Spam Settings On My Blogs

Last week I talked about adding Akismet back on one of my blogs to help in my fight against spam and Brian Hawkins had a post on his blog about crazy things people do to control spam, impugning my wondrous reputation by griping about something I do (LOL) on this blog. Regardless, we all end up having to deal with spam in one fashion or another.

Agent [smith]
[martin] via Compfight

Some people do some crazy things, as Brian stated, but I find the majority of people don’t know what they can do to fight some of the spam at least. Therefore, I thought I’d share what I have set up on my blog under the Discussion settings area and then talk about my settings in the GASP plugin, since I’ve already talked about AkismetIf you don’t know about the Settings / Discussion area this is a good time to go there and follow along as I tell you why I’ve set up what I’ve done.

The first thing you see are the default article settings. I have all of mine checked, but if you use the GASP plugin and have unchecked the box saying to block all trackbacks, the middle choice makes no difference. If you don’t want comments on your blog you can uncheck the last box.

Next we have other comment settings. I have checked the first one, which should be standard for everyone.

I don’t want people logging into my blog so that’s unchecked. Actually, back a few years ago it was recommended that you don’t allow people to register on your blog because some folks knew how to then break into the rest of your blog once they had gained even a modicum of access. The new CommentLuv Premium gives owners the option of allowing it to have access to more posts, but I still wouldn’t recommend doing it.

I have the box checked talking about automatically closing comments on posts and I’ve added the number 720 in the final box, which is just under 2 years. Many spammers target old posts and I figure that people can read them but two years is long enough for someone to discover them and comment on them.

The next box I have checked and I’ve added 9 into the box, though many people only have it set at 4. I hope for extended conversation but I’ve never reached 9. By the way, this doesn’t work for all blog themes, so you might have to add a plugin to get it to work correctly. For this theme, which is older, I had to add the Threaded Comments plugin, but for all my other blogs this works fine.

I have the final box unchecked, which means that if I end up with more than 50 comments they’ll continue on the same page instead of turning it into more than one page. Frankly, it can be confusing going to a blog and seeing that there are a bunch of comments yet not seeing them. I think it messes up continuity, so I have it turned off.

I’m skipping the email me whenever and going to the next one, before a comment appears. I have both unchecked because frankly I hate moderation and thus I won’t do it to anyone else. Now, some folks are probably saying “hey, my comment ended up in moderation”; we’ll get to that.

Next up is comment moderation. I don’t have anything in the main box here and I’ll tell you why. To me, why would I want to add words or domain names or numbers to have things go into moderation, or the pending area? Anything that goes into moderation might as well go into the spam filter so I can review everything in there. Now, this used to be an easier decision when you could approve a comment directly out of the spam area but since WordPress took that option away and sends comments to the pending area instead (a stupid move people), you might decide to have some things go into pending instead, since now you have duplication of effort. Having said that, I do have a 1 in the box about links, so if you add a link it does head to moderation.

Soldier from 1 Yorks on Patrol in Afghanistan
UK Ministry of Defence via Compfight

The final thing I’m going to talk about here is the comment blacklist space. This is where you can list words or urls or IP addresses, which are those numbers under each comment you see in the Admin area of comments, and if the comments have any of these associated with them they’ll automatically go to the spam filter. What I’ve done is added a few specific words that I know are spam since I’d never write about any of that stuff here, and I’ve added lots of IP addresses.

This part bothers Brian a little bit because there’s a lot you’ll end up having to do, but there is a shortcut. For instance, there are some IPs that send you multiple comments but rotate the third and fourth set of numbers. I’ve taken care of that by logging just the first two numbers, and from that point anything that comes in with the first two sets of numbers automatically goes into spam. That’s ended up saving lots of time.

Okay, let’s talk about the GASP plugin settings briefly, since I know most people just go with the defaults. I left many defaults so I’m only going to talk about the things I’ve changed.

First, I’ve unchecked the box for trackbacks, which I mentioned earlier. Yeah, I know that it offers a way for others to let you know they’ve written about you but there’s no real SEO benefit to it and it’s how spammers can really bombard your blog. I unchecked it during a time period when I was averaging nearly 20 spam messages an hour that were all trackback spam; ugh!

The big one, the most controversial I suppose, is the next to last box, which says Maximum number of words allowed in name field. I’ve put 2 in there, which seems to be throwing a lot of commenters into the spam filter, and those are the folks who believe they’re being moderated. Sorry but that’s staying, and we’ll just have to hope that I pull your comments out of the spam box. The overwhelming number of spam that comes in is keyword spam, and most of those keywords are 3 or more words. Most people either go with one name or first and last name. A few of you have decided to add your initial; that’s on you. Also, some of you continue to add keywords to the end of your name because some people offer the Keyword plugin; I don’t. I used to take the time to remove all of that but now it’s rare I’ll remove it, especially if you’re a return commenter. At least now you know why I do it.

That’s that. I didn’t think it would turn out to be this long but there you are. If this is new stuff to you then it’s worth it. If it’s something you hadn’t thought about in awhile then it’s also worth it. And if you don’t like it… LOL!
 

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I Found A Dream; Now The Goals…

Back on August 12th I shared a post here talking about my friend Rasheed and his living his dream of driving around the country, meeting people he’s known for years. At that time I said that I didn’t have a dream, and that I needed to work on finding one.

