Attack of the Spam! Take two.

Spam containers You may have noticed some more slip-ups in our Spam filtration over the last few days. This is concerning to us at Locally Grown, but we thought we’d let readers chime in. So here’s the deal:

Problem: We use WordPress

WordPress is an awesome blogging system that allows us to provide you with Northfield’s breaking news — all day, every day. WordPress is free and it’s used by a lot of people. Too many people, in fact; Spambots have gotten very used to WordPress sites and thus know how to attack it. Even my personal WP blog (which gets a lot less traffic than LG) gets thousands of Spam comments every month.

What we do now: Akismet + Bad Behavior

This is a combination of two plugins. The first, Bad Behavior, looks for suspicious behaviors of spambots. For example, every time you visit a site, your computer tells you what browser you’re using; spambots will change this information for every page they load. Bad Behavior detects this and blocks it. The second plugin, Akismet, works a lot like e-mail filters — it looks for suspicious content (e.g., cheap porn, fake watches, Russian mail-order brides) and declares it Spam.

Akismet stats -- 20,000+ spam caught

And together, they work pretty well. But we’re not sure if they’re working well enough. So here’s what we can do:

Solution 1: Moderation

Now we would really rather not do this, because it’s tedious and it slows discussion, but one option would be to manually approve each comment before it appears.

Solution 2: CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA keys, those images of distorted text, are a really good way to block spambots since most aren’t sophisticated enough to understand what’s written in the image. Unfortunately, a lot of us humans aren’t either.

Example:

CAPTCHA key

Solution 3: Put up with it

Don’t need to explain this too thoroughly, but if you guys can live with the way it is now, we can too.

So what do you think? Commenting is open

P.S.: You usually see my name in the comments, not the posts, but I’ve been doing a little bit behind-the-scenes maintanence for a few months now. Someday I might be helping pretty up the site some. Emphasis on someday 😉

P.P.S.: Three new Spam comments have been caught while I’ve been writing this.

7 thoughts on “Attack of the Spam! Take two.”

  1. All you need to be is different. No bots assume that you’ll do something simple, so do what I do: put in a simple math equation.

    I have something as simple as having the poster answer this question: What is 2+2=?

    Ever since, not one spam bot has gotten through.

    Yes, a bot could read this very easily, but it doesn’t expect that you would do this. Unless many people start to do this, it should work just fine and be easy to implement.

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