I love Akismet – it’s a WordPress tool that has literally saved me months of work. It has blocked 4,059,113 comment spams on ProBlogger alone over the last year or two – something that I will be forever grateful for!
However every day or two I get an email like this:
“I have been trying to leave comments on your blog but they never appear! Did I say something wrong?”
Now when a blog gets as many comment spams as I do in a day there are bound to be some false positives – but over the last couple of months these emails are getting more and more frequent. The problem concerns me for two reasons. Firstly I want everyone who wants to comment on my posts to be able to. Secondly many of those whose comments are falsely blocked think that I’m the one behind their comment being blocked. I’ve had angry comments from readers as well as bloggers blogging about me censoring them. The reality is that unless a comment is explicit, spammy or defamatory I don’t delete comments.
I’m not sure what the reason is for these false positives it but it’s becoming apparent that quite a few legitimate blog readers are getting on Akimset’s blacklist falsely. It’s also seems to me that when I mark a comment as ‘not spam’ that Akismet isn’t ‘learning’ of it’s mistake because quite a few people’s comments seem to still be filtered as spam. Akismet says that it can take a couple of days to fix these but I’ve had a few people not be able to comment for weeks now. My approach is generally to ask them to contact Akismet directly. Quite often these people are unable to comment on other blogs also.
Perhaps Akismet could provide us with some way for us as bloggers to add to a whitelist of commenters. I’d love to simply take the emails of those who have problems and add them to such a list that automatically lets people comment. I’m also wondering if there’s some way of notifying commenters that are filtered as spam that this is what has happened and to point them into the direction of some sort of procedure to rectify it if they feel that their comment isn’t spam?