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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Breaking Point...

I really hate that I have to even consider this, but I'm thinking that I need to do something to stop the recent spate of spam comments. Over the past couple of days it's been a growing flood of spam, with my inbox overflowing with links to Russian pr0n or discount fake handbags and whathaveyou. It's disappointing to see 20 new messages and find only one real comment, and 19 spam comments.

But worse is that more and more of these comments are making it through the spam filter and getting posted. I don't know what the deal is with Blogger, but comments with multiple links in the past have always been s**t-canned - and now they're making it onto the blog. I refuse to reward these @$$holes with the light of day - that can only encourage them, because I'm sure they're getting *some* clickthroughs.

I'm going to give it another couple of days, and if it doesn't improve, I'm going to have to do one of two things:

a) Turn off anonymous comments. I really don't want to do this, because I know there's a number of folks that comment that way. I certainly don't want to alienate anyone who wishes to comment anonymously; I suspect/fear that a good number simply won't comment rather than register;

or

b) Turn back on captcha. I also don't really want to do this, because I often find the phrase illegible and have to make multiple entries before I can get it right when I comment on blogs that have captcha enabled. This also can discourage folks from commenting, and I don't want that, either.

So, here I am, the blogging comment equivalent to Scylla and Charybdis. Either I leave comments unmoderated and deal with the torrent of spam, or I take steps to stem the flow and risk losing comments. I really appreciate and enjoy the comments left - when they are real comments, that is. If someone wants to use my blog to promote their website, I'm happy to discuss terms for adding them to the sidebar - but I'll be damned if some spambot's gonna do it for free.

Just curious how others have handled this or would like to see it resolved...

That is all.

27 comments:

Freiheit said...

Can you do a RobbAllen style captcha?

Something brain dead simple like "Are you a robot?" yes/no

The image Captchas just infuriate me.

Balloon Goes Up said...

Wordpress!

Armed Texan said...

Moderating the spam is why we pay you the big bucks. If you're just bucking for a raise, well I got some extra pocket lint. (I would offer money, but my Uncle already mugged me.)

bluesun said...

Wordpress + Askimet. No problems whatsoever.

Alan said...

2nd the Wordpress + Akismet. Akismet catches thousands of spam comments every month with no effort on my part at all.

markofafreeman said...

Yep, vote number 3 for Wordpress + Askimet. The migration was a learning process, but since I'm a computer geek, anyhow, it wasn't a huge effort.

If you need help, there's plenty out there. I could offer my assistance, but I'm doing it on my own virtual private server with my own Wordpress installation. How you do it may vary if host on wordpress.com.

Either way, you can keep your own domain name, just don't flip the switch until everything looks good.

threecollie said...

I'm with Blogger like you and had to stop anonymous comments a couple of months ago. The capchas are impossible, so it seemed like the lesser of two pains in the neck.

Ruth said...

Its not just you, I checked the spam folder the other day, 212 spam comments since the beginning of Nov. I do use Wordpress, and I don't use Askimet. My Captcha is a math equation, and on the occasion when a spam comment gets posted I modify Wordpress's spam filters again. Its catching most of it on its own these days.

Jay G said...

I appreciate the comments, but I am not switching platforms.

First off, half the platforms for comments just plain don't work (cough: discus). Secondly, I can't even get this squared away so that "ma-rooned.com" directs here; there's no way on G-d's green earth I have the time or patience to do a platform migration. And lastly. Kevin Baker lost a crapton of comments when he migrated. So that's a non-starter...

I do find it hysterical that I've already gotten two spam comments on this post (both caught, however).

Geodkyt said...

If you have to do something, go Captcha.

Dave H said...

I'm okay with whatever you decide short of shutting it down completely.

Disabling anonymous commenting doesn't affect me. I don't comment here anonymously because I figure anything I have to say is worth saying under my own identity. (But I understand that some people are not in the same position and must respond thus due to employment or other concerns. I still appreciate what they have to say, as you do.)

I can make do with Captcha if you need to move to that. I think MArooned is worth the effort.

