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Spam. It's not just a tasty reprocessed mystery meat product anymore

September 16, 2005 16:12

As a few of you have most likely noticed, there is a spam problem on the site. Both on the referer page and selected comments. Although I block the addresses used everytime, the spammers are using proxies and as such the abuse continues. I will therefore implement some new countermeasures and other prevention measures.

For starters, I will now require people to first register an account before they can leave a URL in a comment. Since 99% of legitimate comments don't require a URL in the body, this is unlikely to have any signficant effect, but for the rare few of you whom this will present an inconsiderate nuisence to, I am deeply sorry. My heart truely bleeds for you.

Since I suspect there will be people creating accounts for the purpose of getting around this, I will require accounts to be created at least 24 hours prior to the comment in question being posted. I may also require, either in addition or in leiu to, having accounts validated before that account is able to post URL laden comments. Having accounts validated before they show up on the visitors page would also probably be a good idea. In any event, checking that the account wasn't created from a proxy will assist in maintaining some degree of maintainability. Remember, you'll still be able to post comments normally. The only comments that will be affected will be those that include a URL. This might expand to ALL comments if I'm not able to keep up with crafty ways of forming a URL. Still, there are only so many ways the search engines will pick up the URL, so faking it too excessively won't help.

An alternative is to detect the urls and remove them from comments of accounts not yet validated. I will also add code to delete all comments created by a bad account.

As for the referer links, I'm building up quite a dictionary of words that will not be allowed in a referer's url. This could potentially eventually impact a legitimate referer, but since this is more of an amusing novelty than a critical service, I'm not too concerned about cutting out 2% of the legitimate links if I can cut out 99% of the spam.