Just about 3 weeks later I think I’ve come across a dream. No, I know I’ve decided on a dream, because it’s strong, it’s big and audacious, it’s crucial, and I know if I apply, work hard, accept opportunity and make myself more vulnerable than I’ve been in the past I can get it done.

Vulnerable, I hear you asking? Actually yes, and once again this came from Rasheed. During our in-person meeting, he started telling me about a woman he saw in person named BrenĂ© Brown, who gave a talk on the subject of vulnerability. He tried explaining it to me and I have to admit that I didn’t get it. I didn’t argue it with him all that much because he was having problems explaining it to me. But once I saw the video, which is about 20 minutes, I got it, and I had to agree that it’s probably one of the most important business worthy and personal worthy presentations I’ve ever seen, and needed to see. Here’s the video:

If you didn’t watch it, shame on you. I’ll give you this much of it though. In essence, the biggest problem most of us have is marketing and sales. BrenĂ© states that every person that’s succeeded at anything has had to make themselves vulnerable to the possibility of being hurt. That’s because no one succeeds on their own, but you have to view it in more ways than one.

If you work for yourself, like I do, it means you have to market in some way. You either sell yourself to potential customers or to those who know how to make contacts so you can work and get paid for it. Even if you create things you need to sell yourself to someone so that you can sell your products. And it’s not easy because we have to be willing to be vulnerable, to get our feelings hurt, and to try again. And it’s easier to do if you have a dream and a goal worth achieving.

So, back to the dream. I’m not going to tell you what the actual dream is, though I could. And strangely enough, it’s not because of a conversation I had with my buddy Mitch Allen, who believes that no one should tell anyone anything about their dreams because studies have shown that when people put their dreams out to the public they don’t come true. Truthfully, other studies have shown that people not afraid to share their dreams will succeed, so that’s null and void.

I’m not sharing the dream because that’s not what’s important. “When” I attain the dream in the time I’m allowing myself to reach the dream, it’ll be more satisfying talking about it then. I’m giving myself a year to reach this dream. It’s a big, audacious hairy dream. It’s a six-figure dream. And I know I can reach it, track record or not.

So why am I writing about the dream if I’m not going to tell you what it is?

Two reasons for now. One, because I want to share my thought process, things I’ve been putting together, things I feel must be considered as I work towards this dream. If you have thoughts about setting plans for attaining your dreams and goals, something like this could benefit you. Or you might look at it and say “man, that’s just too much”; at least you’ll have something to compare it to. Two, because it’s possible that you, the public, will end up helping me reach my dreams while I help you reach your dreams, and frankly, my thinking is that the more people willing to take some chances, becomes a bit more vulnerable, and go after their dreams and goals at the same time is inspiring enough.

And let’s get this out of the way. Even if I don’t hit my dream exactly the process and forward thinking towards the dream is still a good thing. Jack Canfield talks about his goal of making $100,000 the first year of marketing his Chicken Soup book and making $92,000 or so instead. He wasn’t disappointed in that because it was more money than he’d ever made in his life to that point. That’s what we’re after here; who’s with me?

Here’s the thinking process, things that need to be considered:


paul (dex) bica via Compfight

1. Defining why I want the dream and what it will mean to me long term.

2. Defining how much money I need to shoot for to accomplish the dream and still take care of my present bills. Break down how much has to be earned monthly, weekly, and daily, possibly hourly.

3. Define how I’ll physically take care of myself. I must remember to take my medication and I must workout.

4. Define when I’ll work and rest. This one’s important because I don’t take enough time out to rest or workout or even eat, and if I don’t take care of me, I won’t be able to take care of anything.

5. Define all the ways I can make money, prioritize them, plan the marketing and sales and to whom and how.

6. Define if I need an accountability team or partner. This one is a crapshoot because it would be nice to talk to people who decide to join in on coming up with a dream and then setting up a once a week video call on Skype or Hangout to work on encouraging each other. Support systems are always nice.

7. Define all the people I already know that I need to contact in some fashion and then figure out which other industries and people I need to be contacting.

8. Continue with the things I do now that help market myself and brings in some money, which includes blogging of course. No, I will not give up blogging. As a matter of fact, it’s my intention within the next year to suddenly be in the mix of names that people mention when they start talking about the most influential bloggers in the world. That, of course, will depend a lot of those of you who stop by and read and comment, and I thank those of you who do it now.

9. Define what I do now that doesn’t get me closer to the dream and determine if it’s worth continuing with it. That one’s going to be tough to figure out because it borders on thinking about what wastes time versus what brings me a little bit of mental comfort and joy even for a few minutes.

10. Define how I can help others that help me. Did I mention that this isn’t something one does alone? I’ve always put out the offer that I’m willing to help others. Anything long will require payment but truthfully, sometimes people won’t accept help they don’t pay for.

I’m going to get this done, or I’m going to work myself to the bone trying to get there. I already have a goal charting system to work with; I just have to define everything else, stay on point, maximize my time and get to it. Everything truthfully starts on Tuesday, as the holiday is Monday (Labor Day to those not in the country), but I’ve already put a few things together in preparation; never wait until the last minute where your dream is concerned.

That’s it. I wish me luck, and I wish you luck in reaching for your dreams and goals as well.
 

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