Fighting Spam (Updated)

Okay, after yet another spam hammering I’ve had to switch comments and pinging off on many of the posts that were getting hammered. I’m really at a loss as to what to do. I don’t want to switch comments off. I love your comments. But right now I’m battling so much spam that loads of geuine comments are not making it past the filters while too much spam is. I’m only spending four hours at the computer a day so I cannot use most of that time dealing with spam.

Oh, how I hate spammers!

Anyone got any cool wordpress plugins or other suggestions?

Update: Forgot to say I already have Askimet. Which was working brilliantly.

Part of what is going on is dealing with really vicious trolls. Of which there has been a multitude since last year’s stuff around the cover of Liar. I have no idea what to do about them. And CAPTCHA won’t affect them alas.


  1. Summer on #

    Unfortantly, no. But I’ll ask some of my friends and seee what they come up with.

  2. Summer on #

    SEE-not seee. Sorry! 🙂

  3. Jim on #

    I’ve only ever used Akismet for filtering spam. I also have Ozh’ Absolute Comments plugin installed. The two together provide a Check for Spam button that runs a secondary spam check to hopefully catch false positives before dumping the spam queue. I don’t generally pay spam attacks much mind anymore since Akismet rarely kicks back a false positive and it’s a simple task to just dump the spam queue. I can’t remember the last time a spam comment got past the filters, and I never spend more than a few minutes a day dealing with spam.

  4. Karen on #

    For WordPress, I recommend the Akismet plugin. Good stuff.

    Also, points for the phrase “spam hammering”!

  5. Kristan on #

    With WordPress you can set it to automatically close comments on posts older than XX days. Maybe start with 30 days and if you’re still getting too much spam, move down to 14? It stinks, but I would imagine the majority of your comments are coming on newer posts, so you won’t lose too many (if any) legit commenters by closing shop on the older stuff.

    Sigh. Spam stinks.

  6. Faye on #

    I second the akismet–sometimes the spammers still get through, but it generally does a good job keeping them out. It’s usually pre-installed with WP setup, but perhaps not activated?

  7. John H on #

    In the immortal words of Graham Chapman (in drag): “I don’t like SPAM!”

  8. AliceB on #

    Trolls. (Shudder.) I have no useful advice, but I truly am sorry. You keep a great blog. You do not deserve this–nor does anyone else for that matter.

  9. Justine on #

    AliceB: Thank you. Means a lot that you enjoy this blog. Since the increase in troll & spam attention + injury I have for the first time been considering stopping blogging which I really don’t want to cause I love it and I love my commenters. *kick all trolls*

  10. Benjamin Solah on #

    Justine, I’ve dealt a little bit with trolls myself lately. It comes with the political terrain usually.

    One way that has helped me was switching new commenters to moderation. I get less comments and spend more time online so it might not work for you but the way it works is if you haven’t left a comment using that email address before, the comment is held for moderation. Once that first comment is approved, any subsequent comments you leave with that email address don’t need to be moderated so it allows your regular commenters to keep chatting away whilst holding back trolls from getting through.

  11. Steve Buchheit on #

    “I have no idea what to do about them.”

    I just heard about these 300 FEMA relocation camps…

    Juuuuust a thought.

  12. claire on #

    Justine, I’d hesitate to recommend this a lot of other writers, but since you were an academic, you might cotton to this: get yourself an intern. Go find an academic program around YA writing or online marketing (or, ideally, both) and ask them to hand over some bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young thing who needs an internship credit and used to read tons of YA before they got to college and had to read tons of Joyce.

    You will provide access to the model of a successful YA writing career that includes successful blog marketing. They will meet your husband, a similar model. You will walk them through your day, month, and year; and maybe read and crit a few of their stories.

    They, in turn, will manage comments on your blog, triage your email, and maybe even respond to the more simple requests. Maybe they can also format your blog posts so that all you have to do is write the damn things; and maybe they can even post a bit on your blog themselves: what does Justine’s life look like? They can also run errands and make copies.

    Just imagine: you could bring up, slowly, your own army of blogging YA writers who all love you! Isn’t it pretty to think so?

  13. John H on #

    claire @14: Some of us refer to such people as minions…

  14. Pam on #

    I’d never heard of a troll before except those under bridges. See? This is why I love this blog and would be quite devastated if you stopped, Justine. Such a range of topics and things to think about.

  15. Justine on #

    Thanks for all the suggestions both here and in email. Am implementing some.

    I will not stop blogging. Though it may not be as frequent as previously. Thanks all for the kind thoughts. Much appreciated!

  16. Ali on #

    Justine, I know having so many trolls must really suck but I am so glad you’re not going to stop blogging! Sweeping generalisation, but: in my experience any blog that is politically engaged, particularly those that are at all concerned with fighting racism and or sexism and any other pointless intolerance you can think of, tend to attract the haters like crazy. What I am trying to say is: this is a symptom that you are doing something good and useful and right (again with the generalisations! But I do really think you are). And trolling/derailing is a classic tactic to try and drown out this kind of conversation. Thank you for refusing to be drowned out 🙂

  17. Becky J on #

    Try Mollom. It works really well and has free and paid options. I use it on my drupal sites but it has a wordpress option

  18. stacy on #

    Are there any key offensive words in the troll posts that can flag them for immediate removal? I’m pretty sure Akismet has the ability for you to put in words that it automatically filters. But of course that doesn’t work if the same word can be used innocuously or offensively depending on context.

  19. Freya on #

    Justine, have you considered Disqus. The comments plugin for wordpress is great.

    It gives you a centralized place for all your comments, lets you sign in with facebook or twitter and controls spam really well.

    I use it on my blog and really like it… The link to their site is

    Do let me know what you think of you or if you’ve seen something better 🙂

    twitter – @Freya3377

  20. Lunamoth on #

    I was just going to say it may be time for an assistant, but Claire@14 has beat me to it. Someone to take care of the little adiministrivia that would otherwise use up your keystroke card (similar to a dance card, but not quite as fun).

    Personally, I wish I knew how to make Apple Talk work better for deleting emails by voice command so I could do less mousing.

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