September 12, 2006

more spam news

hi all. the recent move/rename of the comments script did very little to drop the spam levels. I think we lost the very stupid spammers last time we moved, so we only have spammers who are onto that ploy now.

So I've come up with another one. You know how you have to put something in either the email or web address to comment? (Well, so long as you have annonymous commenting turned off).

I was thinking we could add another special, stonesoup-required field. Because this would be a non-standard requirement, spammers who use MT spam robots would either:

a) be blocked, or
b) have to edit their robots.

Because stonesoup will have a unique required field, they'll have to do special work to spam us in particular. Not much, but I think it'll be enough to trip up most of the morons throwing stuff at us at the moment.

I've tested it on clockworkfish, and it works better than I expected. If you don't put something in the validation field, it throws up a very similar message to the one if you don't put in an email or web address. (It doesn't work at the moment, cause we all share a comment script, so I turned it off again). But clockworkfish's comment forms have the required changes on them if you want to see.

I'm happy enough to spend an evening making the required changes to everyone's templates and rebuilding their sites, but I just wanted to check with everyone that they didn't mind:
a) the proposed solution, and
b) me rebuilding your sites.

I won't do anything precipitous till this weekend (though, so long as no one complains bitterly, I'll probably do it then, even if I don't have formal approval from each of you. The spam is just silly at the moment, and it's eating my blogging time).

Posted by carla at September 12, 2006 12:04 AM | TrackBack

That will be great - it takes a long time at the moment to clean up each day, so reducing that would be fantastic. Thank you so much for your time doing all the cleaning - it is much appreciated.

Posted by: toni at September 12, 2006 08:13 AM

I've had over 300 spam hits recently, it's gotten pretty ridiculous. Any potential solution's worth a try...

Posted by: Dave at September 13, 2006 07:57 AM

Go you! (Don't bother rebuilding mine, though. I've switched off comments on all my entries.)

Posted by: iona at September 14, 2006 08:47 AM

Sounds good to me, happy for you to do what you suggest.

Posted by: suraya at September 15, 2006 11:41 AM

Well, based on the feedback so far, I'm going ahead over the weekend. :-)

Posted by: .carla at September 15, 2006 11:12 PM

Well, I've done it. I'm going to do a round of testing to make sure everything is lined up ok, but it would be useful if you could all check your comments forms to make sure they're working as you like.

Posted by: .carla at September 16, 2006 09:20 PM

Well, sadly, that didn't seem to work. I guess spammers don't have anything better to do than figure out how to pester us especially.

Have some more ideas which I will try over the next week.

Posted by: .carla at September 17, 2006 05:25 PM

Thanks Carla. It cheers me up just knowing that someone is trying to do something :)

Posted by: Giffy at September 17, 2006 11:33 PM

Thanks Carla, I really like this solution and it seems to have lessened my spam :)

Posted by: Jenni at September 18, 2006 04:13 PM

I'm seconding Jenni - I have no spam today, No spam today, yippee da do dah, no spam today...

Posted by: toni at September 18, 2006 08:43 PM

Well, curiously, I think the spam levels *are* down a bit. We're still getting someone who is doing big dumps. Clockworkfish got one just after I changed added the validation, which is why I thought it didn't work.

But the ratio of real comments to spam is generally *much* better.

I'll pursue my other plans a little later. They will involve each of you choosing a specific word for validation on your blog. I'll probably start with just the blog name as it appears in the url. Long term it would be the answer to a question you'd put where teh "Validate your comment ..." line is now.

and thanks for all your encouragement. It helps :-)

Posted by: .carla at September 19, 2006 07:53 PM

and lo! only 20 spams in the last 24 hours.

Posted by: .carla at September 26, 2006 08:48 PM

But... no one can post comments on my blog *at all*. The validation bit doesn't appear, but then when you try to post it still says you failed the validation


Was I meant to do something that I missed cos I'm so slack about reading Too Many Cooks?

Posted by: Fionnaigh at November 8, 2006 09:00 PM

You need to stick a bit of code into the comment templates. I'll look into it.

Posted by: .carla at November 11, 2006 03:07 PM
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