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21. Weblog Spamming Basics

Movable Type Weblog, Tutorials, 18 KB, 701 words

Most weblogs allow commenting an entry. Unfortunately, this good feature can also be misused. It is very important for a weblog author to understand this subject fully.

Important Note

Six Apart - the developer of Movable Type - is aware of the subject and has written the extensive article Six Apart Guide To Comment Spam. It is definitely worth reading.

What is Spam?

The word Spam describes unwanted email or simple text. Certainly, you have seen it yourself, either in electronic mailboxes or in discussion forums in the internet. Concerning Movable Type this means that a comment is not wanted because of its content or because it appears in multiple copies in a weblog.

For example, such comment...

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22. Spam Upsurge

Murky, Tutorials, 24 KB, 451 words

I have been getting an increasing amount of comment spam of late. Nightly there have been multiple posts along the lines of 'Nice blog, keep up the good work', and 'I can't believe I have never run across your site before'.

You might wonder where the spam in this is, the thing is that there are hundreds of them, many identical on multiple posts, and seem to exist purely to direct traffic to another site (which is one of a range of sites).

Not one of these has reached the live pages, yet the spammer keeps trying. Idiot. I know they probably aren't checking that every spam gets through, but you'd expect them to check from time to time!

All that happens is that the...

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23. The Feedback Rating System in Movable Type 3.2

Six Apart ProNet Weblog, News, 20 KB, 1049 words

For a lot of bloggers, participating in a community online is what motivates us and keeps us blogging. Good feedback from commenters and people sending TrackBacks can keep a weblog alive and vibrant, but negative comments or, worst of all, the plague of spam, can take all the satisfaction out of maintaining a blog.

Because nothing's more frustrating than spammers or trolls ruining your community, we've tried to make sure you have strong anti-spam tools out of the box in this new version of Movable Type. But eliminating the annoyance of spam is where the new community management features start, not where they end. So, we've made a powerful new Feedback Rating System in Movable Type 3.2....

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24. Concerning Spam

Movalog, News, 25 KB, 521 words

In recent days, spammers seem to becoming smarter and smarter. Adam Kalsey points out a new technique whereby spammers post comment spam that links to other blog entries. But on inspecting those entries one sees that it has been flooded with spam. The problem is, many weblog authors don't really care about spam and won't remove them.

In fact blog spam has reached such heights that The Register has written an article on the subject and mention MT-Blacklist. If you are a weblog author that is bothered by comment spam, you must install MT-Blacklist

Another new technique comment spammers have discovered is using HTML entities in their urls. For example rather than something.com they enter in...

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25. Making Progress Against Spam

Six Apart ProNet Weblog, News, 15 KB, 311 words

The fight against comment and TrackBack spam is an ongoing battle, and it's worth reviewing some of the new options available for managing the attacks.

Since our last roundup, which covered many mod_security options as well as the DSBL plugin, some popular new choices have come to the forefront.

Cameron Marlow of Blogdex fame has created MT-Keystrokes, a proof-of-work plugin that requires human input and a javascript interpreter in the commenter's browser.

If you're facing TrackBack attacks, you'll want to enable the DSBL plugin (as well as MT-Blacklist, if you don't already have it) and a nice complement to these functions is MT-Moderate, which enables moderation of TrackBacks....

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26. MT-DSBL - Open proxy comment filter

Brad Choate, Plugins, 143 KB, 5586 words

DSBL is dead. Long live SpamLookup.

I happened across a WordPress plugin for checking the IP of a commenter against dsbl.org list and it was one of those "why didn't I think of that?" moments. So naturally, I ported it to MT.

Download: mtdsbl-1_1.zip

Requirements: Movable Type 3.1 or later (since it uses the MT 3 callback system and I think the ones I'm using here are new with 3.1). You should also have the CPAN Net::DNS package installed. It can also use the nslookup utility, but it's less efficient that way.

Installation is easy, just drop either dsbl_deny.pl or...

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27. Trackback moderation and editing

Six Apart ProNet Weblog, News, 22 KB, 1114 words

Movable Type is the platform that introduced TrackBacks to the web, and now in version 3.2 we've given you the most powerful interface for managing, moderating, and editing TrackBacks that you receive.

