I just had to uninstall the TanTanNoodles Simple Spam Filter from UCalgaryBlogs.ca – it’s a simple plugin that uses a dictionary lookup to try to detect what it thinks are REALLY obvious spam comment attempts. But it was a bit overzealous. Instead of just modifying the dictionary to remove some valid words (which words are valid? who gets to decide that? in which contexts?), I decided to just delete the plugin outright so that comments can be posted without censorship.
The problem showed up when a student tried to write a comment on a blog post, and used the word “rape” in the text of the comment. Simple Spam Filter threw a flag on the play, and the comment evaporated. Not cool. The student is now suspicious of the blog service, and is wondering if we’re censoring or filtering their conversations. Totally the WRONG feeling for a productive and engaging blog community. I’ve deleted the plugin, and hopefully assured the student that there was no intention of censoring their conversation.
Fun with antispam. Thanks again, Google, for making this such a wonderful problem to have to keep dealing with. It’s so thoroughly rewarding, having to battle spammers and work to make sure valid content gets around the filters that have to be constructed to prevent spammers from gaming Googlejuice.
3 thoughts on “overzealous antispam and campus blogging”
I see from your archives that you’re not using Akismet due to their licensing. I’ve been in touch with them and they were fine about using a single API key for the entire university site as long as each blog had a credit to Akismet and WordPress in the footer, which was easy to implement.
Really? That’s great news! I’ll get in touch with the Akismet folks to set up an API key for the site! Thanks for the tip.
Last week comments kept getting automatically flagged in a thread on BlogHer because they included the word “socialism”–which has “cialis” in the middle of it. 😛
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