Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blog Announcement

This announcement is separate from today's post which follows. Several weeks ago I removed the need for word verification as many readers were having difficulty with it. In the last two days there have been an increasing number of spam comments on the blog. I remove them as soon as they appear. These are the only comments I ever remove. Those which are critical of me, my ideas or my writing, stay. They are valid comments and I would never remove them. Those which are selling things or are obviously 'placed' on the blog without respect to content, I remove. I do not wish to go back to work verification but might have to again for a short while. I apologize for that inconvenience but don't know other ways to keep spammers away. If others have better solutions, please let me know. Thanks.


Andrea S. said...

I am not aware of an elegant solution that works for blogspot, though this may not mean much given that I know little about how blogspot "works" from behind the curtain.

I use wordpress.com to host my blogs. Wordpress uses Askimet (I think that's how it's spelled), which is basically a system that screens comments for you to decide which are spam and which are legitimate. On the good side, most of the time it seems to be accurate: only a very few, particularly clever spams break through the filter, and because their number is smaller it's easier to deal with/delete the rare exceptions. And most of the ones it zaps actually are spam, just as they're supposed to be.

The downside is that occasionally it traps perfectly legitimate comments. Personally, I get so few legit comments on my blogs I don't bother to check my spam filter unless someone specifically complains about a missing comment. However, someone who receives a regular traffic in legit comments (like you) would probably need to check the spam filter once in a while to check for any comments booted in error. Wordpress gives you an easy way to do this. It can be set up to automatically email you when new comments are posted, or to alert you to any comments it isn't sure about so you can choose to take action (make it post) or not.

If you were to switch to using wordpress.com, then you might find it easier to manage comments there. It is possible that the interface for you might also be a little friendlier and a little more intuitive, but since I have not actually worked with blogspot I can't compare directly. The downside is that readers would then need to migrate to the new URL which some may find a nuisance, at least in the beginning. And also, you would face a new learning curve with figuring out how to use the new wordpress.com interface to post your blogs. This might not intimidate some people with a moderate level of comfort around computers and normally I wouldn't bother to mention it as a significant concern, but I know from your prior posts that you dislike technology learning curves and tend to need assistance with them. So the learning curve issue might be more annoying for you than it would be for some.

But, getting a wordpress.com account is free. If the idea of working with a platform that filters spam for you appeals, then you could get a wordpress.com account and just play around with it for a while before deciding whether you want to transition to it for real. It's even possible to set up more than one wordpress.com blog for the same account, so you could set up one blog that would be purely experimental, for things like trying out new templates (blog appearances) or whatever before implementing important changes to your "real" blog, should you decide to establish one.

I believe there may even be a way to "import" old blog posts from another blog into a wordpress.com blog if you desired, but I've never done this so I can't comment how easy this is to do.

Dave, I know you have my email address because you emailed me a few months ago. If you want to talk/brainstorm more about this idea, drop me a line. I'm no tech geek, but I do have basic familiarity with wordpress.com and I suspect my overall comfort level with computers is somewhat higher than yours.

FridaWrites said...

The only other way is to have to approve all comments, which can delay their appearance. I do that. I am getting spam on my blog now even with the type-in ID!

Anonymous said...

Would switching to a different word-verification system help? (Is it even possible?) In my experience, the test words used by Recaptcha (http://www.google.com/recaptcha) are often easier to decipher than the ones used by other systems, plus it's nice to know that one's helping with the project of digitizing old books.

[This is Lexica again - OpenID and LiveJournal are still not speaking to each other so I can't actually sign in.]

Andrea S. said...

To Anonymous:

Does the Recaptcha thing have a feature that would make it accessible to blind people or people with print disabilities? For example, an audio alternative for people who can't see the text or for people whose screen reading software can't handle visual images? This is still problematic for people who are, for example, both deaf and blind (about 2% of deaf people are also blind, so rate of blindness is higher in deaf population than in general population). Also doesn't help, for example, people who are dyslexic and also have audio processing disorder.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Thanks, all, I am not very tech savvy and am not going to switch to wordpress, I'm terrified of losing old post and am pretty happy with the way blogger works. I don't want to go to the moderated comments feature as I've always had the feeling that this stifles conversation thought that may not be true. So, I'm waiting to see how bad it gets and then will decide. I appreciate your help here!

Andrea S. said...


Although I like Wordpress for myself, I can understand not wanting to switch after investing several years in a different platform.

I think the question of whether moderation stifles conversation depends partly on how often you are able to check the buffer to approve comments waiting in queue. If you could do it several times a day, then I don't think it would have a devastating effect on conversation if some comments are delayed an hour or three. But I know there are times when you are on the road a lot or busy at the office.

rickismom said...

Considering that Dave has lots of other thyibngs going on in his life, I am sure that moderation will stifle conversation. Personally, I would think it better (and easier) for you (Dave) to simply remove any spam that gets through.

Anonymous said...

Damn, rather great info. Where can I find this RSS?

Brandy Stepman
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