Update: this process didn’t get rid of registration spam, so I’ve deactivated the registration feature of the blog. If this causes you a problem, please contact me via the contact form in the top menu of the blog. -walt
Blogging is good. Some people say blogging is dead. So it goes. For me, it’s been good, and if you Google my name my blog generally comes up as the third item. That’s good because the blog has what I want to say, not what others have said about me.
But there is a down side as well. I’ve noted on the blog home page that the societally-challenged people who enjoy spamming your email are also quite active in the blogging world. Here, we get comment spam – there are bots searching the world for blog posts where they can post meaningless links for various illicit products.
If you’re blogging on WordPress, you probably already know about Akismet. It stops comment spam (there’s a spam counter on the blog home page, if you’re curious about how big this problem is). But now I’m getting hit with registration spam. I wish these people would get a life.
So I’ve now installed a registration spam plug-in. That’s one of the things I love most about WordPress: you can do almost unlimited customization. To be truthful, I’m not sure what the point of registering for the blog is, but that’s another story.
While I was installing this wonderful plug-in, I had the option of adding a “captcha” (definition), which ostensibly stops spam-bots (it doesn’t really, there are sweat shops set up in India and elsewhere for humans to break the captchas).
If you want to know what this is all about, I urge you to go to the site that supplies my captcha – recaptcha.net – because this service is actually helping to digitize books. It’s a fascinating story, and the short version is that every time you decode one of the two words in my recaptchas, one of the words is an undeciperable (by machine) word in a book Carnegie Mellon is trying to digitize. This is the kind of win-win product that really excites me. I get something (reduce spam), and CM gets something (one word further in their digitization). Fantastic!