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I had switched to GASP (Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin) for WordPress combined with Simple Trackback Validation with Topsy Blocker to deal with my WordPress comment spam. My technology blog is now taking in about 150-200 comments per day if I left all my plugins disabled and about 80% of them are spam bots or backlink stealers not true users looking to provide value and engage in conversation.
Akismet was still left on my personal blog which only gets about 3-5 comments per day and I was dismayed to find that one of my long time readers had most of their comments end up in my spam folder without me realizing it. What’s worse is that I went to my spam folder and accidentally clicked “empty spam” before thoroughly looking at what comments were marked spam. This means I can’t recover any of those comments that weren’t spam.
This was the last straw for me and I would rather manually spam or trash 20 spam comments than have 1 valid reader comment get pushed to the spam folder by accident. Nothing turns readers off more than thinking their voices aren’t heard or that the blog owner doesn’t care enough to respond to their comments. Blogs are about communication and two way conversations, this is the difference between regular news articles where the author rarely if ever interacts with comments and a blogger who should engage and build a relationship with their readers.
Kikolani wrote a fantastic article on the WordPress commenting system that I highly recommend all bloggers read or even if you aren’t a blogger and just visit blogs and leave a comment it is good to know how the WordPress commenting system works so you can leverage it properly and respectfully when commenting on blogs.
Her article is spot on target and talks about some great plugins that bloggers should use to augment and improve the default commenting system, though she recommends and mentions Akismet, I personally would not recommend using this plugin for the propensity to catch false positives. For users who still get spam comments when using GASP and Simple TrackBack Validation, there is also the wp-captcha free plugin which is an additional method of blocking spam which displays a capture only to specific visitors based on criteria in the plugin. These should minimize your spam comments but you will get a few spam comments but this is far better to having to weed through a spam folder to find the valid comments.
If I have a repeat offender who I know abuses the system I add them to my blacklist on WordPress by blocking their email address and URL so that their comments will auto spam even if they make it through the GASP plugin. I only do this for commenters who are blatant spammers and not for users who just don’t properly use name@keywords using keywords instead.
Bottom line you need to think about how to handle your comment system and you need to do this when your blog first starts up because by the time your blog gets popular you can be inundated with spam if you don’t have a good comment management system in place.