I'll also take one last swing at the dead horse and suggest Wordpress. As a user I've never cared for Blogger and I found both WordPress and LiveJournal reasonably easy to use from the other side of the keyboard.

Jay G said...

I think I may turn Captcha back on for a few weeks/months and see if the spambots give up...

So far, on this post alone, four spam attempts, all caught. I may leave this out there for a bit longer and see how many more I can catch.

I don't mind the ones that get caught. I see the e-mail, delete it instantly, takes maybe a second off my life. It's the ones that make it through that piss me off. No one wants to see a comment filled with links for copycat handbags or generic C!@1@$...

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I'll have to say it definitely appears to be a Blogger-specific issue. I prefer doing the email subscription for post comments, and my email has been getting hammered lately with spam from a couple of posts at Borepatch's and at Tam's, in addition to here.

YMMV, of course, but my transition to Wordpress was pretty much seamless from my perspective - but then, you have both a much larger number of posts and a greater number of comments per post than I do, so it may not be a good comparison. But the default Wordpress filters seem to do a much better job of dealing with spam than Blogger does, without the need for those horrible captcha images.

But if switching platforms isn't an option, captcha may be the lesser of the remaining evils.

GreyLocke said...

My spam almost vanished with the exception of the SEO idiots when I turned off anonymous commenting. Plus I keep moderation on. I do not want to bother my readers with that garbage just for a few pageviews.

BGMiller said...

Wait....
This Russian pRon....

You've checked it?
I'd hate to think we were missing out on pics of a sweet VEPR holding up some poor waif just because of spam issues....

:P



BGM

Don said...

For those that don't wish their secret identity revealed, how about just using a nom de plume or other innocuous name?

I, for instance, only use my first name. I refuse to confirm if it's my real first name though.

Setting up a g-mail account is quick, and I rarely use that account for anything but commenting and retailer spam. About once a month I delete everything in it.

Erin Palette said...

Again, I have to promote my love for Disqus. Sure, you can't comment anonymously, but there's nothing preventing you from making an account from a throwaway email address, and once you're registered you don't have to do it again.

Plus, the ability to edit comments, block IPs, and nest conversations all without having to learn HTML? Pure gold.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to do captcha only for anonymous comments?

If you hate captcha, set up yet another gmail account. For those of us who have no problems with pattern recognition we'll do the captcha.

No?


Ambulance Driver said...

Disqus

Old NFO said...

I just turn off comments after about a week... That cut my spam to just about nothing...

Ken O said...

I came to post "What caliber for Scylla" then saw the captcha code had won. Fucking thing is about as legible as some jihadi's scribblings.

Larry said...

I moderate comments, same way as Matt G and Brigid.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.....starting to wonder if the huge increase in spam commenting is overseas (Chinese, Russian) chasing click through money, or there's something more nefarious at work.

Blogs are predominantly conservative, meaning blog writers have jobs, families and lives and probably little money and time to deal with spam tsunamis. How much spam would it take to drive some bloggers out? See: Frank James, et al.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

@ Ken O: I can't disagree with you on that. On the other hand, on this post alone I got 16 emails that were spam comments here in a period of about 6 hours. Despite all the things wrong with it, captcha is an immediate and easily activated solution.

Dwight Brown said...

Day late and a dollar short. I don't get nearly as much traffic as Jay, but I've been getting clobbered with spam; this morning, I had 217 accumulated spam comments in less than 24 hours.

I use WordPress and Aksimet (but I realize that's not an option for Jay), moderate comments from first time posters, and close comments on posts older than 90 days.

What I'd really like to see right now - the thing that would solve much of my current spam problem - is a takedown of the "Beats By Dr. Dre" spammers.

Ratus said...

I do it, by not having any traffic Jay.
:D

Anonymous said...

It'll suck if you have to close down anon comments, because you're right, I often find that if I go to comment and it turns out I need to make an account or sign in or something I most often just refrain from commenting. But look on the bright side, maybe you can just turn off anonymous comments for a few weeks or a month until the spam dies down, then open them up again? In the meantime, I'll at least try to make a point to sign in to places to comment rather than staying silent at the face of having to type in an email address, lol