Reducing Native Comment Spam

I made some improvements to native comments on my site today. I have had Akismet running for several years now and it’s worked well at preventing about 98% of spam comments. A few would still get through each week. They were never displayed publicly, but I would still need to go through the moderation queue to delete them.

About six months ago I decided to start reporting those false negatives to Akismet since their API supports that. I hoped it would help improve their algorithm and fewer spam comments would slip through. I haven’t kept any stats, but it doesn’t feel like the number slipping through has decreased, unfortunately.

I noticed a good portion of these spam comments were to old URLs, like this one from 2011 about fixing a commenting issue. (Ironic?) I figured closing the comment form after one year would be a good way to reduce a lot of spam. I doubt many humans intend to leave a comment on that post here in 2024. There may be some rare cases where an actual human wants to comment on an older post, so I decided to still allow comments if you are signed in. Last year, I introduced a passwordless sign-in system, so I was able to use that as-is and display a message directing people there.

Old posts will still accept Webmentions, of course. There is always the contact page, too. Here is the message that is displayed on old posts when you’re not signed in:

This is an older post, so the public comment form is now closed. You can still use the form above to send me the link of your reply or sign in with your email to leave a comment. You can always send me a message, too.


Ryan Barrett