Announcement: Spam Filter Free Day

Get ready for a suicide mission: On this blog, we will remove our spam filter completely for one day, December 15th.

Today we got our spam comment number 500,000. Pretty scary to think how much energy, computer power, network traffic is wasted on a completely useless activity: To spoil the content with irrelevant comments.

justaddwater-akismet-500941-spam-comments.png

Currently we get somewhere between 2000 and 3000 spam comments each day.

The thing is, that Thomas and I are discussing: We don’t know exactly how much work our spam filter does for us… Granted, 500,000 spam comments is a pretty high number. But we want to know how much pain this saves us for. How much blood and sweat do we.

I have one suggestion: How about declaring spam-filter free day one day a year. What about December 15th, which is available according to wikipedia?

The purpose of Spam Filter Free day is to

  • put focus on how much energy, computer power, network traffic, and manual work is wasted by the completely irrelevant comments
  • put focus on spam filters and their current effectiveness
  • We remove the filter a saturday, where traffic is usually lower (so the annoyance for the end-users will be as little as possible)

For this to work we have to:

  • Disable our secret server-validation (that we use before the comment hits wordpress)
  • Disable the plugin that emails subscribers when a new comment arrives
  • Disable Akismet
  • Disable our blacklist that holds comments for moderation if certain words are in the comment
  • Disable the function that holds a comment for moderation if it has a certain number of links
  • Disable any plugin that makes spammers gain from the fact that we disable our spam filters. (For instance the “no nofollow” or “dofollow” plugin)

Join us if you like, and drop a comment about it here :) And if you do drop a comment here on December 15th, please forgive us if we accidentally mark a correct comment as spam. We will probably have a hard time cleaning up afterwards. If your comment dissappears, contact us as soon as possible.

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73 Responses to “Announcement: Spam Filter Free Day”

  1. mailand Says:

    Interesting experiment – i’m looking forward to a complete time wasted calculation in minutes and an “Akismet saves me x.xxx DKK a day” post :-)

    I’m sorry for not joining you in the experiment although my spam amount is much lower.

    I hope you’ll publish all the different numbers involved – time spent deleting, visits in period, spam post etc. – for further interesting calculations.

    Andreas

  2. Russell Says:

    We are catching you :)

    “Akismet has caught 47,529 spam for you since you first installed it.”

  3. mailand Says:

    Akismet has caught 23,057 spam for you since you first installed it.

    Pathetic :-)

  4. Phil Says:

    You’re crazy, just plain crazy!

    I wouldn’t do this and I get merely 100s of spam a day, not thousands, and I’m only going to hit 20,000 spam by the end of this week!

    I do look forward to your analysis of what happened though. Hope you don’t have to spend too long clearing up!

  5. Mike Cherim Says:

    Hehe, good luck with that. You’re going to prove that spam sucks.

  6. Letting Spam In For a Day? « Akismet Says:

    […] November 28th, 2007 Jesper Rønn-Jensen is planning to remove all spam protection from his blog on December 15. It’s easy to forget just how much anti-spam solutions help bloggers. It’s not just […]

  7. LLBB » Spam Filter Free Day? Says:

    […] This sounds interesting. Currently, I use Akismet + comment approval + .htaccess blocking. I will try to turn off Akismet and remove blocking in .htaccess, but I won’t let comment shows up without my approval. I can also test how good Akismet can re-check comments if they are spams or not. Category: Announcement, Blogging World, Net Kingdom | Tags: Akismet, spam […]

  8. Binh Nguyen Says:

    Really wish you good luck. 3000 spam is a lot and since you declare it ahead, you may expect more.

    How about a bigger challenge? Keep everything else active and shut down only the spam protection. I will subscribe to your comments.

    My idea? To not only see how much YOU pain but I, as a reader pain. How about that?

  9. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    Binh, thanks a lot.
    We hope that you as a reader suffer as little as possible. That’s why we will disable email notifications for readers that decide to subscribe via email.

    But probably the comment RSS Feed will be the “worst” thing to subscribe to.

    Frankly the thought above to keep comments for moderation is even better. But now when Thomas and I have declared to keep our guards down, we will stick to it :)

  10. Mike LAw Says:

    Spam sucks – don’t know what I’d do without akismet.

  11. Ulysses Ronquillo Says:

    Jesper,

    You are nuts. I might join you, but let me think about it. I don’t want to spend the whole day deleting spam. Maybe, a quick database backup and restore as if December 15 never happened. That might do the trick.

