Testing out a couple of new EE extenstions so Trackbacks are back.

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’ve had a very strange spammer hitting SEB the past couple of weeks. Two to five times a day he’ll post a comment spam that’s composed entirely of gibberish; random characters and URLs that don’t point to actual websites. It’s an annoyance, but little more. Still I decided to see what I could do about it and it turns out that Expression Engine has had a couple of extensions/modules released that add a bit more spam protection to the system.

One is the Advanced Captcha extension developed by the folks at pMachine. It makes the captcha system in use by EE a little more robust and hopefully more difficult for captcha decoding scripts to overcome. It’s also ridiculously easy to install. Upload a single file to the extensions folder then go into the extensions manager in the Admin section and enable it and you’re done.  It automagically replaces the old style captchas.

The other is the Akismet extension/module combo that makes use of the anti-spam system WordPress uses which seems to work pretty well for them. It brings along a side benefit of checking trackbacks as well as comments so I’ve gone ahead and re-enabled trackbacks to see how well it works. I’ve got trackbacks set to display inline with comments and as such they’re using the same code as the comment entries which means they look even worse than the comments do in the new templates, but they’re there and you can try pinging SEB for trackbacks once again at least until the first time a boatload of trackback spam makes it past the new defenses and I turn it off again. grin

Update: Well, better than the last time I tried this. Posted this around 4:30 and two hours later at 7:36 I got my first trackback spam. Beats the five minutes it took last time.

9 thoughts on “Testing out a couple of new EE extenstions so Trackbacks are back.

  1. I got the same asshole on my site.  Does that mean I have reached the ranks of famous bloggers…

    Nah I still am just an insignificant microbe…

  2. It’s a way for bloggers to “ping” entries on other blogger’s sites. Say for example that I write an entry about how President Bush is a schmuck and it inspires you to go back to your blog and write an entry that not only says Bush is a schmuck, but goes into greater detail on your reasons why you think Bush is a schmuck and you want to let me know that I inspired that entry. Well the idea with trackbacks is that you could “ping” my original entry and it shows up in the comments as a link back to your entry.

    Trackback spammers like to use it to drive up their page rankings as it’s basically an automated link generator. Ping sites with entries that have high page ranks and you’ll increase yours through the link back that’s created from it.

    Same principle as comment spam, but a lot harder to prevent.

  3. Surprisingly enough the Akismet extension seems like it may be helping quite a bit. In the almost 21 hours since I turned trackbacks back on I’ve gotten a total of two spams which is, quite frankly, remarkable compared to the past.

  4. Thanks for the explanation Les.

    I love Akismet, but I have noticed some minor quirks in that it will catch some of my comments that aren’t spam and mark them as spam.  Even though I have told it multiple times that the comment from that person is not spam.

    Then I said to hell with it and forced people to register to leave a comment.  Hell I have a small following of readers so it’s fine with me and apparently them as well.

  5. Thanks for mentioning askiment Les – I had been meaning to enable it, and you happened to remind me at the right time.

    Say Webs – was your askimet problem serious?  It sounds like it was a nuisance, but manageable.

  6. Nah nothing serious at all.  That program rocks!  Whatever problems it gives you are certainly worth it.  It was more of a every once in awhile thing.

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