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Pablo Garuda
Give Me The Facts
LiveJournal giving in to comment spam? 
3rd-Aug-2011 12:42 pm
ketep, merapi
LiveJournal comment spam is getting ridiculous, and the CAPTCHA option in our settings does nothing to stop it.

We have to deal with spam on Appropedia, but we don't let it get out of control like this. We use the spam url blacklist from Wikimedia sites, and we have the option of restricting posts containing urls, e.g. by anonymous and new users. There are tools like AbuseFilter and TorBlock, to get even more sophisticated. There is no reason LiveJournal couldn't use similar methods to clamp down on spam.

Then there's the WordPress plugin Akismet - does an amazing job at filtering out spam comments on our blog. And the Bad Behavior  plugin for WordPress means we don't even have that many spam comments to get filtered out (which means my routine check for genuine comments that get spammed is a an easy job).

It's not even that hard. A simple algorithm could make things so much better - e.g. "all comments that contain a url and aren't from friends are held back and only posted if the user okays them." But we have no such options.

It's not a big problem for me personally - I already have plans to move my blog to my own domain (coming soon). But it's a huge shame to see a thriving community like LiveJournal (which is also a blog platform with some cool features) let the spam bots take over without putting up an intelligent fight. And it's impacting political discourse too.

UPDATE:
I just found that in my Privacy settings, I can choose how I screen comments. So now I've chosen to screen comments from non-friends - so they won't be posted unless I read the notification email and approve them. That's much less of a pain as I can just ignore notifications of spam emails. But it means that effectively I'm acting as the spam filter, and that LJ's spam filtering is broken.

I'm also changing my privacy settings to disallow anonymous posts. Sorry folks. But I won't be posting here much longer.
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