Bloggers Declare Bore

Online Journalism Review writes Bloggers Declare War on Comment Spam, but Can They Win? I’m not sure what that has to do with journalism, but they talk to the same old people and read the same old sites and (not surprisingly) come to the same old tired conclusions. I’m trying to figure it out because I like everyone the article refers to and the article itself is well-written, but it feels very contrived. I think it may be because it draws a lot from blog material a year or more old, and selectively, like the writer had an agenda and Googled until there were enough quotes to fill the space. For example Mark Pilgrim’s blog is called “comment-free” when the entry on the front page for the last three weeks clearly has comments. Is it too much to ask to look at the front page of a blog you’re quoting? The article talks about Blogger redirecting URIs but not about Blogger’s registration aspect. It talks about Typekey but not the PATRIOT act. (Totally kidding there.)

You probably saw this coming from me, but most of all I think it’s silly that they don’t mention a single one of the dozens of other blogging systems that deal effectively with these issues every day. You can’t discuss the Movable Type spam epidemic without talking about people like Molly who tried everything out there including MT-Blacklist to no avail, then switched software and got on with their lives. There is a lot more to the story, but that’s been the conversation over the past year and a lot has come of it. The essence of blogging is communication and comments are here to stay, it’s just a matter of moderation.

13 replies on “Bloggers Declare Bore”

  1. I’ve been getting crazy amounts of spam comments over the last few days, but thanks to WP’s moderation doodad (limiting comments with more than 2 links in them) has been a godsend…

  2. Yeah, some of those blog references mentioned are really old. Here’s a rundown of the links in the article (I may have missed some) and the date they were made/posted:

    Jeremy Zawodny – 10/06/03
    Cameron Marlowe – 07/29/04
    Adam Kalsey – 11/08/03
    Mark Pilgrim – 11/15/03
    Blog Herald – 10/13/03
    Adam Kalsey – 07/29/04
    David Weinberger – 01/16/04
    Antoin O Lachtnain – 07/18/04
    Elise Bauer – 08/16/04

  3. You canÂ’t discuss the comment spam epidemic without talking about the fact that most versions of MT that were affected were released before WordPress ever existed or had a large base of users. This is the same as arguing that browser manufacturers could have anticipated popup advertising in the 2.x days and should have known before it existed that they’d need to stop it. Also, no solution is foolproof: http://pkey.us/archives/000040.html

  4. If Typekey is a response to comment spam, which it really isn’t, then comment spam was a problem for at least a year before 3.0D came out. Jay Allen is a hero, I think he saved MT in that long period where they were focused on other things and people’s sites were getting hammered. WordPress/b2 has had throttling for about 3 years, comment moderation for over 9 months and built-in advanced spam management for 4 months. The upcoming release will have even more. To follow your analogy, MT is like Internet Explorer and WordPress is like Firefox. We respond very quickly to the needs and requests of our users and have an active open-source development community, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve never heard of pkey.us, but he will be disappointed if he thinks Typekey is going to solve his spam problem. I don’t want to argue MT vs. WP because it’s not really relevant to the thread and I don’t really think of it as a “vs.” situation. They have a good product made by great people. As someone on Typepad I’m sure you appreciate a whole suite of things that WordPress doesn’t address and doesn’t try to. But, don’t argue that WP gets less spam because it’s younger (it’s not) or because it’s less prominent, because it’s on far more sites than other scripts that are highly targetted. WordPress gets less spam because it’s something we’ve given a lot of thought to and continue to work hard on.

  5. I must say, WP’s spam control has made my life much easier. I still have half a site on old B2. This week, that part of the site (with comments turned OFF) recieved 211 spams. The WordPress section (with comments ON) received 1, which did not get through. Go Matt.

  6. I’m curious, Matt: I can see how you could claim that WP is better at hiding spam from readers, but how can you claim it somehow “gets less spam” other than through obscurity? Last time I remember you saying that because everyone knows you are so fearsome, nobody would write a script to spam you, someone did, and ever since I keep seeing WP users saying “I got x00 comment spams today, but only n didn’t get moderated!” Me, I’m coming up on the two-year anniversary of my first serious spam attack, and I’m down to maybe two a week, counting failed attempts.

    By the way, you might want to customize your “what tags are allowed” message for comments: if I was starting a spam run, I’d do it by googling “html allowed a href” and posting comments with two links.

  7. @Phil Ringnalda,
    “By the way, you might want to customize your “what tags are allowed” message for comments: if I was starting a spam run, I’d do it by googling “html allowed a href” and posting comments with two links.”

    Go ahead and do that…because with WordPress you can very easily moderate comments with a single link, so I don’t know what you are trying to prove with your “two links” comment.

    With the tool set I have at my disposal, I don’t care if I get a thousand comment spam a day, because they are so easy to manage. I can’t claim that I get less spam because I use WordPress, but lately the trend has been that I’m getting fewer and fewer all the time. I have no idea what to attribute that to.

  8. Ooh, you mean there’s no default? Excellent! That’s the sort of cruel thing I like to do, either refuse moderation, or do nothing but moderate, until the user has to RTFM and set something.

    Don’t often see people who write popular stuff doing that, though. They tend to set defaults, and have default text, whether it’s “you may use html tags for style” (which says “post MT’s comment variables here, use a link in the body, don’t use a single proxy more than once every 20 seconds”) or “html allowed a href” (which says “post WP’s comment variables here, use fewer than whatever the default for moderation is, 2 if it’s still 3, don’t use a single proxy more than once every 10 seconds”).

  9. I haven’t had a big problem with comment spam. However I have noticed spam in my referral logs. To spam referral logs, man you have to be desperate… I would think.

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