorry about that. It shouldn’t happen again.

You may also find that when you type a comment, Blacklist stops it from going through. It will always show you what you typed that isn’t permitted; please try to work around it — or send me an email and I’ll be sure to fix the problem. (Example: I tried to type the word “socialism” in a comment and it wouldn’t let me because I had added the word “c-i-a-l-i-s” to Blacklist; I since removed it.) If that sort of thing happens, please let me know. Also, you don’t need to add an email address to your comments anymore; if your comment won’t go through, try taking out your email address.

I’m also thinking of installing a “kapcha” device, where you have to type in a specific word that appears, distorted to confuse the bots. I hate to add another step, but if you knew the misery of having to go through literally thousands of spam comment emails every day….

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 11 Comments

You know, *knock on wood* I’ve never had a single spam comment. That’s because my CMS requires users to “Preview” *all* comments; you can’t just post them right away.

If you can enable a similar feature using MT, you might look into that.

November 21, 2004 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

Aargh. I just deleted about 2,000 of those little germs from the inbox, but the comments are still loaded. Some older posts have 35-40 spams inserted in comments. I just hired a techie to make some “stopper” tools, but I’m still using B2, which I hear is terrible for fighting this stuff. If my guy is helpful, I’ll refer him over to you, if you’re still having the problem.

November 21, 2004 @ 5:34 pm | Comment

That sounds like a good system and I’ve thought about installing a similar plug-in that would let me approve each comment before it posts. My concern is most of my readers post comments from Asia and I don’t see them for many hours after they post. If they had to wait 8 hours or more for eithr comments to post, it would kill the spontaneity, which I find the most enjoyable part of running a blog But I’ll keep in mind as a last resort.

November 21, 2004 @ 5:34 pm | Comment

Thanks Sam. Let me know if he does a good job for you,

November 21, 2004 @ 5:36 pm | Comment

Phil at Flying Chair seems to have a pretty good system going. You might want to ask him about it. Read about it here.

November 21, 2004 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

The fudged code idea sounds good, it wouldn’t be too much of a pain to do.

Out of interest would comment spam be covered by any of the anti email spam legislation.

November 22, 2004 @ 3:56 am | Comment

i agree

November 22, 2004 @ 10:32 am | Comment

Richard, I am starting to feel your pain…

I just installed WordPress, and am in the process of learning it before I migrate over to it for good and ditch Blogger, and I woke up this morning with about 70 spam posts.

November 22, 2004 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

This is why I love Blogger. I have had a few complaints / whines that you have to register to comment (not true), and that I need to switch to Halo (no desire to), so I stick with Bloggers commenting functions.

Yeah Google! Yeah Blogger!

November 22, 2004 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

Yeah, do a code before entry. I wouldn’t mind.

November 23, 2004 @ 5:10 am | Comment

The Turing code idea sounds best, but it’s more involved, software-wise, and I want to keep my blog simple and stay on its shoestring (it’s really just a revolving picture-postcard for my kids and friends).

My techie friend is having partial success with his home-grown solutions, but it’s not polished enough to pass around yet. We did clear out 40 megafuckingbytes of junkmail from the database, though.

November 24, 2004 @ 2:50 am | Comment

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