Saturday, December 28, 2013

Commenting on Lingwë

I have been fighting a losing battle with spam here on Lingwë for the last couple of years. Originally, I wanted to allow anyone to comment, even anonymously, with no obstacles to avoid or hoops to jump through. That worked for a while, but eventually I started to get enough anonymous spam that I decided to require people to be registered somewhere and to have logged in. That solved the problem for quite a while too, though it did inconvenience a few regular readers. I am pretty firmly against captchas. I hate them myself, so I never wanted to inflict them on anyone. So, this was the state of things until this year.

But now, thanks to Google+, which I must say is one of the most annoying and pushy social media efforts I have ever seen, I have a new problem. Well, not that new, really. I've been putting up with it for most of a year. These spammers are registered with Google+, and so they evade that obstacle I placed on commenting: being registered and logged in somewhere. A number of people (or bots) have been repeatedly spamming Lingwë from their Google+ accounts, always Google+ — especially one pathetic jackass, Brad Maddox; just take a look at his Google+ page for spam, spam, spam, and nothing but spam! — and Google has done absolutely nothing in response to my repeated complaints. In fact, Google+ used to have a conspicuous link to report offenders, but it has either removed or hidden it. One can only guess why. Shame on you, Google. As if the YouTube/Google+ commenting debacle weren't bad enough press.

Anyway, I have finally had to enable comment moderation. I didn't want to do this, because it puts a burden on me of approving every single comment, even the legitimate ones, and this will introduce some latency into discussions. In exchange, though, I have re-enabled anonymous comments. You are now welcome to comment anonymously if you wish — though I still prefer to know who you are, unless you have a good reason to remain secretive about that — and in all cases, I'll be approving comments, and rejecting the garbage. Still no captchas, though. You're welcome! :)

Maybe these spammers will realize their comments are now going nowhere and give up. Though I doubt it. Professional spammers tend to be some of the dullest dullards ever spawned. I think you could hit one over the head with a frying pan each time he spam-commented, and he still wouldn't make the connection.


  1. I just have to applaud you for not chucking the whole thing -- blog and all. Thanks, Jase.

  2. That's why I went for Disqus as an option; that has helped a lot.

    And don't forgot - Blogspot is owned by G+ ;)

  3. Thanks, Wurmbrand. And yes, Marcel, I know. Probably no coincidence. Still, becoming a hive of scum and villainy can't be good for one's brand image. ;)

  4. You know, you can enable comment moderation for all but the past 7 days or so, and you won't have a problem. Because the spammers hit the older posts, trying to seed themselves in obscure places...

    1. Thanks, Marly. That's not a bad idea. I'll try it and see what happens. :)

  5. So, at Marly’s suggestion, I changed the moderation period to comments on posts older than the last 7 days. But I’ve also decided to disable anonymous comments again. I have been getting several anonymous spam comments a day on older topics. True, I get to see them and remove them before they ever appear on the blog, but I don’t want to have to do even that much if I don’t have to. If even I have to see those comments, the spammers have managed to put their garbage in front of one set of eyes. There has been a definite up-tick since I enabled anonymous commenting again, which means that requiring people to be registered and logged in somewhere had indeed been helping to keep the number down. My apologies if this is an inconvenience to anyone, but I suspect that most of you are already logging in somewhere anyway. The number of legitimate anonymous comments is perhaps one-tenth the number of anonymous spam comments. So anyone who wants to comment here anonymously can thank the spammers for ruining the privilege.

  6. Jason, all this is way beyond my Interweb skills! But I can see how infuriating it is, and I also thank you for continuing with such a valuable Blog.