Tim Longhurst's Blog

Stopping spammers, you do the math

August 27th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Every now and then, I get a comment on my blog post that has nothing to do with the post. “Hey great post – why not try out this German dating site?!” is a typical example.

It’s called comment SPAM – a computer program is running around the Internet adding links in blog posts, hoping to drive internet traffic to one (or sometimes more) websites.

I love comments from real people. I love them so much, I have my blog set so that if you comment, your comment goes online STRAIGHT AWAY, unmoderated. I do that because I like rewarding readers by showing them that their thoughts are available to the world as soon as they hit ‘post’.

Today, 40 different spam comment messages were posted onto this blog, so I’ve made a slight change. On all but the most recent posts, readers are now asked to answer a simple math question. I’ve used a free wordpress plugin and so far, I recommend it.

If you’re reading an old post on this blog and you come across the math problem in the comments section, I’d love to know how you feel about it? Is it too great an impost on users? I think it strikes the balance between no protection, and those crazy “Captcha” images, where a third of the time I can’t make out the letters or numbers I’m supposed to be typing into the box!

So I hope the bots stay out and the people are let in. If anything, the quality of the comments may go up as only people capable of simple math are able to comment… Let me know what you think!

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Category: Building a better blog

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