    Ulysses

  12. Thomas Baekdal Says:

    Interesting experiment, but I must say that I am chocked by the 2000-3000 comments spam figure. I get about 1-4 spam comments per month, none of which is automatic (all from people who manually write a comment to get their website known).

    I also get about about 10 attempted spams per day – most of which is spammer trying to post content to known wordpress files, but since I am not using wordpress, all of these attempts ends up on my 404 page.

    …and about 4 hacking attempts, where a person have tried accessing varies DLL files, admin interface or cgi entry points (none of which I use either, so I am no risk there either).

    What you get is a spam comment every 30 seconds! You are literally under attack…

    I don’t understand why you don’t try to mask your comment form, or prevent the spammers from running their scripts.

  13. Thomas Baekdal Says:

    BTW: Just out of curiosity – how much time do you spend on handling spam emails now? That is, the time it takes to look through the spam being filtered + the time spend deleting spam that missed the filter, Whitelisting and blacklisting people etc.?

  14. Michael Clark Says:

    I’m curious: on December 16th, after you reactivate all of your systems, are you going to submit to Akismet the spam that accumulated on the 15th? And are you using a “professional” Akismet account, or a free one?

    I might take part just to see what happens.

  15. JMorris Says:

    Hmmm… Interesting experiment.

    Pardon me if I misinterpreted your post, but it read as though you were going to allow automatic approval of comments. If this is the case, do you intend to put into effect some sort of indexing block in place so that search engines don’t pick up the comments and display them in your SERPs? If I misinterpreted and you are going to manually approve comments, then please disregard that question.

    I’m curious also as to how much time you are investing in comment moderation with your current measures in place. Currently, I’m only using Simple Trackback Validation and JS SpamBlock and I manually approve all first posts by a any author. All subsequent posts that don’t have more than X links in the body are automatically approved. I’m spending less than an hour a week moderating comments. I too have a “do follow” blog and advertise that fact.

    My experience, thus far, is that I spend even less time moderating comments than I did when I ran Bad Behavior + Akismet. I’m not saying that Bad Behavior and Akismet are ineffective. Obviously they are effective. Most of the spam I get is of the automated variety, therefore, JS SpamBlock has been highly effective for me.

    Have you tried other measures than what you have listed in this post?

  16. BoltClock Says:

    My blog is still pretty young so I haven’t yet received any more than 20 spam comments a day, but I’ll take part! :)

  17. WordPress Wednesday News: Will You Turn Off Akismet? WordPress 2.4 Delayed, and More WordPress News : The Blog Herald Says:

    […] also adds that Jesper Rønn-Jensen is turning off all comment spam protection on December 15 to experience what it is really like to go without Akismet for just 24 hours. Mark invites you to […]

  18. n-blue Says:

    By this experiment you may conduct another thing in summary for fail possitive spam cupture.

  19. justaddwater.dk | Letting Spam In For A Day Questions and Answers Says:

    […] that our spam experiment scheduled for December 15th got mentioned by the Akismet Blog, Blogherald, and many other […]

  20. Thomas Watson Steen Says:

    I’ve just added an Akismet counter to our front page (see the right column) that shows how much spam Akismet have caught so far :)

  21. Are You Willing To Go Naked For One Day For Akismet? « Lorelle on WordPress Says:

    […] No, it isn’t time for CSS Naked Day. Mark on Akismet was intrigued by the announcement by Jesper Rønn-Jensen to turn off all comment spam protection on December 15, and now challenges all Akismet users to turn off Akismet for a day. It’s easy to forget just […]

  22. Elliot Says:

    It would be interesting if spammers set up their spambots to do some extra spamming on December 15th.

  23. Viper007Bond Says:

    You’re nuts… :|

  24. Spam Filter Free Day: Turn Off Akismet for One Day Says:

    […] Rønn-Jensen is removing all spam protection from his blog on December 15 to highlight how much energy, computer power, network traffic, and […]

  25. Runes blogg » Blog Arkiv » Sett spammen fri… Says:

    […] den 15 desember i år. Dette i seg selv er jo ikke noe store saker, men han skriver om det i bloggen sin – og når du annonserer dette i en engelsk språklig blogg som daglig mottar mellom […]

  26. How Do You Stop Spam On Your Blog? Says:

    […] seems a blogger named Jesper Rønn-Jensen is going to turn off all spam protection on his site for the day on December […]

  27. Letting Spam Loose For A Day » Jeffro2pt0.com Says:

    […] be turning off Akismet. Ok, not really. But Jesper Rønn-Jensen has decided to do it. He calls it, Spam Filter Free day where he will disable the Akismet anti spam tool on his blog for 24 hours to figure out, just how […]

