Cleaning Comments with Akismet
My site recently (finally) started to get hit by automated comment spam. There are few ways that one can traditionally deal with this sort of thing:
- Manual auditing: Manually approve each and every comment that is made to the website. Given the low volume of comments I currently have this wouldn't be too much of a hassle, but what fun would that be?
- Captchas: Force the user to prove they are human. ReCaptcha is the nicest in the field, but even it has been broken. But this doesn't stop human who are being paid (very little).
- Honey pots: Add an extra field1 to the form (e.g. last name, which I currently do not have) that is hidden by CSS. If it is filled out one can assume a robot did it and mark the comment as spam. This still doesn't beat humans.
- Contextual filtering: Use Baysian spam filtering to profile every comment as it comes in. By correcting incorrect profiles we will slowly improve the quality of the filter. This is the only automated method which is able to catch humans.
I decided to go with the last option, as offered by Akismet, the fine folks who also provide Gravatar (which I have talked about before). They have a free API (for personal use) that is really easy to integrate into whatever project you are working on.
Now it is time to try it out. I've been averaging about a dozen automated spam comments a day. With luck, none of them will show up here.
*crosses his fingers *
I was just in touch with Akismet support to offer them a suggestion regarding their documentation. Out of nowhere they took a look at the API calls I was making to their service and pointed out how I could modify it to make my requests more effective in catching spam!
That is spectacular support!