Spam, has been described as the scourge of the web, and with good reason. This self serving, irrelevant junk has no place in society, and especially not on your blog. Though WordPress has many methods of dealing with spam, there are still downsides to receiving spam that you may not have thought about.
That being the case, here are some tips for reducing spam comments in WordPress.
Even though you may have several methods in place for catching spam comments in your theme, they are still there, living in your database. This means that your database being used to store junk. Think about it as part of your living room where you stack junk mail, and then you are getting the idea.
Another downside, is that good comments get mixed up with all of this, as they can be accidentally marked as spam, and subsequently, they loose their chance to be seen on your blog. These comments could have enhanced your blog, and encouraged debate, but they simply never got the chance. These blogs are known as false positives in the business.
You could argue that if Askimet, or another technique is successful in stopping spam appearing on a site, and that is all you care about, then there is no problem, but remember you could miss the false positive comments, and they could have done wonders for your blog.
Pre WordPress 2.7, there was a plug-in called “close old posts”, and this feature simply closed trackbacks and comments, after a set number of days. This plug-in has been built into 2.7, but in all likelihood not switched on.
To switch it on, log into WordPress admin page, and select the settings option. From this select discussion, and when you are brought to the comments settings page, select other comment settings, which is the second section on the page. From this option choose automatically close comments after xx days. Obviously select the amount of days you want the comments open for. The default is 14.
This is a good option, as spammers normally target posts that are older. By using this option you will give enough time for people to read and comment on a post, and so the post still gets its shot at glory, and the spammers get disappointed.
Another good tip for reducing spam comments in WordPress, is to use a CAPTCHA. Though some find this feature frustratingly annoying, it is a good anti-spam tool. It is also useful if you do not wish to set, or unable to set, the automatically close comments after xx days option.
There is a debate whether CAPTCHAs are accessible are not. We have all used ones where the letters and numbers that you have to type in, to validate a login or a function on a website, are simply undecipherable, so the rule here is to use one that can be read. Also, bear in mind that your readers will find this annoying.
Another tip for reducing spam comments in WordPress, is to use the trackback validation plug-in. This gizmo will check to see if the blog that has sent you a trackback/pingback, has actually linked to your blog, or is just pretending. If it is found to be invalid, the trackback is sent to the moderation queue, or deleted automatically.
Though these tips on reducing spam comments in WordPress, will not completely stop spam comments coming through, at least your database will be less cluttered, and false positive comments have a fair chance of seeing the light of day. Remember, that the less spam you have, the better and smoother your blog will run.
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