How I handle comments -and spammers

….and why I am not using Akismet

Bloggers matutinal joy, grabbing coffee and weeding spammers out! That is how every single day starts for me, killing spam comments. Apart when I was on holidays / vacations and didn’t have regular internet access. I went one time a week to an internet cafe and did a mass killing. Joy, oh, joy, 500 comments to go through, to weed and mostly to delete. At the moment I guess this blog has around 10% genuine comments and 90% spammers. So let me explain what I consider a spam comment, how I handle comment moderation and perhaps, just perhaps, one or two of my regular spammers won’t bother to come back! Woman can dream…

When I do my first visit of the day to my blog dashboard, I find typically around 20-30 comments in the moderation queue. I will delete everything that was obviously posted by a spambot, you know this type of comment with 200 links in one blog comment. Or the ones that were written in a foreign language with a different alphabet, one my browser doesn’t support. If the comment looks like this:

????? ?????? ??? ?????????? ?????? ????????? ????????? ?????????? ???? ???? ??????

it will get deleted, mercilessly! Next I will see who that I know has commented. If I know you and your site, I will approve your comment. Doesn’t matter if you agree with me or not, if your comment is two or two hundred words long, if I know you, I will approve your comment. I believe in moderation, but not in censorship, I will never, ever delete a comment for the sole reason that somebody disagrees with me 😉

So, after having killed the black sheep and approved of the white ones, I take care of the flock in the middle, the grey sheep. I look at each comment separately, taking into account if the comment has anything to do with the blog post it is on, adds to the content of this blog in a meaningful way and to which site it links. For example, if the comment reads “Great post but I don’t agree with everything you said.” is posted on a blog post that simply states that I am going on holidays / vacations and links to a pharm, gambling, warez or otherwise dodgy site, then it is good-bye for this comment. If the comment is related to the post, remember it doesn’t have to be positive or to agree with what I say, is meaningful and links to a non-dodgy site, it gets approved. If the comment fulfills only the first two conditions, but links to a site I don’t want to link to, I will approve it, but with the site url removed. Evil? Perhaps, but in the end this is my blog and I decide to whom I link and to whom not.
Finally, I go to all my recently approved comments and answer or acknowledge them. Blogging is a two way communication tool, not a dead end road 😉

Why do I go through all this hassle and don’t install Akismet on my blog? Very easy, first Akismet tends to give quite some false positives, means it puts those comments in its spam folder that I would have approved. Bad, really bad. Second it can’t detect the meaningless comments and it can’t make a decision to which sites I want to link to and to which not. The last bit is important, as this blog is “dofollow and keyword luv” enabled. And that means Google checks and takes note to which kind of sites I link and to which not. And apart of this, there are certain types of sites I simply don’t want to link to, period!

So tomorrow morning I will start the day again by grabbing a mug of coffee and weeding through all the comments I have received over night. And how do you handle comment moderation on your blog? Manually, automatically or something in between?

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20 comments to How I handle comments -and spammers

  • I really appreciate you bringing up the false positives of Akismet because I have been blocked from a couple of sites where I really was trying to contribute to the conversation, but they flagged me as spam. That’s something that I don’t like about that plug-in at all.

  • hospitalera

    That I can explain to you, I think it is due to your comment frequency, I nearly deleted you the first time you commented on this blog, because there were so many comments in such a short time, rofl. But as I am not a program like Akismet, I didn’t 😉 And I am glad I didn’t you contribute great content and thoughts with your comments! SY

  • Every blogger has to face spam comments.
    Even i was of the opinion that Akismet was the ultimate solution to remove spam.But they block the comments to such an extent that the good comments also gets spammed.Comment moderation is only the way.Check out those links manually and then accept them.
    Lately I came to know the TypePad AntiSpam which is said to be the best,free antispam service available.I have never tried it out.
    What do u think about that..?

  • hospitalera

    I have no experience at all with Typepad. But I am getting rather fast in manually approving / rejecting comments. SY

  • hospitalera, I personally love Akismet. Does it block out some real comments? Well, yeah, it is not perfect. It is for this very reason that I go through each and everyone of my spam to make sure that I do not have a bot commenting.

  • hospitalera

    Yes, it does, for example if the person used some “interesting” words or included too many links in their comment. Both can happen in an otherwise perfectly acceptable comment. But if you still go through “each and everyone” by hand, what is then the advantage of having Akismet in the first place 😉 ? SY

  • Well, the big advantage is that once I have reviewed it once, I pretty much know what is and what is not. Most of the comments that are dumped there are spam. What you have to be good at is determining what is not.

    As for what it is good for. The answer is simple; separation.

    On another note, I took you advice from the comment that you left on my article and have added the ability to subscribe to a comment thread now. I added in a couple of other tools as well.

  • hospitalera

    @Danny Thornton

    Have a look at my latest blog post, especially the bit about keywordluv, you can have the do follow link anchored to your chosen keywords here on my blog, SY

  • For me the captcha wordpress plugin is the best to avoid spam.What do think about it?

  • hospitalera

    There is an idea, have to look into it, might upset the spam bots, good tip thanks! SY

  • I just read (and commented on) your latest blog. It is a very good post with lots of helpful info. I like the Keyword Luv plugin for single user sites but for networks and multiuser platforms the necessity of installing the second DoFollow plugin would be redundant. Its function look very good and perhaps there is a corollary multi user version. As for Akismet, I am a fan of it, in spite of my going through comments individually (which would seem to make Akismet obsolete or redundant), because many users on the network do not go through the comments individually; so for this type of platform it is very useful.

  • hospitalera

    You only need to install the second plugin if your comments are set to no follow by default, if they are already do follow, you only need to install KeywordLuv and it should work straight away.
    Yes, I agree thinks are different when you run a MU site, I don’t want even to imagine what could happen when somebody doesn’t moderate his or her comments properly and lets all these spammers poison a site. SY

  • activated askimet that is the first things to do..

  • hospitalera

    DO you actually read my posts or do you comment only for the back link??? There are good reasons why I don’t use Akismet, one is that it doesn’t catch spammers that leave just a meaningless comment like “Great post, thanks” or that it has a lot of false positives, SY

  • Just like others i am also worried about how can i handle comment spammer policies of webmasters.

  • hospitalera

    @The Therapist
    Just don’t spam? Would be the easiest way of avoiding problems! SY

  • Gah looks like i am not having a great deal of luck today, firstly i woke up and stepped on my dogs paw.. Now i type in a comment and it goes to a white page! Ehh i knew i should of copied it to my clipboard thingo before i hit submit because it totally dissapeared. A day in the life of Fuzu lol, anyways nice blog dude/dudette!

  • hospitalera

    Comments are moderated here and take a while to appear, hence the white page sometimes, and, btw, I am a dudette 😉 SY

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