This blog is wide open. Spammers attack.

Okay not really. I’ve got a virtual brigade of anti-spam plugins, strategically deployed to zap that crap.

That Gini Dietrich is always making me think. (Hate that.) After her post on moderating blog comments, I unmoderated my blog. Since then I added more layers of spam protection, Raven’s Ant-Spam and have now switched to GrowMap Anti Spambot Plugin thanks to smarty cat Marcus Sheridan.

After a few months I can report totally unscientific, statistucally invalid, not verified true success. More comments, more discussion and hardly a single spammy link bait comment has slipped through the cracks. Easy to mark as spam, blacklist, move on.

All things in Moderation?

The other day I commented on a post, correctly using James Bond’s decoder ring, a magnifiying glass, and a TNG universal translator to solve the captcha, only to see “Moderation Hold.” Head, meet desk.

Nothing about the words ‘Your comment is awaiting moderation’ encourages a reader to comment more. Nothing.” –Mack Collier on getting more blog comments.

Couldn’t agree more Mack. I’m impatient, I hate seeing that on other blogs so I don’t know why I left it on my own for so long.

It is about the Now.

I get why bloggers moderate comments: protect the blog, can spam, prevent zany attacks or violations of the comment policy. Plenty of logic to it and yet, it’s not for me.

The conversation is what matters. I can see why people like the Livefyre and Disqus comment systems. The ease of login, reply subscriptions, the real-time updates that help keep the discussion alive and flowing.

Here to day and gone tomorrow, so many blogs out there; that conversation usually only lasts for a short while. That is another reason I don’t post daily, to give people and myself time to catch up.

My comment policy still stands and I WILL moderate comments:

• Delete any spam that gets through: bogus ecommerce marketing sites, randomly generic compliment spam just looking for some SEO love.
• Delete off topic nonsense, trolls and flash mobs, spammy linkbacks for penis enhancements or cheap weight loss drugs.
• Moderate or delete “attacks” if they go too far off topic, get too personal, too offensive.

Sure I am tempting fate with my linkbaity headline but for now, let’s see what happens. Do you hold comments for moderation? Why or why not?

Photo credit: T-shirt design from ThinkGeek.

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26 thoughts on “This blog is wide open. Spammers attack.

  1. Hola Arcronym,

    As you know – I have this tendency to leave comments that are on the longish side – not because I’m trying to make a point that I write novels for comments – but because I genuinely have something to say. So when I see the infamous “your comment is awaiting moderation” (or even worse – nothing at all) after I’ve left one of my novels – I begin to twitch. It’s pretty funny really – I should take a picture of my face when that happens. So what I generally do is inform the person via a tweet or something that I’m hanging out in spam hell. I always worry that they might not see it. In all honesty – I don’t check my spam folder too often. Since I installed G.A.S.P a while back – I don’t really need to as it’s pretty good at differentiating between the real and the crap.

    I know of 1 or 2 folks that moderate but they’re pretty good at releasing you from jail in a matter of hours or so. But still. I just want to see my comment appear as soon as I press publish!!!

    Seriously – if you have an anti-spam plugin – it’s not painful to just moderate once the comment comes in – it’s one button to click on to get rid of it. It won’t ruin you.

    As for Captcha’s – don’t get me started! I’ve had to refresh some of those 2 and 3 times to decipher Da Vinci’s frikin’ code!

    I try to go by the saying – don’t do unto others what you don’t want them to do to you. That’s just my policy – and my life one at that.

    Anyhoo – thanks for getting me all fired up now haha.
    Great little piece here Davina – as usual!

    Happy Friday to you

    PS – as for this – “The other day I commented on a post, correctly using James Bond’s decoder ring, a magnifiying glass, and a TNG universal translator to solve the captcha, only to see “Moderation Hold.” Head, meet desk.” – LMAO and Oh, how I can relate!
    Ingrid Abboud recently posted..Bring IT! How Did You Find Your Blogger’s Voice

    1. I can sometimes throw down with you on the lengthy comment, so yeah when I think I have something really good to say.. I want to see it out there. Most of us out here know better than to try to buy cheap Viagra or collect our inheritance from a long lost uncle from Uganda.. we can ignore a spammy link or comment or two until the host returns.

      I’ve noticed a few times my comments held for days, replies take longer. Hmm… another reason I don’t commit to a daily blog schedule.. b/c I can’t commit to a daily moderation schedule which IMHO go hand-in-hand. ITA Ingrid, try some plugins and/or commenting systems, give it a whirl.

      Da Vinci’s captchas! Ha! You came to my conclusion.. don’t like others holding me in moderation, thought it was high time I stopped that myself. So I wanted to share the results of my unspecific little experiment, and deem it a success. Thanks for stopping in!

  2. Right now I’ve got Akismet on my site, but I’m doubting its ability to function properly; a few genuine commenters have got lost in the mud of Spam, and I’ve had to fish out manually. I check my spam for any genuine commenters now, before hitting ‘Empty Spam’ to flush it all away.

