Quantifying Reddit Bigotry

We never pass on the opportunity to mix in a little bit of humor with our passion for web content moderation.

One of our engineers, Dan Walmsley, participated in Cultivated Wit’s Comedy Hack Day in Los Angeles last weekend, and his team’s resulting project has since surfaced on Motherboard and Engadget.

Free Reddit Check, created by Dan’s team and crowned with the day’s top prize, is a site which attempts to quantify the terribleness of Reddit users based on their public comment content and subreddit participation. While perfectly suited for a hack day which pairs developers and comedians, there is certainly usefulness in determining the respectability of a potential online acquaintance. Or just knowing who to ignore.

And being obsessed with content analysis, community moderation, and keeping the web’s underbelly in check, we can’t help but think it’s a nifty idea.

Akismet WordPress Plugin 3.1.3

Version 3.1.3 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available.

This update addresses an issue causing some users to see blank Akismet settings screens. After installing this update, the settings screen should either load successfully, or it will display an error message with instructions for fixing the problem.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

Akismet WordPress Plugin 3.1.2

Version 3.1.2 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available.

This update includes seventeen fixes and enhancements; they’re summarized in the changelog (or for all of the details, the revision log), but notably, Akismet will be easier to set up, use less space in your database, and be better protected against security holes — specifically ones in other plugins.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

April 2015 Stats Roundup

April turned out to be a slow month in Akismetland. The highest number of spam comments we saw come in this month on a given day was about 177 million. The total amount of spam we saw come through this month is 23% less than last month, and 33% less than April of last year.

Here’s a chart showing the number of spam and ham comments we saw come through each day this month:

graph of akismet spam and ham daily stats April 2015

This image, .Time Machine. by Sachin Sandhu, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This image, .Time Machine. by Sachin Sandhu, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The total number of spam comments this month is 4,167,247,500 – just over four billion, which is still a big number even though it’s a slow month 😀. To help visualize this number, let’s say it takes a second to count each spam message. In that case, it would take 132 years and two months to finish counting.

As for ham – we saw a total of 145,308,000 real messages come through. If we were counting each one of those, it would take only 4 and a half years to finish. As usual, there’s much more spam going around than real messages – only 3.4% of all messages sent this month were not spam.

We missed only about 1 in every 10,443 spams this month. If you are seeing spam in your comments, please mark it as spam – this will help Akismet learn from your input. Similarly, please mark any real comments that end up in the spam folder as ‘not spam’. If you’re seeing very many mislabelled comments, please contact us about it and we’ll be happy to help dig into the issue.

This post is part of a monthly series summarizing some stats and figures from the Akismet universe. Feel free to browse all of the posts in the series.

March 2015 Stats Roundup

In March, Akismet saw 5,426,166,500 spam comments go through. Though this was a rise of 32% since last month, it’s a decrease from last year’s March by 19 percent. It’s been a quiet March.

If we wanted to visualize this number, we could write down each spam comment on a piece of paper and ask each person in the USA to hold on to them. In that case, each person would be holding onto 17 pieces of paper to cover all of the spam we received.

As usual, Akismet saw much less ham go around this month – only about 2.7% of all comments were real comments. We’d need only half of the people in the United States to hold just one piece of paper to cover all the ham comments – there were 147,994,500 total ham comments going through.

Here’s a chart breaking down the numbers per day:

graph of akismet spam and ham daily stats February 2015

The busiest day of the month was the 20th, with 198,630,500 spam comments. The slowest day was the 15th with 146,041,500.

If you’re having any trouble with spam comments getting through on your site, or any false positives in your spam folder, feel free to contact us so we can help :).

This post is part of a monthly series summarizing some stats and figures from the Akismet universe. Feel free to browse all of the posts in the series.

Akismet WordPress Plugin 3.1.1

Version 3.1.1 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available.

This update includes an improvement to the “Remove comment author URL” feature and merges the pingback DDOS protection from Akismet 2.x into the 3.x plugin line.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

Akismet 3.1 Plugin for WordPress Released

Version 3.1 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available.

As of version 3.1, all calls to the Akismet API are now made using SSL, increasing the confidentiality of your commenters’ data as it travels over the wire. Developers of other Akismet libraries are now free to use https URLs for Akismet API endpoints as well.

This update also includes a bugfix that prevents Akismet from inadvertently modifying a comment’s content during the spam filtering process.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

February 2015 Stats Roundup

February was another slow spam month for Akismet. We didn’t even hit 200 million comments on any day this month. You can see the daily breakdown of the spam and ham comments Akismet caught in the graph below:

graph of akismet spam and ham daily stats February 2015

The busiest day was the first of the month, with about 178 million spam comments — and the slowest day was the 18th with about 106 million.

ohio state football fieldThe total number of spam messages caught this month was 4,090,182,500. To visualize this, let’s say each spam is represented by one blade of grass in a football field — to commemorate the football season ending this February.

How many football fields would it take to cover that much spam? Twelve and a half.

How about the real comments? We got a total of 131,465,000 of those this month. And if each one were represented by a blade of grass, they would take just under one half of a football field to account for. As always, real comments account for much much less than spam comments — about 3% this month.

This month was unusually low in spam numbers not only compared with last month (with a 14% decrease in volume), but also since last year — decreasing by 38% compared with February 2014.

We missed only about 1 in every 10,917 spam comments this month — not bad!

Your own blog’s stats may have followed a similar pattern of decreased spam activity this month. If you are ever finding that the spammers are winning and more comments than usual are getting through Akismet’s filters, please feel free to reach out and let us know. We’re happy to look into it and help restore order :)

This post is part of a monthly series summarizing some stats and figures from the Akismet universe. Feel free to browse all of the posts in the series.