Dispatches From The Spam Front

Because it exists on the Internet, I’ve had to deal with spam comments on this blog. Some of them have been amusing, but mostly they’ve been annoying. See, the way I’ve got things set up right now is that first-time commenters (as identified by email address) are held for moderation. Once approved, they can post as many comments on as much stuff as they like. And since there generally aren’t many comments posted here, I can quite easily approve first-time posts as they come in.

Every once in a while, however, one of my posts will for some reason become a target for high-intensity spamming. There have been some posts that end up with dozens of pending comments over the course of a mere day or two. And each time a comment is held for moderation, I get an email.

So this has gotten very annoying, to say nothing about how cluttered my inbox has been getting. And while a part of me is sometimes fascinated by the ingenuity of these robotic responders, I feel the need to do something. In the past, I’ve turned off comments on individual posts as they became spam magnets, but that solution is still very much reactive rather than proactive.

Ugh, sorry, my inner motivational speaker just flared up. Gimme a minute, and I’ll get it back under control.

So where was I? Oh yeah, proactive spam prevention. I’m going to make some changes going forward, and while not many will be affected, it will definitely make my life easier. Moderation of comments will continue, since that seems to be working well, but I’ve decided to automatically turn off comments on posts older than 14 days. Two weeks should be plenty of time for people to have their say. And if it isn’t, there are other venues like Facebook and Tumblr (not that I’m on either of those much these days with the new job, but what can you do).

So hopefully this helps.

OH, one other thing: pingbacks! Does anyone have any opinions on these? There the little pseudo-comments that show up when I (or someone else) links to an article. Helpful? Annoying? Didn’t even notice they exist?

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