Created On:
Aaron Robson
comment spam

Spam Spam Glorious Spam

One of my longer standing posts seems to have been targeted for some special comment spam attention. Those sneaky bots have started giving me far too much information about unpronouncable medications.

A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of the solution phpBB uses which involves having an extra field in the comment entry which has a label telling people not to fill it in. Dumb bots can't resist trying to fill in the box and thus expose themselves! I added a bit of css (display:none) so that people don't see anything different.

Does it work ? Errr dunno yet - off to check!

Update: At least one of the not so crafty devils has been caught. Fingers crossed.
Later Update: One spam message just got through, but overall its gone from about 30 a day to 1 in 5 days.


Piet de Bekker -
Joe F. -
So, how has it been 1 year later? My concerns with this method would be: 1) Any semi-intelligent spammer could just look for the text "spam" in a "hidden" label, and boom, broken. 2) They could also just look for hidden form fields and leave them blank. Am I on the right track here? I really like this method, but it seems broken.
Aaron -
Hi Joe, Nothing is going to stop a determined spammer, but this method has cut out a lot of spam on this low traffic blog. If using CSS to hide the element, any bot is going to need to do a lot more work to find the hidden elements - especially if its a non inline style. Beyond that, you could hide it with javascript. I suppose its a bit like two people running away from a lion - to get away, you just need to outrun the other person, not the lion. Spammers still have sites to target which are easy meat.
Dan -
Nice idea, expecially if you use javascript/css to hide the field from normal users. Thanks!