After some discussion, Diane and I have come to the conclusion that the SPAM comments we’ve been getting here on the blog are both inappropriate and overwhelming. We’ve looked into ways to block and/or control the SPAM and have determined that our current version of WordPress (our blogging software) does not have adequate filters.
The Good News
More recent versions of WP seem to have better SPAM controls. To that end, we will be asking the WPG to upgrade and install some nifty plug-ins that will allow us to vanquish these evil doers.
The Mediocre News
This will take some time, as their To-Do list is long and we have several projects that rank far ahead of this one.
The Bad News
In an effort to spare our sanity in the mean time, I have turned on the moderation feature for comments. What this means is that all comments will go into a queue for approval before they are made live to the site. This will allow us to block the SPAM manually. With a little luck, it will also teach the spammers themselves that they’re wasting their time; causing them to stop. (Okay. So. Translate “a little luck” to “a honking miracle” and you’re more on track…)
There are implications in moderating a discussion that I would like to address now–before anyone has the chance to be upset by them.
Moderation can sometimes suggest that discussions are controlled by those with the ability to moderate. That is, it will now be possible for me to simply ignore comments that I (or we) do not like, choosing not to make them public. Given the ambient paranoia level around here, it seems likely to me that, at some point, someone will accuse me (us) of doing this in an effort to spin things in a manner that is less than truthful or in a direction that paints Cornell/the OWC in only the best of lights.
Here’s the deal. Please get your glasses and put them on, because I am only going to say this once and I want to make sure there are no alternate interpretations.
All legitimate comments will be made live. Legitimate, in this case, translates to anything that is not SPAM.
All legitimate comments will be made live.
If you disagree with me, I will make your comment live.
If you tell me you hate what we are doing, I will make your comment live.
If you tell me that you hate the new logo, the guidelines surrounding it, and the website that houses them, I will make your comment live.
If you think the new site is ugly as sin and feel the need to detail everything you find wrong with it, I will make your comment live.
If you feel the need to get personally abusive, I will make the comment live. I will also reserve the right to respond or ignore you openly as I see fit.
Questions? Comments? Gripes? I’ll make those live, too, gosh darn it.
If the concept of moderated discussion bothers you (it bothers me, for the record), the best I can offer is this: we’re working on better ways to block the spam and have every intention of opening things back up once they can be put into place. I ask for your patience. And…maybe your tracking skills so we can hunt down the spammers and dispatch them like the miscreants they are.
Okay. Go be upset by the implications now. Kick something inanimate. It will make you feel better.
PS. In case you’re wondering just how much SPAM it takes to prompt a decision like this one…between Diane and myself, we spent the better part of four hours yesterday deleting the hundreds of messages that came in over the holiday break. Hundreds. Hundreds.