Comment spam finally cut off!!

Ok, I have tackled a major problem with the site, and finally closed the many old comment threads that were collecting incredible amounts of spam. Now no one can comment on anything older than 30 days. For those of you looking for a quick MySQL command to shut your old MovableType threads, go no further than:

update mt_entry set entry_allow_comments = 2 where

TO_DAYS(NOW()) - TO_DAYS(entry_created_on) >= 30;

This helpful information came from burningbird.net and 'a crank's progress.'

You probably don't notice these spams much, because they tend to get attached to the old stories. A poor old Edward Said quote, for example, got yet another one hooked to it today, making it a total of 46 over many months.

Some of them are really pretty funny. For example, "Ryan Thayer" said about a month ago on Said:

Back when I was a boy, it was 40 miles to everywhere, uphill both ways and it was always snowing.

prozac online "I have a friend who just got back from the Soviet Union, and told me the people there are hungry for information about the West. He was asked about many things, but I will give you two examples that are very revealing about life in the Soviet Union. The first question he was asked was if we had exploding television sets. You see, they have a problem with the picture tubes on color television sets, and many are exploding. They assumed we must be having problems with them too. The other question he was asked often was why the CIA had killed Samantha Smith, the little girl who visited the Soviet Union a few years ago; their propaganda is very effective.

-- Victor Belenko, MiG-25 fighter pilot who defected in 1976

"Defense Electronics", Vol 20, No. 6, pg. 100

prozac

Think of it the open threads as sticky fibers, drifting through the electronic ether, and automated spam robots track them and continually affix worthless garbage. Unfortunately, now the site is saddled with thousands of garbage messages, many of them obscene. They are there to boost the spammer-site's rank on Google, when Google indexes my comments.

I feel bad that I let the problem go on for so long, but there is one cynical reason I let it continue. The 'artificial stimulation through spam' on the old comments makes Google think my site is more well-connected than it really is, and hence my ranking on search results rises. The spam gives a padding of links, awful as they might be. But do I want my site associated with Cialis? No, not really.

But when looking around for a way to quickly close all the old threads at once, I happened upon this rather threatening missive from one Adam Kalsey:

The arms race against comment spammers has been stepped up a notch. I received a flurry of spam that linked to entries on other blogs. Curious to see what that was all about, I clicked on one of the links, fully expecting to be redirected to porn or an online casino. I was surprised to see a discussion of patent law; this comment spam linked to a legitimate site.

The comment that I received was certainly spam — other than the odd link, it was the typical formula: the name was “online casinos,” fake generic email address, and a vapid comment. Certainly a Stanford law professor hadn’t actually sent the spam. There was another reason this spammer was promoting someone else’s blog entry.The blog entry in question was full of comment spam. In the last 3 months, this entry had accumulated thousands of spam links in the comments.

It appears the spammers have a new tactic in increasing their PageRank. They find a site that doesn’t delete comment spam and fill it with links. Then they boost the PR of that site by spamming it in blog comments. Once the spam-friendly’s site has in increased Google ranking, all those spammed links in their comments will get a boost in rank as well.

It’s rather clever, actually.

I’m leaving out a link to the spam-ridden blog entry on purpose. I don’t want to give the spammers the link they want. If you want to see the page in question, find Elizabeth Rader’s March 1, 2004 entry called “All rights reserved in Birth Control for Flatworms” on cyberlaw.stanford.edu.

If you are a site that is apathetic toward link spam, it is now time to choose a side. If you continue your apathy and allow comment spam links to linger on your site you are helping the spammers. Spam friendly sites will now be placed on the list of blacklisted domains that are not allowed to post comments on this site.

In the war on spam if you are not for us; if you choose to look the other way and allow spammers to use your site; if you feel that keeping your site free from spam is too much trouble — you are against us.

I didn't realize that the battle over my comment threads meant life and death to other people. I can understand where he's coming from, I just don't take this stuff so seriously.

It would take me hours to go through and strip the garbage off these old threads. Is the flora of false messages just a natural part of the Internet, albeit an obnoxious one, that still serves to organically drag the site further into the network, or is it just me losing a war with a bunch of unscrupulous shitheads?

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