Some of you may have noticed a slight increase over the past few weeks in the number of spam posts making it onto the site. In most cases the automated bots responsible for these will try to make just a single post, but earlier this morning we were hit by about 20 spam posts in just a few minutes. Fortunately I was online at the time, so was able to quickly remove these and block the account from posting any more.
In part, this increase in spam is due to the success of the site. The more sites that link to us and the better we perform in search engine rankings, the more likely it is that spambots will target us.
Naturally we have a wide range of mechanisms in place to keep the spambots out, and these are monitored and updated as necessary.
In light of the recent increase in spam posts, I have just added yet another layer of defence. Like most other tools that we use, it works transparently, so you shouldn't even be aware of its presence. However, there is a slim chance that it might prevent a legitimate user from registering a new account. So, if you are blocked from creating an account, please use the contact form to let me know.
For those of you who found links to the spam posts in your Twitter timelines, RSS feeds or inboxes, please be assured that we do everything possible to control the problem.
To give you all an indication of the scale of that problem, one of our anti-spam tools has to-date checked 20879 form submissions (that includes account registrations and postings to the site). Of these, it has blocked 15355. That's more than 75% of the total activity on the site! As nobody has reported that they have been blocked, we can probably safely assume that most of these were rogue.
I guess that I should look at those statistics and celebrate the effectiveness of our spam prevention, but it's still incredibly annoying when spam posts do make it onto the site. I see that the newest addition to our spam defences has blocked 2 rogue registrations in the time that it has taken to write this post, so I shall take that as a positive sign.