Stopping Comment Spam

Lately, I’ve been getting a ton of comment spam on Command-Tab. Fortunately, WordPress (combined with an extensive “bad word” blacklist) has been able to catch 100% of it, so you never see it. However, I have to deal with the comments held in moderation and actually delete them. I’m wondering how to stop it altogether…

I’ve considered several options, including challenge/response schemes like a question or a captcha image script, but I want to make it as easy as possible for real humans to leave comments (without registering — I don’t like that idea), but near impossible for an automated machine.

For now, the spam is from a specific few IP addresses, which I’ve blocked altogether by blacklisting them in my .htaccess file. What are your suggestions on stopping comment spam?

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Stopping Comment Spam

12 thoughts on “Stopping Comment Spam

  1. Fred Monroe says:

    Use The Bad Behavior wordpress plugin. Other than that, I would not mind having to register to post however for people that are not registered, they would be provided the captcha image script instead. This would ideally not apply to a registered and logged in visitor

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  2. I have used SpamKarma wordpress plugin for ages, and I have not had a single spam slip through since I began using it. I also do not have to moderate comments, as if a comment is not marked as spam, it is sent through to the post.

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  3. google search google’s new NOFOLLOW html tag. Also, I think the picture/text way is the only real way to make it easy for a human, impossible for a machine. But after looking at all the spam I get in my guestbooks, I think a lot of it is a human. Like someone just goes from site to site manually pasting stuff in your comments/guestbooks for hours each day. I just use a manual approval system and though its annoying, its not really a hassle at all. Even if i miss an email, the spam comment will never show up the site, it will just stay in limbo forever

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  4. Also, i find some of the text images modify the text so bad, even as a human, i have a very hard time reading what they are saying. I wonder if thats due to teh same problem, people keep increasing the distortion thinking that the bots are getting smarter and smarter, when its really that a human is at the controls pasting everything in.

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  5. I moderate all my comments in order to keep them down.

    I used to get a ton using MovableType and just kept a huge blacklist. I’m with Fred though, i wouldnt mind registering.

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  6. Actually, it is possible to decode a significant amount of captcha images. Take, for example, PWNtcha, a project dedicated to cracking captcha challenge/response images. It does so with very impressive results.

    WordPress automatically adds the nofollow tag to link within comments, but apparently that doesn’t stop spammers.

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  7. Fred Monroe says:

    the other option is to have it send the user an email that they have to get and hit a confim link on although some spamers will pick up on this but there is no perfect system because there is always a way around anything (almost)

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  8. I’ve completely changed the form element names in my comment fields. This immediatly shut down all of the comment “bots” and i haven’t seen the huge amount of comment spam again. I still have the random manual comment spam though. Which I weed out through moderation.

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  9. The Gatekeeper Plug-In works magic for me. You make a up a question only a human would know, and they have to fill in this field before posting. That’s it. For example, “A coin worth $0.10 is called a…” Once someone has successfully typed “dime” the post can go through. You can set up a number of different questions as well. Works great. As the plug-in itself says, “the point is to write questions and answers are completely obvious to a human.” You can find it here: http://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/wordpress/wp-gatekeeper.html

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  10. I was thinking about writing a plugin like wp-gatekeeper a few days ago. Lo and behold, here it is. I may implement it soon. Suprisingly, though, my spam has dropped to near zero (I got my first one in several days today) just by banning a few IPs in my .htaccess file.

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