Random WordPress comment spam

Well, for x-mas I got an amazing amount of comment spam. And the best part is that it doesn’t even advertise for anything. I recently renamed my wp-comments-post.php file to try and cut back on the comment spam I was getting, and it was working until today. The worst part is that the spam isn’t even advertising anything, it’s just random characters and random names, so I can’t filter it at all. It’s like someone just wants to annoy me.

So not cool.

Anyone have new suggestions on how to cut back on the spam? I’d like to implement a forced preview for my comments anyway, so maybe there are new WordPress plugins out since the last time I checked a few weeks ago that can help me out?

24 in 48

I’m participating in a little group moblogging project for the next two days thought up by Lia Bulaong. Otherwise known as ‘find stuff to take pictures of a couple times an hour.’ It’s harder than it sounds. After most of a day at work, I’m finding myself running out of interesting things to take pictures of (how many times can you take pictures of your office/co-workers in a day?)

But still it’s a cool idea and I’m having fun finding distractions between my huge piles of work this week[end].

this is a group moblog event, sharing the lives of 24 people over 48 hours in new york city.


UPDATE: Here’s my pics so far.

UPDATE: It all finished up last night at midnight, so now it’s fun to go and compare pics of what people were doing. Take for instance each person’s first picture of themselves(?) on Friday morning: Ranjit, Karen, Lia, Dennis, Miranda, Kiri, Ann, Witold, Clay. I’ve never met any of these people, so it was kind of odd watching their lives. I guess it was like reality TV but one frame at a time. And with little or no narration or dialog (other than the pictures themselves, of course).

WordPress author comment highlighting

I’ve noticed a few people doing ‘author comment highlighting’ on other blogs, and thought it was kinda neat. How often are you reading through comments on a blog and not realizing that the person commenting is the owner of the blog?

Well, why not highlight your own comments on your own blog so your visitors know it’s you?

Here’s how I added it to this blog:

1) I decided to highlight the comments based on my e-mail address. This means that every comment post that uses my e-mail will be marked as ‘special.’

To do this I used a small snippet of PHP code (new code is bold):

<li id="comment-<?php comment_ID() ?>"<?php if ($comment->comment_author_email == "geoff@deconcept.com") { ?> class="mycomment"<?php } ?>>

2) Edit your stylesheet so your posts are different. Since I added the class mycomment to the comments I make, I added this to my stylesheet:

ol#commentlist li.mycomment {
   background-color: #fbfbfb;
   border: solid 1px #457AA5;

3) Make sure nobody can post comments by pretending to be you:

I think everyone should do this on their blog anyway, but here it comes in extra handy. I went into ‘options ->discussion’ in wordpress and added my e-mail address to the list under ‘Comment Moderation.’ This assures that if a comment containing my e-mail address anywhere in the post, the comment will be held for approval by me. So every time I post a comment I’ll have to approve it before it shows up, but this isn’t really a big deal and takes almost no time at all to do.

I’m sure there are ways to improve this and make it better, like checking all of the author e-mail addresses, and possibly giving each author their own unique css class so they can each have their own look, and then packaging all of this up into a WordPress plugin… But I’m much too lazy for that, and since this works fine for my single user blog, I’ll probably just leave it like this.

UPDATE (4-28-05): Just saw this post on the WordPress support blog that updates this for use with WordPress 1.5 and also supports alternate post highlighting as well.

Flickr possibilities

By now everyone and their mom has heard of Flickr, that handy photo sharing website that is so awesome.

Well I had this little idea for a cool new feature they could add:

Right now they have a handy ‘tag’ system that works like keywords. This is cool when you want to see all the photos that are of ‘cats,’ but what if I wanted to see pictures of current events? When Brandon started up photoblogs.org, he had the top 100 photoblogs listed there, and that’s cool and all, but it starts to suck when time goes on, and the list is always roughly the same. So I said “Hey, you should put a ‘recent popular sites’ on there.” So he added this nifty little section called Top newcomers and it works like this:

These are the top 10 registered photoblogs that have been added to Photoblogs.org within the last 4 months. Rankings are derived from the favorites lists of our users. In case of a tie, older sites are ranked higher.

