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Comment spam redux

Okay.. the tide of comment spam is now definitely rising. I have taken the following measures:

1) All co-bloggers can now edit all posts, so unless I missed something they will now be able to delete or neuter comment spam.
2) The default setting for comments on new posts is now "closed". For each new posting, bloggers will have to decide if they want to invite comments or not. This is a temporary measure, until I have resolved item number 3.
3) The single most abused feature is the URL input field. I hate having to disable that, both because it is a courtesy to legitimate posters to let them display their URL, and because the level of discourse tends to be higher when people's posts are associated with a public website or known identity. However, I will not let this blog be polluted through this feature, so when I have a little more time, I will edit the appropriate templates (a single Moveable Type setting to allow or disallow this would be *very* desirable), and URL display will be gone. Blame the terrorists, not me.
4) I will look into preventative measures like MT-blacklist or Typekey. Both solutions have disadvantages. Shared, non-user-visible blacklists similar to MT-blacklist have failed for Usenet and Email so there's no reason to assume that they will work on blogs in the long run. I'll probably install it but it will only be one extra line of defense.
Typekey, on the other hand, makes any blog that uses it considerably less open and hospitable, unless all blogs use it *and* everyone on the internet develops a high level of interest in blog comment posting. Bleah.
A Bayesian filter plugin exists and that might work better. But my prefered solution is still violent retribution meted out on spammers.
5) In the absense of laws allowing for violent retribution, I will name and shame spammers instead.

Disqualified from the human race for shoving today are:

* Shirts-T-shirts.com http://www.samspade.org/t/lookat?a=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shirts-t-shirts.com and using the email address shirts_t_shirts@mail15.com, a T-shirt supplier. Posting with the IP addresses 195.31.167.5 and 193.188.97.152. Do not buy their crap for any reason. Sam Spade sez:

Registrant:
Rotsberg's finances ltd.
Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Domain Name: SHIRTS-T-SHIRTS.COM
Domain servers in listed order:
NS1.EVENWAY.NET
NS2.EVENWAY.NET
For complete domain details go to:


* Carnumbers.ru, http://www.samspade.org/t/lookat?a=carnumbers.ru, posting from 212.125.240.238 and using the email address carnumbers@mail333.com
They sell vanity license plates that will undoubtedly fall off.

Comments (6)

Squiddhartha:

I find spammers of any ilk, and particularly comment spammers, to be despicable. However, by citing their URLs above, aren't you giving them a little of what they asked for? (Granted it would be worse if they were actual links.)

It's a bit of a dilemma, I'll admit. However, I've decided to mention their URLs along with disparaging comments and contact information, but not to actually link them, for this reason: Spammers don't spam blogs so that their URLs can be read by human being - they know that human beings (being superior to spammers) hate anything associated with spam. They spam blogs in order to increase their Google ranking. That is why they're quite happy, in their piggish little minds, to attach their spams to abandoned forums, unmaintained open link lists and month-old blog comments that no one reads anymore.
I think that as a hater of spam (in other words as a comparitively sane human being with actual ethics), I gain more by outing the perpetrators to the world than I lose by making their URLs visible - as long as I don't link them or imply that they sell a good product (if they did, they wouldn't spamvertise it).

Merely deleting blog comments hours after they occurred doesn't help much - they've already benefited from the increased Google ranking from 100,000 automated URL posts, and they can always send out 100,000 more. However, making the links point somewhere else, making their information available so that others can pre-emptively deny them a platform, or even leaving the link but associating it with crap (like the "Miserable failure" google-whack against President Bush) are strategies that turn the spams against their perpetrators. Ideally, I should change links in spam posts to point to those among a spammer's competitors who pay for ads on Google like a real business, but life's too short, and besides that doesn't work when the spammer is in a line like Viagra-peddling where *everyone* is a spamming scumbag.

I've thought of starting a separate name-and-shame blog in which I combine all of the above, but I don't want to even begin doing that until I've caught up on a month's worth of sleep.

The upcoming TypeKey-ed 3.0 version of Movable Type should also solve some of the problems afaik

Hmmm, maybe I should try & open my eyes for a change while I'm awake

Well, alternative suggestions (an automated URL-mangler?) are welcome.
I'd like an automated comments closer, but the one on the MT-plugins directory works only on a version of MT configured with SQL. I use the whatchamacallitDB instead.

The ThrottleSeconds plugin seems like a good idea, see:
http://www.movabletype.org/support/index.php?act=ST&f=14&t=38837&hl=spam&s=4c591e08a69861657ab10735ad07d908

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