A few weeks ago, I decided to remove the Math Spam Protection from my comments form, and opted to finally give Akismet a try again.
I had enabled it a long time ago, when I first began blogging, but found that a lot of good comments were being caught in the spam filter. So I disabled it, and went with the simplest captcha I could find. Unfortunately, captchas cannot do anything about trackback spam, of which I was receiving about 100+ per day.
So now, I finally have the freedom from the horrible amount of spam I was receiving. But I do have some commentators who are always being filtered into the spam folder, no matter how many times I approve them and they are marked as “false positives” in the system. And it’s not just new commentators either – some of them have been commenting on this site for months now, and are far from ever being considered spammers, and yet, there they are, caught in my Akismet spam filter.
I think that one thing that may be contributing to being caught by Akismet is other bloggers marking certain commentators as spam simply due to their website affiliation. I know that even I look twice at comments made by people in certain fields. But just because someone is marketing a particular website does not make them automatically a spammer. My rule is if the comment looks legitimate, and the website is not an adult site, online pharmacy, etc. then I will approve the comment. If this person has shown that they took the time to read the article, and made a thoughtful comment about it, then they deserve to have their comment posted.
On the other hand, spammers have gotten better about making legitimate looking comments, which I may have approved a few of as well. I have turned down many more comments than I have approved out of the Akismet spam filter, so it’s not for lack of paying attention. And I admit, I need to go through and have a look at some previously approved people, as I have found that some people get the feeling they can write a few great comments, and then be free to not contribute valuable comments but take advantage of the dofollow link privileges thereafter.
For now, the benefits of Akismet are definitely hard to pass up, so I have to apologize to those who have been unfairly caught in the filter. I will do my best to check it more often. If you are a commentator who notices your comments are not being approved after 24 – 48 hours, send a message (maybe through the site’s contact form) and ask the reason your comment is not being approved. This will show that you are not a “drive by” comment spammer, and will also hep remind me to check the spam filter. I would suggest this approach on other blogs as well, especially ones that designate they use Akismet.
How do you handle comment moderation and determine if something is spam or legitimate? If you are on WordPress, would you recommend Akismet or another spam filtering plugin?
Here are some more good articles on comments, moderation and spam.