reader feedback needed
Post #396 • October 27, 2004, 7:55 AM • 14 Comments
It finally happened. I expected it, but not this soon. Yesterday, a comment spammer put up a post with 600 - yes, 600 - links to a porn site.
In a way, I take it as a compliment that Artblog.net is now widely read enough to become a desirable target for comment spam. Moveable Type sites get hit all the time, by robots, because they have a standard interface. I authored my own content management system, so someone had to hit me manually.
Because of my alert mechanisms, that post stayed up for about three minutes, but I can safely assume that attacks like this will increase proportionally with the popularity of the blog. That brings us to possible solutions, all of which stink for different reasons.
1. Ban automatic comments. Most really big blogs don't have comments. You can e-mail them, and if you say something sufficiently clever, the blogger may post it. This assures that all comments which finally appear address the topic and have a brain. Stinks because: I enjoy the hell out of the comments and learn a lot from the exchanges. I think comments form an important part of the identity of Artblog.net.
2. Comment moderation. Your comment goes into a holding cell until I inspect it and let it through. Stinks because: it really slows down the discussion, and creates an additional workload for me.
3. Comment registration. You register your e-mail and screen name with Artblog.net, which then sends you a password. You can then comment in real time to your heart's content. I could moderate your first comment á la #2 to make sure you made a legitimate remark and let your posts through thereafter. Stinks because: this requires a lot of hoop jumping just to drop a few thoughts at a website. It will definitely get rid of a lot of the conversation. And you would rather go to the dentist than acquire another password.
4. A combination of #2 and #3. You get a choice - either register, or allow your comment to be moderated. This allows readers to select their preferred level of hoop jumping. Stinks because: This gets pretty complicated and I've never seen any other site do it.
I plan on banning spammers manually like I did yesterday morning for a good while yet, but eventually, maybe sooner, I will have to deal with this. Please express your preference for one of the above or suggest alternatives.