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Problems with Akismet?

  1. Problems with Akismet?

    Akismet is today showing that it has "protected" my site from 7 spam comments -- two more than yesterday, and thus, two that I had not yet had a chance to review myself. And yet, when I went to see what these two additional "spam comments" might be, the message I received was that "You have no spam currently in the queue. Must be your lucky day. :)"

    Well, not exactly, because the two supposed "spam comments" might well have been very legitimate comments to my site, and in fact, that was EXACTLY the case with five previous alleged "spam comments" submitted to my site that Akismet had purported to catch.

    The difference is that in the past, the "spam comments" WERE held in a queue until I had a chance to review them. And in each instance, when I did, they all turned out to be legitimate comments, and thus, I unchecked them as spam and added them to the other comments on my site.

    But as I said before, when I went today to take a look at the two newly reported "spam comments", the queue was empty. As a result, it looks like I've lost what might well have been two legitimate, and perhaps even important, comments.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem today? Or would anyone have any idea how I might retrive those two comments that I never had a chance to see? Or perhaps any thoughts on why this happened all of a sudden today when it never has in the past?

    My site is: http://thegolddiggers.wordpress.com

    Thanks very much.

  2. This is a problem of which staff are aware. There is a longstanding issue with this that you can confirm using the forum searchbox. There is also a closed "sticky" post and staff are working on this. http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=14238
    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=16141

  3. Thank you for your reply, timethief, and I appreciate the links to which you directed me.

    This is the first time that I have encountered this problem, but obviously, many other WordPress.com users have been experiencing it for a while.

    I can understand the reluctance (perhaps "unwillingness" would be the more accurate term) of WordPress.com to turn off Akismet.

    On the other hand, since there's little question that large quantities of perfectly legitimate comments are being perfunctorily and permanently discarded due to a bug of which people leaving those comments are unaware, that can only be resulting in those people assuming that their comments are being rejected, leaving them feeling disenchanted toward the site that isn't displaying their legitimate remarks.

    In view of this situation, if WordPress is going to insist on leaving Akismet on even though it's been defective for some time now, it seems to me that it's incumbent upon WordPress to come up with a workaround for its users until the problem with Akismet is resolved.

    If visitors to a website are enthusiastic enough about what they're viewing to take the time and trouble to write a comment, the negative fallout to the site that results from alienating them because their comments never see the light of day -- and with no explanation for it -- would seem to me NOT to be a minor issue, but a very MAJOR one that WordPress needs to address with greater concern than it has to date.

  4. I've had people notify me of missing comments before and it turned out that they were still in the database even though Akismet initially told me they were gone. I went back a few hours later and the comments were there in the spam queue. So it's worth checking regularly in case they reappear.

    If they don't, all you can really do is post about the issue on your blog and invite people to try commenting again. That way, they don't get alienated because they've had an explanation and will realise it's not your fault.

  5. /nod to wank

    @golddiggers
    I hope like wank describes that you find the 2 missing comments and I think the idea of posting on it is a good one too.

    OT: You've done a great job on your blog. :)

  6. @wank
    For some of us, they virtually never show up. Personally I am allowed to see about 1 in 30, so I never see 29 in 30, no matter how often I go back (which is two times a day minimum).

    Since I'm about out of space at the top of my blog for more pages, I don't think it's an option, and a post would soon get lost in pages past unless I went in and edited the timestamp daily to keep it at the top, but why should I have to?

    I could always delete one of my pages. Perhaps the home page. :)

  7. I never see 29 in 30

    That's unacceptable. I'm surprised you're still blogging here.

  8. Yes unacceptable.

    I've considered getting my own domain and wp.org install, but haven't convinced myself I want the hassle.

    I'm sure staff will get around to it one day. [wry smile]

  9. I'm seeing some improvement--the 404 problem when you delete spam is now completely fixed.
    At this point, though, with total spam counts >4000, I can't really keep track of how many I might be missing.

  10. Thank you, timethief, for your compliment on our site.

    On your advice and that of others, I've implemented this temporary workaround (I hope that TEMPORARY is the operative word here):

    http://thegolddiggers.wordpress.com/comments

    It isn't pretty (especially as compared to the ladies that it bumped down the page), but I suppose that for now, it's better than losing still more comments to the voracious jaws of the Akismet shark.

    Hopefully, WordPress will notify us if and when the problem has been repaired (assuming that they ever figure out what it is). Otherwise, there would be no way to find out, other than to go back to accepting comments directly on the site -- and thus risk losing more again to the Akismet predator.

