When ham and spam do not cover the spectrum

Submitted by dag on Mon, 2008/10/13 - 17:47


As long as we do not make the distinction and call everything spam, we make it harder to find solutions. Mollom takes away the pain of what is typical spam, and that's why I am now only confronted with the atypical spam that is very targeted, takes effort to remove and some may even accept those comments as useful (or are being tricked into it).

What's even more, if Mollom does not make the distinction, I and others are making Mollom less effective because the atypical spam is diffusing the extremes.

Mollom gives me the following options:

  • Don't send feedback to Mollom
  • Report as spam or unsolicited advertising
  • Report as obscene, violent or profane content
  • Report as low-quality content or writing
  • Report as unwanted, taunting or off-topic content

The problem is that in almost all cases I would indicate this is unsolicited advertising, and not (automated) spam. So I would split both categories and make a clear distinction between (automated) spam and (human) unsolicited advertising.

Some of those comments I deem low-quality or even unwanted. But the ones that are somewhat on-topic advertise something commercial or unrelated, are in the second category.

So maybe this is more a feature request for Mollom? I don't know whether it makes sense to make the distinction and what the impact now is of all the unwanted (human) comment spam I send to Mollom. But instead of making it bipolar (ham vs spam), I would make it tripolar (ham vs automated spam vs human spam).

This is actually a semantic discussion, but Wikipedia calls spam "unsolicited bulk messages", by that definition the comment spam I received would not even be spam because it is not in bulk.

Need option for no hyperlink

If you could configure the Homepage field to _not_ print a hyperlink but just print the URL, OR if we would insert the hyperlink with javascript (so that it was useless to most crawlers), a lot of this human submitted spam would go away. Drupal's comment configuration options are very much to blame for the trend we're seeing. I hacked the comment module on Robshouse.net to not print hyperlinks.


I prefer that people can add

I prefer that people can add a URL (webpage or topic-related) and even one that is clickable.

My problem is mostly related to the fact that I appeared on a do-follow list on a forum and since then some people think my comments are not moderated.

A big scare-message would probably help potential spammers to not do the effort.

What is the value in this distinction?

I don't quite understand what the value of splitting spam into human-submitted and bot-submitted is. Are they not both undesired?

Furthermore, how long until they are not distinguishable? The bots will eventually be able to parse your post and say things like "I agree with your point on spam classification methods. You might like to check out this link on the topic.", which is in fact a link to something undesirable.

Is the human submitted type not still "bulk"? Someone is sitting around robotically surfing from blog-to-blog writing up these comments in bulk, just like the spam bots do, only the human ones can pass a Turing Test.

Because I fear that all the

Because I fear that all the human spam (these are usually on-topic comments) make Mollom less effective.

The example you give does not match the human spam I am talking about. I am talking about comments that add to the discussion, so it's not merely an agree-message.

These are not bulk messages because the content is different. These are targeted messages that I bet Mollom cannot get a lot of information from that is useful.

But I have little understanding of how Mollom works.

I've had the same experience

Mollon doesn't like me for some peculiar reason :-D

That said, I use it, and its better spam fileter than any others I've found.

I've had the exact same experience however. Lots of SEO-consultant-link creating comments. I wonder if I used a "no follow" tag whether they'll be better...

In fact I get two types of spam, one would reply to this comment with:
cream.html, cream html, creamh.html [for many lines],

The other would be like

"dear sir or madam,
I've had spam too. Spam sucks. D#bt c#onsolidation.

Its the latter that mollom needs work on catching.

I like Mollom too. Without

I like Mollom too. Without Mollom I wouldn't be able to talk about the second kind.

I enabled no-follow tags on my blog, but too late since I was already listen on do-follow lists :-/
There was a bug in Drupal 6.0 (now fixed) that disabled no-follow effectively.