Home > BlogTech > Whack-a-Mole Spambots and WordPress Migration

Whack-a-Mole Spambots and WordPress Migration

August 20th, 2007

One of the issues that I have been dealing with is how to defeat the spammers. One way to do this in Movable Type is the change the name of the comment script from time to time. This seems to work, but only very temporarily. Even instantly, a lot of spammers’ software detects the new name (probably once it fails to execute the script once) and just resets with the new script address. Some spammers seem to be set on long-term autopilot, however. I have changed the name of my comments script about 4 or 5 times, and yet I still get attempts to access the previous versions–even though the oldest of those has not been active for more than two weeks.

However, you can see the spammers when they auto-correct: you get two hits from the same IP address; one directed at the old script, and one directed at the new one. Apparently that’s when they tried to old script, it failed, and so they accessed the blog entry page and found the new script. All automated; such hits are usually just minutes apart.

Another issue is how to move the blog from Movable Type to WordPress. A process which should be simplified by this time is still, apparently, labyrinthine. The most frustrating aspect to it is, as I have found out many times before, the documentation. Generally speaking, the people who make the documentation are the people who write the software… and as documentation authors, they suck big-time. Their most common error is to assume that everyone using the software has years of experience in web site administration, so they casually say “do this” and “do that” and give no frakking clue as to how these things can be accomplished.

One example is that since my blog is big, I am having trouble uploading the data file so that WordPress can even get started on processing it. They casually set a limit of 2 MB, while the file I need to import is 14 MB. Yes, I know my blog is a lot bigger than most, but still, they must expect most people to have tiny little blogs; I must have exceeded that much in my first year alone. Anyway, the problem, many report, is that the file is too big–so just divide it into pieces. Well, great–but how? No clue is given to this, they just assume that you know all about this kind of stuff. Nobody takes the trouble of spelling it out so that someone with no technical knowledge can do it. Even the better ones, at some point, have one instruction that depends on knowing some protocol, trick, code, or process–and just one broken link will completely stop you in your tracks.

It does not help that Movable Type apparently re-designed their support site, in such a way that none of the links work. If you search the forums, you always find somebody asking about a problem, and other members say, “You dolt! This has already been discussed, just go here!” and they provide a link. But the link is broken, and a search does not bring up the page they are apparently talking about. Swell.

Frankly, I will be rather surprised if I can get this done this week. I was hoping to have it done today, but tech-support lag has hit me. I needed to ask for a php file-size limit to be raised, and they did… for the main directory only. I did not know I had to ask for a specific directory, so another 2-3 hours must go by before I can get that fixed. And I’m only just beginning. If I succeed in importing the file, then there will be issues about making images work, and potentially much more difficult, making links work (where I linked from one post to another). There are tools and solutions for problems like these… each of which I fully expect to have exactly the same quality of documentation that I have experienced thus far.

Right about now, I am actually asking myself, “how much longer can I keep this blogging thing up?” I figure that I have to at least go five years without a day’s break, and then maybe back off to several-times-weekly, or even whenever-I-feel-like-it.

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  1. ykw
    August 22nd, 2007 at 02:05 | #1

    If you show a picture of a letter and tell the person to enter that letter into a field, then that will block the robots that try to get into your comment area. It could be a fixed letter (e.g. “a”) with a fixed graphics that never changes (i.e. not auto-generated).

  2. Luis
    August 22nd, 2007 at 02:07 | #2

    It’s called a “captcha.”

  3. VMOptions
    September 12th, 2008 at 11:29 | #3

    Try re-captcha. It works wonders and will really cut down the unwanted comments.

  4. Gospel Singer
    February 14th, 2009 at 18:19 | #4

    capta r very useful in internet for blocking programmed subscriptions.Nice article dude!

  5. image cargo
    May 25th, 2009 at 17:34 | #5

    i use captcha for my blog, but still there are “human spammers” just for advertising their product there thinking my blog as do follow. i’ve been tired of deleting such comments.

  6. Luis
    May 28th, 2009 at 16:11 | #6

    OK, folks, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to close comments on this. I am getting 2-3 spam every day that get past Askimet filters, which I have to weed out daily. The last 2 comments, for example, I am 95% sure were spam (I deleted the link info so as to de-fuse them). To get rid of this annoyance, no more comments. If you think it’s necessary to comment anyway, then post a comment to another entry and label it as being “for the ‘Whack-a-Mole Spambots’ entry” and I may do something about it.

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