In the last couple of months, the amount of spam I’ve been receiving increased to an extent that it became impossible to manually check the spam queue. A logical step was to install a spam blocker that would block spam from being submitted in the first place.
My short research revealed there are two styles of spam blocking methods: Those which require extra user input (ex. captcha’s and quiz questions), and those which don’t (of which I only new about the first one before). I hesitated to increase the “entry barrier” to posting comments here by introducing a captcha or a “quiz”, so I decided to go for the second type.
Of those who don’t require user input, there are three sub-types:
Others modify the internal names of the HTML input fields in the hope that spam-bots would not find them. This probably works out well regarding spam, but there are apparently plugins which rely on those internal names and consequently collide with the blocker.
Others yet – and these are my current faves – rely on hidden fields with predefined (though often randomly permuted), expected values, that spam-bots would fill blindly with wrong values. This strategy works out well with generic spam-bots, but may fail with targeted spam-bots (which specifically address WordPress sites), as they could just fill in exactly those fields, that the user would. Luckily, targeted spam-bots are a minority, so these spam blockers are likely to do a fairly good job nonetheless.
You can find a long list of anti-spam solutions at wordpress.org. At first sight, I found “Invisible Defender” and “NoSpamX” the most attractive solutions. Finally I selected “Invisible Defender” because it was the leanest solution – only 4 kB of code.1 I’ll see how it works. I know already it won’t eliminate all spam. But I’d be happy already if it would shrink my spam queue to a size that I can overlook well again.
I’m interested to read about you experience with spam blockers. What software do you use? How well does it perform?
In the mean time, if you think your comment has been blocked accidentally, just drop me a note.
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- If in doubt, always select the smaller, leaner solution – it is the least likely to have bugs, and the easiest to understand and extend by yourself. (Or by a friend of yours if you can’t code. What else is open source good for, right?) [↩]