Thinking about comment spam

A couple of interesting comment threads about what might or might not “solve” the problem of comment spam. It’s things like those, with people thinking, right or wrong, that make me want to do whatever it takes to keep it possible to have wide open, accessible to anyone who happens by, comments on weblogs.

One big thing to keep in mind with any idea you have: Google is not a hapless bystander, unable to do anything about this awful thing that’s being done to it.

And yes, I’m on a one-man crusade to make “interesting” a ham-word, rather than just a spam-word.


Comment by Adam #
2004-02-03 20:11:08

We faced this problem. Our site started seeing a real spike in comment spam. Went from about 3 crap comments for every 1 substancial one, to about 20 to 1. That turned off our users, and had created a ”lemmons problem” where the bad drove out the good.

Our spring break site provided tips to people, and let them share past experiences. Still a great site, but not as good. Are there solutions out there besides banning IP adderesses?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-02-03 22:26:54

Well, let’s see. What could you do to stop comment spam? Shooting yourself leaps to mind. Those ”here’s a comment talking about comment spam, so surely you won’t notice that I’m actually spamming you” comments stopped being funny months ago.

Beyond that? Well, to avoid being spammed by the same URL again, a blacklist can be nice, if you are very careful about what you do and don’t add. For instance, I added your domain to mine, so I won’t have to deal with any more links to your spam-site.

Another thing that can sometimes work well is using a Bayesian classifier, if you can feed it enough spam and ham to get it trained, and if there’s enough difference between the two in your comments. For example, mine thought correctly your comment was spam, and so it redirected your link from the URL field (though not, I’m afraid, the one in the comment body, not yet anyway) to scrub off any Google-juice that would have otherwise passed on to you. Once I get it trained a bit better, I’ll see about just not showing things it thinks are spam until I approve or delete them.

2004-01-29 04:16:30

Solving comment spam

Simon Willison: Solving comment spam: ”Comment spam is a solvable problem. Furthermore, blogging about comment spamming is almost as dull as blogging about blogging. Let’s hurry up and solve it so we can go back to blogging about cats.” (via…

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