How to blog spam-free at WordPress.com

My last post about email spams was more for working than WordPress-ing. This time let me go back to the latter, albeit on the same subject, but focused on WordPress.com blogs.

You know of course I am referring to comment spams.

When you log in to your Dashboard, you are greeted with a note like:

Akismet has protected your site from xxx spam comments already, and there are xx comments in your spam queue right now.

In my calculation, more than 70 per-cent of comments posted to date on this blog are spams in the six weeks it has been online.

Big deal? No, not really. Akismet is a friend to WP bloggers. Well, at least to some.

So what is this Akismet?

It is a plugin or software that deletes or “kills spam” in comments and trackbacks. It is an “Automattic production” and native to WordPress.

As of this writing, 3:30pm AEST 27 Oct, Akismet reported that it had caught more than 13 billion spams since it started more than 3 years ago, and that 83 per-cent of all comments are spam, a fair estimate considering that for emails about 88 per-cent are spam according to reports.

Here’s a screenshot of an Akismet stats page (time-stamping is mine to jog my memory):

Akismet stats

In its early years, I gather that Akismet had received a lot of complaints from WP users. Quite understandable, I think. The plugin was new, and it is the type of plugin that can only be perfected through actual practice. Akismet has to update its database and lexicon of words and phrases of words used in spamming.

The plugin also needed to learn from patterns of comment spams and feedback from users.

After more than 3 years, we could only expect Akismet to be more effective and more learned than when it started.

That said, it does not mean that you should leave Akismet totally on its own.

From time to time, you need to check your blog’s spam queue. There may be comments from friends mistakenly considered as spams by Akismet.

For example, today when I checked my blog’s spam queue, I found one comment posted about a week ago by another WP blogger. I guess the reason why that comment was caught was that in the comment was URL of the page I was being invited to visit. I am not sure here, I am only guessing.

Anyway, the point I am driving home is that we should not leave everything to Akismet. We still have to do some work.

Two things we can do:

1. As mentioned above, check your blog’s spam queue. If there are any comments which should not be considered as spams, you simply approve the comments to remove them from the spam queue. Just like with emails, from time to time we need to check our Spam folders. Sometimes, spam filters get so over-zealous and over-protective that even legit messages are being erroneously classified as spams.

2. Check your blog’s settings. On a WP blog’s Settings | Discussion page, there are two options you could configure to “teach” how Akismet should behave. These are the “Comment Moderation” and “Comment Blacklist” options. Why not put them to good use and fine-tune Akismet?

Comment moderation and blacklist options


I hope this post helps. Here’s to a spam-free blogging.