Over the weekend, the site got hit by more than 130 comment spams. These are junk messages added to the comment sections of individual articles, usually consisting of links to off-shore gambling, viagra and vioxx. Spammers use automated scripts to leave the same message on article after article, site after site. It’s hard to say whether they actually intend to sell products, or if their goal is simply to annoy.
WordPress, the system that powers this site, is pretty good at flagging potential comment spam so that it doesn’t show up for readers, but that still leaves me to go through and clean it up. So on Sunday I implemented a new passphrase system that should hopefully stem the tide of comment spam, without being too onerous for actual readers.
Now, when you try to post a comment, you’ll be asked to type in a certain word from a given phrase. If it matches, your comment is posted. If not, your comment is ignored.
The system is not terribly sophisticated, and a devoted spammer could probably code around it in half an hour. But I suspect it wouldn’t be worth the time or trouble. Here’s hoping, anyway.
Let me know if you run into any trouble with the new comment system.