Akismet does a pretty nifty job of separating the spam from the real comments but its accuracy depends on diligence in the human review of the items it detects.
The current presentation forces you to scroll through page after page of poorly deliniated text - there is very little discrimination between headers and comment, many of the pages are multiple screens long and the process of using the scroll wheel significantly reduces the average persons chance of accurately spotting the occasional smaller comments wedged between a flurry of really long, revolting ones.
I don't know if its just me, but I get a lot of repugnant porn related ones, which I really, really do not want to see. I've actually gotten lazy about checking Akismet, it has to be the last thing I do because it just spoils my mood.
We all deal with spam in our mailboxes on a daily basis - and most of us are pretty good at spotting the spam without even opening it, right?
So why not repeat this layout with Akismet. Why not make the initial presentation page simply summarize the caught messages?
[ ] Name | [email redacted] | u.r.l | IP | First 80 Characters Of Comment | View Link (in new window)
The "[ ]" is space for the checkbox.
You could actually list more spams per page with this layout, let me check the ones I want to look at further.
For the last two weeks I've been paying close scrutiny to the way I check my Akismet folder, and I rarely look beyond the first three fields (name, email, url) - those three give away at least 95% of the spams.
Depsite that, I still have to look at potentially hundreds of lines of nasty <i>crap</i> for the specific purpose of finding the next header line. The current layout/presentation of Akismet fails on multiple counts of usability. For example, it walks slap bang into change blindness, tasking you with text analysis while also tasking you with detecting color changes, the typical user will only do one of the two requiring you to slow down considerably and alternate between the two, meaning you <i>must</i> take in more of the spam.
We all dislike spam, and I'm thankful for Akismet keeping it from my readers. But by forcing me to read through the damn stuff it becomes a most arduous task.
I'm not suggesting something new here - I'm merely proposing the use of a tried and trusted and, most of all, familiar to us all layout: the other place we deal with tons of spam, our mailboxes. While a big blog might need to investigate more often than a small blog with a reasonably well known readership, its still going to be work - anyone with a work mailbox that regularly receives unsolicited <i>genuine</i> emails - from customers, suppliers, vendors, interested parties etc - quickly learns the knack. Why not draw from that common experience?