How to deal with spam effectively

This is a quick post with some tips for dealing with spam. For a more complete explanation of how Akismet works there are two informative posts that you can consult.

How to deal with spam effectively:

(1) Spam hitting old posts
Most spammers are about 7-30 days behind so it makes sense that the most spam you ever get is on “old posts” i.e. posts that were published more than 30 days ago.

-> Dashboard -> Discussion – scroll down to “Comment Moderation
look for the checkbox
__ Don’t discard spam on old posts

The default setting is no checkmark there. It’s up to you whether or not you want to change the default setting and sort through more spam or not.

(2) Limit the number of links in comments
-> Dashboard ->  Discussion – scroll down to “Comment Moderation
“A common characteristic of comment spam is a large number of hyperlinks. ”

The default setting is to allow only 2 links per comment. If any comments have more than 2 then they will be in your Akismet spam filter. You can set this number to zero or one or any number you choose and then click “Update Options”.

(3) Comment Blacklisting
-> Dashboard -> Discussion – scroll down again and find “Comment Blacklist”.

“When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be marked as spam. One word or IP per line. It will match inside words, so “press” will match ‘WordPress’.”

Please understand that banning by blacklisting an IP is not very effective. This is why. Most spam is generated by bots and the programming is set up to keep changing the IP’s the spam is sent from. Note also that most IP’s are dynamic – they change. The ISP provider will be periodically changing the IP that you orginally blacklisted.

Setting bot generated spam aside, suppose I’m at somewhere other than at my own computer and I know you have blacklisted my IP because my comments are not appearing on your blog. Now what would I do? It’s a simple answer isn’t it? I could go to a public library, college or an internet cafe, etc. and use another computer.

This is why IP blocking is considered to be ineffective.

(4) Clearing the Akismet spam filter
->Dashboard -> Comments -> Akismet spam – check the items in the filter and if you find legitimate comments then mark them “not spam”.

Every day check the Akismet spam filter contents. Sometimes you may find actual not-spammy comments in there but that’s hardly ever. Most of the time, what’s in there is spam.

2 thoughts on “How to deal with spam effectively

  1. All I know is what is found at the head of the sections.
    Moderation
    When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be held in the moderation queue. One word or IP per line. It will match inside words, so “press” will match “WordPress”.
    Blacklist
    When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be marked as spam. One word or IP per line. It will match inside words, so “press” will match “WordPress”.
    I don’t know if you can use spaces or not. I suggest you try it and see or ask staff about it. And I apologize for not having more information.

  2. Do you know if you can use spaces in the lines that you add in the “Comment Blacklist” field?

    For example, I get a lot of spam with a phrase similar to “Fantastic Site! Keep up the great work!”. The other fields in the comment have dozens of links to porno sites and such. I get asked to moderate this, when I’d rather have it just go to the spam directly and not get asked to moderate it. This particular comment seems to be the only spam that I get asked to moderate consistently.

    Could I add a line in the Comment Blacklist section “Fantastic Site. Keep up the great work!” ?

    Would that pick up everything with the word fantastic or site or keep or up etc., or would it check for a match to the entire phrase?

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