I recently updated to WordPress 2.0, which offers an Akismet plug-in that monitors and catches comment spam.
I had a bit of trouble getting it running, but now that it’s up and going, WOW!
In the two days I’ve had it running, Akismet has caught and deleted 148 comment spams.
This is HUGE. Absolutely huge. And in more than one way.
First off, it caught the spam. Great. It does what it’s supposed to, and I don’t have to check all my comments all the time to ensure that no junk is getting through. This alone, of course, is well-worth the installation.
But the real benefit is that I was able to (and did) remove all the draconian rules and general ickiness that I had set up around commenting on my site.
To protect against spam, I had forced all subscribers to create an account and log in. And, if they had not previously had an approved comment, their comment would not appear until I saw it and approved it. To top it all off, because I had about 50 ‘danger’ words in a filter that automatically deleted comments if one of them was in it (e.g., pheteramine, viagra, etc.) lots of real and worthy comments that real people really wrote were caught (false positives) and chewed up and spit out before I even saw them.
So. Now it’s not only easier to comment on this site, legitimate posters see their comments immediately. And a ton of work and bother is off my shoulders. And no good comments get thrown out with the bathwater.
This is really, really, really good.
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The great thing about Akismet is that it is a distributed system. Instead of a tiny bit of intelligence sitting on my server, and a tiny bit on yours, etc. etc., Akismet is a connected service. (See more about this here.)
So when it learns about spam on my blog, it knows it on yours. And vice versa. The more people using it, the smarter it gets.
Very, very cool. And a much needed tool to help keep blogging fun and (somewhat) carefree!