August 10, 2004

Scorched-earth anti-spam tactics begin.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at August 10, 2004 3:48 PM

Since spammers persist in mass posting of unspeakably vile advertisements, I have disabled HTML in comments. This is retroactive, so if a comment doesn't make sense it probably contained a link originally. Or it was one of those comments I posted after five beers.

Now I have to hope the spammers realize I did this, and go away.

UPDATE: Fuck! I went through all 450 entries in the archives and deleted all the comment spam, and while I was doing this a bunch more got posted. I'm going to block IP's as well; the guy posting the majority of these is just cycling through a small number of addresses. Unfortunately the easiest way to get the IP addresses is to view the e-mails I get when a comment is sent, which means viewing the comments, which is not something I can really do safely while in the lab...

UPDATE 2: Ok, I think I got all of it for now. If anyone comes across spam that I missed, please let me know. This would have been much more annoying without Firefox's "Find As You Type" feature to locate the desired post on the edit page. My new policy will be to block promptly the originating IP of every spam comment, which would have saved me a lot of trouble had I done this earlier. It's unfortunate that I had to disable HTML in comments, but if this annoyance gives me more time for actual blogging as opposed to fighting spam, it's worthwhile on balance.

The difficulty here is obviously that it's a lot less effort for spammers to attack than it is for me to clean up after them, and a lot easier for them to switch IP addresses than it is for me to ban them. The strategy I have in mind is to pursue these measures in the short run, while hoping that in the long run I get taken off whatever list I'm on of Movable Type blogs that allow HTML comments. The whole point of the blog spamming exercise is to increase the spammer's Google PageRank, so if I'm lucky they'll decide I'm not worth the tiny effort involved if they can't post links.

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