Akismet Is, Well, Too Good?

The latest update to Akismet has been an interesting one. There are some changes that are apparent because of it, and one that’s kind of driving me nuts.

The first changes concern the extra notification on both comments and on spam comments. On the first, you see something telling you that they’ve approved the comment being there. That’s pretty obvious since the comment is there, so that seems redundant. If you make a change, such as sending a comment to spam or trash, it tells you what you did. That’s redundant as well since WordPress tells you that same thing. Oh yeah; it actually flagged a comment I wrote as needing to be moderated; that’s never happened before. And when I finish writing my comment, it tells me it’s approved it; interesting as well.

As it regards spam it tells you that it’s decided a post is spam. That’s obvious because it’s in the spam filter, and thus it’s redundant. And if you move it out of spam it tells you that you’ve moved it out of spam, which is redundant because WordPress tells you that as well. So, both of those moves were unneeded.

Here’s the biggie, though. Immediately after I upgraded on all 3 of my blogs, suddenly I had tons more spam. I was used to getting a lot of spam a day, but I could check in a 4 hour period and I might have between 15 to 20 spam messages; that was okay. Suddenly I was getting between 30 and 80 every hour; what the hey? And trying to be conscientious, I was looking through all of those messages, and out of 3 blogs I only found 2 comments that I thought were legit. Suddenly spam was an issue, and not because Akismet wasn’t working.

Where did all those messages suddenly come from? Freaked me out, to be sure. The first thing I did was go to the discussion tab under settings and change one of the parameters to close comments on all blogs more than 90 days old on all 3 blogs. But that troubled me because I don’t really mind getting legitimate comments on old posts. Then I realized I did have an option, and decided to go for it on two of my blogs.

I decided to go ahead and try the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin to my other two blogs; I haven’t added it to this one. Most of you know it adds a little box for people to check to prove they’re not spammers. Frankly, I don’t get as many comments on those two blogs, and they both seemed to be getting way too many spam messages. I added it, then waited an hour and checked both. All that spam… gone. Whew!

So why haven’t I added it onto this one yet? Strangely enough, it’s because I’m actually on this blog most of the day, or at least have the administrative area open. I check it often, and thus it’s easier for me to keep up with all the spam. For now, I can still deal with it all. But I’m not going to be hesitant to add it if things get out of hand. It does work well, which I figured it might. I don’t want to add something extra that might impede comments, but one sometimes has to pick their battles.

Update – As of the 12/17 update, it looks like Akismet has removed those notifications from the comments area; thank goodness! I haven’t noticed a change in spam just yet, but I’m going to be monitoring my other sites to see what goes on.

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27 thoughts on “Akismet Is, Well, Too Good?”

  1. I still have both Akismet and GASP active on my blog, as I was comparing the two, and I notice Akismet still marks quite some messages as spam while they are perfectly legit. On the other side, I find some spam messages on the Akismet queue which – I presume – were marked as legit by GASP, so I really don’t know.
    For now, I will keep both, as the traffic isn’t skyrocket high I can deal with checking the spam queue once or twice a day. In the future, I guess I’ll see.

    1. That’s probably the way to go, Gabriele. Overall it’s not too bad here, since I check this blog often, and it’s calmed down on the other blog as well, though nothing’s perfect.

  2. I’ve thought about adding GASP to my Free Spirit blog, and might just do it. I don’t have a BIG spam issue, although I have, like you, occasionally gotten deluged with spam caught by Akismet and had to take the time to filter through all of them – dleting 99.999% and once in a while finding one or two leget comments.

    Had to laugh at your clever assessment of the ‘changes’ in Akismet – seems they were produced in The Department of Redundancy Department, hmm? lol

    1. Marv, it’s always something right? Akismet does keep flagging some of my own comments and asking me to moderate them; stupidest thing ever.

  3. As I’m on WP.com and my blog is no longer open (my choice, recently) to search engines, I get very little spam, but I’m also getting the stupid messages from Akismet about what it’s marked as spam and what it’s passed as okay. And, as you say – it’s completely redundant! I’d wondered about posting a comment to the WP.com forum, though I’d think others probably already have done. By the way, does WP.org have similar user-forums?

    WP do like to keep making changes, many that are totally unneeded.

    1. Yes, there is a WP.org forum, Val. And I’m not sure it’s WP that’s responsible for Akismet; I think the people who develop these things are responsible for keeping them up to date, though I can’t prove that. Why did you decide to remove your blog from search engines?

      1. I mostly removed it from search engines because I found that it was reducing my confidence about posting more personal stuff. People can still find my older posts via the cache if they search for me or posts/subjects they know I’ve written about, but I felt like I needed to focus more on myself than on attracting ‘just anyone’. The blog is still public, it just ‘feels’ a bit safer. I know that’s an illusion, but my inner-self doesn’t! I might turn it on again later.

