Comment System Changed – No More Cookies

My experimental comments system has now been reverted to a system that doesn’t use cookies. I introduced the system 3 weeks ago to try to eliminate manual spam. This was important, because I wanted to also allow people to use email subscription to comments.

The system worked to eliminate manual spam however:-

  • I have now made my subscribe to comments legally compliant even if someone’s manual marketing spam does get through.
  • 2 people over the last 3 weeks contacted me saying they couldn’t see the comment form despite confirming they had the cookie set correctly.
  • A few people had problems working out the system, and getting back to the originating page – that was something fixable had the cookies remained

I recently wrote about the dangers of collective intelligence, and in particular Akismet that uses a collective database. For me, any legitimate comment that gets lost whether positive or negative is not an option.

Two people took the trouble to contact me that they couldn’t work out how to comment. I am sure there were others who didn’t use the contact form.

I have left a big chunk of legalese looking information before the comment form that will hopefully still act as a deterrent, but there is no longer a physical barrier from commenting.

The code goes to the graveyard, it might however like a phoenix rise from the ashes, either for its original purpose, or as often happens, in some other hair brained code implementation.

That is what experimentation is all about.

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  1. says

    Hi Andy,

    Well, this commenting system seems to work fine now. Pity about the problems with the cookie-system. It sounded like a good idea, but didn’t seem to work well.

    Good luck with the spam filtering


  2. says

    Glad it is working for you now.

    I was prepared to rip out the code even based on the fact that one user had reported problems (and I am glad you told me) that couldn’t be fixed easily. Today I received a second message from someone who seemed to have similar problems and the code was ripped out a few minutes later.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  3. says

    I never saw the old comment system, never having visited this weblog before yesterday, but this one seems decent enough.

    Now, for the tangent . . .

    As you might have noticed if you’ve seen my own weblog post from yesterday:
    . . . I’ve had an on-again, off-again love-to-hate-it relationship with the Akismet plugin for WordPress. The very proprietary nature of the back end, and the privacy-threatening mechanism on which it operates, serve as effective deterrents for contributing any development effort to improving the plugin. I also find the strong potential for false positives in the Akismet spam filtering process, coupled with the piss-poor interface for double-checking the contents of the queue for false positives, to be a pretty severe shortcoming.

    It’s always nice to see that someone else “gets it”, with regard to filtering systems controlled by off-site, third party heuristic methodologies. I’m pretty sure I’ve missed a few false positives “caught” by the Akismet filter during the time that I recently used it to “solve” my spam trackback issue. I’m glad I’ve solved that via a less discomfiting manner. I’m pretty sure my current answer is no less likely to result in loss of legitimate trackbacks through false positives, but at least it’s not affecting all comments.

    I’m still looking into other options, as well. It’s just a race at this point between my ability to find better solutions for WordPress and my motivation to create my own weblog platform from scratch.

  4. says

    I expressed my own thoughts on Akismet and collective intelligence quite recently

    I have been using spam karma for some time.

    It has only made one mess up, where someone posted a second comment immediately after being caught by a filter after a long chain of comments in a heated debate – Spam Karma counts numbers of posts to expect over a period of time from the same person as one criteria.

    It can actually use Akismet as well as another filter, although I have never needed it.

    Currently this blog is below the radar on spam, only 300 spam comments per day – my biggest problem are the manual spam, but they get spanked and banned.

  5. says

    Hi Andy
    I recently was getting pounded by spam from trackback’s as well and found that the spam was eliminated to ZERO after I implemented a .htaccess block on a list of known TOR routers. I posted the list here:
    I have had a comment from Vlad that he was concerned about me blocking out legitimate IP addresses with that list…I have thought about it and I will see how it turns out. If it turns into an issue I might reconsider – but we’ll see.
    Peter Kleitsch