  28. Nanashi-Inc.net » Blog Archive » December 15th - Spam Free for All Says:

    […] Jesper Rønn-Jensen of justaddwater.dk publicly announced recently that on December 15th he would be turning off all spam filtering devices. The point? To really get a chance to see just how much time and effort our spam-catching programs save us. You really can’t have a true appreciation for something until it’s gone or you see first hand what it really does for you, I’ll readily admit and agree to that, but I’m not sure I’m ready to let the spammers in. […]

  29. A Naked WordPress : WP Thoughts Says:

    […] wondering how many of you are willing to make the move that Jesper Rønn-Jensen will be making on December 15. I have thought about doing so for the day, […]

  30. robinadr  §  Spam Filter-Free Day Says:

    […] stumbled upon through the Akismet blog, Jesper Rønn-Jensen is planning to completely disable his spam filters on December 15. While that may sound a bit crazy, it’s an interesting experiment to see just […]

  31. macdo Says:

    “This blog is protected by Dave’s Spam Karma 2: 75273 Spams eaten and counting…”
    and
    “Akismet has caught 95,405 spam for you since you first installed it.”
    (presumably my spam total is not an addition of the two…)
    I’m not sorry I ‘m not joining you, come December 15th ;-)

  32. Angsuman Chakraborty Says:

    Nice idea. It will lead more people to appreciate how much spam we get in a day and how much time it will take to simply moderate spam without all these anti-spam plugins.

  33. Angsuman Chakraborty Says:

    BTW: Looking at my spam stats makes me scared at how much cleaning I will have to do afterwards. Here it goes so far:
    “845848 spam comments were blocked by Angsuman’s Comment Guard plugin in 316 days 16 hours 1 minutes. 99.456% of the comments received during this time were spam.”

  34. wp-fun » Blog Archive » Spamery of the highest order Says:

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  35. Spam Filter Free Day : Everybody Knows Says:

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  36. No Akismet for a Day? Says:

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  37. Pointless Rambler Says:

    Here’s a suggestion – is people backup their database on the 14th, then don’t post on the 15th, they can restore the spam – free version from before the 15th ;)

  38. iLEMONed CN » Blog Archive » 又一个裸跑日 Says:

    […] 而我现在说的此裸跑非彼裸跑。一个很无聊的家伙,决定于12月15日,把自己blog的所有防spam插件停用。他的目的是想看看防spam插件如Akismet,一天能为自己省下多少麻烦。他也坦言这是一个自杀式任务,所以我不认为有很多人会参与他的行动。Lorelle尽管帮他宣传了一下,却也表明自己决不会干这种傻事。 […]

  39. theba.hu Says:

    Egy nap Spam-védelem nélkül…

    I’ll join to this initiative. On December 15th. Spammers, take your  weapons and let’s fight! :o)

    Úgy döntöttem, hogy csatlakozom a kezdeményezéshez. Ez a blog egy napon keresztül Spam-védelem nélkül fog üzemelni, decembe…

  40. Deactivate Your Spam Shields For One Day ? « planetOzh Says:

    […] Some dude is going to deactivate his spam protection (Akismet) for one day, on December 15th, and the idea is actually starting to spread. […]

  41. Spam Filter Free Day - Doe Niet Zo Moeilijk! Says:

    […] Maar goed, wat doe je dan als beetje weblogger zijnde? I have one suggestion: How about declaring spam-filter free day one day a year. What about December 15th, which is available according to wikipedia?– Announcement: Spam Filter Free Day […]

  42. Dean Says:

    This whole thing is a bad idea, and encouraging others to join is irresponsible. According to http://www.myipneighbors.com/ there are at least 25 other sites on your server, that will potentially suffer from your experiment. Once botnets discover that they can get comments through on your site, they will hammer your server, possibly even for a while after you re-instate your defenses, and the other sites on your server could could suffer extremely slow access times or be unreachable.

  43. Thomas Watson Steen Says:

    Hi Dean

    I don’t think that the spammers actually check to see if their spam comments gets through – that would mean extra work and usage of their own bandwidth. If they in deed did this why are they then still spamming? And again, if they on the 15th suddenly see that their spam gets through, it would be very easy for them to also see that there is a rel=”nofollow” attached to all their links.

    Personally I don’t think that we will see an increase in spamming activity. If spammers read this, they will also read that we will apply the rel=”nofollow” at the same time. Which by the way, I suggest everybody should do if they plan to follow suit (WordPress uses rel=”nofollow” by default unless you have a plugin that disables it).