        The thing is, I started my blog for very different reasons from you and most of your readers – it was a journey of self-discovery after a health scare and from time to time I’ve gone off course, but when I remember the motivation, then I prefer to write my posts partially for me and partially for my regular readers. New people do still find my blog, usually via my comments in other people’s blogs and that’s how I prefer it for now.

      2. Okay, that makes sense Val. I remember your mentioning how uncomfortable you were with revealing too many things where too many people could find it. I’m going to assume that since I’m already subscribed to your blog that I’ll still see the feeds.

      3. Yes, you will see the feeds. You’ll also see my deleted posts unfortunately!!! (Like most bloggers, I hadn’t realised that one should revise posts in draft form or publish them as ‘private’ before being thoroughly sure about publishing them… ‘cos they get put in the cache!

        Ack! I’ve gotta get out of this room, mousey is honkin’ fit to burst… oooh, nooo… I didn’t say that, did I?

  4. I haven’t checked the new options on akismet yet Mitch, but I have noticed it’s picking up more spam. That’s weird that??

  5. Hi Mitch,

    I haven’t experienced this myself but have heard similar stories from fellow bloggers. It seems that until you upload the Anti Spam Bot Plug In look forward to uber spam comments piling up in your que.

    Beautiful blue and gold macaw, BTW 😉 I grew up in a house of large parrots – with people too – so the bird definitely caught my eye.

    Thanks for sharing and have a powerful day!


    1. Thanks Ryan. And see, Akismet had your comment in its spam filter, but I sussed it out and I’m glad I did. As I said, it’s been very manageable on this blog, even though overall it’s more than the other blogs.

      Glad you like the parrot shot; that had to be wild having all those parrots in the house. My wife said she had one when she was younger also. Did yours talk?

  6. Intriguing to read your observations, Mitch, along with various commentators. I used Akismet for the longest time, and then switched it to the GASP plugin. While the amount of detected spam decreased 100-fold, I’ve also noticed a slight increase in approved spam — which I’m manually marking as spam and adding keywords or IP addresses to the filters in WordPress’ Discussion settings boxes.

    Spam will always be here. Question is what we do about it.

    1. Ari, we’re always going to have spam, so I guess we decide how to deal with it. These people are so smart and sneaky, yet they haven’t learned how to create copy that looks so stupid and makes no sense. For instance, who in their right mind actually uses the term “weblog”? I’d never even heard that term until I started getting spam.

  7. I am not big Akisimet fan. I have it on almost all my blogs except one, the security of the server does not permit any external access for example Akisimet and Simple Tags. So I just ulock the port for Simple Tags and move to another plugin which is pretty same. At the end I always check comments manually.

    1. Carl, I rather have Akismet catch stuff I have to review than have any of it showing up as legit for even a short period of time. Yeah, some still gets through here and there, but it’s not so bad.

  8. Hi Mitch

    I have both GASP and Akismet on my blog. Noticed the past few days some of my genuine commenters ended up in spam! As I check my site regularly they were quickly retrieved but that wasn’t too efficient! They have commented plenty of times on my blog, so don’t know why that happened.

    Also a couple of regular commenters were put in the pending folder rather than have their comments approved! The mysteries of cyberspace eh lol

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. I’m with you, Pat, it’s hard trying to figure out how these things are working lately. Still, we’re getting attention and I think that’s worth a little bit of spam bother, if you will.

  9. Same with Gabriele’s comment above, i also use both Akismet and GASP.

    I am very happy with the result.

    Because sometimes people spam in my blog, and they did check the confirm not spammer blog and then filtered as spam by akismet.

    1. Kimi, I always wonder what people get out of deliberately spamming. Why not just write a regular comment and move on? Well, glad you’ve foujnd a system that works for you.

  10. It does seem awfully strange that your spam levels would increase so much right after an update… make one wonder what Akismet did to attract the spambots. If one were given to paranoid delusion, one might even think Akismet were generating the spam in order to appear super efficient. But I’m sure no one here is given to paranoid delusions.

    Early in my plunge into formal blogging complaints about Aksimet trashing legitimate comments caused me to avoid it. For a while I went with manual spam control – as you may recall commenting on my lax spam canning policy. As things progressed I installed G.A.S.P. and have been very happy with the result.

    Thanks for the heads up in Akismet’s revised insanity. This just confirms that avoiding it was the right choice.

    1. Well, that wasn’t totally my intention Allan, since I’m still using it. Sometimes I just report the news. lol Nothing’s perfect; it was an odd anomaly, though.

  11. A thought just came to me regarding Akismet Mitch. Do you remember ages ago Gail was complaining bout how comments were disappearing never to be seen again, and she was blaming Akismet? Well perhaps Akismet has changed the configuration so they no longer disappear giving us the choice to manually delete them?

    If that’s the case I prefer when it was automated.

    Just a thought.

    1. That could be the case, Sire, but the stuff that’s coming through now is so obviously spam, especially when it’s repetitive from the same user and domain name that one would guess they could easily figure that out.

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