Lunacy Unleashed

Notes from the field in the War on Spam

Bad Behavior Forward Observation

I’ve said before that the time would probably come when I would ask for brave volunteers to help run test code in order to help me build the next generation of Bad Behavior. One of those times has just arrived.

In developing Bad Behavior, I need access to a much larger body (corpus) of spam than I currently have, and I need your help to collect it. So this test code will automatically send a copy of any spam you receive to me.

There are some qualifications for this test, however, and you will want to pay close attention.

First, the plugin compatibility requirements. You must already be running both Bad Behavior and Akismet, and NOT be running Spam Karma. (The test code just won’t work with Spam Karma, and it currently requires Akismet for screening missed comments.) You must have at least WordPress 1.5 or higher to play.

Second, the data privacy issue. In some countries you may need to disclose this to your readers, so I’m disclosing it to you. This bit of code leverages Akismet to determine what bits of spam Bad Behavior is missing, and when Akismet determines that a comment is spam, it sends me a copy of the spammy request. The problem is that like everything else, Akismet is not 100% perfect, and it is possible that I’ll receive a legitimate comment. When this happens, I will delete the copy I received.

Finally, the installation. This is just a repackaged copy of Bad Behavior 1.2.4 with the code in question enabled. Replace your existing copy of Bad Behavior with this copy, reactivate the plugin if necessary, and you’re done.

In all other respects it operates exactly as Bad Behavior 1.2.4, the current version, except that it sends me a copy of any comment/ping submitted that Akismet (and possibly other plugins, but not Spam Karma) marks as spam. With this body of information I will be better able to develop more advanced techniques to combat comment spam, reduce the need for other plugins, and possibly even eliminate the very few false positives. I’ve got a few other ideas in mind, but I don’t want to share them too early and allow the spammers any advantages.

Sorry, MediaWiki users; I don’t have something ready for you just yet. But stay tuned. I run MediaWiki also, and I’m very interested in helping you eliminate wikispam as well.

April 2, 2006 - Posted by | Bad Behavior, Blog Spam, Spam, WordPress

10 Comments

  1. What the heck🙂 Done.

    FYI, I had to comment out
    // die(“Do NOT check Bad Behavior out of svn! Install the current version.”);

    on bad-behavior-code.php for some reason…

    Comment by ipstenu | April 2, 2006

  2. Oops, sorry! I’ve fixed that in the download.

    Comment by Michael Hampton | April 2, 2006

  3. Alright man, I’m enabled. I don’t get a ton of blog spam though, my MW install is the busy one.

    Comment by halr9000 | April 3, 2006

  4. Consider me helping.🙂 I’ll install it onto other WordPress blogs that get lots of spam as well.🙂

    Comment by Edrei | April 3, 2006

  5. [OffTopic]
    Wow… halr9000 is a BB fan.
    Funny seeing you around here🙂.

    Comment by VxJasonxV | April 3, 2006

  6. […] Michael Hampton is requesting volunteers to help him improve the accuracy of Bad Behavior. […]

    Pingback by MacManX.com » Blogroll Dive: 4/3/06 | April 3, 2006

  7. You should begin receiving spam from nazioneindiana.com and my own blog.

    Comment by blau | April 3, 2006

  8. Is this requirement for Askimet going to be permanent, or will there be any support for SK2 built into the next version?

    Comment by Carsten | April 4, 2006

  9. No, Akismet is only required to participate in this particular test.

    Comment by Michael Hampton | April 4, 2006

  10. Bad Behavior Forward Observation

    [Source: Lunacy Unleashed] quoted: I’ve said before that the time would probably come when I would ask for brave volunteers to help run test code in order to help me build the next generation of Bad Behavior. One of those times has just arrived.

    Trackback by Targeting Spam | April 25, 2006


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