TrackBacks are finally equal citizens in the Movable Type platform: Just like comments, they can be directed to go into moderation, and any TrackBack that's been received can be edited. These two features have long been requested by our users, and we're glad to include not just these improvements, but a full suite of TrackBack management options including the new junk folder for spam TrackBacks, and a powerful new user interface for performing bulk actions on TrackBacks including...

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28. MT AutoIPBlock - Reduce the Spam CPU Load

MT-Hacks, Tutorials, 11 KB, 861 words

This is a hack I began using recently, in an emergency situation. Blog comment spam was creating a huge CPU load on my web server, to the point that it was causing server crashes and CPU restrcitions from my (now former) web host. I have heard increasing report of web hosting banning the use of Movable Type on their hosting plans for the same reason.

This an MT-Blacklist hack that automatically blocks the IP address of someone trying to post commnent that matches your blacklist. It does this using htaccess, so repeated POSTs from that IP will never reach the MT scripts, thus saving your CPU.

First, let me be clear that I agree with Jay Allen and Adam Kalsey's comments about the...

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29. Movable Type 3.2's Junk Folder

Six Apart ProNet Weblog, News, 22 KB, 1169 words

Movable Type 3.2 features a new take on an old friend: the Junk folder. In your email program, some messages are likely to be spam, and most email applications these days offer a folder that can be set to delete junk after a set period of time.

We've brought the same convenience and power to Movable Type. Using the new feedback scoring system described earlier, comments or TrackBacks that fall below your spam threshold score can be set to be automatically deleted after a configurable period of time. (The default is 14 days.) The best part about the new junk folder? You don't have to touch it. If you just want to accept the default settings and not mess with junk comments or TrackBacks...

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30. What is Trackback?

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 21 KB, 1105 words

Updated April 30, 2005

TrackBack is a feature of Movable Type (and Typepad) that allows you to let other sites know that you have linked to them, and lets you know when other sites have linked to you.

If enabled, the TrackBack feature will place a direct link on your Movable Type entry to entries from other sites that are linking to your entry. Conversely, if you place a link on your weblog entry that links to another site's entry, a link to your site will show up on the other site's entry.

Here an example of TrackBack in action. In this entry you can see that 7 other weblogs are referencing this entry.

Clicking on the TrackBack link will show the list of other sites or weblogs...

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31. Upcoming Release to address Spam Issues

Six Apart Mena's Corner, News, 20 KB, 435 words

As Anil said over at Six Log, there's been a lot of talk about comment spam and Movable Type lately and we've been listening. We're constantly weighing the pros and cons of sharing information before we're completely sure about solutions for our users, but we do realize that more information is better.

More information can be found here and here.

When you're receiving 10,000 obscene comments in the span of an hour, it's completely understandable the amount of frustration that mounts. We waited to communicate all the issues until we had better idea of what was happening. And, because we waited we were able to delve deeper into the issue.

Thankfully, our message to our users evolved...

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32. Trying to Block the Bad People

Don't Back Down, Tutorials, 16 KB, 1083 words

I've received only a small taste of the trackback spam that has been floating around. Yet it's still enough to be annoying. Especially since I didn't really have any good way of addressing it. With comments, I can moderate them. I can make sure they have approval. Not the case with trackbacks.

Luckily, Jacques has put together a nice little modification of Brad's DSBL plugin. I installed it, though I have yet to receive any messages, so I really have no idea if it works or not. I just thought I'd give it a shot, because it uses a method close to my own heart. Namely, it sits there and does the work so that I don't have to worry about it. At least, that's the idea.

If you have any problems...

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33. Blog Maintenance

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 26 KB, 1364 words

Movable Type weblogs require some level of maintenance, beyond just adding new content. Here are some suggestions that can help keep your blog running smoothly. If you have other suggestions not on this list, please let us know in the comments section.

Dead Links

If you link to any other websites from your blog, and or have comments or TrackBacks enabled, you need to periodically scan your site to make sure that your external links are still active. Links with URLs that are no longer valid give a "404" server error when someone clicks on them.

One of the biggest deadlink culprits can come from TrackBack links. Periodically click on the "TrackBack" button on the left side of...

