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Mar. 09 2012

Spam spam spam eggs and spam!

By Diana Ross | Posted in Staff Blogs | 5 Comments

If you build it, they will come… and they WILL SPAM!

I’m sure that more than a few of you have noticed the weird comments that have nothing to do with anything popping up on every blog post here.  We’ve seen a high-volume of comment spammers in the last couple of weeks, and while they make us feel popular, they are quite a pain in the rear end!

To battle the spam, we’ve added a few layers of protection to the website.  Please let me know if you spot something broken, or not-quite-right!  dross@bccc.edu

For those of you who are curious or tech-inclined:

1st layer –AVH Anti-spammer plug-in.  This will screen visitors against known spam-bot IP addresses in 3 databases and (if matched) prevent them from interacting with our website.

2nd layer – a Captcha at the bottom of every comment form.  Posters who are live human beings read the code, type the code in the form and are allowed to comment.  It’s a real pain, and personally I hate Captchas but it seems to be a necessary evil.

3rd layer – a blacklist of words like ‘viagra’ and such that should hold messages for moderation.  We have had this in place for a week or so and it has filtered many of the less friendly spam.

If the problem isn’t solved with these steps in place, we have other options we can explore.  Ultimately, we’re trying to deliver the best WBJC website experience. Trying to balance ease of use (I am a fan of not making people register an account and log-in every time they wish to comment) with safety/security is an ongoing process.  If it turns out that the AVH and blacklist methods catch enough of the spam, we can do away with the Captchas.

Here’s to breakfast!

Diana Ross


Diana Ross is not the famous Supremes singer, but she does have big hair. Working in both Membership and Operations departments, she does a little bit of everything, including administering this website. You can contact her at dross@bccc.edu.

5 Responses to Spam spam spam eggs and spam!

  • Kati Harrison
    Kati Harrison says:

    Aren’t you Clever! I had forgotten about this classic Monty Python bit. I actually don’t mind spam, in the can, and wish the funky junk email were called something like, “liver” instead.

    • Diana Ross
      Diana Ross says:

      Apparently, the MP sketch above was the reason the term ‘spam’ was applied to the annoying electronic bombardment.

      From Wikipedia: “According to the Internet Society and other sources, the term spam is derived from the 1970 Spam sketch of the BBC television comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The sketch is set in a cafe where nearly every item on the menu includes Spam canned luncheon meat. As the waiter recites the Spam-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons drowns out all conversations with a song repeating “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam… lovely Spam! wonderful Spam!”, hence “Spamming” the dialogue. The excessive amount of Spam mentioned in the sketch is a reference to the preponderance of imported canned meat products in the United Kingdom, particularly a brand of tinned ham (Shoulder Pork hAM = SPAM) from the USA, in the years after World War II, as the country struggled to rebuild its agricultural base. Spam captured a large slice of the British market within lower economic classes and became a byword among British children of the 1960s for low-grade fodder due to its commonality, monotonous taste and cheap price — hence the humour of the Python sketch.”

      I love Wikipedia! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(electronic)

  • Diana says:

    ugh,. the Captcha is TERRIBLE!! It’s outta here. we’ll try something different on the back-end that won’t affect our real commenters

  • Diana Ross
    Diana Ross says:

    Captcha now replaced with something that humans can’t see but bots can. Yay Honey Pots!

    BTW, that’s my Evil Twin above…

  • Diana Ross
    Diana Ross says:

    Good Googly Moogly! This was the first morning I opened up my Dashboard and didn’t have to clean up ANY spam! YAY!!

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