Taking action

Yesterday, I vented a bit about the spammers that slam this blog on a regular basis. It seems to come in waves but when it does, it is really annoying. If all it was was annoying, I might just move on.

Before I move on, I should note that Akismet does a terrific job of catching most of the spam so that it never shows up on the blog. But, every now and again, it does.

And that bugs me.

I’ve done a lot of reading to try and get my head around why this happens. The comments themselves aren’t necessarily evil in content – I could sure come up with a lot more caustic words. As far as I can tell, it’s all about social engineering. Often, the posts will contain a link to somewhere or a profile/use containing a link presumably to their own blog but typically to somewhere else. The goal is to get clicks and maybe even scam people into giving away information. None of this is something that I want to be a party to.

In doing my research, apparently Google’s site ranking will cut you down if you’re allowing those things on your blog. Ironically, I think that most people land here because they’re regular readers and subscribe or follow the link I send out on Twitter every morning and that it’s the spammers that have searched and found me. Just a conspiracy theory; I have my tin foil hat on.

The thing that gets me is that the attacks seldom happen on the “post of the day”. As I noted yesterday, these comments tend to be on old posts. For example, this thing showed up this morning.

Please don’t type any of the information into your browser!

Of course you wouldn’t. Readers here are pretty sophisticated!

The actual post was called Feeling old and went live on March 15, 2018. I’ve long since forgotten about the post and, if you’re a regular reader around here, you’ve probably forgotten as well. But I just read it; it was a nice post and Aviva Dunsiger and Lisa Noble commented. And, the above spammer tried.

So, what is a blogger to do? It truly bothers me.

  • Quit Blogging – this is the easiest solution and would definitely stop the problem. I could just shutter this place and let them go somewhere else
  • Don’t allow replies – this is an alternative that many people have opted for. You can’t reply on the blog but certainly could continue the conversation in other places – Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Moderate all replies – again, this a popular alternative for some. No reply appears until it’s been approved. It’s probably a failsafe approach but I know that I don’t like it when I reply and it doesn’t appear immediately. I wouldn’t want to pass that along to visitors

I spent some time going through the settings on the blog in the Discussions settings area and there’s a couple of features that I find intriguing.

One is to close off replies after a certain period of time. That might be the answer to these spammers that head for the old posts. Just make them unavailable. I’m going to try that option and close off replies at 7 days. So, if you want to comment, you have a week to do so. That seems reasonable.

The other feature was actually something that I had started a while ago and I’m guessing lost interest or it was too much work. It was to blacklist certain email addresses. It sounds reasonable enough although it’s easy enough to create yet another new spam address.

My settings appear above. Any blogging genius is welcome to tell me what else I could do to try and tame this.

Signed – frustrated at the keyboard.


OTR Links 07/23/2019

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.