By Jon Keller

We’re sorry for the frustration some of you have experienced trying to comment on the website. Our web experts explain:

 “Our site had a sudden and overwhelming surge in the number of comments being left by Spam engines (thousands a day). Any Spam filter is going to have a small percentage of ‘false catches’. When the number of actual Spam messages increases to the rate we have seen, that small percentage of ‘false catches’ is suddenly a much bigger number.

 When this all started, if a comment of yours was withheld, some of you tried submitting it again and again. But that is a key trigger for a Spam engine and the system ‘learned’ that you were trying to Spam the site. Then many of you created a number of usernames, and/or used a number of email addresses from the same computer to try to get around the problem. Another huge flag for the Spam engine.

Frustratingly for you – and for us – the computer now can’t tell the difference between some of you and the ‘bad guys’.

We are doing what we can technically on the backend to reteach the Spam filter. In the meantime, we apologize, thank you for your interest, and ask for your patience.”


Comments (4)
  1. tsal says:

    Thanks Jon except it’s not working well since I still can’t post on the Romney topic. I’m a bit confused because the messages I saw that had difficulty posting didn’t have anything in them that a spam filter should have picked up unless it was configured incorrectly to begin with. I’m not talking about only mine – but many, many others.

    now let’s see if this posts

  2. Willow says:

    Jon, I agree with tsal. I have made several attempts to make a short comment with nothing that should be picked up by a spam filter, and to no avail. It’s very frustrating when attempting to discuss something as important as some of our political issues and candidates. There has to be a way to correct this problem. I don’t even know if this will post.

  3. tsal says:

    Jon – the question is whether BZ wants the blogs to encourage discussion. It seems to me that is the purpose of blogs. I have never seen a blog set up where you do not have to register. Your tech people must depend on a spam filter that cannot possibly work effectively instead of having a registration step.

    The tech people might be more effective in finding a solution if they understand the problem is with the way the blog is set up and not with the poster. Nothing in any of the messages should trip a spam filter.

  4. Stephen Stein says:

    I hate to be harsh, but the people programming your comments section are simply not doing a good job. I know. I’ve done robo-moderation, and it’s not easy. But other sites have solved this with far fewer problems.

    Have you considered a “white-list” of known commenters? Have you considered a rejection note suggesting what the poster did wrong?

    BTW, the auto-refresh on your pages really works against you. I had gone to composing my thoughts off-line and pasting them in. But this seems to trip the spam filter as well – perhaps you’re keeping track of how quickly comments are entered?

    Anyway – programmers, get a clue, please? It’s to much trouble to compose a thoughtful comment, only to have it rejected for no reason.

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