I hated to do it, but the spam was getting atrocious. Moments ago I configured the Discussion Settings in this blog to automatically close posts to commenting when more than 21 days old.
Like it or not, spam is a part of the Internet these days. Much like a digital arms race, the more effective that developers and programs become at identifying and preventing spam, the more insidious and inventive the spammers become at circumventing the protection measures.
Personally I’ve tried many different approaches over the last few years. From integrating different commenting systems, like Disqus, to authentication options like OpenID, or confirmation options like CAPTCHA, but I’ve never really been happy with any of them. Each tackled the spam problem somewhat, but almost inevitably introduced new problems of their own.
It was Lisa Lane’s point about most spam comments appearing on old posts that really made the decision. I have found this to be the case as well. Most frequently comments on recent posts are legitimate ones, but after a certain point, the vast majority are ones that don’t belong here.
She suggested using the auto-close option to try and mitigate the situation. This way, the most recent content remains open for discussion; but I’m spared the relentless stream of refuse beyond that. My hope is 3 weeks will be ample time for any discussion to occur on the posts that I’m writing. After that, commenting will need to take place as a blog track back.
I’m loathe to adopt this approach, because I like to eliminate barriers to conversation as much as possible, but ultimately enough was enough.