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10 September, 2004

Anti-spam tweaks

Following the recommendations of Elise at Learning Movable Type, I've made a couple of changes to my MT installation to further combat comments spam.  Read the article for full details, but to sumarise those tips I used:

Use MT-Blacklist. That really should go without saying.

Rename 'mt-comments.cgi'. A quick Google search for that filename will identify MT sites, and hence potential spam targets. A customised name won't show up, so spammers won't find your blog so easily.
I suspect this needs to be done when one is first setting up a MT installation, as trying to change the filename in my existing installation didn't seem to work, so whilst in principle I support Elise's recommendation, I haven't applied it myself.

Don't use pop-up comments forms. It's easy for spammers to scan for the associated code, so as with the previous tip, don't use what they're looking for.
By default, when one clicks on the 'Add Comment' (or however it's worded) link of an entry on the main page of a MT blog, or from the Category/Date-based Archive pages, a pop-up comment form is launched.
Instead, redirect those 'Add Comment' links to the inline version of the form, as already used on each Individual Entry Archive page.
This has the extra advantage of removing direct links to the comment scripts from the front page and main category/date-based index pages of your site, somewhat masking them from spammers.

Force commentators to 'Preview' before finally submitting their comments, simply by removing the 'Post' button from the 'Individual Entry Archive' and 'Comment Listing' templates. Apart from improving proofreading, this will add a barrier to automatic spam bots. Humans will be able to check their text and hit the 'Post' button on the 'Comment Preview' page, whereas most bots will be defeated.

See Elise's posting for precise details on applying these modifications, plus other useful tips.

Comments

Some good ideas, which I think will be next on the list if they get round my current countermeasures. I think there's been one spam comment that's made it through since I finished my last round of playing with things.

Posted by Adrian at September 11, 2004 12:22 PM
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