I’ve lost control of my comments…

You don’t see it, but some of my comments are getting deleted by Akismet, the spam blocker that WordPress.com uses. Osman S Borutecene says he’s noticed comments being deleted here seemingly randomly. Truth is commenting in blogging is broken and is getting worse. In just the past 24 hours I’ve manually had to delete about 1,000 spams and in my already blocked page in WordPress.com there are about 10,000 spams. I have absolutely no way to go through and look for false positives, or real comments you’ve left that have been deleted automatically cause they triggered the spam system.

I do notice some trends, though. If you don’t use your full real name (two words like “Robert Scoble”) you’ll get deleted more often. Most spammers use one word names, or three word names. Also, if your post has URLs in it, you’ll be more likely to get deleted.

If you notice your comment gets deleted if you can give me the approximate time you posted it I can usually dig it out of the deleted bucket. Sorry for the troubles, but the comment spam problem is getting dramatically worse. You don’t see it because I also moderate comments from first-time commenters (they wait on a page for my approval, which can take up to a day to get approved, but usually are approved in an hour or two — that’s why spam isn’t getting onto my blog, but I sure see it).

If I ever end up closing my comments this will be why. It’s unbearable at 1,000 spams a day. I can’t imagine how life will be if the spammers start writing more human-like comments and/or if they start moving up to 10,000 or 100,000 per day (Akismet blocks millions of messages across all the blogs every day).

Akismet is both looking at patterns of messages, as well as using the community to block spam. So, if a blogger marks something as spam that really isn’t it’ll get deleted system wide until enough bloggers mark it as not spam. Funny enough my own comments were getting deleted last week too. So it happens to me too!

100 thoughts on “I’ve lost control of my comments…

  1. @robert:

    So I just wrote a program for WordPress.com blogs that turns off comments for all posts older than 60 days (using XML-RPC). I’ll do a study over a few weeks to see if that drops my spam levels (1500/day right now) to something more manageable. If it is worth doing, then I’ll release the program.

    Cheers.

  2. @robert:

    So I just wrote a program for WordPress.com blogs that turns off comments for all posts older than 60 days (using XML-RPC). I’ll do a study over a few weeks to see if that drops my spam levels (1500/day right now) to something more manageable. If it is worth doing, then I’ll release the program.

    Cheers.

  3. I don’t know why there isn’t a CAPTCHA built into wordpress.

    It would eliminate spam and the need for akismet.

    I know that having a captcha would reduce the revenue from ‘corporate’ akismet subscriptions but it doesn’t look to me like they are that interested in making money of akismet – it’s only $50 even for a corporate licence.

  4. I don’t know why there isn’t a CAPTCHA built into wordpress.

    It would eliminate spam and the need for akismet.

    I know that having a captcha would reduce the revenue from ‘corporate’ akismet subscriptions but it doesn’t look to me like they are that interested in making money of akismet – it’s only $50 even for a corporate licence.

  5. Scoble – it sounds like most of your comment-spam is bot generated. Click on my name to learn how we effectively got rid of all bot-generated comment spam. Let me know if you want the WordPress step-by-step.

  6. Scoble – it sounds like most of your comment-spam is bot generated. Click on my name to learn how we effectively got rid of all bot-generated comment spam. Let me know if you want the WordPress step-by-step.

  7. I had every comment and every post nuked by Russian spammers last week who got in through some WP hole and went to town. Ticked me off.

  8. I had every comment and every post nuked by Russian spammers last week who got in through some WP hole and went to town. Ticked me off.

  9. Thought you might be interested on this take in the full feed rss debate:

    http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2007/05/the_end_of_the_rss_experiment.php
    - The end of the RSS experiment

    Last week we reported on our site statistics after going to a full RSS feed. The results were disappointing; our numbers went down. We said we’d continue the experiment for another week to see if the trend was reversed once more people heard about the option of viewing all CogDaily content in RSS feeds.

  10. Thought you might be interested on this take in the full feed rss debate:

    http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2007/05/the_end_of_the_rss_experiment.php
    - The end of the RSS experiment

    Last week we reported on our site statistics after going to a full RSS feed. The results were disappointing; our numbers went down. We said we’d continue the experiment for another week to see if the trend was reversed once more people heard about the option of viewing all CogDaily content in RSS feeds.

  11. This is why I run my own software. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, but at least I don’t have to worry about someone else’s version of “spam” deleting stuff for me.

    You seriously should think about it Robert. Once you get a good WordPress or MovableType system set up, it’s pretty simple to deal with.

  12. This is why I run my own software. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, but at least I don’t have to worry about someone else’s version of “spam” deleting stuff for me.

    You seriously should think about it Robert. Once you get a good WordPress or MovableType system set up, it’s pretty simple to deal with.

  13. It’s a shame too, because I think comments are what make blogging so great. You post something, then someone has the chance to add to what you’ve written. It’s a great way to exchange information, opinions, and the like.

    Bummer. :(

  14. It’s a shame too, because I think comments are what make blogging so great. You post something, then someone has the chance to add to what you’ve written. It’s a great way to exchange information, opinions, and the like.