  11. To add some perspective to this dialog it's appropriate to begin with a clear view of how effective Akismet really is. Take a look at the stats for today.

    Spam Zeitgeist http://akismet.com/stats/

    2,939,453,607 spams caught so far

    1,140,541 so far today

    92% of all comments are spam

  12. Yes, but what those statistics DON'T and can't tell us is how many of those "caught spam" were actually legitimate comments.

    Don't forget, the two that my site lost, as well as the who-knows-how-many-more that others aren't receiving, are in those stats, too.

    Like a hungry shark, Akismet on its current reckless path is making no distinction between good and evil in terms of what it's gobbling up.

  13. And as membracid points out, how do people know that they are seeing all the spams with they get <4000 (or even 200) per day? I have a feeling it's a much more widespread problem than is being reported here. Many may pay little if any attention to their spams.

    I added a "comment" blurb to my comment page to let people know.

  14. I have sent the following message to WordPress Support, and I would urge every WordPress user who is experiencing this same Akismet/Comment bug to do the same, letting WordPress know that this is a MAJOR and intolerable problem -- but that there IS a temporary fix that could be easily implemented:

    TO WORDPRESS:

    I am writing about a matter that I -- and apparently numerous other WordPress users, as well -- consider to be a MAJOR problem -- namely, that the mechanism by which readers of WordPress blogs can post comments is, at this point, essentially broken.

    The reason I say this is that while Akismet may be stopping a ton of spam from getting through, it is also catching an abundance of perfectly legitimate comments in its net -- and for some time now, WordPress site users have been unable to sift through the comments that Akismet is flagging to determine whether or not these embargoed messages are spam OR genuine responses from visitors to our sites.

    In the past, EVERY SINGLE ONE of the comments to my site that Akismet had "caught" turned out to be legitimate comments -- some of them, very important ones -- which I then posted.

    I realize that WordPress is aware of this problem, but the fact that no solution for it has yet been devised means that in the absence of a viable workaround, the ability of visitors to leave comments on WordPress sites is currently, for all intents and purposes, severely restricted, if not completely sidelined.

    On my own site, I have implemented a temporary patch (and I hope that TEMPORARY is exactly all that it will need to be):

    http://thegolddiggers.wordpress.com/comments

    It isn't pretty (especially as compared to the ladies that it bumped down the page), but I suppose that for now, it's better than losing still more comments to the voracious and indiscriminate jaws of the Akismet shark.

    However, only one person has thus far taken advantage of this alternative, indicating that most feel more comfortable leaving comments the conventional way. And most of my fellow WordPress users haven't even tried applying the band-aid that I did -- possibly because the majority of them aren't even aware that an enormous number of legitimate comments that their sites are receiving are just winding up in a black hole.

    And that's precisely what's so troubling about this situation: How many hundreds of readers of WordPress blogs are being alienated because their perfectly legitimate comments are being perfunctorily and permanently discarded due to a bug of which they're not even aware?

    And how can that help but result in their making the assumption that their comments are being rejected, leaving them feeling disenchanted toward the site(s) in question?

    I can understand the reluctance (perhaps "unwillingness" would be the more accurate term) of WordPress.com to turn off Akismet. I appreciate how much real spam it catches.

    But UNTIL THIS BUG IS ONCE AND FOR ALL CORRECTED, COULDN'T WORDPRESS AT LEAST GIVE BLOGGERS WHO PRE-SCREEN ALL COMMENTS TO THEIR SITES THE OPTION TO TURN OFF AKISMET? Under this arrangement, turning off Akismet would automatically turn on the requirement of bloggers to screen all of their messages.

    Such a workaround would at least give those of us whose sites are really suffering because of this problem some much needed relief until WordPress solves the problem for good.

    Why can't the above suggestion be implemented? Please...Give us beleaguered bloggers a break.

    Thank you.

    Respectfully and Sincerely,

    http://thegolddiggers.wordpress.com

  15. @thegolddiggers
    When you post here to the forum to as many threads as you just did then each thread now contains a copy and paste duplicate post from you. Volunteers (your fellow bloggers who are not paid to do so) do their best to give answers to your questions in all those threads. This takes time and effort.

    In the case of Akismet volunteers can offer no help at all. Only staff can help you and the way you can be sure that they do hear you and what you have to say is by using this link http://wordpress.com/contact-support/

  16. I assume that you're a volunteer, timethief, and if so, I appreciate all of the time and effort that you devote to helping other bloggers.

