I’ve noticed that a few of my favourite webloggers are being hit by comment spam. Bill Seitz’s WikiLog has been hammered this week and Andrew Chen noticed this morning a new trick. A spammer had exactly mirrored a comment made by me a few days ago on Andrew’s weblog, using my name but replacing my URL with its own nefarious link.
Webloggers that get hit by comment spam have one thing in common – they include their comments on the same page as their actual content. Movable Type blogs do this by default and most people who brewed their own weblog systems (like Bill and Andrew) do this too. And I have to say, it’s the ideal way to present comments. I’d do it too, if it weren’t for the comment spammers.
The way Radio Userland does it is to have a pop-up window just for comments. Because the comments window is highly unlikely to generate any Google juice (because it’s separate from the actual weblog post), comment spammers haven’t bothered to target Radio Userland with their filth. I’ve heard of one or two isolated cases, but that’s all. So I have to say, I won’t be moving any time soon to integrate comments with my weblog posts – even though scripts like this make it relatively easy.
And yes I know there are the Web equivalent of swatters and flysprays that can be used to attack comment spam – but I don’t want to spend my precious time stamping out insects.
Besides, I’m kind of a puritan regarding my weblog posts. I like the idea of my writing being apart from the comments. Perhaps it’s my pretentious artistic tendencies. Each weblog post deserves to stand alone on it’s own merit (ok, that did sound pretentious!). What I mean is: I see each weblog post as an entity unto itself and the comments likewise.
Speaking of comments systems, I’ve also noticed that my website is slow to download sometimes due to Radio Userland’s comments server. Specifically the comments-counting macro. This is discussed here over at Radio Userland. It’s been happening too much to me lately and frankly annoying me as much as spammers do. So I decided to strip the commentCount macro out – at least for a little while to see how much difference it makes (nb: I think the Referrers counting macro also causes slow download). So for now you won’t be able to see how many comments a post has on my site. This is a pain, but it’ll have to do until I think of a long-term solution (or just cave in and put the macro back).
One solution I thought about was swapping my comments over to Phil Pearson’sPython Community Server. I still may do this, as I’ve heard good things about it. Only I’m a bit nervous about the swapover process and potentially losing my old comments. Also the instructions weren’t all that clear to me. Maybe someone out there can post a comment and steer me right 😉