Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Backtrack

Owing to the fact that spam comments don't seem to be letting up on other blogs (in fact, a lot of the blogs I read have been hit), I've chosen to disable anonymous comments once again. Besides that, I don't think I get many statements from unknown or hidden sources to begin with.

Tiborce, who runs a site on my blogroll, has had the unfortunate experience of landing on the extreme side of the spectrum: One of his most recent posts received no less than seventeen spam comments, all within the space of three hours. I'm wondering exactly what he did in order to warrant such attention.

I think that it's obviously a 'bot that's sending the spam. The usual way to confirm this is to check the times in which the comments were posted and see whether or not they all lie around the same period per 24-hour span. I wouldn't be surprised if I ran into two or three separate 'bots, though.

My major curiosity, however, lies in finding out just how the spammers are able to track the existence of other peoples' blogs. Are they spreading via blogrolls, for example? Personal searches? Template or article links? It would be useful to find out why some blogs have been hit and why some blogs haven't.

For that matter, what's Blogger doing about the issue, anyway? The existence of copious amounts of spam on their networks is bound to drive away more than a few potential users. The obvious solution, I think, is to allow writers to screen, edit or delete comments -- but I wouldn't agree to that because it compromises the readers' freedom of speech. Perhaps an automatic method of identifying and filtering comments with specific 'bot signatures would be better.

Sometimes I wonder why the crackers and script kiddies out there choose to vandalize legitimate web sites in the name of "freeing up the Net for everyone", yet choose to leave the spammers untouched. There goes all sense of justification, ladies and gentlemen. There goes all sense of justification for them.

In the meantime, I'm going to sit, wait, and observe. The spammers are bound to come for me eventually, and I'll need to prepare a suitable approach for when they finally arrive.

...

Update 1:20 pm: I've re-enabled anonymous comments in favor of trying out Blogger's word-verification system. Readers should now be required to interpret a graphic representation of characters whenever they post their thoughts.

It remains to be seen how effective this is, however, so I'll still be monitoring this for the next few weeks...

3 comments:

Jac said...

Good luck :) Blog spam is really annoying. :p Maybe I should try that myself. They made me type a series of letters before I could click post.

banzai cat said...

Well, I'm a bit wary of spam right now since I don't use Blogger's comment function but rather Haloscan. And unlike Blogger comment, I don't know how to trash comments I don't like or need (like double posts).

Still, at least the problem isn't as bad as the Tag Board's...

Sean said...

Jac: That's the word-verification system, yes. It seems to be working...

Banzai Cat: I've considered Haloscan, but it runs on an external system, and I don't want to meet up with a situation where Blogger is working but the Haloscan system is down, or vice-versa.

Blogger seems to allow for the deletion of comments, but spam or no spam, deleting a comment might not make one look good in the eyes of the readers...