We Are The Change We Seek
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This isn't where I thought I was going to be when I looked forward into my life, but here I am....

Yes We Can

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Comment Spam: PLEASE READ, I need your input!!

It appears that JournalScape has gotten popular enough that spammers are starting to target us with automated spam bots. They have these robots post spam comments on people's journals with links to their online poker, ephedra, porn sites, etc. I've been trying to keep this in check by hand, but fighting automation by hand is not a battle one guy can win. There are a couple of dangers that come along with allowing this spam to continue. We become a source of spam and that's just not acceptable. More importantly though, search engines like Google do outbound link analysis to determine if sites are "link farms" designed to get higher PageRank. Automated spam bots are specifically designed to create link farms. When/if this happens it means that JournalScape will be dropped from the search index and all of the legitmate journals will disappear from the search.

I'm considering making a change to the JournalScape comment structure and I'd like your input.

I would like to start using CAPTCHAs, which are those images with some twisted text in them where you are required to type the letters to prove you are a human. So, when you add a new comment you would be required to type the 5 or 6 letters shown in the image before your comment would be accepted.

Some notes:

- If you mistype the captcha, I'm not going to ditch your comment, the page will reload with your comment intact and a new captcha for you to type.

- I will only require the captcha on first post. If you want to edit the comment you will not have to type the captcha everytime.

- I'm not willing to make the captcha functionality voluntary per journaler because some people would turn it off and undo all the good the captchas are doing on other journals.

- Using a JournalScape login as an alternate doesn't work because the spammer can just setup an account and then set the bot to login with it.

- Using a karma system like slashdot wouldn't work because the spammers are smart enough to post to older journal entries that people don't often look at. This way they try to avoid spam detection by people.

Please tell me what you think about this feature. Are you willing to type 5 or 6 characters when you post comments? Do you think it will be a problem for your readers?

If you don't like the idea of the CAPTCHA, then give me some ideas. I need to do something and it's the best I can come up with.

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