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Comments Were Broken Recently. It’s Fixed Now.

For those who have tried to comment on my posts but were not able to, I would like to sincerely apologize. If you are a returning reader/commenter, thank you for your patience and your continued reading loyalty. I would also like to thank Agam Rosyidi for notifying me that my comments were broken on this blog. In the future, if you notice anything wrong with my site, I would greatly appreciate it if you let me know via my about page.
On the actual problem itself, it turned out that WP-SpamFree was not working with WP-Super-Cache when the cached page is being dynamically delivered. I did not look too much into why this was the case, but comments now work after disabling WP-SpamFree. I have removed this plugin and I don’t plan on re-enabling WP-SpamFree in the future or making it work with WP-Super-Cache because of the philosophies in this great paper by Mark Pilgrim. I highly recommend reading this timeless article before you think about combatting spam.
As an overview, Mark’s article uses the Club and LoJack as a metaphor for the two main methods of combatting spam. After reading the article, you will see why WP-SpamFree works like the Club, and why a LoJack method is a much more desireable solution to spam detection. Some examples of LoJack solutions include:

  1. Akismet
  2. TypePad AntiSpam
  3. Project Honey Pot
  4. List Poisoning

I have deployed all of these solutions on this blog, so I believe that I should be in the clear. I will be writing a couple follow up articles on Project Honey Pot and List Poisoning. Please stay tuned!
Also, do you know of any other LoJack anti-spam solutions. Do have any LoJack anti-spam ideas? Please share in comments.

17 Responses to “Comments Were Broken Recently. It’s Fixed Now.”

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  1. Rosyidi

    Yesterday I try wp-Spamhitman. But, it didn’t work at all.
    I can’nt open
    I have request instant acess. But, it still doesn’t work.
    For LoJack anti spam ideas, I think some think like wp-spam-hitman is great plugin. Couse we can blacklist some word.

    I’ll waiting for your Project Honey Pot and List Poisoning.
    Thanks a lot.

  2. Ty Bone

    Thank you for your suggestion on WP Spam Hitman, but it seems to me like WP Spam Hitman is more of a “The Club” anti-spam solution (unless I don’t understand how it works). According to Mark Pilgrim, a Lojack solution is one that does not do anything to prevent the spam, but makes it less attractive overall to spam.

    Take Akismet for example:
    1. A spammer comments on your blog.
    2. You marked the comment as spam.
    3. Akismet will submit this spam comment to a central database where it is logged and blacklisted.
    4. The same spammer will never be able to spam any site (including yours) that is Akismet enabled.

    With WP Spam Hitman, you can create your own regular expressions to filter out spam based on the comment text, but no one is benefiting from your regular expression other than yourself. This is why it is more of a “Club” solution. Now if the regular expressions are being centrally stored and distributed to other WP Spam Hitman users then, that would be a Lojack solution.

    Please let me know if I don’t understand how WP Spam Hitman works and it is indeed a Lojack solution.

  3. Rosyidi

    OK. I think it’s difficult to make something like wp spam hitman on wp-super cache.
    But, I think the best solution to prevent the spam is like textpattern.
    So we must preview first before submit. example :

  4. Ty Bone

    Thank you for suggesting TextPattern’s forced comment preview anti-spam. I’m neither saying that WP Spam Hitman won’t work with WP-Super-Cache nor am I saying that it is not a great solution. I am saying that it is a good “Club” solution, but it is not a Lojack solution. Same goes with TextPattern’s forced comment preview.

    If a spam bot just wants to spam just any blog (a generic blog), then it will most likely be defeated by WP Spam Hitman and forced comment preview. But if the spam bot wants to spam *your* blog, then it can easily be programmed not use the words defined in WP Spam Hitman and to click on the preview button before submitting the comment.

  5. Rosyidi

    oo.. i see..
    Sorry for misunderstanding.
    Ok. may be spam can easily be programmed to click the preview button first before submitting the comment. But, Most of spam programmer haven’t do that. So, I think it’s waste time to make spesific spam for little blog. As we know, maybe almost 100% wordpress blogger don’t use preview comment before submiting.
    But may be it will change if sometime 100% wordpress blogger change it with preview first before submit.
    I do wish wordpress can block spammer.

  6. Ty Bone

    You are absolutely right! Spam bots will usually be programmed to account for the common case, so they will most likely get caught on blogs with unique anti-spam measures. But as soon as the unique technique becomes widely used, this anti-spam measure will eventually be penetrated by spam bots.

    As a side note, I would love to have a “forced preview” comment box. I believe it is great for improving comment quality (other than catching spam). Maybe I’ll write a plugin that does this (if one doesn’t already exist).

  7. Ty Bone

    Thank you for the suggestion again. I loved it so much that I actually implemented “Force Commment Preview” on this blog by modding the Ajax Comment Preview plugin. As of right now, I don’t believe that it is a good anti-spam measure (yet), but it is definitely a great comment quality enhancer. I will be making a lot more anti-spam modifications to this and will commit this to the WordPress plugins repository for all you WordPress lovers to enjoy soon!

  8. Rosyidi

    Wow. great job.
    Where is I can download your plugin?

  9. Rosyidi

    Wow.. I love it very much.
    I have search it by google to everywhere, but no one make plugin like this.
    Your plugin is better than textpattern.

  10. Ty Bone

    Thank you for your kind words. I need to do a little bit of code cleanup work before I want to release it. I’ll keep you posted and let you know as soon as I have a downloadable link.

  11. Rosyidi

    Nice to know you. Although I’ve bad English, but you still undertand it. Thanks a lot.

  12. Ty Bone

    Same here. I really appreciate that you keep reading and commenting on this blog. Thank you!

  13. Rosyidi

    I have found bug for your new plugin.
    I can’t preview my comment when java scirpt on my browser off.
    So, some commentators can’t post their comment couse of this.

  14. Ty Bone

    Thank you for letting me know, but most users have Javascript turned on and most bots are not Javascript enabled so it would be nice to make Javascript a requirement for commenting on the blog. Regardless, I will definitely add text to notifying the user to turn on his/her Javascript to enable comments. Thanks again!

  15. Rosyidi

    But, how if visitor use non javascript browser? like lynx or browse it from mobile phone or PDA.

  16. Ty Bone


    Most mobile phone browsers now-a-days should support Javascript and I don't think I know many bloggers that use lynx to comment on blogs. Regardless, many anti-spam plugins out there are requiring Javascript and cookies to be enabled to allow commenting.

  17. Ty Bone

    I have added TypePad AntiSpam to the list. This is a new anti-spam solution by the folks at TypePad that is made available as a WordPress plugin. Has anybody tried this? If so, what do you think about it?

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