Comment Moderation and Spam Stats

CanOSpamDue to the massive volume of spam and what is getting through Akismet I have resorted to turning on comment moderation. From now on if you have had a previous comment on the blog it should post without any issues. But if this is the first time you have made a comment it will be moderated.

It would seem the spammers are on the war path tonight as my inbox is getting hammered with comments. A lot of comments have been flagged as possible spam and require moderation. But some of it is breaking through. Hopefully Akismet will learn the new rules soon and it will ease up. I don’t think this is a limitation of Akismet so much as the spam is becoming more sophisticated.

Foe example last week I had a spam comment slip through. The reason it got through was the fact that the comment was attached to the URL of an image that was associated with the post. So when I viewed the comment I got the blog entry with no text just the image with the spam. Nasty. I advised WordPress about it and they have responded saying that it is a new type of spam that they are aware of and to submit it to Akismet as such. Anyone else seen this type of comment spam?

I was hoping that I would not have to moderate comments as it takes time and is a bummer for legitimate commenter’s. But I have implemented this on the podcast blog and readers don’t seem to mind. I will endeavour to approve comments as soon as I can if it is any consolation. This measure might just decrease the attractiveness of this blog as a target.

To put the spam issue into perspective: it took from Feburary 2006 until the 9th of December to reach 10,000 spam comments caught by Akismet. Compare that with the fact that it just reach 20,369 today the 3rd of February 2007. Yes it doubled in about a month!

Tools to Prevent you “Breaking” Your Blog’s Template

The majority of people unfortunately still insist on using Internet Explorer. There are better browsers out there you know. Different browsers “read” the page that it displays in a unique way. So a page can look totally different in a different browser. Especially where layout and images are concerned. I too rarely “test” my blog and make sure that it is being “read” correctly by each browser. //engtech has created a tool that will do it for you.

//engtec is lazy unmotivated  forgets that IE exists like the rest us us when it comes to testing his blog. He gives a good description as to what can happen to IE when you add images that are to wide, I’ll leave that for you to read. So he created a Greasemonkey script that does all the checking that you need and lets you know when you have done something that will “break” your blog in IE.

As can be expected from //engtech he has some detailed instructions about customizing it to your blog to be able to use the script. It even has pictures. A very useful tool. But you should really be making sure that images fit your space as well, even for Firefox. Re-size an image to fit. If you can not do that then link to a larger image on a separate tab. Or do it in two parts. Badly done images in blogs look cheap and half arsed. But at least we don’t have to worry about IE, nice work //engtech.

For those that do not know Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to manipulate the way that a web page is displayed using JavaScript. There are tons of different scripts and applications. Plus you can do what //engtech did and write your own.

I have just noticed that //engtech’s script has no name, does any one have any ideas? ImageAlert, TempAlert, IEisBusted, BlogBrokeGMS…

engtech Blog Screenshot

An Irreverent Podcast

There has been a discussion going on in the latest podcast from Cameron Reilly of G’day World. It is about how can we promote podcasts and podcasting. There have been a few responses from listeners about what they think. Such as giving away a Wii. This to us podcasters would be great… as long as you are providing it! So I made the suggestion that people blog about a podcast that they listen to on The Podcast Network. Here is my take on G’day World and me “putting my money where my mouth is”.

G’day World is hosted by Cameron Reilly, CEO of The Podcast Network and pretty much the flagship show of the Network. Generally has a show every week day unless he has an Xbox night with his mates…

“G’DAY WORLD, the very first Australian podcast, is an irreverent rant about technology, science, politics and the arts by Cameron Reilly, CEO of The Podcast Network.”

Cam is opinionated, blunt and at times argumentative. His latest show talks in part about the fact that it was pointed out to him that he was abrasive when talking about certain topics. It was an interesting reflection that he had about himself in response to that. It is partly true as Cam believes he is right and you can get totally owned being on the show. Is that a good thing? In some respects yes. To be that self assured and certain about what you believe in is great. To be so at the expense of someone else nope. So it was good to hear Cam reflect on that, it showed his listeners another side of him. Something I thought I would never hear from Cam.

One thing that I respect about Cam is the fact that he is very well read and has wide and varied interests. This is reflected in the topics he covers on the show. He is a passionate movie buff and also co-hosts The Movie Show. Cam is into science and technology although does not consider himself a geek. History on the other hand is also an interest and is reflected in his hosting of Napoleon 101. He is also very passionate about online media and podcasting and what it means to be a podcaster.

