This week, I figure I’ll give you a break from the writing report. Instead, I think I’ll tell you a story about my website. Yeah, I think I’ll do just that. So sit back and listen while Uncle Jeff tells you his tale of woe.
Once upon a time I had a spam blocker on this site that worked incredibly well. It tied into various white lists and black lists, keyword and keyphrase databases, and unobtrusively blocked 99% of the spam that tried to comment on my posts without anyone ever knowing it was there. Life was good.
But one day WordPress updated to a newer version, and the spam blocker was incompatible with the new version. VERY incompatible. So much so that it crashed my website.
So with heavy heart, I had to get rid of the once wonderful spam blocker and move on to another product. This next blocker worked well, too. It blocked any and all spam without me ever having to do a thing. It worked so well, that I didn’t have to do anything at all, and all spam disappeared… along with any legitimate comments that people left. When comments dried up, it took me a while to realize it because, let’s face it, this isn’t a huge nexus of commentary. I simply assumed that whatever I was writing about on my blog was of no interest to people, and they had moved on without saying anything.
It took several people on Facebook telling me that they had been unable to comment for me to realize there was a problem. So I deleted that spam blocker as well.
For many months, I simply went without any spam protection, manually weeding through the fictitious comments telling me how much they loved my website and my writing, all the while trying to slip in links to sales sites that peddled watches, shoes, or mail order brides. But it got so bad that I once again became determined to find a way to sort the real comments from the spam.
Last week I decided that the only way to do this was to install a “captcha” plugin. I hated to do it, because it requires readers to go through an extra step before they can comment, but I’m afraid it is probably going to be the only way to assure that the comments I get are really from people, rather than spambots. So I found a simple “math captcha” plugin that requires one to solve a basic math equation before being allowed to comment.
Since then, MBH tells me that she’s tried to post a comment twice and the “captcha” verification has blocked her. It tells her that she needs to answer the captcha equation, but presents no equation for her to solve. I don’t know if this is because she’s using an old version of IE (required for her job), or if there is truly a problem. Am I able to post because of my admin privileges here? I’ve been able to post with minimal problems (I initially had captcha set to show a combination of words, numbers, and pictures in its equations, but the pictures were difficult to make out, so I dropped them from the options), and assumed I had it resolved. But MBH tells me she still cannot comment.
So now I’d like to ask you to help me figure this out. Can you comment on this blog post? If you can, please let me know what browser you’re using. If you can’t, please either hit me up on Facebook, or drop me an email at “jlbDOTauthorATgmailDOTcom” to let me know what happened. I know it’s not like there is a huge multitude reading my blog, but I’d like to be prepared for that day in the far future when someone is interested enough to want to say something here.
And now, back to writing. Stay safe!