Dealing with Comment Spam

Some evil person has been, presumably automatically, posting meaningless comments at random both here and on Steven’s website. The comments are full of links and act presumably to drive up the destination sites’ Google juice by causing, in effect, a link from this site to appear to exist.
For me it feels like someone peeing in my backyard.
By way of trying to mitigate this flow, I’ve added a new “feature” to the comment submission form, a section called “Are you human?” which forces comment-makers to type in the characters of a captcha to be able to post. The intended effect is to make automated comment-posting impossible, or at least difficult enough to not be worth the effort. This may or may not work; in the meantime, I apologize for the additional effort required, and hope that commenters see the upside in having their comments not peed upon by unseen others.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 4, 2005 - 00:39 Permalink

And just to prove to myself that it’s working, here’s a comment.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on January 4, 2005 - 00:44 Permalink

I think the robots that spread comment spam are more human than the bastards that run them.

al o'neill's picture
al o'neill on January 4, 2005 - 01:34 Permalink

I’m just glad that, even though people like to look down their noses at it, blogspot blogs don’t get much at all in the way of comment spem.

Just a thought, wouldn’t a challenge question setup be a much better solutoin in terms of accessibility?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 4, 2005 - 01:52 Permalink

Al, what do you envision a “challenge question setup” would look like?

al o'neill's picture
al o'neill on January 4, 2005 - 02:11 Permalink

Hmm.. Perhaps the easiest would be “what’s one plus one?” or similar…

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on January 4, 2005 - 03:32 Permalink

I wonder if you could get away with just putting a checkbox that said “I’m a human being” and leave it unchecked by default — I doubt the spam bot people would bother figuring out how to check the the box to post on our weblogs.

Nils's picture
Nils on January 4, 2005 - 05:01 Permalink

I’m not miffed by the captcha, although I do think the one at Humblebub’s site is better because it uses random common words which are easier and quicker to type and less prone to mis-typing — and yet relatively bot-resistant. Just a thought there.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 4, 2005 - 14:00 Permalink

I think the human test is an inevitable good for blogs and either this form or HBs are easy-peasy. I just wish it was required to refer to my refer log which is now a cesspool. I still can’t really figure out the business model of spammers like this. Are there upper middle class suburbs of mid-level US cities filled with happy families living off the proceeds of spam?

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on January 4, 2005 - 14:48 Permalink

Al, you might wish to have your guys develop a referrers black list. This seems to be working for me.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 4, 2005 - 14:59 Permalink

I don’t know the details but it is pretty widely sources in terms of originating IPs. For all refer logs are worth, it is an irritant which has been pulled from public view.

Pete Prodoehl's picture
Pete Prodoehl on January 4, 2005 - 20:06 Permalink

I suppose it has to come to this… though my friends Bender and R2-D2 are quite upset… ;)