Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blogger Does Not Moderate Comments For You

Almost daily, some optimistic blogger asks in BHF: How Do I? the question
How do I report unwanted comments?
as if Blogger has a classification in the Report Abuse form for spam comments. Unfortunately, they do not.

There are 4 levels of authentication, permitted at the option of the blog owner.
  1. Anyone / Anonymous.
  2. Registered Users / OpenID.
  3. Users with Google accounts.
  4. Blog members.
With options #1 and #2, Google has no control at all. If the blog owner chooses to allow comments to be published by anybody, or by anybody externally authenticated, Blogger commenting has no choice but to accept the comment being published.

With option #3, and since a Blogger account has no intrinsic value comparable to a FaceBook or Twitter account, were Blogger to block or delete any Blogger account for attempted spam comment publication, it would be a trivial effort for a spammer to switch to another Blogger account.

The more active and persistent spammers use many different identities, and many different IP addresses (generally through a botnet). Neither Account nor IP Address filters have any real chance of making a difference.

With comment filtering, Blogger takes the only practical strategy, and allows the blog owners to select which comments to allow, in their blogs. As to which comments are to be moderated, and when the moderation is to be conducted, that is the decision of the blog owner. The blog owner can choose to train the spam filters, which will use collaborative heuristics to detect and remove mass submitted commercial comments. Simply unwanted comments, though, are the personal business of each blog owner.

It's that simple.


(Update 2010/07/01): It's possible that Blogger is doing something about the problem of spam comments, by removing the motivation behind spam comments.

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5 comments:

kc said...

My question is maybe not about comments, but about people emailing my blog all over...is there a way to trace that? I recently received an email of my own blog with a ridiculous email address associated. I did an IPTrace and it gave me back google. If it is someone just messing around, I would like to stop them without taking the ability to email my posts. Is there a way???

Chuck said...

is there a way to trace that?

Email can be traced, but only to a limit. Email forwarded generally can't be traced before where it was forwarded. Email delivered through a GMail server generally can't be traced before that, either.

The latter details is why many spammers, and some security experts, like GMail. Its use increases your physical anonymity, in a way that many web based email systems do not.

kc said...

Thank you! So, from what I take from this is the best way to combat this is to take the email capability off of my blog. At least then people would be forced to use their own email account (or one they set up, but it would possibily be more traceable than the email capability directly from the blog itself)??

can I just thank you for this whole blog...I have learned so much from you!!! :)

Chuck said...

The email capability, on your blog, uses the email account of the reader. The envelope icon is a shortcut to an email client that uses email setup by the reader.

If you do not want people to easily email information about your blog to their friends, removing the email icon will do that. It won't do a lot about the spam though.

And people who really want to email information about your blog will do so, using their own email client, intentionally.

Sarah said...

One person persists in sending nasty messages to my blog and has been doing this for years. I file the messages in a folder saved to my computer. I did not realise there was an email facility. I will look into it. Thanks