    Bummer. :(

  15. Thanks for the tools Phil, Spam is getting worse all the time. I think i heard Matt (wordpress founder) in a CNet interview say something along the lines that he doesn’t use e-mail anymore. ??!! There isn’t that much spam is there? Say, engtech, tell me when you get some duct tape for all that spam you are getting.

  16. Thanks for the tools Phil, Spam is getting worse all the time. I think i heard Matt (wordpress founder) in a CNet interview say something along the lines that he doesn’t use e-mail anymore. ??!! There isn’t that much spam is there? Say, engtech, tell me when you get some duct tape for all that spam you are getting.

  17. Dang, that is pretty painful – I had no idea spam is so heavy on blogs like this. Mine own is a teeny little social livejoural, so I don’t really seem to get any.

  18. Dang, that is pretty painful – I had no idea spam is so heavy on blogs like this. Mine own is a teeny little social livejoural, so I don’t really seem to get any.

  19. I was trying yesterday to write a program to automatically turn off comments on all posts that are older than 60 days just to make managing spam less work.

    I’m at 1500 spam in akismet a day now.

  20. I was trying yesterday to write a program to automatically turn off comments on all posts that are older than 60 days just to make managing spam less work.

    I’m at 1500 spam in akismet a day now.

  21. I certainly wish WordPress or Akismet would introduce a CAPTCHA option for comments. That would make it a LOT harder to spammers to leave comments in the first place.

    Robert, perhaps if you suggest it to the folks at WordPress, they might listen?

  22. I certainly wish WordPress or Akismet would introduce a CAPTCHA option for comments. That would make it a LOT harder to spammers to leave comments in the first place.

    Robert, perhaps if you suggest it to the folks at WordPress, they might listen?

  23. Not just blog comment spam. I am getting much more spam in my inboxes. I guess spammers had some kind of technological breakthrough….

  24. Not just blog comment spam. I am getting much more spam in my inboxes. I guess spammers had some kind of technological breakthrough….

  25. You can annoy legit users a bit and add some decent captcha (by decent I mean readable). I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know and yes captcha can be beaten, but I had a blog that I don’t even know how it became popular among spammers (because it had very few legit readers) and it was getting over 100 spams a day. I added a simple captcha and the spam went down to zero.

    Before closing comments just because of spam, that’s something I would certainly consider.

  26. You can annoy legit users a bit and add some decent captcha (by decent I mean readable). I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know and yes captcha can be beaten, but I had a blog that I don’t even know how it became popular among spammers (because it had very few legit readers) and it was getting over 100 spams a day. I added a simple captcha and the spam went down to zero.

    Before closing comments just because of spam, that’s something I would certainly consider.

  27. No wonder that most of my friends that commented on some of my entries said that i didn’t approved their comments. Too bad. :(

  28. No wonder that most of my friends that commented on some of my entries said that i didn’t approved their comments. Too bad. :(

  29. Comment administration is totally broken. There are some clear instances in WP for example when I want to do a mass admin and am not allowed to. Like, I’ve got a bunch of old spam on a post I came across yesterday and can I mark them all spam in one click? Nope. It’s just silly.

  30. Comment administration is totally broken. There are some clear instances in WP for example when I want to do a mass admin and am not allowed to. Like, I’ve got a bunch of old spam on a post I came across yesterday and can I mark them all spam in one click? Nope. It’s just silly.

  31. Just being a Z-list blogger like me 5-10 comments get past the Junk filter and I have to manually delete them. I could not imagine having 1000 comments to manually clean.

    If I did, I’d close comments.

    Ahh… here is a great opportunity for some enterprising developer – creat a spam proof commenting system that can be plugged into WordPress, Typepad and the such.

    It is sad though that there are jerk-offs out there who have nothing better to do than create spam-bots.

  32. Just being a Z-list blogger like me 5-10 comments get past the Junk filter and I have to manually delete them. I could not imagine having 1000 comments to manually clean.

    If I did, I’d close comments.

    Ahh… here is a great opportunity for some enterprising developer – creat a spam proof commenting system that can be plugged into WordPress, Typepad and the such.

    It is sad though that there are jerk-offs out there who have nothing better to do than create spam-bots.

  33. No, I mean no line breaks or carriage returns. If you have a comment that doesn’t pass the spam filter, then go back and repost the comment removing all the line breaks. The same exact comment will now pass the filter with no problem.

    I did not mean to say that every comment with line breaks gets flagged. I was stating that comments that do get flagged can make it past the filter if you repost it sans line breaks, meaning the return key. URLs need not be on a new line, a space before and after a URL suffices to get it to autolink.

  34. No, I mean no line breaks or carriage returns. If you have a comment that doesn’t pass the spam filter, then go back and repost the comment removing all the line breaks. The same exact comment will now pass the filter with no problem.

    I did not mean to say that every comment with line breaks gets flagged. I was stating that comments that do get flagged can make it past the filter if you repost it sans line breaks, meaning the return key. URLs need not be on a new line, a space before and after a URL suffices to get it to autolink.

  35. I found a full proof way to get around the spam blocker by trial and error. Do not put any line breaks in the comment. Make it one very, very long line and Askimet will not flag it, and it will get wrapped.

  36. I found a full proof way to get around the spam blocker by trial and error. Do not put any line breaks in the comment. Make it one very, very long line and Askimet will not flag it, and it will get wrapped.

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