Spam and Ham
Published Wed, Oct 3 2007 7:58 AM
Technorati Tags: Software Development, Blogging
I've got to find a better way to trap spam. I have my website configured to send me email for every trackback and comment that's posted to the site, including the spam. As a result I receive several thousand emails a day from my website (that's certainly a lot more than the number of visitors... hmmm.)
Why include the spam? Well, the email sent when spam is detected can usually be ignored and just deleted, but the spam filters occasionally are overzealous and block out some legitimate comments or trackbacks. When that happens, I can report the "spam" as "ham" to AKismet and publish the trackback or comment.
Of course that means I have to read all of that junk too. Bleah.
Despite the effectiveness of AKismet, sometimes it misses and lets some spam through. When it misses on trackbacks, my software tries to follow the link to the post and verify that there's a link to my post there. That just about always stops the trackback spammers. That doesn't work with comment spammers though.
Occasionally the trackback post parser fails. Usually this happens if the trackback link goes to a site with some problems. Lately a few "valid" trackbacks have had this problem, so I also get mail when the post parser fails. Unfortunately, the mailer I wrote to deal with that problem simply reports it. It doesn't provide me with a way to restore the trackback. Those I have to either post manually with Haloscan or my own trackback pinger, or put into the database directly. I really need to re-write that piece.
I also get notices when an exception occurs in the AKismet code. This is similar to the mail I get when the parser fails. It doesn't give me an option to accept or reject the ping or comment. The default policy in the code is to reject any trackback when AKismet fails. For comments, the default policy is to publish them. I'm going to have to change that too. I hate it when spam gets past the filters because of a mal-formed request.
Someone once suggested closing comments on older posts. Maybe I'll implement that, and set the system up to not send mail on closed posts. Maybe then I'll get less junk in my mail.
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