Archive for the 'Akismet' Category

About Spam and Akismet

May 18, 2007

When I started blogging, I never knew I would have to deal with hundreds of SPAM everyday. I am sure Spam gets to everyone’s nerves. It catches you either in blogs or in mails. (Not sure whether it bugs even those who send it!)

Offlate, though Akismet catches thousands of them, the other hundreds of spams are in moderation page. Therefore, to open the moderation page costs a lot of time. And before deleting them, one needs to check whether there are genuine comments in moderation page as well.

It’s the looking through the hundreds of SPAM to make sure the genuine replies are de-marked as spam first that take time. Otherwise you’re having to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The higher the number to go through, the more chances your eyes will get tired and miss a genuine reply.

Only recently I got used to the Akismet feature in WordPress. When I first saw the name, I thought it was a Urdu word: Kismet, Badh-kismet, Khush-kismet, Akismet! Was really curious to know what ‘Akismet’ meant.

“Akismet is a contraction of Automattic Kismet. Our favorite definition of kismet is “Kismet (principle), the magnetic attractive force that actualizes the playing out of karma; often used in the positive sense,” says the Akismet website.

Interestingly, in the ‘Contact us’ page of the site, there is a Submit Form which has a Math question among other fields. After losing touch with the subject, I improved dramatically in Mathematics, thanks to Sanjay‘s blog. And he had told me that it was because of the 2+1, 10+2 sums that SPAM was controlled in blogs. But the same trick in a site that specialises in blocking spam comments?

Then I read the explanation given by Akismet for this:

“Note about this question. You might wonder, if these guys are so good at spam blocking why would they put a stupid question like this on their contact form to keep spam out? Well, Akismet is great at protecting contact forms, we use it on all our other sites, but on sometimes people use the contact form to tell us they’re being blocked by Akismet.

If you think about that, blocking people when they’re trying to tell us they’re wrongly blocked would probably frustrate them, hence the math question.

Unfortunately, the math question, like most non-adaptive anti-spam measures, is already being defeated and spambots are being written that can parse and solve basic math equations.”

Programmers chaape kelage tooridre, Spammers Rangoli kelage tooridarante. Rough translation: However smart you try to become, there will be someone who can act smarter than you.

Assignment for the weekend:
To ask the English Teacher down the road whether the word SPAM is the same in plural.

option 1: Akismet caught 18 SPAM
(like MOOSE or FISH which are the same in both singular and plural.)
option 2: Akismet caught 18 SPAM emails
option 3: Akismet caught 18 SPAMS

By the way, just got to know that SPAM has a irritating cousin doing its rounds in Instant Messages: SPIM!