Problems with Akismet?

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  • #151987

    golddiggers
    Member

    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.

    #152308

    timethief
    Member

    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. https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=14238
    https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=16141

    #152313

    golddiggers
    Member

    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.

    #152314

    wank
    Member

    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.

    #152315

    timethief
    Member

    /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. :)

    #152316

    @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. :)

    #152319

    wank
    Member

    I never see 29 in 30

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

    #152322

    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]

    #152323

    membracid
    Member

    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.

    #152327

    golddiggers
    Member

    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.

    #152328

    timethief
    Member

    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

    #152330

    golddiggers
    Member

    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.

    #152331

    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.

    #152475

    golddiggers
    Member

    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

    #152479

    timethief
    Member

    @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/

    #152481

    golddiggers
    Member

    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!

    #152482

    timethief
    Member

    @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. :)

    #152483

    timethief
    Member
    #152484

    golddiggers
    Member

    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.

    #152485

    timethief
    Member

    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 https://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.

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