Latest use for coComment

(I’m not really posting this. I’m still in major hermit-mode, but I had to share this before I forgot. Memory retention of a brain injured goldfish, that’s me).


I’ve found another use for coComment – verifying if something is spam or not.

It works like this:
I have Bright Meadow set up to record every comment people make (mwhahahhaaa! I’m keeping my eye on you!). coComment will only collect the comment, however, if someone has actually hit the ‘submit’ button on the comment form.
So, if a sneaky little spam-bot has left a comment, coComment doesn’t track it.

Occasionally, comments get through Akismet that are ambiguous. It could be spam, it could be a comment left by a nice person (case in point, one I had tonight that said “I love this site, good work…”) with a proper name, and a url that isn’t too obviously a spam blog. Now, sometimes I might let a comment like that slide, especially if I remove the URL from the comment, but if I do that Akismet doesn’t learn, so I am spammed forever more.

Dealing with one or two of these tonight, I realised that if they aren’t listed on Bright Meadow’s coComment page, the chances are, they weren’t left by a human.

Well, I wouldn’t want to delete a comment that was genuinely saying nice things about me now, would I?


cocomment, spam, akisment, comments, conversation

18 thoughts on “Latest use for coComment

  1. Comment spam! Oh yeah, and I love this site, good workÒ€¦

    okay, but seriously, how do you judge comment spam from genuine comments by total strangers (obviously as distinct from your friends or more regular readers)? if my intention in commenting here was promoting a URL, and I just came up with this comment in order to justify it, is it spam then?

    I await your deletion.

  2. Thomas,

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t clearer on what constitutes comment spam. Spam in this case would be meaningless comments left, invariably, by spam-bots in order to provide a link to blogs/websites promoting (primarily) drugs of dubious legality and porn.

    The overwhelming identifying factor in all of these is that they are
    1) not left by human beings (once robots are capable of meaningful conversation I will be revising this definition)
    2) link back to websites with illegal/offensive/meaningless content.

    As there are some test cases currently underway where a webmaster/blog owner is being prosecuted for the content of comments left by third parties on their blogs, it’s common sense to be a little careful.

    That, and it is highly damaging to a websites reputation – I linked to this last week, but it’s still pertinent – Darren on the evils of comment spam. By leaving comment spam up you’re risking not only reputation, but SEO, page rank, and readership.

    Comments by total strangers are actually one of the things I enjoy most about blogging. I look carefully at each and every one I receive and, if it was left by a human, even it if is uncomplimentary, it stays. If I’m on the fence as to who/what left the comment, then I tend to give it the benefit of the doubt – leaving the comment and inviting the commenter to talk some more. This has happened on more than one occasion, and the random commenter has gone on to become one of the ‘regular readers’.

    As I said in the post, I now have another way of verifying other than my common-sense. If coCo has picked up your comment, then you are most likely a human who took time and trouble to craft the comment. If you’ve taken the time to leave a comment, I would like to think that you cared about the outcome, so would be interested in a response to your comment.

    If you left the comment just for the value of the link back, and your blog isn’t illegal/overly offensive then the link stays. Congratulations you have achieved your goal (and my comment count has gone up by one as well so I also look more popular). If your blog is illegal/overly offensive, well, I have a comment policy and I will stick to it. The URL gets zapped, you get a nice response telling you why, and a chance to explain your position.

    I hope that makes things a bit clearer for you πŸ™‚

    Welcome to Bright meadow Thomas, and I genuinely hope we’ll be seeing more of you in the future.


  3. Pingback: coComment blog » Blog Archive » CoComment and Drive-By Commenters

  4. Ok, I’ve NO idea what is going on with the comments on this post. I know that Thomas replied to this post, but I can’t find the comment anyway. I even trawled through 300 pieces of spam in my Akismet queue to see if I could find it (Akismet has been a little over zealous lately). I did find a trackback that had got held up, but no comment from Thomas.

    How do I know he left a reply? Because coCo told me. You can see it here if you don’t believe me –

    In a vain hope that this will bring the proper comment from its hiding place, here is what Thomas said:

    Thanks for such a comprehensive explanation! πŸ™‚ I hope I didn’t come across as critical; I have often wondered about how bloggers determine the legitimacy of comments (not considering myself as one). Yours is a useful and fair set of guidelines that I will be referring to a lot in the future when it comes to running forums and things like that; I have been unable to find anything similar to this anywhere on the internet.

  5. (I’m pretending that the above comment was from Thomas, because I haven’t a frelling clue where it has got to πŸ˜• )

    My pleasure, and no, you didn’t seem too critical. A little snarky perhaps, but a little snark is good for us all now and then πŸ˜€

    And I’m glad that you found what I said useful. I would like to claim full credit, but those guidelines were culled mercilessly from many places around the ‘Net. That, and common sense really.

    I’m sorry your comment got munched. It wasn’t intentional I assure you!

  6. I hadn’t actually thought of that aspect of it, thank you Paul.

    I must stress I don’t use the coCo-test as the only measure of a comments validity. Common sense is still the best tool. Every now and then, when a something is on the fence of spam/not spam, it is nice to have something else to make things clearer.

    Rest assured however, no comments will be deleted just because they didn’t show in my coCo feed! – If nothing else, sticking zealously to that rule could mean I ended up deleting legitimate comments if the service was down for whatever reason.

    And welcome to Bright Meadow πŸ™‚

  7. Ironically, the reason I haven’t found this page again in so long is because something similar happened to my bookmark for this site πŸ™‚

  8. The best way to stop spam would be to spend some time in moderating the comments persoanlly rather than relying on any captchas. You can go to the other extreme of not allowing anyone to comment – but then the whole essence of sharing information is lost. At least Yahoo and MSN rewards the commentators with relevant backlinks, so that is a reward which many spammers like to go for.

  9. Tom, I agree with you that the best way to stop spam is to moderate personally, but it does depend a lot on the volume of spam you get – it is not uncommon for me to log into my dashboard in the morning before I go to work and find over 100 piece of spam that Akismet has caught. On top of that there are still a good few handfuls of comments that sneak through each week to be visible on posts – annoying my readers and giving the spammers the back-links they so desire. It’s those ones that are often ambiguous, in which case CoComment is a useful second way of verifying.

    That personal touch is still best though.

    And welcome to Bright Meadow πŸ™‚

  10. Nice blog. (No, I’m not a spam bot)

    I know another way to be safe with Akismet about comments, that is to develop a plugin integrated with Akismet to show a captcha or a math question or something else if Ak has flagged a comment as spam: if the user isn’t really a spam bot he can easily solve the human question and get the comment bypass the Akismet filter.
    Wich is, by the way, what I am doing.

    Of course, I don’t *expect* to have my comment published or my url mantained, your comment policy is clear.


  11. Welcome to Bright Meadow Andrea πŸ™‚
    Thank you for your point – personally I am not a fan of captchas as they add another level/barrier to commenting. Having to fill in two or three fields before I can comment is labour enough, without having to then do some maths. However, I can see their use and if the spam gets really intense I might think about it some more.

  12. I am a bit of a blog junkie, I read loads when I’m bored, admittedly half or more of them are crappy, but I often feel compelled to leave comments, the problem is the damn comments box always asks me for my website? So naturally I put a website address in.. Sometimes moderators think I am spam, even though I like to think it was a worthwhile comment, and I took the blooming time to read there blog!! Other times it lets me add it.. but to be honest, if people don’t want so much spam on there blogs, stop asking us to add our websites!! not that mine are spam of course, but you get my drift…

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