A depressing sort of milestone…

Like many bloggers, I log in to the admin pages of geoffarnold.com every day to see what housekeeping tasks need to be done. The section that generally needs my attention is Comments: moderating comments from new visitors, and checking the spam catcher to make sure that there aren’t any false-positives. In common with most WordPress users, I rely on a distributed spam detection system called Akismet, which does a really good job: I’ve only had a couple of legitimate comments flagged as spam.
Today I skimmed the latest batch of spam, confirmed that they were all correctly classified, and hit the delete button. Akismet responded:
Akismet has caught 20,000 spam for you since you first installed it.
Just to put that in perspective, my blog has received 2,394 legitimate comments, a third of which pre-date my use of WordPress and Akismet. ((I started this blog in December 2003, and switched to WordPress in December 2005.)) And to put that in perspective, here’s Akismet’s big picture
Early blogging software didn’t include any kind of defence mechanisms, of course, and we’re still living with the consequences. Quite often I find that a web search will take me to an entry in an abandoned blog. ((And sometimes not even abandoned blogs! A few minutes ago I found myself re-reading Steve Yegge’s rant about the Next Big Language, which is still attracting comments four months after he wrote it, and I noticed a number of blogspam comments. I guess Blogspot doesn’t use Akismet.)) The entry may have attracted a couple of comments when it was posted, but since then there have been dozens (even hundreds) of spam comments attached. The search engine spiders are presumably smart enough to avoid the spam, but it keeps on coming. So if you used to run a blog that you’ve since abandoned, do us all a favour by shutting off comments. Think of it as turning off the gas and water in a derelict house: do it for the neighbours!