I almost titled this entry “What does a porn site have to do with
Ask Leo!” because I was getting regular comments that
were nothing more than attempts to post a link to porn sites. Naturally I
removed them as soon as I was notified about each but that’s
time consuming and annoying. It was easy to see that the comment spam was
machine-generated because the posts were extremely similar right down to
bad grammar and misspellings.
I had one technique in place for some time but it was still allowing
this class of spam to get through. Time to break out some bigger guns.
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For the record, Ask Leo! is powered by Movable Type so the techniques I’m outlining here are
specific to that.
My first attempt some months ago was simply to rename the comment
addition script from the default name used by Movable Type. That actually
worked very well until just recently. I had been getting several
bogus comment posts per day and they simply went way for some time.
Recently though, I started getting more porn posts and decided to go
for a solution I had seen on several of my friends blogs: the use of a
Captcha Turing Test. You’ve probably seen them, you’re presented
with a graphic that contains a somewhat obscured number or word and you
are asked to re-type what you see. This is intended to “prove”
that you’re a real person and not a computer because presumably a
computer running an automated spam-bot could not read the text in the
James Seng has in fact created a Captcha Turning
Test for Movable Type called SCode. Installation proved to be a
bit of work so it’s possible that this is not for the weak of heart.
In my case I needed to upgrade a graphics library on my server which
involved downloading, rebuilding and installing that library, and then
rebuilding SCode and installing that. Then when all that seems to be done
all of the comment templates needed to be altered to include the actual
test presented to commenters.
It was a bit of work but it appears to be working. I’ll still
delete inappropriate posts but at least number of those should decrease
If this solution seems a bit daunting for you then perhaps a visit to
blogspam.org is in order. They have a number of
solutions for preventing spam on Movable Type and other content management