I occasionally grumble about comment spam, but seldom like this:

Sorry about turning the Turing test back on in comments, but Blogger’s spam comments filter has just completely collapsed under the onslaught recently. I woke up this morning to find twelve digital turds plopped in the latest comment threads since 0100, and that’s not counting the sixty more in the spam traps.

Google jiggled their search algorithms back some time last year to more heavily weight backlinks in “social media” and news article comments sections, and even-less-scrupulous-than-usual SEO types responded by unleashed hordes of gibberish-‘n’-backlink-spouting ‘bots on the Blogosphere. Comment spam had been a desultory sort of thing before that, sort of the universal background noise of blogs, but by the end of the year I was scooping as many as 300 spam comments out of the trap first thing every morning. It wasn’t so bad as long as they were getting caught in the trap, but now they’re getting past the filter and I won’t stand for that.

That’s Blogger. How’s Movable Type doing? Not so swiftly either:

Starting last Friday there has been a continuing attempt by spam comment creators (Blotted be their names from the Book of Life, and may a thousand weasels nest in their pants for eternity!) to overwhelm the Spam filters. Some inevitably get through and I have to weed those out by hand.

Total spam comments usually run to a total of a few hundred a day for both the main column and SideLine. Irritating but manageable. The recent onslaught, however, is running up to five or six thousand a day. This tends to overwhelm the site with read/write/filter operations which slows down legitimate comments as well as the site in general. There are fixes for this that I’m working on, but for now it is going to a slow going.

Hmmm. I’ve had fifteen since the first of March.

Then again, I’ve had my own godawful months — December 2008, with about 3,000, was the worst — so I have no reason to assume I’m immune to this sort of thing, though I’ve taken rather a lot of precautions.


  1. fillyjonk »

    26 March 2013 · 2:01 pm

    I moderate comments, which I know some people hate, but it’s preferable to having to come back and remove icky spam or the fewmets of someone who decided my blog was a good place to figuratively potty.

    I also put word verification back on, which, while I openly admit is kind of like wearing a suspender with a belt, still, it gets rid of the “anonymous” comments with dodgy links that consisted of 85% of the comments I was getting to moderate…..

    I wish there were an option for “delete spam comment, and send small but painful electrical shock to the person who authorized its being sent.”

  2. Tatyana »

    26 March 2013 · 3:59 pm

    And AKismet is doing my job for me now: not only for the last 2 weeks I have accumulated just 8 spam entries in my Spam folder – 2 days there were 10! Apparently, Akismet analyzed them and decided to do away with two (and rightly so).

  3. CGHill »

    26 March 2013 · 9:38 pm

    Akismet is pretty smart. In addition, I have a small list of IP addresses which produce spam on a regular basis, which are routinely denied access; further, my security consultants (yes, I have security consultants) maintain watch over possible malware injections and such.

    Still, nothing is perfect. WordPress counts every comment, whether it goes live or not; while this one is the 37,796th live comment in the database, it bears an ID number upwards of 51,000.

  4. CGHill »

    26 March 2013 · 9:43 pm

    (51,848, it was.)

  5. Mark Alger »

    27 March 2013 · 12:53 pm

    The ones I can’t figure are those which manage to insert comments to posts which don’t have comments enabled — don’t even have a comment template anywhere on the site.


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