I need to start this post with an apology. Before writing today I went to the comment box of my website only to discover over 500 comments for review. My website is set up that all comments go first to a holding tank for me to review in order to assure that nothing inappropriate appears. Though this is a personally owned blog, and the opinions I express are my own, I also intend it as a professional discussion in line with my position as Superintendent of Catholic Schools. I would advise any teacher (or any blogger) to do the same. I need to be clear, this is not to suppress contrastisting or contradictory opinions, only statements that seem inappropriate for my intended audience.
And in reality, I have never blocked a response for these reasons. The responders to my posts are respectful, helpful, and highly professional. Even humorous responses are tempered and smart. I have wonderful readers.
So coming back to the 500 responses. Of these 497 were spam, advertising products or linking to sites, usually of questionable value and character (Viagra anyone?). I have to go through all of these responses and send them to the spam folder, gratified to find the occasional needle in the haystack. I can only imagine what my blog would look like if I didn’t have comment approval. It’s annoying to look for interesting comments only to be faced with a pile of junk, and many times (like this) I let it slide for a week or so. This in turn delays the posting of the “good” responses and probably hurts conversation, hence my beginning apology.
What I don’t understand is why the controls I have in place don’t seem to work. My settings on WordPress are supposed to require a Captcha in order to send in a response, but clearly the spammers have broken this code. Likewise, I have a setting that says that once a responder has been approved, she or he should be automatically approved going forward. However, the same people keep appearing over and over again in the haystack.
This “static” in my filter file is a microcosm of a larger problem on the Internet…there is too much junk (not a very deep realization, I know), and it’s very hard to sort through the junk for the value…so sometimes we don’t.
Also if anyone knows how I can fix my WordPress filter to eliminate these problems, I will be very grateful.
As always, I welcome your comments.
Image: ‘Needle in a Haystack’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/47798300@N00/3921968993 Found on flickrcc.net