Combating WordPress Spam

This post was published 6 years, 10 months ago. Due to the rapidly evolving world of technology, some concepts may no longer be applicable.

This post is rather different than my normal style – but it is something that has been driving me increasingly crazy of late. This site started in late 2010, and by early 2011 was receiving about 1 spam comment a day (30 a month). From the very start, I have used Akismet to filter spam, but have also looked through all the spam comments to see if there were any false positives. While Akismet has so far had an exceptional success rate (just about perfect I think – no false positives or missed spam), I still feel it is important to take the time to perform such a check.

Recently, however – in the last quarter of 2011 – my spam comment volume has increased to the point of this no longer being possible. While certainly not on the level of any large site, I currently get about 50 spam comments a day – over 1500 per month.

For quite some time I have wanted a plugin that would notify the commenter if Akismet flagged a comment as spam, and allow them to modify it (or, if not modified, just reject it). This would provide some transparency for potential commenters, and so limit the effect of potential false positives.

A common suggestion is to use a CAPTCHA – however, it seems that these days CAPTCHAs are sufficiently hard to decipher so as to turn off most casual commenters. I really am not looking to inconvenience humans – just computers.

The perfect solution to my problem was the Conditional CAPTCHA plugin – it doesn’t display a CAPTCHA unless Akismet flags a comment as spam – this avoids inconveniencing legitimate commenters, and provides a notification (and a second chance) to anyone unfortunate enough to have their comment erroneously flagged as spam.

Having tested it for a few days – I am now spam free, and without having the lingering doubt that legitimate comments are not making their way through. My only wish is that it was a bit easier to find this combination of plugins.

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