Every once in a while, the comment spammers win. Just a little. They use new techniques, new IP addresses, some method that slips by Akismet and other comment spam fighting tools. Your Comments Panel overflows with comment spam. After marking 10 or 20 as comment spam, your natural inclination is to fire off an angry email to Akismet to tell them their comment spam fighting tool isn’t working, to change comment spam protection tools, or to add a CAPTCHA to test your commenters to see if they are “human”.
Stop! Don’t do any of those things.
You’ve forgotten that comment spam fighting tools like Akismet learn as you process your comments and comment spam. Mark a comment as comment spam or unmark a comment spam as a good comment, and the information is sent to Akismet so it can learn what is good, and what is not. This information is passed on to the rest of the Akismet user community. What I mark as comment spam may get filtered out on your blog. And you do the same for me.
However, the process of tediously marking each comment as comment spam after a deluge of comment spam hits your blog is boring. There must be a faster way.
There is: Mass Edit Mode
UPDATE: As of WordPress 2.7, the Mass Edit Mode is now integrated with the Comments Panel.
Comments Panel: Mass Edit Mode
At the top of your list of comments on the WordPress Comments Panel are two links:
View Mode | Mass Edit Mode
The default view of the Comments Panel is “View Mode”, what you normally see. To help you mass produce your comments, click on the link to Mass Edit Mode.
A streamlined version of your comments is shown, with a checkbox at the start of each line. This version allows you to deal with groups of comments and comment spams a bit faster.
There are three methods of marking comment spam:
- Hand Pick Comment Spam: If you only have a few comment spams, then go through the list one-by-one to click a check in the checkbox next to each comment spam. At the bottom of the panel, choose Mark Checked Comments as Spam. Repeat the process after the page reloads if there are more comment spam to mark.
- Check All: Next to the Name column at the top is a checkbox. Check it and all of the boxes in the list will be checked.
If all are comment spam, go to the bottom of the panel and choose Mark Checked Comments as Spam, then continue until all comment spam are gone. If there are good comments in between, uncheck those as you scroll down the list. This is the preferred method if you have more comment spam than good comments in the list.
- Reverse Check All: Often, there are only two to four comments that are good and the rest are comment spam. As you review the list, check all the “good” comments, then move to the top of the list and click the checkbox next to Name This will reverse all your checked boxes to unchecked, and check the rest as comment spam. As you scroll back down, make sure the good comments are unchecked and click Mark Checked Comments as Spam to process them.
In short order, all your comment spams are out of your comments queue and off to instruct Akismet on the new techniques comment spammers are up to, and you’ve helped the rest of the Akismet community.
To return to the normal comments view, click View Mode.
Faster Processing of Comment Spam
Another great time-waster for bloggers is the horrendous task of constantly checking your collected comment spams. It is demeaning, disgusting, degrading, and frustrating, to say the least. It is also time consuming.
Many say you should process comment spam daily to keep up with the onslaught. That’s fine for those who want to eyeball every single comment spam. For those with more sensitive spirits, a daily assault of comment spam is exhausting and damaging to the spirit. The more things that suck your blogging energy and enthusiasm away, the less fun the whole process becomes.
Depending upon your time constraints and the amount of comment spam that collects on your blog, do this every other day or once a week to limit your exposure to the angry, negative world that comment spammers ferment.
Here are a few more tips to speed up the process.
- Search By Keyword: Not all but many comments contain some common keywords. After studying my blog’s comments, I found that many use keywords such as help, advice, tip, lorelle, lorrelle, lorell, wordpress, plugin, plug-in, theme, comment, and so on. Use the search form on the comment spam panel to search for these keywords in the comment spam.
- Engtech’s Akismet Auntie-Spam Greasemonkey Script: This Firefox Greasemonkey Script works like a bookmarklet from within your Firefox browser. It recognizes that the page you are viewing is the WordPress Akismet Comment Spam Panel, and it changes how the comment spam are viewed. Instead of paragraphs and paragraphs of links and spammer blather, it resembles more the Mass Edit Mode, consolidating each comment spam to one line. It now offers improved features such as recognizing keywords and terms, indicators that the comment might not be comment spam, speeding up the process of sorting through your comment spam. I can’t live without this! I’d love to see many of these features included in Akismet’s programming.
- Get a Hyperscrolling Mouse: I’ve bragged about my fantastic Logitech mouse and how the right tool for the job can make blogging easier and faster. The hyperscrolling technology in my new Logitech optical, wireless mouse makes processing comment spam incredibly fast. Since most comment spam is redundant, I can scroll down fast with the scrolling wheel, kicking it up into hyperscrolling mode, so the page continues scrolling quickly, and a touch of the wheel stops it. Anything odd, unusual, or distinctive jumps out as I scroll down the list. I stop, check it out, then speed scroll down the rest of the list. That mouse has sped up my online efficiency, cutting down the time I spend with comment spam, combined with the Akismet Auntie-Spam script, by more than 75%, proof that the right tool for the job makes a huge difference.
Getting Yourself Out of Akismet’s Comment Spam
Many people ask Akismet how to get themselves off the Akismet Comment Spam list and database. Contacting Akismet and requesting they remove you from their database takes time and isn’t necessary most of the time.
Remember, Akismet learns as it goes, so if you find your comment in Akismet’s comment spam list, mark it as Not Spam.
If a comment doesn’t appear on another blogger’s post, and you know the blogger, ask them to dig into their comment spam list to find your comment and mark it as Not Spam.
If you want, test your own comment on your blog to see if it is caught by Akismet. If it is, mark it as Not Spam, then comment again. Caught again? Find it and mark it accordingly. After two or three attempts, Akismet “should” learn that a comment by you is good. It may take some time to get the information to and from Akismet’s database, but it will learn that you are a good commenter.
- WordPress Plugins Battling Evil
- I’m Winning the Battle Against Comment Spam
- Fighting Registration Spam in WordPress
- Battling Referrer Spam
- Website Hammered by Hotlinking, Spammers, and Free Loaders?
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll Replaced by Sex, Drugs, and Mortgage Rates
- New Comment Spammer on the Loose – Pay Attention
- Do You Care Enough To Keep Your Blog Comment Spam Free?
- Akismet Auntie Spam Firefox-Greasemonkey Page Viewing Script
- Comment Spammers Never Stop, Even When Your Blog is Down
- Reporting Spam Blogs – Splogs
- Calling All Stupid Comment Spammers
- Comments on Comments
- Can We Work Together To Stop Comment Spam?
- How NOT to Comment on Comments
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.