Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

The scourge of spam

Is it still fun to run a forum or a weblog? Yes, of course, but I am seriously wondering whether it is fun to allow non-registered users to contribute to them. My weblog is driven by WordPress and -fortunately- there is a nice plugin called Akismet. Akismet is a spam trapper and it succeeded in catching about 30 spam posts a day. Both WordPress and Akismet were updated a few days ago (on a sidenote, the new WordPress 2.1 is great). The number of spam posts has increased to 150 a day.

At the same time, the forum on the main site is swamped with spamposts as well. No spam catching here so I have to remove all posts manually. And -frankly- I don’t want to do that. Since the forum was not active I decided to disable the posting feature. I am waiting for Joomla 1.5 to be called stable so I can upgrade the whole thing and in the mean time most traffic will go to the blog anyway.

Unfortunately there isn’t much to do about spam in whatever form it comes. I get about 100 emails a day and most of it consists of offers for penny stock, tablets or cheap software. The spam posts in the forum and the blog deal with music, sex and tablets. Thunderbird is doing a great job in filtering out the junk in the email traffic, but I wouldn’t want to see this problem if I were running a dial-up connection.

Weblogs are about interaction and communication, but that is seriously hindered by all the spam posts. I have put all on moderated posting and only those who are previously approved can post without moderation. It works okay, for now.


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