Comment spam returns.

Well that didn’t take long. Less than 12 hours after I turned off the captcha system for SEB and we were hit by a comment spammer looking to sell penis enlargement pills. So I’ve turned captchas back on for the moment. I could also make use of a comment moderation system that would require me to validate all non-registered comments, but I thought I’d ask which system folks would prefer. Certainly moderation would be a motivation for folks to register, but I’m not particularly concerned about having folks register. There’s at least one reader out there who’s proxy has troubles with the captcha system, but he’s said he’s willing to live with it if he has to. What do the rest of you think? Should we stick with the captcha system which allows near-instant replies or switch to comment moderation for unregistered comments?

24 thoughts on “Comment spam returns.

  1. For what it’s worth … when I start getting comment spam, I will likely implement a moderation system, rather than Captcha’s.

  2. Comment moderation doesn’t stop comment spam, it just keeps it from the public eye.  I have moderation in place instead of captchas (I just don’t like it personally) and I’ve been hit a couple of times with some mild comment spam.  So if you go the moderation route, you’ll still have to deal with deleting the spam.

  3. Yeah, I understand that. It’s really a question of who do I inconvenience? Myself or my visitors? If most folks don’t have a problem with captchas then I’ll leave them in place for now. If they do, then I’ll take on the task of filtering unregistered comments.

  4. How would we have those eerie moments when the submission word matches the subject exactly, without Captchas? Besides I’m still waiting for really interesting words like “oofda” and “hagseed” to come along.

    I vote for sticking with the Captcha system.

  5. I don’t think captchas are a bad idea at all – it’s just one more field for the commenter, but it really can save you a lot of hassle…

    I personally most like those captchas you can enter with just one hand like secretary or card or reader – like that I’ll have the right hand free for my mouse wink

  6. I can modify the word list that the captcha system uses to add in more. I was thinking of adding some words that would be more closely related to SEB (e.g. bastard, evil, stupid, moron, etc.), but then I remembered that EE uses the same list of words for all of the blogs and I’m sure it would go over real well if the word “bastard” suddenly showed up as a captcha on my daughter’s blog.

  7. Stick with the captchas. I don’t mind them at all.

    Dang, so the captcha word list is centralized? So using words like place-names from science fiction stories and words from artificial languages wouldn’t go over too well, would it?

  8. Another vote for captchas.  I like pondering the keywords.

    (This one:  passed)

  9. The comment moderation in WordPress has worked pretty well for me. You can set it to hold comments containing more than a certain number of links, to hold messages containing common spam words or spam URLs, or both.

    I have mine set to a four link limit, with a blacklist of several common spam words. So far, it’s caught all but one spam comment. Is there any similar system for Expression Engine?

  10. LM, I don’t know why they wouldn’t. Probably want to stick to words that are pretty easy to spell and relatively short, but otherwise it’s probably fair game to use whatever we want.

    Adam, nothing quite that extensive. I can basically turn moderation on or off on a per-blog basis and I can determine which user groups can bypass moderation. I can define a length limit to comments, a minimum amount of time between comment submissions, whether HTML is allowed, whether images in comments are allowed, whether or not the system auto-links URLs, and so on.

  11. Like I mentioned on my blog (tried to ping you, but doesn’t seem to work), captchas are bad for disabled people. I don’t know if any disabled people do read your blog, but you wouldn’t want to make it any more difficult for them now, would you?

    Why not close comments on old posts? Spammers only seem to hit those, and speaking for myself, I don’t have too many people trying to comment on old posts.

  12. The captchas are fine… my situation is strictly temporary.  You need a mechanism to combat spam in plance… keep it.  smile

  13. Kingsley, the trackback registered so I’m not sure why it’s not displaying here. I’ll have to take a look at my code and see what I messed up.

    I can see your point about disabled folks and I have no idea how many disabled people out there try to read my blog. I imagine the crappy HTML code I generate would be more than enough to frustrate them as it is let alone having captchas enabled.

    As for closing old entries, I’ve considered that before and back when I was running under MT I did close some of the longer threads simply because it took too damn long to display the page. Generally I prefer to leave them open, though, because some of the best discussions didn’t start on some threads until months after I had posted it.

  14. Les, this is a bit off-topic, but I thought I should let you know about a bug in your comment subscription setup. No matter what the name of the person posting a follow-up is, all the messages I get say “Adam M. just responded to the entry you subscribed to…”

    This had me worried for a moment that someone was posting in my name, until I realized that all of them said the same thing. Just FYI.