    This is the first occasion on which I have posted my message on more than one thread, and my reason for doing so was that discussion of this problem was already dispersed among several threads, and since this is a very significant issue, I didn't want anyone who had posted on one of those threads but not another to miss my suggestion for a workaround to this dilemma.

    If you follow the thrust of my comments, you'll see that it was not volunteers to whom I was directing my message, but rather, regular WordPress bloggers, whose voices I was trying to enlist for precisely the remedy that you were proposing -- contacting WordPress Support about this ongoing problem.

    I also can't help but point up the irony of the fact that you yourself posted an identical reply to all of my messages on several different threads, in effect engaging in the same practice that you're admonishing me to avoid.

    But again, I am thankful to you for your contributions.

    And just so know, this is the only thread on which I've left this reply!

  17. @thegolddiggers
    I 'm sure you will agree that from the outset I have been sympathetic to your situation. And I can assure you that I know all your comments were directed to fellow bloggers but what can they do about Akismet?

    I respectfully suggest the answer is absolutely nothing, other than to continue complaining as they have done to no avail in the past.

    Only staff/admin can effect changes to Akismet. Having looked at these threads you posted into I'm sure you can see that forum threads like this one and the others do not necessarily secure responses from staff/admin and that's why I suggested that you may like to use the link to contact staff directly.

    If you do not wish to use the link that's up to you.

    Best wishes for a happy ending to all those bloggers who have the same issues that you have. :)

  18. I guess you must have missed the very beginning of what I wrote here earlier today, because I started off by saying that I had "sent the following message to WordPress Support"!!!

    In the very next sentence, I urged "every WordPress user who is experiencing this same Akismet/Comment bug to do the same, letting WordPress know that this is a MAJOR and intolerable problem."

    So I don't know why you keep maintaining that I haven't used the link to send my message to WordPress Support, when in point of fact, that's not only what I've done, but what I've SAID that I've done.

    And the whole purpose of my repeating the message that I sent to Support in this forum wasn't to get the attention of WordPress admin., but to exhort other bloggers to follow my lead in contacting support.

    I DO know that you have been sympathetic to my situation from the outset, and I appreciate that and your efforts to help. But if you twice missed one of the key points that I made at the very start of my post, then perhaps you may be helping a few TOO many people!

    Anyway, thank you for your good wishes. It would certainly be nice if WordPress would address and resolve this situation.

  19. OMG - I'm so sorry I missed that first sentence. :( I'm glad to hear you contacted the only people who can work on addressing these issues. I have posted all the cross reference links I have time to locate today so you can determine how widespread and longstanding the problem is.

    The result of my asking bloggers to report this to Akismet support follows.
    Quoting Barry, KeyMaster http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=9916&page=2&replies=58#post-103622

    ... There *may* be a bug that causes spam comments to either not show up in the spam queue, sometimes show up in the spam queue, or show up in the spam queue after some delay. We have received a few reports of this, but have not yet been able to replicate it. We will continue to work on this.
    Please do not contact Akismet support about the spam count/queue issue. We are already aware of it.

  20. Thank you for posting those links to the various threads in which this topic has been discussed.

    I actually saw the comment that you quoted from Keymaster Barry a couple of days ago, but the reason that I wrote to Support wasn't just to re-emphasize the severity of the problem, but also to propose what would seem to be a very reasonable workaround to the problem until WordPress is able to permanently resolve it. I can't see how the solution that I offered could possibly hurt or inconvenience anyone since its implementation would be optional, and I can't see how any rational argument could be made that maintaining the status quo is any better.

    In any case, thank you again, timethief, for all of your efforts.

  21. just wander if Akismet is just as insatiable with comments sent through the Contact Forms < http://wordpress.com/blog/2007/04/23/contact-forms/ >?

    [I must confess: for almost two years on .com I still hasn't managed to force myself take just a single attentive look at the 'Akismet Spam' page -- this super-long sheet of the unfolded comments is simply unbearable. I can't really understand how people make it to the bottom of this page without severe damages to their wrist/finger or mouse scroll-wheel.]

    that's why I think I need to setup a special 'Comments' page similar to proposed by golddiggers one. I just want visitors could have an opportunity leaving comments by the conventional way as well (i.e. w/o need to fire/login to maill app).

    so, what's everyone's experience with the "Contact Forms" in regards with Akismet issues?

