You might have noticed a lot more comment spam lately, but maybe not. I make an effort to remove spam that made it through the filter, and if I notice a pattern I add IP addresses or keywords to the blacklist.
Comment spam is a frequent problem, and it’s getting more sophisticated all the time.
It’s getting passed the spam filter, and passed the server protections. The spam filter is blocking a lot of spam, and the server a lot of spambots, but it’s not stopping everything. Maybe a lot of the spam is manually entered these days, it’s hard to say.
Most spam includes links, and there’s likely spam, malware, or who knows what behind those links.
The spam comments have been coming in waves. Every day I remove a few spam comments here and there, but every few days I might see dozens or even hundreds of spam comments making it to the site.
It’s getting tiring to have to manually deal with all the spam comments once they’re up.
Here are some options that I would like your feedback on:
1) Manual approval is required unless a comment author has a previously approved comment.
This is a setting I toggled for this morning, so that I have to approve or delete comments by new commenters. I have the same amount of work, but at least spam is hidden from ToolGuyd readers. But, new commentors’ comments are also hidden until I can manually approve them.
This is what I’ve gone with for now.
2) No More Links.
Most spam comments, aside from some very specific ones, have a link they want people to click. They include random normal-sounding text to help make it through the filter, and a spam link at the end.
But not allowing you to post links seems like it will really hurt the discussion and readers’ efforts to help each other. I also learn a lot from your links.
I’d rather not do this if I can help it.
3) Closing Older Posts to Comments.
But what if someone has important feedback about a tool they bought and had been using? Or what if there’s a question?
This setting is helpful when there are severe comment spam attacks, but I’d rather not do this as an everyday measure.
4) Requiring Registration to Leave a Comment.
This is something I’m considering, but I think it would discourage a lot of first-time visitors who have questions or something quick to share.
5) Merging the Comment System with the Forum.
The ToolGuyd Forum isn’t very active yet, and I haven’t used it in the ways I’ve wanted to yet, but the software has been very good at spam control. And it allows for different logon methods.
But I like the simplicity of how things are now, where anyone can leave a comment anonymously.
Why Your Feedback Matters
I like to think I always make the right decisions, but some things directly influence you guys in more ways than others.
Right now only approved commenters’ comments will be immediately visible. I’ll check the approval list a few times during the day to see if there are any legit comments to be manually approved.
I’m thinking this is the best of all the possible ways to stymie the spam right now, but am open to feedback.
Every now and then I bring up the idea of a 3rd party commenting system, and it is collectively decided that it’s not a good idea. So I went with the least impactful way to combat comment spam.
I’ll monitor things. If the comment spam softens up, and it doesn’t look like that’s happening this morning, I’ll turn solution 1) off until the next comment flood hits.