Site news: Captcha controller added for spam protection

by Volker Weber

The site was flooded today with hundreds of spam messages. That is because everyday a new idiot gets up, registers a domain for his smut and then uses a distributed network of zombies to add comments linking back to his smut site all over the blogsphere. Blacklisting does not really help, so I can either start registering people for comments, moderate comments or try to distinguish real people from robots. The easiest measure is called a captcha controller.

This has two downsides: You have to enter a 6-digit number with every comment. And if your eyes are too bad to read the graphic you will not be able to comment. I am sorry about that.

While we are at it, may I please remind you to use your full name if you like to comment? Thank you. Next stop: Close the comments for good.


I am legally blind and I can comment. However, I now have nose smudges all over my monitor ;-)

Bruce Elgort, 2004-10-30

I'm sorry to see it come to this, but I think you are doing the right thing. I am very glad they haven't started hitting my weblog yet.

Ben Langhinrichs, 2004-10-30

Update: I changed this to a 4 digit code now. Should be safe enough.

Volker Weber, 2004-10-30

I noticed you got hit with this, and as you know, Bruce and I have suffered too. I can only imagine how bad the problem can get on a site with the sheer visibility of

Having to take these measures totally sucks. WTF is the matter with these people? They’re obviously bright: just think what they could do with their intellect!

Ben Poole, 2004-10-31

They are not bright at all. They are using ressources they either downloaded from the net or paid for. And obviously they are doing business on everybody else's expense. Things got worse over the last few days. I had to clean up the event log every day because I could no longer display it since it grew too fast. The system stopped almost all spam attempts. But the last breakout did it. Stefan spent well over half an hour to clean them out. There were literally hundreds of entries. It was time for a change of tactics. Filtering out spam robots with blacklist was no longer feasable.

The only way to make this less enjoyable for those idiots is to make it more expensive. They can now hire cheap labor to add comments here. Whereas I can use a robot to clean those out.

Volker Weber, 2004-10-31

Can you say India :0
(sorry, just lost 250 hours of development to an Indian outsourcement agency :()

Vince Schuurman, 2004-10-31

I am sorry to hear that, Vince. But India does not play in the comment spam game.

Volker Weber, 2004-10-31

No complaints about this system at all. It doesn't degrade the user experience for me one bit.

David Richardson, 2004-10-31

Hi Vince,
the work will come back, just wait for a while. Unless it was the "execute-a-given-process-with-100%-accuracy-and-no-creative-extension-please" type of work.

Hi Volker,
could u share which Caotcha controller to use?
:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2004-10-31

As far as I know it's SCode from James Seng, available here. You might also want to check out his bayesian comment filter, available here.

Scode is nice and easy to install if you're running a MT shop. Works well for 2.661, dunno how well it plays together with 3.01, though. What I found, however, is, that it's hard to convince Scode and MT-Blacklist to work as a team. I tried to incorprate the changes you have to make in of the original MT distribution into from Jay Allen's work but had no luck. Maybe someone better at patching than I am can come up with a working solution. Not that I would mind or even use it, though, 'cause MT-Blacklist (1.6.5) ate too much resources on my server.

Stefan Rubner, 2004-10-31

Captchas are nonsense! Everyone knows that a common bar-code reader can be programmed to read them. They are a waste of time!

Mike Cedeno, 2007-10-12

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