Cluster Upgrade

Because of network issues in our Phoenix cluster we’ve had to shut it down, and over the past week there have been some blips of downtime where you probably got some spam through on your blog.

Because spammers never sleep, every second of uptime is really important to us, and we’re bringing online a new cluster of Akismet servers in San Antonio as soon as possible, in addition to building out our presence in Dallas.

I’ll update this post when the new servers are online, in the meantime if any spam got through don’t forget to use the “recheck queue” button new in the 2.0 version of the plugin to easily clear it out.

Six Apart Top Plugins

Byrne Reese, the leader of Six Apart’s Pronet and Movable Type development, recently conducted a survey on the most popular plugins for Movable Type. I was very happy to see that MT-Akismet, written by Tim Appnel, placed well in all of the lists.

“If you were only allowed to install one plugin, which one would it be?” Well if you’re one of the MT users surveyed, apparently the answer is Akismet.

Akismet WordPress Plugin 2.0

I’m very proud to announce we have a new version of the Akismet for WordPress based on all your feedback over the past year. Here’s a summary of what’s new:

  • Instead of just viewing the last 150 comments, you can now page through everything caught by Akismet.
  • There was a performance bug which could cause the old plugin to be pretty hard on the DB when getting a ton of spam, now it doesn’t.
  • You can now search the Akismet caught queue.
  • Longer timeout so it’s less likely to let spam through if you have a free key and the load is high. (With a paid key you always are in the priority queue.)
  • The counters now update properly when you clear things out.
  • A recheck moderation queue page on the WP moderation page to re-submit things in your moderation queue, so if gosh forbid Akismet ever were to go down you could have it recheck all your comments later.
  • A new counter widget you can put in your sidebar to show a live count of your spam, see an example on my site.
  • It kills the open_proxy_check option in WordPress 2.0 that causes false positives.
  • You can hardcode your API key in the plugin file to hide the configuration page and enable Akismet as a mu-plugin for WordPress MU.
  • If Akismet is unable to contact the mothership, it now has much friendlier debug messages.
  • And finally my favorite, you can now tell Akismet to discard spam that comes in on entries older than a month. (On the Akismet configuration page under Plugins.)

Whew! That’s a lot.

A little more on that last one. When I was doing some research into false positives I found an interesting statistic: the overwhelming majority (more that 99.99%) of false positives (which is when Akismet marks someone as spam wrongly) occur on new posts. Which makes sense because most real comments happen on new entries.

Before I started to use this option, I used to have tens of thousands of comments in my Akismet caught spam queue every day, and now it’s only a dozen or two and is easy to scan to look for the rare mistake. You can download the new Akismet plugin here.

New phpBB Mod

Eadon McKee writes that:

I run a couple of forums and on one of them I have the excellent Spam Words Mod. It really is great, but Akismet seems to have their service down and working well. The nice thing about the Spam Words Mod is it queues the posts and this works perfectly if you want to hack it to work with Akismet. I don’t have the time to go through the official phpBB mod process so this is more of a hack than a mod, also, I really think it should be an optional part of PHPBB Spam Words as the integration is so simple

You can read more and download his phpBB mod here.

Micro-Akismet

Gaby Vanhegan has made a new BSD-licensed PHP package called Micro-Akismet. He says:

I have written a really compact set of Akismet functions in a single PHP script, to add drop-in scanning and reclassification to any PHP script. It’s under 200 lines long (1/3 of which is documentation) and it’s tiny. I use it on my guestbook and it works a treat!