  15. I don’t want to sound like a dick, but what’s so hard about typing one more word after you likely just got done typing many? It’s the old “microwave generation” rearing it’s ugly head again. You mean it takes a whole minute to cook a hot-dog? Man, I’m getting old.

    word = needs

  16. Personally, I don’t mind entering the Captcha. Having delt with comment spam in the past, it’s a minor annoyance compared to comment spam which annoys everyone involved.

    As a person who runs a site myself. The less annoyed I get dealing with comment spam the better. smile

  17. Brock:  The issue, I think, is mine alone, and I’m in a situation where my web proxy sucks.  I spent 5 hours one day this week trying to put a comment in.  Basically, either it wasn’t sending the captcha word, or the webservers couldn’t communicate and I couldn’t see the graphic.  Either way, I’m copying my comments into another document to keep from having to retype them if/when the comment fails to post. 

    Les was kind enough to turn them off for me even though I didn’t want him to.  He was then forced to turn them back on because of comment spammers.

    Your comments sound like someone slightly younger than me trying to sound old and crochity and wise, without understanding everything.  😀

    For the record, this is what I went through in posting this comment…
    (try 1:  word = last.  Error.)
    (try 2:  No captcha box displayed)
    (try 3:  no article/comments displayed; just graphics/left column)
    (try 4:  no article/comments displayed; just graphics/left column)
    (try 5:  no article/comments displayed; just graphics/left column.  Note:  I’m pissed now, and determined to get my damned point across.  Also, note that it takes a minimum of 5 minutes for the page to fully load.  Brock better apologize.)  smile
    (try 6:  no article/comments displayed; just graphics/left column.  Going on an hour now trying.)
    (try 7:  Jebus Cripes, it’s the same result.)
    (try 8:  Same thing.  Going to start from scratch and reload the front page and come back.  The current local time is 11:11.)
    (Try 9:  8 minutes later – Word is audience.)

  18. Oops, I meant Brooks, not Brock.

    (Try 1 – Word is “various”.  Error.  Going to try “front page – comments page” theory again.  For the record, this attempt to post a comment begins 60 seconds after successfully posting my comment above.)
    (Try 2 – “friends”.  Error.  Well, that went well…)
    (Try 3 – “higher”.  Error.)
    (Try 4 – “received”.  Error.)
    (Try 5 – man, the “page content isn’t rendering again” bit.  Gotta love it.)
    (Try 6 – “appeared”.  Lucky word?  Nope.  I’m beginning to wonder if Les should edit my comments, as I’m throwing all sorts of captcha secrets out there.  Feel free if necessary, Les.)
    (Try 7:  “True”)

  19. Oops, Ben, that’s happened before with Brooks and I, except, then I got credit for his intelligent post. I doubt this balances things out, because I think the post of his you took exception with, wasn’t intended to insult anyone.

    When I was posting my opinion about keeping the Captcha option, I remembered you were having trouble and wanted to apologize for voting for something that would disallow you to post, but I couldn’t remember your name.

    So, I hope you get things worked out, but I think you took Brooks way too seriously. Also, an apology is nice when you say something harsh to someone by mistake. I’ll just assume you meant to offer one to us both.

    Remember to always write your comment in Works or something first, because I’ve lost posts I’ve written when I was so concerned with the submission word that I forgot to enter my name. When I would click back after getting an error message, the entry would always be gone. Don’t just give up if that happens, though. You deserve an equal chance to comment here and I’m certain you’ve got interesting things to say.

    My worry now, though, is that Brooks is going to say things I don’t want to be credited for. Be careful Brooks, because lately you’re posting for both of us. *grin* <- And no, that doesn’t count as an LSFGI, deadscott). *grin again*

  20. Brock (verified I’m speaking to Brock smile ), I didn’t take him so seriously that I had to rant on it… but I wanted him to understand that it wasn’t the microwave generation that had an issue here.  wink

    I did mean to offer an apology to you both for the confusion, but I was so intent on proving my point that it got omitted.  So, sirs (Brock AND Brooks), with that, I apologize for confusing the two of you.  I also offer an apology if you think I sounded harsh; however, I’m also going to respectfully point out that at those points that I think I sound harsh, I punctuated my statements with smilies to show that harsh wasn’t the intention.  The internet’s a hard place to get little conversational nuances across, I guess.  smile

  21. Ben said “…if you think I sounded harsh; however, I’m also going to respectfully point out that at those points that I think I sound harsh, I punctuated my statements with smilies to show that harsh wasn’t the intention.”

    Nah, you didn’t come across as harsh and I hope I didn’t either. But we’ve got to talk sometime about the usage of smileys. Read: I hate them!
    Heh heh, just more of my ongoing campaign against them. Don’t mind me.

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