December 12, 2004
On the new MT Blacklist

I've mentioned before that I love the new MT Blacklist, which in my mind is worth the price of upgrading Movable Type by itself. Seeing how much comment spam I've gotten in the month or so since I upgraded ( 45493 spams blocked, 6220 spams moderated), I'd literally be doing nothing but cleaning up unwanted comments if this tool weren't in place. Thank you, thank you, Jay Allen.

That said, there are a number of things I'd like to see in the next release:

1. Please bring back the ability to manually run a de-spam on the last n comments. I say this because today I was hit by a couple hundred spams where the spambot varied the IP address, commenter name, and commenter email address for just about all of them, meaning that I couldn't despam more than one or two at a time. All of them pointed to the same domain, so under the old tool once I'd added that domain to my master list, I could've simply despammed them all at once. With the new version, I had to go after each comment. I eventually wound up just deleting most of them through the regular MT interface, but that meant checking a bunch of boxes manually. Not nearly as neat or as satisfying.

(Ignore the struck paragraph, I'm an idiot. Just check the relevant comments and click on "De-spam checked comments" at the bottom of the screen. I should have known there'd be no reason why something as useful as that had been removed.)

2. In the List Items view, it would be lovely to be able to sort by Hits, and also by Last Hit. For that matter, it would be lovely if the Last Hit value gave the time as well as the date.

3. Yesterday, I cleaned out a bunch of spams from over 24 different subdomains of "", whatever that is. All of the subdomains started with the letters "route". MTB gave me the choice of adding all 24 subdomains to my master blacklist or simply blocking "", which would have some unknown-to-me effect on potentially valid sites. I chose a third way, by crafting a URL pattern of "route[\^s]*\" and adding it manually. It would have been way cool if MTB could have analyzed those two dozen subdomains and suggested an addition like this to me instead. Surely someone who has no clue about regular expressions would be greatly helped by that kind of functionality.

4. Also yesterday, after banning many variant subdomains of "", I finally just blocked the root "" domain. Though it probably doesn't hurt much to have them there, all of my previously added patterns are now superfluous. I'd love to have a tool within MTB that looked for this sort of duplication and gave me an easy way to remove it.

5. Going back to the first item on my wish list, if I could have had the option of viewing all comments whose Author value matched a certain pattern, I could have zapped pretty much everything without resorting to a manual mass delete or wishing for the old manual de-spam functionality. I'm sure I could do this sort of thing thru mySQL, but there's a reason I don't; namely, I know squat about mySQL. Hey, if I were a mySQL god, I wouldn't really need MT Blacklist, right?

(Also no longer relevant now that I've discovered the functionality I should have spotted on Day One. Sheesh, that's embarrassing.)

Anyway, Jay, that's my wish list. I thank you again for a great plugin, and I hope my suggestions are useful to you.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 12, 2004 to Blog stuff | TrackBack

Tomorrow will mark the the one-year anniversary of the capture of Saddam Hussein. One year ago, presidential candidate Howard Dean announced, to the disapproval of his handlers, that “the capture of Saddam has not made America safer.” A year later, his sentiment still rings true.

The war (that led to the capture) and its reconstruction diverted resources from homeland security, the hunt for bin Laden, but most alarmingly, it has created the threat that president Bush always insisted was lurking in Iraq .

more info:

Posted by: Igor Volsky on December 12, 2004 9:09 PM

My only problem with MT Blacklist right now is the fact that our pokey little server dies under the load when it's killing a lot of spam.

OK, I wish it had that all-recent-comments interface. It's a pain to check 10 blogs and kill all the recent spam comments and pings. Still, I'd quit blogging if I had to do it manually.

Posted by: Ginger on December 12, 2004 9:22 PM