Trapped in the spam folder? Here’s what to do.

[Somewhat-relevant image]

It seems that some people’s comments are getting trapped in the spam filter.

Here’s how things go. The blog software triages the comments:

1. Most legitimate comments are automatically approved. You write the comment and it shows up right away.

2. Some comments are flagged as potentially spam. About half of these are legitimate comments and about half are actually spam. I go through the main comment folder about once a day (or more often if I’m trying to procrastinate) to (a) read the new comments, and (b) check the comments that were flagged as possibly spam and either approve them or send them to the spam folder. Sometimes I see already-approved comments that are spam, and I send them to the spam folder too, but that’s rare. And sometimes the classification is difficult: a comment looks real, but the identifying url is spam, and then I classify the whole comment as spam.

3. Lots and lots of comments are identified by the software as spam and sent directly into the spam filter, where I never see them. We get thousands and thousands of these, and there’s no way I could go through them. (Just to get a sense of this problem, the spam folder currently has 30,000 comments, all since 22 July (the last time I emptied it, I guess), as compared to 100,000 comments in the entire history of the blog. So it seems that we’d get more spam in 2 months than we received real comments in 15 years.

But . . . after hearing about the recent comments caught in spam, I went into that spam filter, searched on Anonymous, and found a few legitimate comments that got trapped there.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to whitelist people, and it seems that various regular commenters still have been having this problem.

As a stopgap, try this: If you’re worried that your comment might be going straight to the spam filter, include the following bit of html in your comment:

<!-- notspam -->

Then, every once in awhile I can search the spam folder for the string “notspam” and fish these out.

An actual spammer could read all this and then spam me, but there’d be no real point, as I won’t be automatically approving these new comments; I’ll check them first in any case.

P.S. The whole thing reminds me of this story, hence the above image.

The post Trapped in the spam folder? Here’s what to do. appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.