Monday, March 15, 2010

Why you should moderate your blog's comments

Because, as you might have noticed by now if you're a Blogger user like me, hackers using botnets (“armies of infected computers,” says this report) have found a way to breach the standard safeguards against spam comments. Not even the extra requirement to input certain combined letters and numbers to prove there's a real person behind the comment has deterred spam.

Comments of this kind are, thankfully enough, easy to spot: they're often gibberish--a piece of code, some Chinese-character text, or a seemingly innocuous remark about a product along with a link to a site at the end. DON'T click the link--you never know what that might activate. Just delete the comment pronto.

Moderating comments at least allows you to review anything that bids to be published on your blog. Growing jurisprudence in the US suggests blog owners are seen as responsible for any comments they allow to appear on their blogs, which opens the gates to possible libel or defamation suits if you carelessly allow commenters to use your site to attack others. So far I still entertain “anonymous” comments, even those expressing opinions contrary to mine, because I do like to listen to varying ideas--as long as these comments don't cross the line into dirty, abusive language or, worse, character assault. Sorry, but this blog will not be a free-for-all forum.

Spam, though, is another matter. Bot-generated comments have nothing to do with the discussion at hand. I notice that most of them target old or archived blog posts. If you don't moderate or revisit your old posts regularly (who does, really?), chances are your blog's archives are studded by now with spam comments. Go check--they're not only an aggravation, they might also be destructive to your blog.

Just today I trashed 17 spam comments. They never saw the light of day here thanks to the moderating function. But having to be at the receiving end of this seemingly endless barrage can be time-consuming and frustrating. Well, the price to pay, I suppose, for safeguarding the integrity of one's blog.

Take it from a recent report:

Cyber crooks are rigging the Internet with booby-trapped blog commentary, chat rooms, email messages and websites, according to a Websense report released Thursday.

Analysis of online threats during the second half of 2009 showed that 81 percent of email was rigged to deliver “malicious” code and 95 percent of comments posted to blog or chat forums were spam or links to nasty payloads.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) poisoning attacks were a favored tactic, piggybacking on hot topics such as celebrity deaths or major disasters to lure people to websites designed to infect computers.
[Boldface mine.]

Moderate--and delete! I wonder, though, why Google, which owns Blogger, hasn't developed any new or improved filtering program/widget to address this pesky menace. Or is there one already, and I'm just out of the loop?


Yj said...

pikon na pikon na ako sa mga bwisit na spam comments na yan.... sigh

r-yo said...

i'm getting a lot too. ka bad trip!

Anonymous said...

out of the loop? baka you mean to say, "not in the loop"?

gibbs cadiz said...

OUT OF THE LOOP (idiom):

Not informed; up to date; current; not kept part of the discussion. -- Wiktionary

Not part of a group that is kept up-to-date with information about something. -- The Free Dictionary

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