A new plugin to prevent comment spam but allow links

no spam We’ve been having trouble with Askimet, a WordPress plugin that intercepts comment spam. Any links included in the comment and the comment gets treated like spam, even though I’ve set it to allow up to 10 links in a comment. It even happens to me if I’m not logged into my WordPress account.

So I’ve turned off Askimet for now and installed Defensio, another WordPress plugin/service for intercepting comment spam. Help me test it out by attaching worthless comments with links in them.


  1. Patrick Enders said:

    Two post(s) that I just attempted on the atheist thread were both rejected.

    April 29, 2009
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Okay, Patrick, I found them and approved them. Try a comment here with a couple of links. This spam filter is supposed to ‘learn’ more quickly.

    Apologies for the hassle and thanks for your help!

    April 29, 2009
  3. Patrick Enders said:

    Thanks. What is it supposed to ‘learn’? I’m not likely to link to that site (or anywhere else on vatican.va) any time soon.

    April 29, 2009
  4. Patrick Enders said:

    It hasn’t learned yet. Lost another post in the Atheism thread.

    So this is supposed to help?:

    Patrick, no, it ‘learns’ that you are not a spammer, even though you include links in your comments.

    So just copy/paste these into a new comment here:


    May 1, 2009
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m learning, too, Patrick. 😉

    When it intercepts a comment, it puts them in 3 categories:

    Somewhat spammy
    Moderately spammy
    Quite spammy

    I think you’re working your way from ‘quite’ to ‘somewhat’

    Next time you have a post with links, put a comment here with the links first and then wait for me to approve it here…. then post the comment in the intended thread.

    May 1, 2009
  6. Patrick Enders said:

    I’ve been rejected again.

    May 7, 2009
  7. Griff Wigley said:


    Patrick, can you drop another comment here with a long URL or two in it?

    May 8, 2009
  8. Patrick Enders said:

    Batting 50% on those four.

    May 8, 2009
  9. Patrick Enders said:

    75% on those four.

    May 8, 2009
  10. Patrick Enders said:

    .250 on the last four.

    Is it learning?

    May 8, 2009
  11. Patrick Enders said:

    Another post of mine was just rejected on the “Enforcing Community Expectations” thread.

    May 8, 2009
  12. Patrick Enders said:

    I seem to have a post stuck in “awaiting moderation” again. Any idea why?

    June 21, 2009
  13. Patrick Enders said:

    Actually, my guess (since post 31 above went in just fine) is that it didn’t like some of the words I used.

    Bad words. Words like… well, I guess I shouldn’t dare repeat them here.

    Perhaps you could try to find out which words this program doesn’t like, and then I could refrain from using them?

    June 21, 2009
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    aarrrgggh. More problems with commenting, and I suspect the WP-Spamfree plugin that we’ve been using. People are sometimes seeing this error message and losing the text of their comments:

    “Sorry, there was an error. JavaScript and Cookies are required in order to post a comment”

    I’ve disabled it for now and reactivated Askimet. [sigh]

    August 14, 2009
  15. Patrick Enders said:


    FYI: Your “comments” box automatically rejects/fails-to-post any message which contains a link with a “_” in it.

    September 19, 2009
  16. Patrick Enders said:


    Your “comments” box automatically rejects/fails-to-post any message which contains a [underline character] in it.

    It seems to be the biggest impediment to posting links.

    September 19, 2009
  17. Patrick Enders said:


    September 19, 2009
  18. Patrick Enders said:


    September 19, 2009
  19. Patrick Enders said:

    …except, apparently for a message that contains nothing but an [underline character].

    In any other message, immediately after clicking “submit comment”, the [underline character] is immediately replaced by the text “_” before the message disappears into the ether.

    September 19, 2009
  20. Patrick Enders said:

    …except, apparently for a message that contains nothing but an [underline character].

    In any other message, immediately after clicking “submit comment”, the [underline character] is immediately replaced by the text [PRESENCE OF THE TEXT, CONTAINING THE NUMBER 95, AND AN & AND A # ALSO PREVENTS POSTING] before the message disappears into the ether.

    September 19, 2009
  21. Griff Wigley said:


    I’ve deleted all the words from the WordPress list of words and phrases that automatically mark a comment as spam. Many of those words contained hyphens and underscores.

    Can you submit another test comment?

    Apologies for the hassle. I know it’s frustrating for you and others. It’s a big pain in the butt for me!

    September 23, 2009
  22. Patrick Enders said:

    How’s This_This?

    September 23, 2009
  23. Patrick Enders said:

    Test comment with underline rejected.

    I suggest the following; it might help with the ‘underline character’ glitch:

    Try typing “Word[underline character]Word” (no spaces) into the ‘Leave a Reply’ comment window. Watch how the website instantly changes the underline character to a string of other characters, before going on to the next page.

    I suspect there is a clue in that moment.

    September 23, 2009
  24. Patrick Enders said:

    … it will also reject any message that contains that forbidden string of characters.

    September 23, 2009
  25. Griff Wigley said:

    Here’s comment submitted while not logged into WordPress and using a different email address.


    September 23, 2009
  26. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, Dr. Enders, for that great diagnosis! I saw the underscore in my ‘word underscore word’ change to

    word & # 95 ; word

    I’ll investigate more.

    September 23, 2009
  27. Griff Wigley said:

    Here’s another test, this time with the WMD editor plugin disabled.


    September 23, 2009
  28. Griff Wigley said:


    Disabling the WMD editor plugin seems to have solved the underscore problem for me.

    Try it now.

    September 23, 2009
  29. Patrick Enders said:


    September 23, 2009
  30. Patrick Enders said:

    Thanks! The glitch appears to be fixed!

    September 23, 2009
  31. Griff Wigley said:

    Yay! Thank YOU, Patrick. Now I just have to hunt for another WYSIWYG comment editor.

    September 23, 2009
  32. john george said:

    Griff- Was the “WYSIWYG comment editor” the program that added the little tool bar across the top of the comment box? I miss that feature. I never did figure out the old block-quote process. More PEBKAC on my part.

    September 30, 2009
  33. Griff Wigley said:

    Yep, that was it, John. But take heart, my son! I’m on the trail of a new WYSIWYG comment editor.

    October 1, 2009

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