i’ve got a little list

According to my Gmail archives, since I started having trouble with Akismet I have had at least another 140 spam comments slip past. (This isn’t counting the notification emails I’ve deleted, which is about the same amount again.)

Fortunately, I exhumed an old comment words list (originally based on this), which is kicking them all to moderation because these are really obvious spams, signed by strings that would make decent passwords and including URLs with ‘casino’ and ‘adult-strip-poker’ in them. That kind of obvious.

That’s what worries me about it, actually. It’s clearly not a question of Akismet needing to learn that this is spam, because I’m sure I’m not the only one getting these comments and informing it that they are junk. And it’s not a question of the spam words getting in the way of Akismet doing its job; it’s still blocking spam, it’s just not blocking all of it, and if the option interfered with Akismet it wouldn’t be here. If my ancient little list of Bad Words can net these, they shouldn’t be presenting any difficulties for the infinitely more sophisticated Akismet.

So I don’t think these comments ever got to Akismet in the first place. I think there were too many thousand spams in front of them in the queue (including, let’s not forget, those sent by corporate clients who get priority and have exponentially more spam than the rest of us), and that my little casino reviews got bounced right back to me and into moderation.

It’s been a very long time since I was able to rely on any one spam plugin, and it’s a tribute to Akismet that it did the job for so long, but the cracks are beginning to show. Unless it’s just me. I hope it’s just me. Most wordpress.com users don’t have little lists to fall back on.

5 Comments »

  1. Alan said

    I always said Akismet being reliant on an outside server was a bad idea, and flamed it tirelessly, but I don’t care anymore, largely because I use Vox and spam isn’t my problem. It’s a closed system, but I don’t get spam, and that’s fine with me.

    Anyway, if your hypothesizing is correct, the Akismet servers can’t deal with the strain – maybe it’s time for a planned downtime to upgrade the servers?

  2. Matt said

    With the amount of spam you receive that translates into like a 98% accuracy, which is ridiculously low. (Most people get 4 nines or higher.) I’ll take a look at what is causing problems for you.

  3. A decent blacklist/greylist can at least make Akismet downtime manageable. It’s not the primary defense that it was in 2003, but it’s a nice safety net. Actually, I might opt to use the greylist exclusively, because that’ll give you the option to go in later and do a bulk “mark as spam” for Akismet’s benefit.

  4. I might opt to use the greylist exclusively

    That’s what I’m doing. I was never comfortable with the blacklist because of the risk that it might block legitimate comments and I wouldn’t be able to check. So I let the moderation queue build up (another four since I posted this) and then tell Akismet they’re spam.

    Also, I just turned off email notifications for comments in moderation. I can’t think why I didn’t do that before, as it’s the clogging of my inbox which has been the main source of annoyance.

  5. Christine said

    Akismet has served me well so far, but a few spams here and there have ended up in moderation recently. Now you have me wondering…

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