spam {display:none;}

The ‘nofollow’ tag is now being applied in WP1.5 and later I’ll use a plugin to stop that behaviour.
It was Google and other search engines that decided how to rank sites and it’s Google that is not trying to sort it out, relying instead on the w3c. But enough of that …. hiding spam.
Given that PHP can identify strings of text and manipulate them enough to kill spam, can it also not allow spam through, but tag it for us ? The issue now – or at least very soon – isn’t just the ranking, it’s the fact that spam is seen by us and our visitors, and all the nofollow tags you like can change that one. But {display:none;} could.

A spam filter could tag spam with a class, or tag that corresponds to some css that hides the whole comment. So even if the crap gets through, it just isn’t visible. A page in the admin area could display all such tagged comments, and even an SQL query to “delete where post_tag=spam” could be effective couldn’t it ?
There is rightly a huge fight to keep the junk out of the blog, but once it is inside, is this a viable proposition to start dealing with it ? (My thinking is that it is not, but I don’t recall reading about this method so I may as well blog it.)

8 thoughts on “spam {display:none;}

  1. Blog spam exists because of Google ranking. How does Google tag something as comment spam? I’ve seen a lot of finger pointing but no solutions. Why drop the problem in Googles lap when I can do something to help? Damn Google…how dare they create such a popular search engine… Anyway, most of the arguements I’ve heard is that it’s a secret plan to knock blogs down in the ranking or it’ll make mutual linking difficult. But surely nofollow helps by killing the quick and easy way to rank? And to what cost? Oh well if people comment on my site, and link to their own site – then that doesn’t help their ranking…

    …er…so what? I’ve always said I’m not interested in link-lurve for the sake of it.

    If spammers realise that nofollow is implemented on my site, but not yours, which one offers the best target?

    I don’t buy it and will be keeping the nofollow I think.

  2. Nofollow is but one weapon though isn’t it ?
    People seeing it sells it too – which is where I am aiming with this.

    I checked our local forums this morning as I have an active topic there and a spamer has got in, posting links. Now he isn’t bothered about nofollow at all – he just wants people to see, and click. Now assuming the forums had spam protection, he bypassed it – – – – so he’d also bypass a {display:none;} then – – – – ? Hmmm……I’ve forgotten my train of thought – though it was probably flawed :)

    And targetting ? Nah …. I’m hit hundreds of times a day pointlessly and they’ve not figured that out yet :)

  3. Oh nofollow is only one aspect…you need extra protection. But spammers are going to continue to push forward even if they know that only 50% of the sites they attack has nofollow activated, because the numbers still work out.

    My question is, really, why not implement nofollow?

    Call it paranoid…but I’d be suspicious of anyone who is too vocal against nofollow (don’t mean you in that either). I have no doubt that a lot of spammers are hiding in plain sight…

    …know what I mean?

  4. Maybe I’m missing something but what you suggest, isn’t already being done by most WordPress spam plugins? The suspicious comments instead of being blocked by display:none, they are being held for moderation internally (it depends of the plugin, of course). Visually, for the user, they have the same function, just different execution.

    On the nofollow topic, I believe that it should be blog author who decides if he wants to apply it or not. It’s not a complete weapon as it only function is to help Google. No, it doesn’t help US -the blog community- at all. Sure, Maybe we have the satisfaction that the spammer is not going to rank better but, at the same time, we still have to find a way to destroy that spam.

  5. MacManX,

    thanks for the link – personally I don’t want nofollow on my blog – I see it as penalising my commenters, hence the post but I do know some people who run blogs, for whom it makes a lot of sense.

    I don’t think you can be dogmatic about nofollow one way or the other – mind, as I have said before in another post on my blog, I am suspicious of Google’s lack of implementation of nofollow in their recent overhaul of Blogger’s commenting system!

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