Back to Akismet; Word Press anti-spam Plug-in

Posted by on May 10, 2012 at 5:10 am.

When I first started blogging in 2004, I was using Akismet, it did a great job of rounding up the obvious spammers, and tossing them into a the marvelous anti-spam pit; never to resurface again.

A few years ago, I changed to Defensio. I liked it a lot… On average, Celebrate Life receives about 400 or more spam comments daily. Of course,  none of them ever make it live, since the anti-spam plug-ins do a great job of trapping them.

I didn’t have a problem with Defensio, until the last WordPress update, which went live a few weeks ago. After that, Defensio would occasionally mark legitimate comments as spam. I could have lived with that, but when I’d approve the comment, it would disappear. The comment was gone, poof, deleted….

I’ll give you an example, although, Nicole of D’Nali, had already commented a few times, after the WordPress update it saw any of her comments as spam. To make it worse, when I approved her comment, stating it wasn’t spam, Defensio thought it’d knew better and would just toss her back into the spam pile, but with a new title; very spammy. If I tried to approve it again, poof comment was gone for good.

For the most part, Defensio still did its job, and only acted temperamental with some commentators. The instant it started behaving badly, I’d simply disable Defensio, approve the comment, and then go back and enable Defensio. Yeah, that wasn’t annoying… <sarcasm>

The next reader to receive this treatment was Teeni from Aunty’s Tea Room. I guess Defensio needed someone new to torment, since Nicole’s has been silent because of computer issues.

Between you and me… I think Defensio was trying to punish Teeni for shutting down her old website. 😉

Yesterday, I pulled the plug on Defensio, and this is why…

Every single comment by Teeni would end up in the spam folder. I went through the extra steps of approving her comment, and then went on a search for a new anti-spam plugin. About an hour later, I decided to check my comments…

Guess what?

Defensio decided it wasn’t happy with my decision…

Teeni spam

Germ 1

And I found Teeni’s approved comment, tossed back into the spam corner,  but this time it has been upgraded to “very spammy”, and she brought friends!  Hooray for Teeni! 😉 Approved comments, you know the ones that had already gone live on my site without landing in the spam box, were now hanging out with her in her “very spammy” corner. Guess what? Some of my comments were there too!

Defensio was disabled after that. I really loved their anti-spam WordPress Plugin, and only started having issues after the last WordPress update. I will be following up with Defensio to see what the issue could be.  In the meantime, I’m using Akismet.

There are other anti-spam plugins available, like  the CAPTCHA plug-ins, which I absolutely loathe. Some of those words are hard to read, why torment your readers with them! Also there’s GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin, but that requires Javascript to be enabled. The majority of people will have this enabled; but there are some who don’t. Addons such as NoScript ( a plugin that I use) turns off all scripts. You can manually enable scripts.

Also, a few of my blog visitors are blind. I want their experience to be enjoyable, and I don’t want them jumping through a lot of extra hoops. The American Federation for the Blind, is an amazing organization, over the years they’ve opened my eyes to many things that seeing people take for granted. They’ve written a few articles about making sites easily accessible for those who are visually impaired. I’ve included them below.

Blogging for the visually impaired

  1. How you can make your site accessible to the visually impaired
  2. Is Blogging Accessible to People With Vision Loss?


  • teeni says:

    I am still upset with Defensio for treating me so roughly! LOL. I am sorry it has caused problems for you since the wordpress update, though. Hopefully it can be remedied and go back to being the good plug-in it was. I am going to look into those links you provided for the visually impaired. I want to make my blog accessible to them as well. Thank you!


    Opal Reply:

    @teeni, I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw all those posted comments tossed in the “very spammy” corner. I wish I’d taken a screenshot.

    When I worked at United Way, we had a few employees from the organization stop by and open our eyes to things. Many of us take for granted. Because of that interaction, I tend to think outside the box when it comes to my websites.

    I’m sure there are certain things I’m overlooking, but I’ve made changes to what I know could be potential issues.
    Opal recently posted..Mother’s Day is not this Sunday…


  • Jennifer says:

    Spam issues are never fun! Sorry to hear about it – Thanks for this post! Eventho it’s a tough subject I am always interested in other peoples spam go-arounds! I learn something new everyday from pretty much everyone 🙂
    Jennifer recently posted..Wednesday Recap: Arts/Crafts, Smoothies, & Tea!


    Opal Reply:

    Hi @Jennifer, I do the same, learn and adapt; when necessary.
    Opal recently posted..Pattern Testing; Cuttersaur is complete


  • suituapui says:

    Wow!!! You certainly get a whole lot of spam. I do get a lot too these days, more than before…but not more than 50 a day, I’m sure and Akismet catches them all so I’m sticking faithfully to it. No point rocking the boat when it’s sailing well.
    suituapui recently posted..Ketipang payung…


    Opal Reply:

    Hi @suituapui, Akismet is good, I just preferred Defensio, after I tried it out. Well until it started acting buggy.

    Yesterday, I was able to trim additional spam from accessing my website by adding code to my .hta access file. Which has blocked them; for now. When I have time I’ll add a few user-agents to the list too, since I get the same ones.
    Opal recently posted..Crochet Amigurumi: Coraline update


  • Have to admit I’d never heard of Defensio, but for awhile I was only running the GASP plugin and it seemed to be fine. Then suddenly lots of stuff was slipping through because it doesn’t know how to stop human spam, which is pretty much people probably paid very little money to write spammy comments on blogs that bypass it. But Akismet stops way more of it because it looks as where these comments are coming from and moves them to the spam filter; that works for me. I only had to do it on this blog, which is most active, but I’m glad I didn’t totally remove it.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Don’t Lie About Your Health


    Opal Reply:

    Hi @Mitch Mitchell, That’s another thing I thought about when I looked at GASP. Not all spam is done by bots. You still have humans making those comments. I’ve seen the job offers for ” comment writers” on some of the writing boards I’ve frequented. The client wasn’t offering a lot of money for people to leave comments, but people would still place bids for those job.

    I don’t mind businesses leaving comments on my site. I have a few here that do. I have KeywordLuv installed so they can take advantage of that. What I do have issue with is people leaving generic replies that they’ve left on numerous other sites. I hate spam! Those comments never make it out of the spam box since the first comment left on my sites is moderated.

    A few months ago, I searched for sites that talked about spambots. I stumbled upon a forum where the users were talking about the different methods they used to target sites. It was educational to learn how some target sites. Naturally heavily trafficked sites, and Dofollow are prime targets. I must say; I don’t have too much sympathy for spammers.
    Opal recently posted..Crochet: I love this floral granny square afghan


  • Divas Chitkara says:

    I use the combination of G.A.S.P + Akismet to tackle spam. Moreover if the no. of comments is higher then you can switch to a commenting system like Disqus or livefyre.
    Divas Chitkara recently posted..10 Best jQuery Image Gallery Plugins


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