comment registration

One thing I value about this blog is that I still have loyal readers despite my long hiatuses and delays in posting. I can always count at least one or two comments on a post at minimum, and often from people who have never commented before. This is possible because of the open commenting policy here, but that’s also a weakness in that it allows spammers a toehold. The spam filter has been doing its job but lately more and more are sneaking past the defenses, and I am worried that it will get worse form here.

The question is the usual one facing a blog with a nascent community. Do I limit comments to registered users only, thus slamming the door on the casual readers who will probably never comment again? Or do i leave the door open in the hope that signal stays higher than noise?

I guess I could also install a plugin to auto-close old comment threads to see if that mitigates the problem. And there are math captcha plugins like I used before. But these are just symptomatic solutions.

So, lets see what you all have to say about it. What would you prefer? Whats your advice?

7 thoughts on “comment registration”

  1. I’ve been running Mollom on my anime blog and used Askimet on it in the past and on other blogs and they seem to do pretty well at filtering spam posts without having to use such things like captchas and what not. Well, they did better than trying to build my own filtering list. In fact, Mollom seems to be doing pretty good by offering a captcha if the post is only detected as “possibly” spam (while those posts it detects as outright spam are just rejected). I’ve been keeping an eye on it and I’ve yet to come across a false positive (where as I’ve witnessed false positives and false negatives from Askimet).

    If you don’t want to go for one of the “black-box” filtering systems, maybe you can keep a hybrid of having a captcha for guest posts but also letting regular users register to avoid having to fill in captcha for every post?

  2. I feel your pain. A few years ago, I installed a javascript kludge called CCode on my movable type blog, and it’s worked amazingly well without forcing visitors to register or fill in captchas, etc… However, there have been a few recent chinks in the armor. Oddly enough, for essay spam. So far, only about 1-2 get through in a week, but it’s only a matter of time until I’m back to where I was, deleting dozens of spam comments a day. At that point, I’d have to consider a captcha or registration system, but I really don’t want to do that because I don’t have that big of a readership… CCode has worked so well for so long, that I haven’t really kept up with modern anti-spam measures. It’s something I’ll need to revisit, I think.

    Incidentally, the “auto-close old comment threads” option isn’t really a viable one. That’s what I used before CCode and it was terrible.

    For the record, I’d probably register if you had that, but captchas are probably easier…

  3. Guerrilla commenter here. I haven’t had any experience from the blog side, but I guerrilla comment all over the place so I figured I’d give you my input too. Personally, I don’t mind captchas. They can get annoying, but I understand why they’re around and it helps with signal-to-noise so I can deal with it. As for registering, there are several places I comment relatively commonly without registering, and I prefer not having to register. I already have too many accounts floating around and it puts me off from commenting somewhere I just discovered unless I have paragraphs of text to add to the discussion.

  4. I’m with Sam on preferring places I don’t have to register and not minding comments.

    I just registered last week over a so I could comment on Chizumatic, despite reading the blog since the USS Clueless days. I usually don’t say much to begin with, but with registration something has to *really* itch before I’ll go through the hassle.

    I’ve usually wound up not commenting at most places where I’ve rushed to register when they put the registration system in.

  5. I’m sorry; that should have been “not minding captchas”. One hour of lost sleep and the brain shuts down.

  6. If you are using standard blogging software like WordPress, you should be aware that some of the spambots know how to register. The only thing worse than a spambot is a spambot that is a registered user. You need to require a captcha to register at least.

    I find that using a plugin to disable comments on old posts is quite effective. It greatly reduces that target-space that you need to defend, and the older posts seem to be more desirable targets due to higher page-rank . Between that and Akismet very little spam gets through.

  7. I agree. I’ll add captcha (a simple one) that will deter bots, and leave it at that. The problem isn’t unmanageable yet, and if it does get to be such that I have to turn on mandatory reg, the high-SNR comments will be drowned out by then anyway. Hopefully wont get to that point.

    Incidentally since I switched the theme to Thesis from my old customized version of the wordpress default, my search traffic from google has quadrupled.

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