WordPress & Akismet: Why It's Important to Mark Spam as Spam

According to Spamhaus, over 96% of all email is spam. That leaves 2% for Facebook notifications, 1.5% for those forwards your mum sends you that you saw in 2001 anyways & about 0.5% for those nagging emails your boss sends on Sunday nights. It’s grim isn’t it? Yet we love it, and we (certainly I) couldn’t live without it.

How about blog comments?

Bucket and SpadeWe love getting recognition and fandom for the great entries we write, even though we might not get as many as the big blogs who might get a few hundreds for every post written! And how much spam in blogs? Well, according to Akismet, who power the spam filtering for WordPress and Movable Type blogs, 85% of all blog comments are spam.

Recently, however, I’ve noted a slightly disturbing trend where bloggers let some spam comments through by choice. I’m mystified on why they would do this; ignorance that spammers can “customise” a spam message by including your post title and therefore assuming it’s real? Naivety that a comment like “I was searching for Blogs about personal government grant applications and found this site. I am interested in your content and appreciate sites like this.” could be a real one? Or a personal interest in wanting to see their posts appear to have more comments?

Others seem to simply hit “delete” instead of “spam” in their WordPress admin area, since the immediate results are the same.

But here is why it matters

It’s important for us all to call a spade a spade and a spam comment a spam comment.

Akismet is more than just a spam filter for YOUR blog, it’s a giant brain. Not the gooey, kept-in-a-jar kind of brain, don’t worry. (Though I wouldn’t put it past Matt Mullenweg to have one of those too…)

It’s a system that learns from all our actions, so every comment you mark helps it identify ham from spam in the future on your blog, but also on every other Akismet user’s blog. So marking a commenter you don’t like as “spam” or a spam comment as “deleted” muddles the waters. Bet you didn’t realise it affected everyone else, did you?

Follow these simple rules

  • If it’s a real comment from a squishy human user but you don’t agree with it, hit delete.
  • If it’s a comment from a bot, something that looks automatically generated or links to obvious spam sites, hit spam.

Being consistent with these rules will allow us all to spend more time blogging and less time moderating comments. Meanwhile, if you haven’t got Akismet already enabled on your blog, what are you waiting for?

[Image: Bucket and Spades by Auntie P on Flickr, under Creative Commons]

3 thoughts on “WordPress & Akismet: Why It's Important to Mark Spam as Spam

  1. John Lampard

    Some of the comment spam coming through at the moment sure requires a double-take so deviously composed it is, I could *almost* understand why some bloggers are approving such comments. But otherwise you are right, take no prisoners, hit the spam button 🙂

  2. Julie

    hey, it’s a great blog you have there! keep up the posts! Have a look at mine! http://www.sellyoursoul.com

    I mean…

    Yo c’est donc ben cool, j’aurais jamais remarqué ça… As-tu checké le blog à Catou récemment? I’m the only sister left in Canaduhhh! Waaahahahaha 😦

    Je t’aime! xx

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