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When the light is green, the trap is clean.

30 December 2008 21:50

Recently the Debian Administration website has been besieged by spammers submitting bogus comments.

I also run a couple of blogs which are constantly having random gibberish submitted to them - although it is less of a problem there because I approve them manually due to the offline nature of my blog, and the blog compiler I use.

Regardless I figured it was time to do something about it, in part because Chris Searle suggested that I should be able to query arbitrary text for spammyness due to my experience with fighting email spam. (As it turns out that is not so useful experience. Comments and emails are not the same. The same header-trickery you see in bogus email, false EHLOs, etc, are not useful concepts to carry accross.)

Anyway we were saying, I was going to do something? So I did. My solution? An XML-RPC server which you submit your comments to. This will return either:

OKThe comment is clean.
SPAM:[reason]The comment is spam, and the optional reason explains further

The server itself is very simple, and it comes with a collection of simple plugins which do the job of testing different things. More plugins will almost certainly be added over time - so far I've seen the lotsaurls plugin capturing most of the SPAM, although the DNSRBL lookup is also working nicely having captured live spam without my touching it. Huzzah. & etc..

If there is any interest feel free to let me know, although as the server is open, and the client side usage is documented I imagine other people could run with it easily enough too - avoiding me becoming a single point of failure.

For reference my initial change to hook this up live on the site was only a few lines of code - although later I did need to make some additional changes to make it cope with failures, & etc.

ObFilm: Ghostbusters



Comments on this entry

icon Faheem Mitha at 02:45 on 30 December 2008
Hey Steve,
So, a relevant quote for once. :-)
Regards, Faheem.
icon Steve Kemp at 02:46 on 30 December 2008

Kinda - but mostly only by accident.

(Thanks to the joys of Christmas television I managed to watch Ghostbusters the other day, a great film!)

icon Evan Prodromou at 17:08 on 9 January 2009
I'm really excited by blogspam.net -- it's an awesome service. I've installed the WordPress plugin and turned it on for two blogs, and we'll probably put it in use for autonomo.us, too.
I posted about it on the autonomo.us blog, here:
Looking forward to a lot of growth in this service!