    I actually don’t mind seeing the ‘comment moderation’ sentence, it shows up and I just think “OK” and move onto the next blog. But I’m just one reader. If others find it annoying and leave because of it, it would be good to change 😉
    Stuart recently posted..How To Blog Without Killing Yourself

    1. Stuart, It really depends on the flow of the conversation you want. Having seen the give-and-take on some Disqus and Livefyre, really any blog that posts comments right away.. I just like it better. I mean, if nothing else, it keeps folks from writing the same thing again and again as they have the chance to read others’ comments first.

      Mack Collier posted yesterday about the goals for a particular post, how some aren’t intended for deep discussion and comments, but more informational so they’re intended for bookmarking. Makes sense, so if a post is intended to spark a lively debate.. people tend to do that in the moment, not sure how many will wait and come back.. just too many things to do.

      On the spam catcher, I’ve used WP Spamfree w/ some success, but it does conflict with some other plugins. I like the Growmap thing, it’s working ok. I’ve also had real comments marked as spam that I have had to fish out.. hope I never zapped some w/ out checking but I bet I did before I caught on. There is a whitelist plugin that will let you put folks on a list, I’m trying it out now. FWIW.

  3. I think what you do and moderating comments are two entirely different things. You allow comments to be posted immediately and then clean up anything that leaks through. That’s totally different. And completely understandable.

    Mack is right: No one wants to go back to a blog if their comment is held.

    BTW. This is hilarious…”I can report totally unscientific, statistucally invalid, not verified true success.”
    Gini Dietrich recently posted..Invisible Boundaries- Expats and Social Media

    1. Gini, ITA.. There was a comment policy discussion, IIRC it was Danny Brown and Ari Herzog on the differences between a free-for-all, a comment policy, and moderation. I don’t think zapping pingbacks to cheap drugs and bogus ‘this was really helpful’ SEO trolls IS comment moderation; those aren’t comments, they’re spam. Editing profanity or attacks in violation of a comment policy, that’s moderation.

      Holding comments in queue is moderating, but since it’s often about spam prevention I turned it off. And the results of my little experiment – thanks 😉 – are that I haven’t had more spam than normal and I have had a lot more comments and better discussions.

      I’ve been back to blogs when my comment was held, via subscription if the blogger replied, or if there was something added that was very good, but not often. I prefer to comment, read – and reply to – other people’s comments as they happen. I’m a chatty type, what can I say.

  4. I haven’t had a second thought about moderating my blog. To me, it’s just common sense and shouldn’t inhibit the flow of conversation. I don’t however understand the allure of Disque or Livefyre. I don’t want to feel obligated to join yet another group that requires a password, I just simply want to leave a comment.
    Riley Harrison recently posted..ARE YOU STUCK

    1. Agree about not blocking the flow of conversation, just works with my style Riley. I wrote about the required registration thing a while back; don’t mind Disqus as I signed up for it years ago when I saw how commonly used it was, plus it saves my comments (miss the BackType feature) elsewhere. Livefyre let’s me sign in via Twitter, no extra registration or fuss… and yet, I agree w/ you and want to keep it simple or at least, be able to keep options open. Appreciate your thoughts.

  5. I don’t hold them because it annoys me on others blogs. I use Growmap and it keeps the bad people away.
    Captcha was created by the Nazis to torture people, it should be ruled illegal.

    I know other bloggers who do hold the comments, but it is not for their own blog but for a corporate blog. I understand how some corporations would want to control the discussion on their blogs. I have seen some very personal and vicious attacks online, name calling, on posts which would put you asleep they are so boring. Funny place this internet.

    1. There are captchas John, and then there are captchas from hell you have to reset 3 times until you can read it. (Then the ‘moderation’ on top on a blog like mine, that’d be overkill.) They’re safe enough.. but not always; I’ve seen some of those captcha, registration required comment threads that leave the link bait, SEO troll spam in there.. but they jumped those hoops. Whatever.

      On a company or big brand blog, I can get comment moderation to a point. I think then that some folks have an okay idea of moderating someones first few comments, but then putting them on a whitelist. And policing spam/troll/linkbait crap. Still think having and enforcing a comment policy will help with regular guests who know what is/is not allowed. You want to talk funny/bad, I’ve got one word for you: fandoms. What can I tell ya, I’m a dork sometimes. 😉

  6. I think holding comments for moderation is just about the dumbest thing ever….along with about 152 other bad blogging habits that we could surely mention 😉

    But I’m glad to see you’re officially locked and loaded for spammers Davina. Like you, I’m finally not having to filter out the gabillions of spammers that come with blog growth.

    Thanks for teaching the masses and keeping it real lady 😉

    Oh, btw, I’m going to be in Atlanta at the Sherpa Optimization Summit to speak on June 2 and 3rd. Would love to meet up if you’re around.

