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Akismet for Moveable Type

This post has been submitted by regular contributor – Aaron Brazell

Late last year, Automattic, the company behind WordPress, launched a brash new anti-spam product for blogs called Akismet.  Of course, at the time of launch, I took the product to task but quickly changed my tune as I understood the system better.

When I installed Akismet at Technosailor, I was truly amazed at how well it handled spam.  Literally, I went to maybe one comment a month that needed to be moderated.  That was with no comment moderation enabled (save Akismet’s), and only Akismet installed as an anti-spam plugin.  I was truly amazed.

So when I heard about Akismet being released for Movable Type last week, I had to go check it out (even though I only own a sandbox Movable Type blog).

In typical fashion, the way to install Akismet (which can be downloaded here), is to upload to the Movable Type plugins directory.  Excuse my ignorance of Movable Type, but I expected that the plugin would have to be activated at this point but apparently that is only a WordPress thing. (I shudder to think what happens when some malicious script kiddy writes a MT “plugin” full of malicious Perl code that gets activated automatically on a blog – but I digress).

Because my Movable Type blog is a non-published blog, it was hard for me to determine how exactly Akismet sorts comments/trackbacks it believes is spam.  With WordPress, there’s a queue of comments that Akismet isn’t sure about in the moderation queue and then another queue of “scrubbed” comments.  I imagine Movable Type handles comments in a similar fashion.

The important thing, I think, to know about Akismet is that it handles spam through a centralized service that learns from the bleeding edge.  In other words, by learning what is spam from WordPress, WordPress.com and Movable Type blogs together, Akismet becomes stronger and more efficient.

Scot Hacker was the guy who ported Akismet to Movable Type (Actually it was Tim Appenl) has some interesting insight in the comments over at John Batelle’s blog on the inner workings as it pertains to MT as well.

With WordPress, those two levels are identical in terms of server impact, since everything is dynamic. With Movable Type, publishing always requires a page rebuild, which is CPU-expensive. So the more you can prevent unnecessary publishing, the lower the impact on the server. What you really want to do is prevent spam submissions from triggering page rebuilds. Akismet is great at preventing unneccessary publishing, but so are a lot of other spam fighting tools. Fortunately, Akismet has a VERY low false positive
rate, so virtually all of its estimations about what is/is not spam are correct.

Nutshell: Akismet/MT doesn’t reduce the overall number of database inserts, but it does reduce the number of CGI-based page rebuilds that are ultimately triggered.

I’d really be interested to know if anyone is using this on their MT blog and how you’re finding the results. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Scot Hacker was the guy who ported Akismet to Movable Type

    The official Akismet for Movable Type plugin was written by Tim Appnel of http://www.appnel.com/

    As a fellow super secret beta tester, I found that Akismet for MT is doing a great job managing to junk almost all spam comments. However from time to time I do receive an incorrectly scored (through Movable Type 3.2′s junk filtering mechanism) comment. However the plugin seems to report back to the mother ship once the comment is correctly marked as junk (or not).

    Movable Type 3.2 also has a junk log that contains reasons that a comment may have been junked. With Akismet, you only ever see ‘Akismet said spam’ or ‘Akismet said ham’ which I find is the only drawback of the plugin so far…

  2. Arvind, I stand corrected… Sorry about that.

  3. e says:

    I have a fairly high traffic MT blog (3.2) and it does a very good job of catching spam out of the box. Maybe once a month a spam comment slips through and they are easy to catch. Also, setting the spam filter back a notch to catch that one would have little recourse to real visitors. MT 3.2 handles spam very well, I dont see the need of spending $5 per month for this service.

    How about you other MT users? I would be interested to know if MT filters work just as well for you.

  4. Neil Crespi says:

    Wow, this is very nice. I haven’t used Akismet yet, but with these features, I think I would be grabbing one right away. Thanx.

  5. Matt says:

    I use Akismet on one of my wordpress blogs and it is quiet simply.. AMAZING. It one on of the reasons I moved to wordpress from b2evo.
    So far it has corectly stopped 885 spam comments in the 2-3months of running it, it has only let through about 2 spams.
    Im sure MT users will love this.

  6. e says:

    As an MT user i have NEVER had a problem with spam. Am i alone here? Does anyone else here use MT? I have used both WP and MT and my vote is definitly on MT. WP sites crash with an infux of traffic, they require more CPU power.

    Has anyone else used both?

  7. Ummmm… e, can you explain to me what you mean by this? “WP sites crash with an infux of traffic, they require more CPU power.”

    That is such a general statement that has absolutely no supporting evidence unless you want to provide some.

  8. Cary says:

    Good write-up :) How about pros & cons between Akismet and Spam Karma 2? I use SK2, and it has been a real life saver… in fact, it’s hard for me to imagine it working any better than it does.

    Does Akismet have some extra bells and whistles?

  9. Cary: Akismet learns as it goes and not only from you, from everyone using it… so as an anti-spam solution goes, I’d think it’s evolutionary nature is one of the most attractive aspects of it.

  10. Judi Sohn says:

    I installed it on my MT blog a few days ago. SpamLookup works well, but when it misses something it really misses…I’d get the same or similar comments emailed to me for moderation, over and over again. Some were very tough to find enough of a “hook” to manually enter into SpamLookup’s settings to get the spam blocked instead of moderated.

    So far, Akismet seems to be doing its job. I’ve had 2 comment spams to moderate, but they were unique. It seems that it really does “learn” and I’m not getting the same false-negatives over and over again.

    I’m giving it a few more days before I install on the other 4 MT blogs I’m currently supporting, but right now I see no reason not to. It’s a keeper.

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Trackbacks

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