When I first set up our blog, it was about a week before going on an extended overseas trip. We let quite a few friends and family now about it so that they could keep up with us as we explored Europe.
A few weeks into our trip, I was very surprised to see the number of comments start to increase dramatically, but then quickly realised that it was comment spam: mostly hawkers, usually peddling ‘medication’ for various ‘ailments’, but also cross-posters trying to get their website on as many other sites as possible.
Their comments on how interested they were in our blog seemed insincere, but more importantly, I wasn’t interested in moderating this junk. At the time, and after our holiday, I just found it easier to stop accepting comments – the most drastic approach. It stopped the spam, but stops the interactive part of blogging.
With the rebirth of our blog, I wanted to open up comments again, but also wanted a smart approach to stopping (or at least reducing) the spam. There’s lots of good articles out there on the ‘net from people far more experienced in WordPress than me – I found them and found them helpful, so I won’t repeat the content here.
I’ve installed Akismet, and that is helping. One piece of advice I thought was a neat idea was to remove the ‘website’ field on the comments posting page so as todissuade those who simply are about cross-posting.
I did this, but quite a few comments were still being posted with the ‘website’ field populated… The conclusion from this is that the poster/spammer wasn’t using the actual website, but, I assume, some automated script or bot that is simply posting to whatever blogs it can find.
So I decided to add a small modification to the comments handler so that if the ‘website’ field was populated to simply stop handling the comment and not accept it.
This seems to be working well so far, with one exception that I didn’t realise until this morning: I’ve just updated the version of WordPress and my changes have been overwritten, so now I need to remember what I did and do it again. Lucky it was only a month ago when I did it.