Cutting Down on the Spam

Draconis CaptchaI’ve been getting annoyed lately with the deluge of spam this blog receives. For a blog without particularly regular content (and not a very large audience, too), we seem to be inundated with spam.  So, I went looking for a solution.

When it comes to fighting blog spam, there’s really two routes: setting up a comment filtering system to weed out comments that match a set of filters, or a CAPTCHA component. One of my biggest gripes with most CAPTCHA systems is the ugliness of the solution: the images are made as difficult as possible to read, making it as difficult as possible for a human to post a comment. Well, I found a different solution that I am much happier with: a simple math question, asking users to solve an equation before allowing the post to go through.

As I’ve noted before, we’re using the WordPress blog engine, so the Math Comment Spam Protection Plugin looked attractive. Installing it was simple, and so far, I’ve been quite pleased with the result. Comment spam has reduced from several hundred comments per day to a much more manageable dozen or so. Plus, getting it to look nice with our design was a snap.

Of course, there are other options too: one could simply disable commenting altogether (though that doesn’t sound very attractive), or require that commenters first register an account. The latter, though, is likely to reduce the level of participation, as casual users are unlikely to go through the process of creating an account just to post a quick note. And finally, as this blog doesn’t get much feedback from users, I’d rather not make anyone have to jump through hoops!

Well, hope it’s not too annoying. Be sure to to try it out and let us know what you think by posting a comment.

Additional Resources

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