Here’s how I dropped virtually all of my comment spam, with no extra challenge fields to hinder human commenters.
logo by David Hegarty (License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic)
I hate spam. I don’t mean the canned Hormel pork product that is so tasty in Spam musubi or Spam fried rice. I mean all the unwanted comments and links to any manner of dubious websites invading this blog’s comments section.
House of Annie is a WordPress-powered blog that used to get a moderate amount of comment spam. Spambots – computers run by spammers to automatically leave comments on blogs – were becoming an increasing nuisance. Like most WordPress blog owners, I use the Akismet anti-spam plugin as my first line of defense against comment spam.
But sometimes Akismet either lets a spam comment through or shunts a legitimate comment over to the Spam queue (a “false positive”). That’s why I moderate comments as well, only letting previously approved commenters get automatic posting privileges. It’s a second line of defense for the ones that gets past Akismet, but doesn’t help with false positives that may be sitting in the Spam queue.
If there are a lot of comments in the spam queue, it’s not so easy to find these false positives. It’s almost like finding a needle in a haystack. As this blog has gotten more popular, that haystack has gotten bigger. I needed to find a way to reduce the comment spam, but did not want to use CAPTCHA or math challenge-response plugins that stop spambots but slow down human commenters.
I think I found my answer.