Spam Armament Race

From my childhood readings I remember this particular chapter off Jules Verne‘s visionary masterpiece From the Earth to the Moon.

The first volume would go over the fabrication of a humongous cannon being built to send a few adventurers on the Moon (yea, this is 19th century science-fiction all right, but not as far off as one would think) and included an historical background of both the main character: Impey Barbicane, founder of shots during the Civil war, and his personal nemesis-turned-ally: Captain Nichols, founder of armored plates. That one chapter described extensively the armament race that opposed the two men through their new inventions on the battlefield.

Every time the cannon grew bigger, the armor became thicker, and vice-versa.

Anyway, spam strongly reminds me of that. Just when everybody started enjoying a deceivingly quiet reprieve in the Spam Wars, the filthy baboons come back and hit again, harder, and nastier. This time using a different angle.

Nothing surprising, if you ask me, although I was kinda hoping that TrackBacks would have long been made a bit tougher by default. There goes my hopeless wish for more long-term prevention, less short-term patching…

Well, the latest Spam Karma update does little for the long-term, but I think we can all agree the situation is bad enough that anything short of unplugging that ethernet cable will have to do for now. Spam Karma 1.15 should quench the torrent of spammy mud that is currently pouring over WordPress blogs. Make sure you read all the details in the Change Logs regarding the activation of the new TrackBack filter.

However, do not expect miracles: First, TB spam works much differently from Comment spam. By the time a TB makes it to Spam Karma, a lot of useful information are no longer available, while, on the other hand, filters relying on the presence of a human (such as Captcha checks) are not possible either, since TBs are meant to be automated. The solution, imho, would be for WP to ditch TrackBacks more or less completely in favour of extended PingBack support (harder to spam). In the meantime, it would be nice to have more control over each feature separately in the Options.

As I previously mentioned, I have great projects for the future. Maybe a bit too great, since I still haven’t gotten any closer to finishing to put my notes in a coherent, readable format, let alone implement a proof of concept. Truth is, for as much as I enjoy helping the WP community and squashing spams left and right, the popularity gained by Spam Karma has brought it to a level where supporting each request and working on new improvements to keep up with nasty Spambots is fast becoming a full time occupation. At a time where my current combination of more-or-less gainful employment, university stuff and girlfriend damage-control is hardly calling for more.

Don’t worry: I am not giving up on Spam Fighting or Spam Karma quite yet… Only asking everybody to be patient with their problems: I will work on every outstanding bug and issue that I can put my hands on, while at the same time trying to move forward with development of an efficient and coherent Spam fighting strategy. By all means keep emailing me about possible bug, but please read carefully comments and manual before to ensure your problem hasn’t been solved by somebody else already.

We shall prevail.

5 comments

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  2. I just would like to thank you for Spam Karma and I know the problems that filtering trackbacks carries. But Spam Karma is an awesome thing really, it has saved my butt a lot of times and that’s enough for me to support you.

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