If you’re a WordPress user, you probably noticed an option at Settings -> Discussion, which states “Before a comment appears, comment author must have a previously approved comment.” This was pretty much the bulk of our anti-spam measures here, and while not a single bit of spam made it through, the sheer volume of pending comments (almost all spam) were driving us nuts. A few days ago, we shifted gears with tremendous results, and I though you folks might be interested.
We decided to do away with the above setting and rely entirely on Akismet, Cookies for Comments, and the built-in moderation list and blacklist at Settings -> Discussion for any that snuck through. Prior to this change, we had an average of 5 pending comments each hour, and an average of 4.8 of those were spam. Now, we don’t have to monitor pending comments, and we only see an average of 2 comments an hour making it through. Of course, an average of 1.5 of these are spam, but that’s still one heck of an improvement, and we should eventually knock that down with the moderation list and blacklist. So far, the advantages outweigh the few that are making it through.
- As mentioned, we have much less posted comments to deal with now than there were pending comments before.
- Checking each comment as it comes in forces us to accept more comments that really ride the line between legitimate and spam comments. In the past, we would have probably bulk-spammed these when checking the pending comments.
- Legitimate commenters can see their comments immediately without waiting for us to get to them.
A word of warning about the moderation list and blacklist. They will both block anything that matches the string of letters you enter. So, be mindful of collateral damage when blocking a word. For example, one of the most commonly blocked words is “cialis,” but this will also block “socialist.” The blacklist will automatically mark any matching comment as spam, so use the moderation list for any words that could be used legitimately.
If you find yourself interacting too much with spam on a daily basis, it might be time to consider a new strategy.