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34. List Pending Comments

Don't Back Down, Tutorials, 11 KB, 783 words

So MT-Moderate automatically moderates most comments that you'll want moderated. This is a huge step in blocking comment spam. If it doesn't show up on the site, then that's most of the battle. In fact, for some people, it is all of the battle. All you have to do is occasionally approve some comments that come in, because you'd like to see them on your blog. Those pending comments that contain nothing but spam? Ignore them. Done, problem solved.

But if you're a bit anal-retentive like myself, you might prefer to remove those pending comments from your installation. You could go through and delete each one, page by page, but that's really a bit of a pain. I'm always afraid that...

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35. Tracking Down a Comment Spammer

Six Apart ProNet Weblog, News, 13 KB, 84 words

PC World's Andrew Brandt went to work tracking down a comment spammer, following a link from a single piece of comment spam blocked from their Movable Type-powered blog, and discovering a watned criminal.

Like the work Ann Elisabeth is doing over on Spam Huntress, PCWorld's research shows more and more web spam is coming from organized criminal efforts.

Trackbacks:

Previous Entry: Upcoming revamps

Next Entry: Consumerpedia's launch

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36. New in Movable Type 3.2: A home for administrators

Six Apart ProNet Weblog, News, 22 KB, 1151 words

One of Movable Type's biggest strengths is the platform's support for an unlimited number of weblogs. Once you've got a thriving community of bloggers creating entries and publishing their thoughts, though, it quickly becomes necessary to manage the weblogs on your system.

To meet this need, we've introduced an entire new area of functionality in Movable Type 3.2: The System Overview. We've chosen the System Overview as the first feature to highlight in this new release because it represents a single home for administrators. It's one place to go to oversee everything that's happening across your installation, whether that's a single blog for your site, dozens of blogs managing...

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37. Trusted Commenters

Six Apart ProNet Weblog, News, 19 KB, 843 words

With Movable Type 3.2's focus on enabling community, we wanted to make sure that a blog administrator can recognize the people who build the community around a weblog. And if you're keeping a personal blog, you want to make sure your friends feel welcome when they visit your site.

TypeKey Authentication

Last year, we released the TypeKey authentication service to allow commenters to identify themselves in a consistent manner. This lets site owners assign persistent rules to an individual that act every time that person visits a blog. Since then, over a million people have signed in with the service, and a thriving community has sprung up around the TypeKey service and protocol.

The TypeKey authentication...

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38. PHP Include'd Inline Comments For Movable Type

Eat Drink Sleep MT, Tutorials, 15 KB, 242 words

A few months back I implemented Inline Trackbacks using PHP as outlined in Learning Movable Type. The benefit is that Trackbacks become dynamic, not requiring a rebuild to be publicly visible - in other words, less work for me!

With that idea in mind, I've hacked the comments to work the exact same way. Just as detailed in Inline Trackbacks, copy the comment code into the Comment Listing template. In the Individual Archive template add <?php include('<$MTCGIPath$><$MTCommentScript$>?entry_id=<$MTEntryID$>'); ?> to make it all work. That's it! The main benefit of doing this is similar to Inline Trackbacks - when I delete comment spam a...

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39. Six Apart - Movable Type News - Movable Type 3.14 released

Six Apart News, News, 52 KB, 4255 words

We have just released Movable Type v3.14 which fixes the issue of extreme loads witnessed on servers under the strain of a massive spam attack. Because these attacks are increasing in both frequency and severity, we strongly recommend that all Movable Type users install this update. This is particularly important for any installation that is visible to the public on the web.

This release is a free update for Movable Type v3.x users and has been thoroughly tested both in-house, by our ProNet members and also by many of the web hosting companies initially affected by the problem. If you already purchased Movable Type or downloaded the free version, you’ll be able to download...

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40. Introducing SpamLookup

Brad Choate, Plugins, 126 KB, 4622 words

Yes, it's another anti-spam plugin. I would have called it MT-DSBL 2.0, but the feature set grew beyond the name, so a more generic name was chosen. This is a 2.0 release however… the plugin deserves more seniority than a 1.0 release, since it was built of the carcass that was MT-DSBL 1.1.

The first beta release is now available. Please visit the project page for SpamLookup to download it.

So, what does this thing do? Well, in a nutshell: • Filters inbound comments for all installed weblogs. • Filters inbound TrackBack pings for all installed weblogs. • Checks IP address of sender against DNSBL services....

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mgs | September 27th 2005