Nov 10 2006

Overwhelming blog spam, and Thunderbird vs. POPFile

Published by at 7:01 am under Technology   

Kylecordes.com has become popular with blog comment spammers recently; though because I have moderation on, so far only I have seen the spam (in the WordPress admin interface), it hasn’t reached the public site.

In the last week, the quantity has grown enormously, to the extent no longer practical to moderate manually. I’ve installed Akismet, and am eager to see how well it works.

On a related (spam) note, I’ve been very disappointed with the spam filter built in to Thunderbird; it’s real-world performance for me has been awful compared to POPFile. With the latter, I get vanishingly few false positives, and only a small handful of spam messages reach my inbox each day, out of many hundreds that arrive. WIth Thunderbird, even after many, many clicks of training (dutifully identifying both Spam and Not-Spam), it still misclassifies far more often.

Update a few weeks later: Akismet works very well – the comment spam problem is, for the moment, completely solved.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Overwhelming blog spam, and Thunderbird vs. POPFile”

  1. Nico says:

    IMHO, this fight is being fought in the wrong place. SMTP servers leave every email in and pass the responsability to client software. With this approach, there will always be false positives that will get lost. I can’t think of a worse defeat than having to browse through “junk folder” trying to spot some legitimate message among the garbage. Filtering needs to be done in the server itself. Partly using (own) blacklists, partly using bayesian filters, partly using graylisting… but it should be crystal clear when a message is rejected. Leaving every message in also prevents companies sysadmins, ISPs and other intermediaries to take responsability for what they allow to their customers. If the server explicitely rejects the message during the protocol chat, the problem would be transferred to where it belongs.

    Of course you need to control your mail server or convince the person in charge to install the required pieces. There is a number of programs (often called “smtp proxies”) that operate in the server part. I’ve seen this one today in Digg. I’m writting another one in Delphi that I plan to connect to my blog comment system too. BTW, thank you for that page you had about BDE alternatives. It was *very* helpful some years ago 🙂

  2. James says:

    I started using Akismet as soon as I got my WordPress blog in June, and it’s caught over 2,000 spam comments! In that time the servers went down a few times, and it was amazing to see the difference it made, with comments hitting all over the place. I wouldn’t be without it now.

    I’m going to download PopFile now and see how it works for me. Recently my email spam has gone through the roof, so a change for the better is welcome!

    James
    PS I also submitted your site to StumbleUpon – hope it brings in your deserved traffic!