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So, blog comment spam is a drag. What are we going to do about it?

Today, Colin Moock announced his decision to disable comments on his blog. Why? The more and more ubiquitous commercially motivated vandalism we call "blog comment spam".

When we publish a blog, we take responsibility for our part of the internet. We put aside anonymity for the sake of our community and our place in that community. We invite people to join us, and comment. In fact, a blogger is happiest when a post sparks a long discussion in the comments, or even picks up on other blogs and forums.

We do NOT invite peddlers of illicit products (often illegal products) to abuse our good reputations and our community, for any reason.

Supposedly these trolls and pros (vandals, really) do this to get higher ranking in search engines. If this is true, then search engines will respond and blogs won't have the same weight. This would be a shame, because some of the most interesting content on the internet exists in the comment system of blogs.

While reading the anti-spam blog, an idea popped into my head. The mark-up for blogs and comments is all dynamically generated, so it should be easy to insert a standard tag that flags text as a "comment"? Then let the search engines do their magic and determine the weight of any links in that block of text. If search engines and blog system developers join forces, this problem could be solved without gagging honest communication.

This problem is bigger than a few hacks to MT can handle. We need to join forces, get creative, and come up with some big ideas for handling this problem and foster the growth of community at the same time.

Links:

moockblog: spam killed moockblog comments

.:: BLOGSPAM.ORG - ALL YOU NEED TO STOP BLOG SPAMMING ::.

Comments

I think we need to adopt the "emergence" strategy used by Cloudmark's SpamNet (http://www.cloudmark.com).

Somebody should update MT to add a "block" and "unblock" buttons to the main blog editing interface, just like SpamNet adds those buttons to your Outlook.

Since these spammers use bots that look for html forms, why not use Flash, an unspiderable format, for comment threads?

For all the complaints of Flash not being trackable by bots and search engines, here's one place it might help.

You don't need yet another set of barely used standards that will just be exploited all over again. This isn't rocket science, it's web programming, get over it. I run my blog, and understand that to have a complex comment system it takes a bit of work, and it doesn't bother me when I get spam. I deal. MY AUDIENCE IS WORTH THE EFFORT.

As much as Moock is stopping comments on his thread, I TOO have stopped commenting on most blogs I read because in general I have never seen bloggers participate in their own comment threads. What's the point of offering discussion if your not going to say anything? The Macromedia bloggers are especially guilty of ignoring their comments. It's no wonder they wake up one day to see a bunch of spam comments all over their site. They're driving without their headlights on for three days and then cry momma when they see 20 spams on 4 blog entries.

I don't think any specific technology needs to be deployed. Forums sites run everyday and are pure comment systems. They are well protected, and imagine this, they get looked at and particplated in by the owners and are maintained! Spam comments are removed all the time, by hand! AMAZING what a little work can accomplish.

How can one put up a public message system and not expect to do some work of administration?

Please, I am so sick of my fellow bloggers complaining about this issue. If it's such a pain in the ass, just take your blog down. If you're so disinterested in your reader's input you can't even make an administrative CMS to quickly filter comments during your lunch hour then I wonder how much character and interest you're showing in your respect for your audience.

If a blogger doesn't want to put 2 cents into their blog, then I don't want to either. So to Moock I say, you can take your blog and stick it. Since you show so little respect and character at supporting your genuinely participating audience, I don't see the need to return it. Where's the love? Moock, IS YOUR AUDIENCE WORTH THE EFFORT?

Apparently not. Here's the worlds smallest violin playing hearts and roses just for you: `

blogman, I believe that my audience is also worth the effort. While I opened my post with a comment about Moock, he was not the subject of the problem, just another individual fed up with the abuse.

Yes, I get frustrated as well, when a blogger consistently fails to respond to comments. But I also understand that time is tight at times. Perhaps, if a blogger isn't going to have time to participate in discussions they are lucky enough to spark, that they should turn comments off for a while.

Back to the problem at hand...blog spammers.

What gets to me is when I spend more time getting rid of vandalism, yes vandalism, than conversing with my readers. Most of which are active members of GalaxyGoo.

Have you been "hit" by one of these spammers yet? I don't know about you, but I can't spend 24 hurs of every day keeping an eye on my blog's comments. Have you seen some of the truly offensive messages they leave?

I've thought about many methods to deal with the problem. None of them are satisfying, yet. We can build all kinds of admin tools to aide admininstration of comments. One that would be especially usefull right now, would be the ability to put "to sleep" all comments during certain hours.

Ever since I implemented a sign-up for comments, I haven't had any problems with any type of spam. That way, if someone does sign up and then spam, you can easily shut their account.

Aral, I've been meaning to ask you how that was working out for you, and how you set it up.

I've never hitted with spam comments. I think spammers only hit in Movable Type blogs. I've heard of a Blogger blog beign spammed. But here there are some quick solutions to the problem:

http://www.moik78.com/2003_04_01_moik78_archive.html#200095459

Hope it fixes some issues. Aral uses B2 (http://cafelog.com/) as blogging engine.

Moises, that's a nice article. Those ideas are beyond the scope of what I could accomplish myself...and still have time to get any other work done. Looks like they could be incorporated into the next version of MT, though.

I still think that search engines need to get smart about this issue. Blogs today, who knows what tomorrow.