New comments policy

Recently I have noticed a disturbing trend that is making the battle against spam harder. Normally the way you tell a legitimate commenter from a spammer is to check that the comment is on-topic and free of bad links.

Increasingly, I am finding more and more spam commenters whose writing is certainly on-topic. It doesn’t look like it has been generated by a bot. And even sometimes it is a valuable addition to the discussion.

But one thing is wrong. The comment author URL leads to some kind of business / gambling / spam site.

For as long as I think such contributions are beneficial to the discussion, I will allow them. But I will remove the comment author URL if I think it is unsuitable.

For guidance: Comment author URLs may be any personal websites — blogs, Flickr, Twitter, whatever. They may not be business websites or any spammy content.

If the problem continues, I will start throwing the comments themselves into the spam bin as well.

Elsewhere…

In other news, there is an exciting new feature! Well, not that exciting. But if you look in the sidebar you will see that I have ten ‘featured posts’ there. These are older posts that might have slipped your attention.

As time goes on I get more and more stressed about the fact that my lovingly crafted writing drops off the front page so quickly — particularly under this new year regime of daily posting. So there you have it. If you ever fancy reading something a little bit older, start from the ‘featured posts’ section. (And the ‘best of’ section in the navigation above.)

7 comments

  1. Hmm. Not had this one happen to me, yet. For some time, I was using Bad Behaviour, but the latest incarnation caused the site to grind to a halt. So far, the most effective method of stopping comment spam has been the challenge question as this sorts the bots from people. It is simple and effective and since installing it last year, I’ve not had one single comment spam. To make life easier for real people, I use just the one challenge question. Okay, I may be speaking too soon, but I suggest trying that to see if your spammers are bots or people. If the former, you will have fixed your problem.

  2. I’ve considered the challenge question option. It looks very simple and effective. However, as I said above, I strongly suspect the current problem is caused by humans rather than bots. They are only coming in groups of a maximum of three at a time rather than the several dozen typical of bots. It might be worth a try if the problem persists though.

  3. I dunno if you consider it an option, but if you put “nofollow” in the rel attribute of those links, it should stop people spidering it, taking away the incentive to put the link up.

    That said, you might want legitimate links to be publicised!

  4. I know EXACTLY the comments you mean. I’ve got 20 of the sods sitting in my moderation queue. Even a comment policy doesn’t stop them :(, I posted about it a few months ago and am now getting similar comments to that exact post! Can’t people read?

  5. ahh, the never ending battle with spam. The problem is self-feeding. The more you publish posts, the more your blog will appear on the front pages of blog searches, or as links from other blogs. These ‘human’ posters are simply prepping the way so that they can launch a spam bot later. I used to have a challenge question, but found after a couple of months it would be cracked and my moderation queue would fill up again.