Comments and spam

The biggest technical problem I’ve come across since this blog went live on my server is that I couldn’t get comment email notifications working.  If someone comments, I had to manually check my comments summary page regularly in order to find out.  The issue is that I do not have an SMTP server running on the server, so the following takes place:

WordPress: Hey, SMTP server! Someone just commented! exhipigeonist will be totally stoked to hear about this!
WordPress: Uhhh, you’re quiet tonight.  Anyway, I was wondering if you could do me a favour and, you know, email people when this sort of thing happens. Options have been checked, intentions have been made, etc.
WordPress: I choose to read your silence as a ‘Yes’!  There, it’s out of my hands now and not my problem.  I don’t even have to check that it happened and give a confirmation message to anyone.  Time for a break!  *goes off to expel excess RAM into the memory pool*

I’m a little surprised this isn’t a standard thing the installation checks (or if it does, notifies the installer) during setup.  Anyway, I finally fixed it yesterday by configuring the WP Mail SMTP plug-in to use my gmail account to send notifications.  This is not optimal, especially as I’m trying to reduce my dependency on Google services, but I at least have it set up so it appears to be from my admin address.

While I was fixing comment settings I decided to deal with some of the spam I had been receiving.  I’ve been getting regular comments on various posts advertising laptop batteries.  I just delete them because they’re nonsense or irrelevant and appear to be from spambots.  I set up a filter so these have to be moderated while legitimate comments are likely to go through.

However, this morning I awoke to a moderated comment on my robot cupcake entry which said,

Short Circuit 1+2 were good movies 🙂 “Los locos kick your ass. Los locos kick your face. Los locos kick your balls into outer space!”

I’d recently re-watched the second movie and, even though I know such comments (or more specifically, the name and its link) are designed to game Internet search results, and I in no way endorse the products, I thought this comment was cute and just had to let it through.

It also makes it clear that there are actual people going through blogs and writing comments.  It’s not just an automated process.

So I put it to you, spammers (who probably won’t read this): entertain me, make me laugh, and I just might approve your comments.

Update: Probably related, shortly after publishing this post I began receiving large amounts of spam.

I have revised my stance on allowing spam; all of it will be deleted, even if it is entertaining.  (I have even removed the comment I mentioned in this post.)  In fact, I have set WordPress to moderate all comments, making it impossible for spam to get through at all.  Unfortunately, this also harms legitimate discussion until I can think of a better way around it.

Why did I ever think it was a good idea to provoke spammers?  *facepalm*


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