To Be or To Do Be Do Be Do and Spam Control

There’s nothing like a search for meaning to plump up one’s to-do list. I committed to making 100 posts in 100 days, as I feel out the values behind how I want to brand this site. Four posts in and my to-do list is about a mile long. The basic run down on where the initial list-o-stuff is coming from looks like this:

  • Personalization
  • Productivity
  • Pick some stuff I like

But, you see, everything has lots and lots of homework, housekeeping and backstory. Intelligible backstory may end up being a challenge, or at least that’s what it looks like now. How can I write 100 posts even loosely centered around the meaning of meaning without slipping into self indulgent chaos?

Failure often stems from lack of a coherent game plan, inviting the wrong team members onto the bus, & not facing brutal truths. Tactic or trap, writing from the self-center person can be an intentional grammatical style book decision.

Arrogance & Writing in Self-Center Person

So be it. LOL. Right now, here I am at intentional style book decision, and this is what there is, and for now I’m tunneling into homework and housekeeping, one chunk at a time. At the very least, I will have learned a few things about what it is like to write on a schedule.

Yesterday I blogged about plugins that add author Gravatars and MyBlogLog avatars to comments. Looking into them got to be a higher priority when I was writing out my thoughts about what my personal brand may be. You see, I look at links and think of the people behind them or in front of them. Putting a face on comments is a natural extension of who I am as a brand. Besides, I like seeing them.

Doing that didn’t seem right without also talking about today’s subject – spam. To communicate through them ya gotta enable them, use them, and trust them. As soon as there is a way in there will be spam.

Spam Moderation

This is how I deal with comments, from the admin setup side of WordPress.

Users must be registered and logged in to comment is left unchecked at Options > General. Because I want interaction to be easily available I do not require registration.

Everything else non-plugin happens at Options > Discussion, where I have all boxes checked.

The first three are communication related. I ping others (Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article,) allow others to ping me (Allow link notifications from other blogs,) and allow people to post comments.

The rest have to do with how much moderation I want, and how much communication I’d like about moderation. For the most part, I like to be e-mailed whenever anyone posts a comment, or a comment is held in moderation. I’m not a fan of having yet more emails stacking up in my inbox, but this is a worthy cause.

To keep a leash on what gets out there, before a comment appears an administrator must always approve the comment, and the comment author must fill out name and e-mail.

I also use Simple Trackback Validation to control trackback spam. Here are the basics on Simple Trackback Validation and two other anti spam plugins that most practiced bloggers will be familiar with.

Plugins that Filter Out the Un-person

Simple Trackback Validation

Does just what it says. I use it here. I have it set up so that all trackbacks go into a moderation que: something I find comforting.
By Michael Woehrer.
Configuration available at Options > Simple TB Validation

Eliminates spam trackbacks by (1) checking if the IP address of the trackback sender is equal to the IP address of the webserver the trackback URL is referring to and (2) by retrieving the web page located at the URL used in the trackback and checking if the page contains a link to your blog.


The gold standard. Remember to check the spam bin for false positives.
By Matt Mullenweg.
Configuration and API key entry at Plugins > Akismet Configuration

Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need a API key to use it. You can review the spam it catches under “Comments.” See also: WP Stats plugin.

Math Comment Spam Protection

Some people like to add Math to Akismet. Using Math will cut down on the number of spam that get to Akismet’s spam bin, making it much easier to sift out false positives.

By Michael Woehrer.
Configuration at Options > Math Comment Spam

Asks the visitor making the comment to answer a simple math question. This is intended to prove that the visitor is a human being and not a spam robot. Example of such question: What is the sum of 2 and 9?