So why does that make a good podcast? You Never know what you are going to get for one. I enjoy listening to Cam’s perspectives on life and everything. I don’t agree with him all the time but I think he is a deep thinker and has the unique ability to put that thinking into words. That is hard to do. I start putting what I think into words and it never comes out the way I expected or intended.

G’day World is also very funny. I remember one time I was listening in the car and almost ran off the road I laughed so hard. Can not remeber for the life of me what that was about now. But yes the show is also funny. Maybe another unexpected bonus that makes it a good listen.

Why do I listen to it. Not sure. I think it is because sometimes you can not help but to listen. I was a bit like that with one of the latest things Cam has been about: “Curing Christians“. I have not got into the argument, but I disagree with what he is doing. Cam doesn’t want Christians influencing politics and decision making as much as he perceives it does. His answer: Cure some Christians. I believe that a belief system is part of being human and part of who we are. Destroy that and you take some of the person away. I think Cam should attack the thing he has the beef with and that in my opinion is the influence that a minority have over the majority on public policy. He will disagree with that. But I listened and I respect his view, at least he has one and isn’t afraid to say it.

Cam is currently running a competition where you could win a $50 Amazon voucher. What do you have to do? Just register with the online form and send some referrals Cam’s way! Currently he has zero takers so if you are the only one to register then you’ll get the prize. For the record I have not registered nor a part of this competition.

G’day World is entertaining, period. Why? Even myself I am not sure why; but it is. I would recommend G’day World for a listen, it might not be your cup of tea but then you won’t know if it is or not unless you do. While you are there check out some of the other great shows on The Podcast Network you will find something you like. Please remember to leave a comment on the podcaster’s blog, just to let them know what you think or just your opinion. As podcasters we value that and it means a lot to us. Easy for you and invaluable to us. Keep up the good work Cam.

DISCLOSURE: G’day World is part of The Podcast Network where The Global Geek Podcast is also a part, of which I am one of the hosts. I have in no way been offered any incentive or been requested to write this post. These are my opinions and original ideas and not those of The Podcast Network or Cameron Reilly.

Comment Armageddon

So there I was catching up on some RSS feeds that I had missed over the Christmas New Year break. I made an unexpected find while I was doing that. Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch is a respected authority in Web 2.0 circles as far as covering new start-ups and the culture of the Internet and technology news. But this post caused some controversy.

TechCrunch covered a website that was a social network for budding photographers. So what you might say. Well this is a social network for amateur pornography. I have not linked to the site covered because that is not what this post is about. Arrington covers the site in a very matter-of-fact way that you would expect. It would seem that his readers don’t appreciate it, generally. True this is not the sort of thing that TechCrunch usually covers and that might be why there was the reaction that there was. Still not sure it was worthy of the reaction of some.

The real action here is the comments. There are no less than 191 comments at the time of this post. It is the most entertaining run of comments that I have read in a long time. Like fies to a dead cow everyone turns up for a go. It has everything from name calling to preaching doom and gloom. There are “hissy” fits and passionate pleas. Everything, you name it you will find it here.

What’s more the names read like a who’s who of the blogosphere. Featuring in order of appearance:

I am sure there are some I missed or did not recognise. These guys probably subscribe to TechCrunch so I am not surprised that they do. But for them to be motivated enough to comment, you can imagine. I learned some things about Robert Scoble that I did not know. He actually kicks butt in an argument. Still not sure why they got involved, no one wins a flame war.

Very entertaining and well worth the read. Not often I recommend to skip the article and go straight to the comments. I am not about to make judgements about the merits of Arringtons choice of topics but suffice to say his readers have spoken. But from my perspective it doesn’t seem like it fits the TechCrunch mould. It says a lot about knowing your audience.

Search Engine Optimisation: Beginners Guide

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short is complicated stuff but this is a great place to start. Webmasters in particular are interested in this fine art. In short it is optimising your content on your site for indexing by search engines. That means that your site or blog is returned with search results for a given topic. You want that it is a good thing. How high up in the search you are is another. The quest is to be the number one result. That drives traffic and for businesses money. So it is important.

I don’t fully understand SEO, nor claim to. That is why I found this article called The Basics of Search Engine Optimisation to be excellent. I also thought that for most bloggers it had some good suggestions and ideas about how you can get a higher search rank. This basic guide is probably enough for most bloggers that use a service to host their blog. For new site and content creators it is a great place to start.

A great article and worth spending the time to read and do a few Wkikipedia searches on the terms that you don’t understand.