  44. Dean Says:

    Thomas,

    It’s completely automated…we’re not talking about manual spammers here anyway…we’re talking about botnets. Trust me, they do check, and I can show you stat upon stat that demonstrates how when they find one successful avenue of getting links through, they pursue it and get links to various sites. Obviously their first choice is a link without nofollow, but they’ll take anything they can get because it still gets their product in front of people who click the links. By opening up spam on your site, you can potentially bring neighboring sites on the same server to a grinding halt, in extreme cases. It would be one thing if you had a dedicated server, but with a shared host you have the potential to damage other businesses whose sites are on your server. That’s a very irresponsible thing to encourage others to do. This experiment is a very bad idea.

  45. wisselend tij Says:

    […] Announcement: Spam Filter Free Day wat een volslagen belachelijk idee! aan de andere kant: dit log draait al maanden zonder spamfilter, nu jij weer Jesper […]

  46. the gookins dot net » spamfest Says:

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  47. justaddwater.dk | Spam Comments Dropped 95% Overnight Says:

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  50. Team Murder » You Just Add Lye… Says:

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  52. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    Aarne blog above pointed me to Comment timeout plugin, where you can choose to close comments on old posts — or even better — hold comments on old posts for moderation.

    That’s a super tip! and I’m sure we will seriously consider that for our setup here at http://www.justaddwater.dk

  53. jez Says:

    just saw my akisment score passed 127.000 spam comments. what the hell :)

  54. Billiges Angebot & Tests » Are You Willing To Go Naked For One Day For Akismet? Says:

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  55. justaddwater.dk | Today is Spam Filter Free Day Says:

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  56. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    Short update: I spent a total of 2 hours deleting 1111 spam comments, re-activating Akismet etc., and re-finding the 6 valid comments and trackbacks recieved during the last 24 hours. More info in separate post later.

  57. WordPress Wednesday News: Akismet Day, Two Million Bloggers, Plugin Security Warnings, And WordPress is the Best CMS : The Blog Herald Says:

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  59. close protection Says:

    I take it the spam day has been and gone. how did it go?

  60. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    @close protection: take a look at “Cleanup Time — Spam Filter Free Day” december 18th 2007:
    http://justaddwater.dk/2007/12/18/cleanup-time-spam-filter-free-day/

  61. Akismet Spam Protection : Update Time | STCFX - Web Everything Says:

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  62. close protection Says:

    I’ve just added an Akismet counter to our front page (see the right column) that shows how much spam Akismet have caught so far :)

  63. meme Says:

    Everybody should fight with spam. A useless effort.

  64. Rafael Franco Says:

    Currently, I’m only using Simple Trackback Validation at my blog Mega Bonus and I manually approve posts by authors.

  65. pokeren Says:

    I’ve just added an Akismet counter to our front page (see the right column) that shows how much spam Akismet have caught so far :)

  66. Evelyn Bates from Compare NYC Accommodation Says:

    oh, darn… missed the spam filter free day!!!

    so what are you’re conclusions?

  67. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    @evelyn,

    take a look at “Cleanup Time — Spam Filter Free Day” december 18th 2007:
    http://justaddwater.dk/2007/12/18/cleanup-time-spam-filter-free-day/

  68. Marc minellis Says:

    so how was the spam free day? and will it come back?regards from germany

  69. SEO Zombie Says:

    I never thought about the pure about of energy and resources wasted by spammers, comment spam only being one part of the whole spam arena. I cannot imagine the pure volume of spam generated every day.

    My main blog doesn’t get much spam and my filters do a really good job of catching it, so I don’t waste much time managing it.

  70. BandwidthTest Says:

    WITH great interest I was reading your post and at every instant I was remembering my experience which where just likely to be same. I must say that I am chocked by the 2000-3000 comments spam figure. I get about 3-5 spam comments per month, none of which is automatic (all from people who manually write a comment to get their website known).

    Frankly to say I was unkown about your suggestion but as I read I was feeling somebody else has told me same but who? Than I got that My neibour with whom some time before freely I ask about this matter and he said same. But sorry to myself I ignore him and now I get its brief explanation…. Thx.

  71. koby vyzel Says:

    i’ve made some seo to a place that runs spamming robots, and i was shocked by their sophistication. the robots used to go through the post and compose a relevant comment, and they got response from people…

    in addition for spamming in order to promote their websites, i think pr is also a very important parameter, people love the link juice.. but i guess when google 4 example’ll find a better formula, everything’ll be different.

  72. Erik Says:

    Well on the one side I happy that I am not the only one who has to fight with spam (email Spam) and on the other side it scary me how this could happen. Without spam filter it would not be possible to do some work.

  73. john Says:

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