Akismet Problems

I’ve just spent a rather painful 45 minutes recovering legitimate comments from my Akismet admin panel. Painful because Akismet had over 1400 comments marked as spam from the last week.

That number is not excessive for my blog: Akismet has caught over 12,000 spam comments since I installed it; but I’ve not been keeping on top of the list this week. Unfortunately checking for false positives is impossible once you have more than 150 spam comments.

The Akismet plugin displays the newest 150 comments each with a check box to allow you to separate the legitimate ones from the rubbish (the ham from the spam). That’s great: check the boxes, push the “not spam” button.

However, the only other action is to delete all the comments that Akismet has determined are spam. But if you have legitimate comments that are not in the most recent 150, you cannot see them to rescue them.

Luckily for me, I’m technical enough that I can figure out how to get round problems like this, but most people are not.

In the end, I rescued somewhere between 40 and 50 comments. I’m not sure of the exact number because I wasn’t paying attention, and releasing them from Akismet’s clutches doesn’t trigger the email notification so I can’t count the emails either. Not one single comment was let through in the last 6 days. I don’t know whether this is a minor hiccup from Akismet or the start of an alarming trend.

I then spent another 20 minutes responding to some of them. Oh yeah, and I’ve spent another 30 minutes writing this post!

I think I will have to look at enhancing the Akismet plugin. Either by adding a ‘delete just spam in the list’ button or by adding pagination to the list of spams. The former sounds far easier than the latter.

29 thoughts on “Akismet Problems

  1. Exactly! Sometime my Akismet is returning a false positive against a legitimate comment. The weirdest problem is, s/he isn’t putting excessive links on their comments and not using an open proxy.

    This is just weird, I think Matt should figure out the best way on coping with the problem (like displaying more than 150). Plus, with the user moderation, it’s a big possibility that spammer will mark legitimate comment as spam and thus gaming the whole system.

    What do you think? Should I go back to WP-bayes (pretty much like akismet, only it’s installed within your system).

  2. I tried Akismet for 1 week, had too many false positives that were lost, and went back to SK2. I also tried bad behavior, and I didn’t notice anything, however, I’ve been blocked from quite a few sites running BB, so I know it happens there too.
    I have yet to have a false positive with SK2, and hope to stay that way.

  3. Have just found your site having done a search for akismet issues – akismet started yesterday marking a comment from a friend and regular commenter as spam, and since then has refused to let any others of her comments through. I’ve mailed through the akismet contact form, but I’m now concerned that this friend will be unable to comment on any blogs with akismet installed.

    The other thing that bothers me is, like you say, legitimate comments disappearing into the history – I noticed that when I retrieved one comment from my friend, another of hers appeared in the akismet display list, but spam is theoretically going through there faster than I can track it. I do possess the skills to go and investigate the database, but I’d really rather not do that – I think I’m going to have to disable the plugin at the very least until there is a response to this issue.

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  5. I’m having problems with Aksiment as well. It says that it caught 5 comments, but it’s only displaying two. I don’t want to just go and delete those other three if I can’t view them. I’m going to have to disable Akismet 🙁 What is this SK2 you’re talking about?

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  7. Erik,
    You can only use the plugin if you have an account on WordPress.com, but you don’t have to use that WordPress.com blog — strange I know!

    Sphinx, I have installed that just this afternoon, after I found I couldn’t even find all of my new comments (there were 38 I kept in the end).

    Xaxio, SK2 is Spam Karma 2, an anti-spam plugin for WordPress with a good pedigree and a lot of recommendations.

    Mike

  8. I haven’t had any false positives with Akismet, and I’ve been using it since it was released. The only problem I’ve noticed is a lag in the sending of the email notifiying me of the comments posted..

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  10. Many months ago was having comment spam problems. Tried many solutions but have been settled on SK2 for a good long while cause it simply works a charm. No false positives and it catches everything those parasites throw at it.

    Have the WP development team thought of integrating SK2 into WP at some point?

    Regards

    John

  11. John
    Even Akismet is not integrated into WP, it is simply a plugin. It just happens to be included by default now. To answer your question, I doubt that SK2 will be integrated.

    Mike

  12. Make sure you don’t have any values in your moderation keys or blacklist inside of WP, we’ve had quite a few people contact support whose comments were actually being caught by that.

  13. In fact I did have my moderation and blacklists populated, but I always have had. I’ve since cleared them.
    I’m not sure what changed, certainly those lists didn’t, and neither did the content of the comments. Yet, for 5 days, not a single legitimate comment got through. In the end there were 41 false positives, and having removed a duplicate and a couple of inappropriate ones, I ended up with 38 comments I would have otherwise lost.

    Before January 1st, I don’t think I’d had a single false positive (maybe one). Certainly nothing to worry me.

    They are getting through again now, I’ll monitor it and see how things progress.

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  17. I started noticing severe Akismet problems yesterday. Lastnight, no comments from anyone/anywhere would be accepted. This morning, I thought it was fixed, but it’s still catching a lot of ham. I’ve been running with akismet for about 4 months, without a single false positive until yesterday.. now it’s letting 10% of the comments through.. and no spam is being sent to my site.

    Hopefully this will get corrected soon.

    hanji

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  21. Firstly, great blog… so much of interest and use on it.

    And secondly, on to Askimet!! Until about 3 months or so ago Askimet span worked fine for me stopping 90%+ of spam and with what seemed high accuracy. Then over night everything changed. Askimet stopped catching spam and stopped being able to see what was and what was not spam.

    I am sure that I do not get that much spam compared to some but comments on other sites such as read your spam comments are not really practical (I get several hundred a day and rising) and totally negate the point of having it in the first place.

    Over the last day or two the stats were as follows…

    Total comments & spam 359.
    Awaiting moderation 174 – Spam 170, legitimate 4.
    Askimet spam 185 – Spam 168, legitimate 7.

    This would imply that Askimet is guessing and not that well at that. I have emailed Askimet to ask for advice but would be interested if anyone else has experienced a rapid change in fortunes with Askimet, what caused it and what the solution is…

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