If you run a WordPress powered site, you’ll know first hand how awesome Akismet is. However, it’s not perfect and although it does a great job out of the box, here are a few configuration tips you can use to not only cut down on the spam in the queue, but also aide in moderation of comments.
In all actuality, there is very little to configure in terms of Akismet. But there is a configuration option which has drastically cut down the amount of spam which ends up in my moderation queue. That option is: Automatically Discard Spam Comments On Posts Older Than A Month. Before I enabled this option, I would look at my spam queue everyday and see hundreds of spam comments. The reason this configuration works is simple. As you blog, more and more content ends up in the archive. Once your archive reaches hundreds or thousands of posts, that is a lot of content for spammers to feed upon. The way I see it, most people will comment on blog posts within the first week or two of being published. Therefor, this option is perfect as it takes all of the spam comments which are aimed at the archive of your blog and discards them before they reach the queue. It’s much easier to browse the moderation queue when it contains 10 entries rather than 100.
You can configure comments in WordPress by browsing to SETTINGS-DISCUSSION in your administration panel. There are an abundant amount of options within this section but I’ll only be covering what you need to know. The section I want you to play particular attention to is BEFORE A COMMENT APPEARS.
First off, the more popular your blog becomes, the more time you spend moderating comments and that time could be better spent writing content. Thats why I’ve left the first option unchecked. The second option is there for accountability of the commenter as well as the fact that spam bots will need to automatically populate those fields. If they don’t have to populate those fields, you’ll see a major increase in spam. This third option is one that has really cut down on comment moderation. If someone leaves a comment on your blog for the first time, they will be placed in the moderation queue. However, if you approve their comment, anytime they leave a comment in the future it will be published immediately. So although you’ll spend time approving their first comment, you won’t have to do it again in the future.
One last option you may want to configure is how many links a comment can have before it’s placed in the moderation queue. On my blog, I’ve chosen 2 or more links. Spam comments generally contain more than one link so this option cuts down the link spam.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of blocking spam or configuring the way comments are handled but the methods I’ve described above have helped me out tremendously when it comes to dealing with spam and comments. I’m sure you have your own configuration techniques to handle spam along with comments so let’s hear them!