Flickr could benifit from something similar to this: limit the time to one week or maybe even just a few days, and then list which tags are the most popular for that time period. The information may already be there if they store a timestamp with when a photo was tagged, but even if they don’t, it might be pretty easy to add in.

The reason I started thinking about this was on my way home from the coffee shop tonight I saw some people staring up at the moon. Now I consider my self a pretty connected person, and take breaks from work all day to read the goings on in the world and a bunch of blogs too, but for some reason I didn’t hear one peep about this lunar eclipse that happened.

Anyway, imagine that you just read something in the paper about a big protest, or about some huge natural disaster, or a lunar eclipse… and you go to Flickr and look at the recent ‘hot tags’ and get to see tons of images all of the things going on in the world right now (or last week as it may be). Or maybe, you completely miss a lunar eclipse because nobody tells you about it, but you still get to see all the pictures people took because you visit the Flickr ‘hot tags’ page every morning.

Have you seen my new blog ad?

Jason Kottke posted a little thing about technorati’s top 100 most-linked weblogs and ponders whether ‘commercial’ weblogs belong in the list or not.

Just a couple of years ago, almost every weblog on a top 100 list would have been noncommerical and the blogosphere in general was mostly opposed to advertising on blogs. Now it’s accepted to the point where I haven’t heard anyone complain about it in months…even Boing Boing’s audience didn’t protest too much when they added advertising a couple of months ago.

I agree that the flaw here is in the definition of what a ‘weblog‘ is. The term is very broad technically, but the general public only sees them as little personal websites, and the name still carries with it a personal or grassroots connotation.

The problem now is that these ‘commercial’ weblogs get mixed in with personal weblogs that have no interest in being corporate. So you get people trying to harness the weblog name and make a few bucks off of it. Everyone and their mom wants a weblog because they work. They are simple to follow, Google* loves them and rewards them for that (perhaps more than it should in some cases?). What people aren’t realizing is that the whole reason weblogs were great in the first place was because they were more personal than the cold, banner ad filled internet sites of a few years ago.

I feel that as more and more ads pile up, people will be alienated more and more until the next big thing comes along and we start all over again.

The question really is who will throw the first stone?

The question after that is what do you call all of these commercial blogs that will be left over?

* When I say Google, of course I mean search engines in general.

UPDATE (10-21-2004): Doc Searls put up a post about blog ads, and included a comment in response to my post above:

Meanwhile, there’s this sense that blogs with ads (I just wrote “ads with blogs”… Freudian slip?) are “commercial,” while blogs without ads are not. That’s a new one on me. Really, are BoingBoing, Instapundit or Moxie different with ads than they were without them? I’d say yes, but I’m not sure it’s in a bad way. They ugly up the pages, but they also say stuff the authors want said. The equivalent of bumper stickers, seems to me. Not “commercialization” in the usual meaning of the term. (emphasis mine)

To answer the question: the answer is most definitely yes (and he seems to agree with me, but not agree at the same time? I don’t get it). Once a blog gets to be so big that the author can’t afford to keep it going without additional income and puts up ads for that reason, they become reliant on that income. They will post things more likely to bring crowds or potention click throughs instead of your every day ‘whatever’ content. Is this really a bad thing? I’m sure in some cases it might not change things too much, but in others it would cause a narrowing of the content on that blog. If something isn’t interesting enough, maybe the author would skip over it in persiut of something more main stream.

There’s a reason why Clear Channel sticks mainly to the top 40 music format. They get the most listeners that way, and therefore can charge their advertisers more and make more money. Blog advertising works the same way: the more viewers, the more cash for your ads.