Posted by Jarsto in Meta, Technology
July 16th, 2008 | 7 Comments »

I’ve just found a use for Comment Spam. No, I never expected it to happen either, but it’s happened. As should be clear to anyone looking at the history of this blog, I’ve been more active recently than I have been for quite a while.

One unexpected result for this is that the amount of spam being caught by Akismet has jumped spectacularly. So from now on, when I want to know if I’m posting enough, I’m just going to check the amount of spam I’m attracting.

Update: I’ve tweaked my theme again, this time to illustrate the activity on the blog. With July 2008 only half gone there’s only one month with more posts in the archives. And my first post for this month wasn’t made until the 8th.

Update July 18th: My spam queue now holds 600 messages, the oldest of them just one week old. That’s over a fifth of the total number of spam comments Akismet has intercepted so far (just under 2900). Of course there’s no way to be sure that’s just down to the recent activity, but I really can’t see anything else that could logically cause the two to coincide so clearly.

7 Responses to “Finally: A Use For Comment Spam”

  1. Starstuff Says:

    As long as you don’t put _me_ on the spam list 😉

    But seriously, do you really have that much spam? I usually get about 4-5 spam messages a week, which is bearable.

  2. Jarsto Says:

    I don’t get much spam on the blog itself. But right now the Akismet anti-spam plugin is holding over 400 comments in its spam cue. In less active months that’s more commonly around 20 to 40.

  3. Starstuff Says:

    Oh my! I guess I can count myself lucky then.

  4. Jarsto Says:

    You probably can count yourself lucky yes. On the other hand, it’s all automatically caught by Akismet, so it’s not like it’s eating any of my time.

  5. Starstuff Says:

    Does Akismet make mistakes? Meaning, do you have to check the filtered comments to be sure that no “real” comment gets marked as “spam”?

  6. Jarsto Says:

    I occasionally check them, but no, as a rule it doesn’t get many false positives. The way it works, as I understand it, is by collating information from users. Basically if some spam makes it passed Akismet I mark it as spam, that gets through to the Akismet database and they add it to the list of known spam comments. So essentially it’s a collective human maintained blocklist rather than any sort of automated scan.

  7. Starstuff Says:

    Thanks for the explanation, I should probably give it a try then.

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