Technology Weblogging

Comment spam quick fix

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Both Sam Ruby and Phil Ringnalda had good advice — don’t spend a lot of time on developing a solution to fixing the comment spam problem. Whatever I can do within the form, it’s a relatively simple matter for a spammer to read any form value and duplicate it in his spam blast.

I appreciate both their help in gently pointing out that I was spinning my wheels (but I have to get practice for ice driving).

So, here’s a quick fix — it will keep out the lightweights at least. It’s a start as other efforts are underway.

This approach will require you modifying the following MT templates:

Individual data entry
Comment Listing Template
Comment Preview Template
Comment Error Page

You’ll be adding the following field, on the line before the </form> tag:


<input type=”hidden” name=”snoop” value=”goaway” />


You can change both the name and the value field, as long as you’re consistent with the name throughout the templates and the code.

Next, open your mt-comments.cgi (or file and add the following code just after the “use strict;” line:


use CGI qw(:standard);


my $data = param(‘snoop’);

die unless ($data);


Most everyone should have the perl module installed. Make sure to change ‘snoop’ to whatever your little secret field is (let’s all use different fields, make the spammer’s job a little tiny bit harder.

That’s it.

What happens is that when you post a comment, the code checks for a form field of “snoop”. If it doesn’t find it, it dies. Nothing fancy at all. This will show in your error log or web log file as a premature end to the script. It doesn’t prevent others from using the application, and doesn’t crash anything.

Again, this isn’t fancy, but it’s a start. Holler if you have questions. If you’re uncomfortable modifying mt-comments, let me know and I’ll help you. If you have a better solution, or see problems with mine, please let me know.

Again — thanks to Phil and Sam for advice, help, suggestions.


Mark has put together a nice re-cap on the whole comment spamming thing. What I just created is a ‘club’. I’m going in for an interview tomorrow and when they ask me what was the last application I worked on, I’ll answer “A club”. .

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