    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..Rumblings from the Lion’s Den- March 2011 Edition

    1. I used to be that dumb Marcus, so scared of spam and crap. Then I realized my little blog ain’t that special, looked into some blockers and let it go. I only just added your GASP a short time ago, really like it.. plus I can make it funny. I do ‘get’ the other argument, but it’s counterproductive to the kind of comments and community I want here.

      I should be around in June and in fact, might have to call dibs on being the first to buy you a drink. I just wonder if a tweet up might be in order. Hmm.. evil plans are being formulated. 😉

  7. Since I have the most basic of sites I have done very little. However, when I first set it up it the default was to moderate comments. Yeah, like I need to check and make sure nobody is saying dirty words……….I did finally take the time to go back in and make it ‘go away’.

    That Youtube video I asked you to view said in 2009 247 billion e-mails were sent a day; of that 200 billion were spam. Damn spammers, I’m glad you are getting the penis enhancement spam too; I was starting to feel a little insecure………:).

    You certainly want to make your site as easy and workable as possible. You also want to ‘add’ stuff to your posts and not have to worry it is bringing a lot of extra baggage with it.

    I’m for letting it all in and I will deal with it later if I have to ask someone to leave.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..What is that smell

    1. All the cheap viagra and pornstar Twitter followers I’m like.. spammer fail. We need better stalkers Bill. 🙂

      I had the moderation on for too long, but it seemed pointless after I realized I was doing to others what I didn’t like done to me.. making them/me wait. So I found some plugins to let the conversation go where it does.. including a few four-letter words now and then. I’m not gonna pretend profanity doesn’t exist, that I don’t use it to make a post more punchy or funny; I’ll let some of that go in a comment, as long as it’s on topic.

  8. Davina,
    You’re hilarious “The other day I commented on a post, correctly using James Bond’s decoder ring, a magnifiying glass, and a TNG universal translator to solve the captcha”

    As you know I use Livefyre comments system. I love how it pops up a little flag to tell me there are new comments and when I click on it, takes me right to them! The staff there is really great about any questions I have – service A! The best thing is the spam doesn’t seem to know how to get through! I know Bryan put a lot of anti-spam plug ins there so maybe that’s partly responsible for that.

    Besides, moderating is yet one more thing to do, and I’ve got enough things to do as it is!
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..How to Focus on Your Goals

    1. Exactly Lori. You’re busy, so you trust your tools, plugins and comment system to do their jobs, and hope that anyone who can jump through your hoops to leave a decent comment. Or your readers will know to ignore something stupid, from some random spammer using a bogus Twitter account to sneak their ‘low cost South Dakota beach vacation’ spam links in your posts.

      Have you ever had to go back and delete something lame? What about pingback spam, to really lame sites? Just curious.

      BTW I am not as much a hater on captchas as others but to then also see that “moderation” message, it’s what drug this post out of draft mode. We’ll see what happens, if anyone really pays any attention to me or my little blog. 😉

      1. A couple of times something slipped through and that was when I contacted Livefyre. They were on it so fast my head was spinning. Any other untoward comment I could delete from the back office, but these clever spammers had gone to old posts (which I wouldn’t be watching so much) and inserted comments which didn’t even show up in my back office! The second time it happened, they were gone by the time I turned around, so I sent two requests to Livefyre back to back. I believe they’ve filled the hole in the fence now!

        This person is paying attention to you and your “little blog” – still hoping you’ll write about how to compose brilliant RT’s that are sure to get clicked! ~ hint hint ~
        Lori Gosselin recently posted..How to Focus on Your Goals

        1. The RT post is being drafted, sadly lacking the clever, nothing in the neighborhood of the zip code of the vicinity of ‘brilliant’ yet. Gotta find a few more examples and figure out my little tricks. Puns work, I know that. 😉

          People know a ‘for more info on this’ comment or pingback spam when they see it, usually know to ignore it until the mod can zap it. Many of mine have been on old posts, just don’t get the point. *shrugs*

          1. I could go through all the RT’s you did for me to give you ideas! I’m sure you are being modest. Maybe you should have a “Best RT” contest!? People could collect their favorites and you could use it as date to add to what you already know (brilliance, for sure – you, I mean, not this idea, though I don’t know – what do you think?)

            I get the pingback on old posts. They figure you won’t be looking there. Yikes, makes me wonder – can you imagine the time it would take to keep a watch on all your posts? I’ve only been at it for four and a half months and already the thought is daunting!
            Lori Gosselin recently posted..How to Focus on Your Goals

            1. I don’t have that many old posts, but I just don’t get what SEO value there is in spamming a 2 year old blog post to link to some random blog or sales site.

              Anyway, I’m still kicking around ideas for the clever RT post (have a decent draft started), think it boils down to brevity and headline writing. I like the contest idea, or doing a call for people’s faves. Hmm..

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