Buried Under Spam
September 30, 2005 8:27 AM   Subscribe

My co-blogger and I upgraded from Movable Type 2.64 to MT 3.2, mostly for the rumored spam-fighting hottness. But now we're finding ourselves having to go through and manually junk thousands of spam comments every day, tediously picking out the real stuff. We've got the latest MT-Blacklist installed, but it doesn't seem to be doing a thing, and seems to have less functionality (where'd the de-spam option go??) than our old MT-Blacklist plugin. We're getting buried, and nothing seems to be working the way it should. What do we do?

To recap, among the issues:
- MT's built-in junk filter does not seem to be doing anything. We've got it set at an aggression level of 5 (moderate), but as far as I can tell, only the items we manually mark as junk are being put into the junk folder.
- MT-Blacklist has been completely ineffectual, despite having been updated yesterday with the latest blacklist from the clearinghouse. Also, there seems to be no way to de-spam, which you could do in earlier versions of the plug-in.
- We've got the E-mail Whitelister plug-in installed and enabled, but we're still having to approve comments even from the whitelisted e-mail addresses.

Thanks for any help you can offer!
posted by grrarrgh00 to Technology (10 answers total)
By the way, before we upgraded, we were facing a couple-hundred spam comments a day. We were spending maybe 20 minutes a day putting those in MT-Blacklist and de-spamming. We decided to upgrade because our blacklist got too large to add any more entries, and poking around the Web indicated that short of trimming our blacklist, upgrading was the only way to solve this. I'd say the number of spam comments and the time it takes to fight them has at least quadrupled since the upgrade.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 8:30 AM on September 30, 2005

Did you disable the OLD MT-Blacklist? I found several features in MT 3.2 did not work as advertised until it was explicitly disabled.
posted by briank at 8:37 AM on September 30, 2005

At my heavily-trafficked MT 3.x blog, we have been running this "captcha" plugin since March. Since that time, we have received six (6) spam comments.

CAPTCHAs are those annoying security codes you need to enter from a graphic. And while they might be a little annoying, they are fantastic at keeping out blog-spammers. The big downside is that there's a major usability hit for the visually impaired. YMMV.

Anyway, it's been a wonderful salve to our comment-deleting lives. So long as it's compatible with your blog, I highly recommend it.

(Ignore the links to other plugins on that page - boolean, etc. The main one [with links at the bottom of the post] is all you need.)
posted by Marquis at 8:40 AM on September 30, 2005

Oh and finally, I see that there are a small handful of spam comments at that plugin blog. Which I guess proves that the spammers will (inevitably) get through anything. That doesn't change how well the plugin has worked for us, however.
posted by Marquis at 8:42 AM on September 30, 2005

I think the SCode plug-in for MT is similar to what Marquis mentioned. Supposedly it really works.
posted by iconomy at 8:43 AM on September 30, 2005

I added the MT-DSBL plug-in for blocking comments from known open proxies and haven't had comment spam since.
posted by jodic at 8:56 AM on September 30, 2005

Briank, as far as I can tell, we completely overwrote the old MT-Blacklist. The new one installs into a completely different directory, and the Perl file for the old one was deleted.

Marquis, I was hoping not to have to resort to captchas, making another obstacle for our longsuffering commenters. If the spam were even at the same level as it was before the upgrade, I don't think the captcha would be worth it. But I just have this feeling there's something we must not be doing right.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 9:04 AM on September 30, 2005

One thing to think about might be switching weblog software. I used MT until the comment-spam problems began and then switched to Textpattern.

I've come to like txp much more than MT and my comment-spam problems have disappeared.

They have some nice MT importing plugins that would help with the conversion as well.
posted by callicles at 9:23 AM on September 30, 2005

A few things:

1) Disable and delete all blacklist files. Especially if you are upgrading from MT 2.x. Blacklist is overriding MT. Besides, with 3.2, you don't need it, and it's not compatible (on purpose) without some hacking.

2) Don't install the MT-DSBL plugin. SpamLookup is the much improved child of that plugin written by the same author, Brad Choate, who is the lead Movable Type engineer.

3) With a default working installation of 3.2, you should have to deal with near zero spam (there are a couple that get hand entered every week)

4) Check your activity log to see if there are errors AFTER you disable and delete the MT-Blacklist files.

5) If you have a paid license, our technical services crew is amazing. Simply log into your account and file a help ticket.

We've done a lot of work to make sure that your blogging experience isn't marred by spammers. So far, from all of the feedback we've heard, we nailed it. If you can get your installation working right, you'll see how great it is to be rid of that noise.

Jay Allen
Product Manager - Movable Type
Six Apart
posted by fooljay at 3:39 PM on September 30, 2005

Oh, one more thing:

With a default working installation of 3.2, you should have to deal with near zero spam

The "default working installation" part is important. If you've fiddled with the junk score threshold on the weblog feedback settings, set it back to zero.
posted by fooljay at 3:40 PM on September 30, 2005

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