Spam Karma for me is the most effective comment and trackback spam management solution because it doesn’t cause me problems with false positives on many blogs where I comment on a regular basis.
As a blogger, it is a huge time saver by sending me email notifications a few times per day if it finds entries that are “possible” good comments and trackbacks, but which tripped up one or more of the various algorithms it uses.
Akismet – Proof of False Positives
Just today a reader using Akismet posted about me being a comment spammer. He was joking, but it was because Akismet had flagged one of my comments as spam.
- It was a brand new blog
- That was my second comment posted on the blog
- The first comment I posted was not flagged as spam
A Picture Tells A Thousand Words
7 Months Of Historical Data
- Most of my readers know I live in Poland, so that could factor into any Akismet calculations. I also use an internet service provider that uses a variable IP address.
- Most of the comments I have made on 100s of blogs over the last 7 months have been to this domain. A few have included my other public sites for wordpress plugins or google toolbar buttons.
With that amount of historical data I should be able to post a comment about any subject I like, and Akismet should give me the benefit of the doubt
Whenever someone writes a list of plugins featuring Akismet at the top of the list, the blog spammers rejoice.
Blog spam is about eyeballs on their links, even if it is only in an admin panel.
Spammers even target things like referral stats for traffic, making you think someone has linked to your domain to go and check, and for old sites that still have top referrers.
Every time a blogger has to go trawling through their spam folders to check for legitimate comments, the spammers get eyeballs on their links, and with the primary content of spam being the most popular content and products on the internet, their market is not just the links from dead blogs, but also the eyeballs of active bloggers, many of whom are young males, who spend far too much time in dark rooms lit only by the glare from their computers.
Akismet will never succeed in killing comment spam until it totally removes the need of eyeballs on all those links.
It is a noble cause, and I am sure it will eventually be a successful one, but there seems to be something wrong with the collective intelligence, or certainly the “binary” spam/no spam black/white decision process, whereas Spam Karma offers lots of shades of grey.
How To Set Up Spam Karma
One of the biggest problems people face when they think about alternatives to Akismet for spam control is how complicated many of the alternatives are to configure.
I decided the best solution is to provide you with a crib sheet for Spam Karma, featuring the exact settings I use on my blogs.
These settings will result in some comments being flagged for moderation. Some spam will also get through, especially manual spam, and some trackback spam from splogs sending you legitimate trackbacks will also have to be moderated, at least initially.
Some of that could possibly be avoided with the plugins at the end of this article.
Those comments that do get flagged as potential spam end up at the top of the moderation queue highlighted in green, and as people comment more frequently on your blog, the chances of that happening to someone who is a regular is effectively zero.
If you want to add some extra layers of defense, Akismet can still be used as a plugin to Spam Karma, although this is an additional download.
Basic Spam Karma Configuration
Here is the exact basic configuration I use on my sites, some of which have been using Spam Karma for 2 years.
Download Spam Karma
Here is the basic configuration
The first 2 or 3 trackbacks (with a link) from sploggers get through, and from then on they dig themselves into a grave never to appear again with the snowball effect, or I can totally blacklist them.
If you wish to also add some collective intelligence to the mix, then you can use the 3rd party developed Spam Karma Akismet Module
If you are using WP-Cache, it is advisable to also use this fix for Spam Karma with WP-Cache.
For Those That Insist On Using Akismet
Use the Antispam Collateral Condolences plugin from Mark Jaquith of B5 Media (announced a couple of days ago that he was joining). I can think of so many blogging network and business blog things that Mark’s talents could be put towards, and I might have to convince Aaron that he needs them ;)
Engtech’s Auntie Spam plugin for Greasemonkey which allows you to search through Akismet spam faster.
I have seen lots of people test other combinations, but almost everyone I know who has an in-depth knowledge of plugins (independent of Automattic developers) and who has experience using Spam Karma ends up returning to it, possibly with the use of Akismet as an additional filter.