  22. I've never had any problems with my contact page comments.

  23. Hi folks,

    see my comment on Akismet and MySQL here:
    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=844&page&replies=5#post-124347

    Have a nice day,
    protoplayer

  24. "There appears be a bug that sometimes causes spam comments to either not show up in the spam queue, show up in the spam queue intermittently , or show up in the spam queue after some delay. We have received a few reports of this, but have not yet been able to replicate it. We will continue to work on this." - WordPress quote

    Help. Comments encourage bloggers. I am fairly discouraged right now. I can't even review my 'spam', and I am not alone.

  25. Today, I made a startling discovery: Akismet is not only completely broken -- it's also hopelessly insane!

    Two days ago, I closed all of the posts on my site to comments, so that no more would be eaten alive by the mindless Akismet leviathan.

    When using the CONTEMPT theme -- as I do for my site -- existing comments to POSTS are preserved when comments are closed. However, any comments on a PAGE are automatically removed when comments are closed, at least when using the CONTEMPT theme and several others.

    So in order to preserve the more than 60 comments that my site had received on one particular page, rather than closing the page to further comments, I simply tweaked the CSS code to remove the Comments form and Submit button, thus rendering it impossible for anyone to leave any new comments, while leaving existing ones intact. That was two days ago.

    Checking on my site today, I found that the Spam count recorded by Akismet had gone up by one since yesterday -- even though I made it impossible to leave any more comments to any page or post on my site!!!

    And, of course, in keeping with Akismet's current state of utter disrepair, when I went to see what this new "piece of spam" was from which Akismet was "protecting" me, the message awaiting me was that I had no spam, and as a result, of course, this must be my lucky day.

    Well, the fact is that it will be a lucky day for ALL of us if and when the geniuses who run WordPress ever own up to the reality that Akismet is NOT WORKING, is so defective that it's reporting SPAM even in situations where the ability to leave comments has been removed, and has severely damaged the credibility of who-knows-how-many WordPress bloggers by eviscerating who-knows-how-many legitimate comments.

    This problem has existed since early August, and that's the last time that anyone from WordPress has addressed it. A simple workaround could be offered if WordPress would give bloggers the option to turn off Akismet and simultaneously turn on screening of all comments.

    The question must be asked: Why is WordPress stonewalling this issue?

  26. @golddiggers
    I'd like to recommend that you discuss this matter directly with staff http://wordpress.com/contact-support/
    There are three reasons I'm suggesting this. The first reason is that volunteers cannot address matters to do with this Akismet problem and you are aware of that. The second reason is that the vast majority of us do not experience this problem. The third reason is that you are dealing with a corporate structure with a chain of command just and not a grass roots democratic structure. Consequently daily rabble rousing attempts are an ineffectual waste of your time and energy.

    Best wishes for a happy ending.

  27. timethief, you answer so many questions that you evidently forgot that we had already covered this ground.

    All you have to do is look a little higher up on this very page to see that I HAVE contacted Support about this matter, and even reprinted herein the message that I sent to Support, in the hope that it would encourage others to follow suit.

    If you look above on this very same page, you'll also see that twice before, you had mistakenly thought that I had not contacted Support, only to then correct yourself when I pointed out that I had.

    Again, I know that you answer many, many questions, so I can understand that you might not remember the details of every issue. But just check above and you'll see that I really have already followed all of the steps that you recommend. The fact is that I wrote to Support well over a week ago, and they have simply never even had the courtesy to send me a reply. I stand by what I said-- they are stonewalling this issue.

    As far as how many WordPress users are affected by this, I would venture to say that neither you nor I have any idea, because we know that many people aren't even aware of the Spam queue, let alone ever bother to check it. But there have certainly been enough users who have complained about the matter on this forum to indicate that it is a problem of sufficient magnitude to warrant the attention of WordPress staff. Yet for over two months now, staff has been entirely unresponsive.

  28. @options I'm sort of wondering the same thing about comments forms...see my comment here
    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=14573&page&replies=11#post-106244

    It's mildly annoying to be deleting 4-10 emails a day that come through the comments form but it means the number of random spam comments to random blog posts of mine has dropped significantly (I used to see as much as 100 spam comments to a post in a month, now it's like a few dozen a month...the 85 in my queue were over the course of a few months and they were all insurance related). The comments form is attracting the erectile dysfunction and porn site crowd though.

  29. Yeah Golddiggers I have the exact same problem. This Akismet thing is really, really horrible. I hate it.

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