Another day, another redesign
As hinted in a previous post, my design fingers have been getting itchy. As it's been over 2 months since the last scenary change, I've decided that the time is ripe for a revamp. Let's give a warm welcome to the Black Gold theme.
A live redesign is in progress but, as ever, feedback and comments are, as ever, welcome. Don't forget to take a look at the slightly bling front page.
And I set off to vanquish the hydra
A few days ago and on the advice of a few wiser heads, I decided to install and activate an anti-spam plugin by the name of Bad Behavio(u)r. The way this program works is that it analyses the incoming requests and stops spam before they've even arrived.
And so, I installed the program and gave it a quick test. No false positives, I can still comment so good news (btw, if you're having problem, could you email me as I would be otherwise unaware).
The hydra grows back a head
In the few days after the plugin was live, something strange occured. The number of comment spam hitting my site had gone up considerably and was not at all, what I had expected. Coincidence? In this instance, I believe it to so. As mentioned, higher profile sites than this little thing are using the plugin with no ill effect. So what could account for the rise in spam.
I announced the use of an antispam measure with a public post. Could it be that spammers are searching for keywords which would be indicative of vulnerable sites? Sounds reasonable and if this would be the case, then if one spam got through, then this would be like the smell of honey to bears. The spam noise would increase and we'd see more potential hits. This could be a factor in why we often see sudden spam floods. What this means, of course, is that you should immediately prune your site of any comment spam.
As an experiment, what could be done to test this would be to make a post and then add a load of spam comments to it so as to see if the spam rate then subsequently goes up.
Human beings dislike coincidences, but it's highly likely that this is what happened here. As the majority of spam would probably be driven by scripts, then it may have just been the case that a spammer decided that this week is a good time to run his bot and piss on the world.
Update: It seems that other people have noticed that spam traffic is on the increase.
This would probably also explain the flood of spam. Comment spam is highly dependent on quantity. The minute a piece of spam gets through, the script would be likely to make the use of this vulnerable time and pollute the whole site whilst it can.
It'd be interesting to see if we can try to map the rate of spam incidences, a weather report of spam as it were. What we could do is write a plugin that would ping a centralised source whenever the number of daily comment attempts is greater than a site specific threshold. The centralised source could use this information to see if today is a bad day for spam.
Thoughts and feedback
So any thoughts on the redesign or the spam issue? BTW, after first writing this post, just before I pressed submit, I clicked the back button on my mouse:-( Needless to say, I was not very happy at all to be greeted with the blank textarea.