Why was I Moderated?

(Well, besides the old tried-and-true answer, “Because we felt like it”. (grin))

Q:  Why am I always having my comments moderated?

A: Some of you are finding your comments constantly held for moderation, and you blame Askimet.

I hate to break it to you, but Askimet is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing — holding your comments due to a certain pre-defined pattern.

In other words, it is mostly something you are doing that is causing it.

Q:  So what am I doing wrong?

A: There are a number of reasons a person’s comments are put into moderation.  The most common is that if you have never made a comment here before, your first one or two are going to be held.  That happens to every newbie here.

Another reason a person’s comment is placed in moderation is due to too many link references in a comment.  A typical spam comment has three or more links and the system will filter those comments and place them in moderation.  For those who don’t know it, a “smilie” is also considered to be a “link” and can give a “false positive” in the filtering process.  Keep your smilie use to a minimum.  There is no reason to use five smilies when one will do.

Another reason is your choice of words or phrases.  We ban certain words that tend to be used by spambots.  We aren’t listing them because we want to police the way you speak, we just want to keep from being flooded with spam comments.

But the MOST common reason a person’s comments seem to ALWAYS be moderated is because they continue to post  comment after comment while they still have comments in moderation.

Stop it! If your comment just got moderated, then every other comment of yours that follows will be moderated also.

Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

If you just posted three comments and they ALL went to the moderation queue, why would you think that a fourth, fifth, or even tenth time would be any different?

The problem is, the more you comment while you have comments in moderation, the longer it is going to take to “re-train” Askimet to let your comments pass through.  A couple of you are going to take a few WEEKS to become trusted by Askimet again.

Askimet is doing exactly what it was designed to do:  prevent suspected spam comments based on typical spam characteristics.  Without Askimet, we would be dealing with literally thousands of spam comments per day.

So, here are some simple guidelines to follow in commenting:

  • Keep the number of smilies you use down to one or two per comment.  Keep the number of links you use to no more that two per comment.  Remember, a smilie counts as a link, so if you have one smilie and one link, then you are at your limit.
  • If, (and this is VERY important) for some reason, your comment is held for moderation, STOP POSTING COMMENTS until Management™ rescues that comment from the moderation queue.  (that means DO NOT POST A COMMENT COMPLAINING ABOUT BEING MODERATED  — duh)

Like I said, for some of you, it is going to take some time to re-train Askimet to accept your comments without being placed in the penalty box.  Have patience. Just realize that for EACH comment you’ve posted while having a comment in the penalty box you were given another couple of points that you are going to have to “work off”.

There is no such thing as a “manual reset” of Askimet.  If you are being moderated here, you are being moderated on EVERY site that uses Askimet.  It is a centralized service which we have no control over.

A point that you might consider when posting comments here and elsewhere:

Karma is a bitch.  You might be amongst friends here, but if you travel to other blogs and post some kind of turdblossom for a comment there, they might just tag your comment as “SPAM”.  If you continue to leave turdblossoms on those sites and they tag your comments often enough, then any other site that uses Askimet will block you as well.  That would be the equivelent of shooting yourself in the foot.

I know some of you deliberately go to other sites to mess with them.  The problem is, they will ALWAYS have the last laugh.  Nobody likes people leaving turdblossom comments in their communities.  The web owners might tolerate the first few, but when the comments start becoming obnoxious, then the web owners will just start tagging your comments and it will effect you all across the InterTubes.

Just something to keep in mind.

Some of you pretend to be trolls here.

I am not sure what the motivation is — but it is really juvenile.  It is also a great way to get banned.  I mean, after all, you are going through all of the trouble trying to pass yourself off as being some obnoxious goofball, how is anyone here supposed to know that it is you accessing your inner child?  You might even go as far as using an anonymizing proxy service to try and mask your identity, but the sad thing is the system can still detect the originating IP and MAC address and ban your silly ass.  Unfortunately, once banned, it is very difficult to UN-ban someone.

The point is, if you stay within the intended rules and guidelines, follow good web etiquette, you will normally be alright.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t experience some instances of false moderation — nothing is perfect — but if it happens to you, just relax and wait for someone to free your comment.

If you have had a LOT of comments moderated after stacking them up one after another, just understand that it will take some time for the system to “re-train” to accept your comments again.  It might take WEEKS, depending on how bad you’ve gotten in leaving stacked up comments or abused someone else’s site.  Have patience.

NEW: Instant Chat

The old version of the Instant Chat had no security features other than it only allowed registered users to post comments.  It was easy for someone to register for an account and post disruptive comments with impunity.  It also had a security hole that would allow someone with a spam-bot to bypass WordPress altogether and post spam comments directly to the instant chat — even if it wasn’t displayed.

So in response to that problem, we’ve done some re-working of the code to the Instant Chat and now it has both an anti-spam AND an anti-troll feature.

  • The anti-spam feature is pretty straight forward.  It utilizes ASKIMET using both a local listing and several centralized spam filters such as Spamhaus to prevent and “punish”  spammers.  The more you get “punished” the longer it takes for you to get out of the ASKIMET dog house.
  • The anti-troll feature uses an algorithm to determine whether your comments in the instant bark are similar to those a troll would use.  It also uses ASKIMET to determine how likely it is for your comments to be considered “trolling”.  This feature has a higher threshold  to meet than the anti-spam feature because it has to know for sure that the person making the comment(s) is actually being a troll, versus just making a legitimate comment.

Both features are recorded by ASKIMET and if you are caught by either the anti-spam or anti-troll features of the Instant Chat, you are going to have to earn your way back to trustworthiness with ASKIMET in both the chat AND the regular comments.

There has been some confusion about this, and I hope it clears things up a bit.

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