I’ve turned off registrations for commenters for a bit until I can figure out a reliable longer-term solution. Getting 20-30 spam registrations a day now. If you’re inspired to comment on a post and you’re not a registered user, please be patient and I hope to have something figured out soon. If you’re already a registered user, you should be able to comment still.
Update: I should have been clearer. The problem I’m having is with tons of fake/spammer user registrations, not actually spam comments. So I’m going to try something new: commenters on articles do not have to register as users. Way back when I moved to WordPress, it seemed to me that forcing commenters to register was a great way to manage spam and also keep the comment section from becoming too great a hive of scum and villainy. But that was before some of the plug-ins that have appeared since. So I’ll cross my fingers and see how it goes this way.
Update 2 Well, hilarious, in its own way. Within two hours of posting the last update, my first spam comments to get through the plugins in a while.
Everybody is again scum and villainy, but Han shot first and he’s the hero.
The problem may be that there’s a big discussion right now on some internet marketing forums about the value to search engine results of links from high-page rank .edu blogs. Marketers are sharing instructions on how to find .edu blogs that allow anyone to comment, and because Swarthmore.edu has a PR of 7, I imagine your blog is a pretty attractive place to post comments with links (apparently now both nofollow and dofollow links are attractive to marketers these days).
Yeah, we were talking about that here as well. It’s clearly the .edu that’s attracting the swarms of user registrations. Probably will attract spam comments as well.
My reaction to the changed commenting system? Bless you, sir, bless you. I have a terrible time with WordPress every time I come here – it doesn’t remember me, it sends up a sign-in form that my browser can’t auto-fill the password on, and it doesn’t allow you to set your own password, so any time I wished to comment here, it required digging around in my mail files or a total reset.
Now, it may be that this discouraged me from leaving flip comments and only writing ones that were worth all that effort, but I feel such a relief knowing that I can now respond when ideas are fresh in mind, not poorly remembered some twenty minutes later.