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How To Beat Spam-o-Tron

Look at you, commenter

Hello, lovelies – a word in your shell-like, if you wouldn’t mind awfully. Our dear spam filter silently removes thousands of comments unfit for your delicate eyes each week. As our readership grows (hooray!), so does the spam count (boo!) Alas, Spam-o-Tron is not a perfect immortal machine – some stuff still gets through, even despite the captcha check we introduced recently.

We’re working on a larger-scale defence against these unwanted pill’n’handbag’n’essay’n’WoW-gold bot-marketeers, but in the short-term we’ve had to turn up the severity of our spam filter. Though the vast majority of posters make it through without a hitch, this has meant that more legitimate comments than we’d like are getting snared in its digi-nets. Unfortunately, it is now getting to the point where manually retrieving all of them is becoming impossible. So, here are a few comment-preserving tidbits to keep in mind if you’ve lately found yourself suffering spam-o-tron’s sporadic wrath.

1) Register. I do appreciate it’s tempting and quicker to just fire and forget a comment, but if you’re logged into to RPS, you’re past the first filter hurdle right away – plus you don’t need to do the captcha check any more. It only takes a minute to register, we don’t send you any stuff or given anyone your email address, and you get posting rights in the forum too. (Incidentally, our front-page stories are spawned on the forum too, as are all your comments – so everything you say on any bit of RPS adds to your forum comment count. And we have ranks and stuff dependent on said post counts, so that’s all good clean fun.)

2) Be sparing about links – multiple URLs in one comment are the surest way to snag spam-o-tron’s dread gaze. I’ve tweaked the setting that’s supposed to be more forgiving in this regard, but so far it’s not working out as hoped. Obviously multiple links must be shared sometimes, but if you’re finding a comment is repeatedly being blocked, that may be why.

3) The URL you associate with your commenting profile – Try removing it or using an alternate address (e.g. tinyurl.com’s shortener) if you’re getting blocked. And if it’s not actually your own site you’ve scribbled down there, it’s worth leaving out entirely. Especially if it’s a site about getting free ipods or something.

4) Don’t be an awful person. This naturally doesn’t apply to the vast majority of our super-lovely and enormously appreciated readership, but while we don’t censor opinions, we do censor being a dick. Additionally, a small number of commentfolk have been deliberately banhammered for exceptionally unpleasant treatment of their fellow humans. Very, very rare though – and we’d like to keep it that way.

5) Don’t do a follow-up comment or edit immediately. Give it a few minutes, otherwise spam-o-tron may think you’re trying to rapid-fire junk at the thread.

6) Try using a different email address. There’s no pride lost, it’s invisible to other readers, and we’re not sending anything to whatever address you use anyway. Spam-o-tron just flat-out doesn’t like some email addresses, and while we can manually whitelist unfairly blocked users, it’s a complicated and time-consuming procedure. The four of us have limited time to pour into this place as it is (much as we adore RPS, it currently earns us very little – so we have to spend most of our day doing freelance work to support ourselves. That’s why we’re so incredenormostupendously grateful for any and all help), and we’d rather spend that time writing ace words for it than combing through penis enlargement ads to find lost comments.

If none of that works, then you can try emailing us. Most comments can be retrieved, but the oft-frightening girth of the RPS inbox means it can take a little time to sort.

So yeah – apologies for the hassle, if you’ve lately fallen foul of our mighty filter-beast’s temper. Rest assured its current preciousness is for the greater good of the comments threads, and again we hope to have a better system in place before too long.

Get your herbal viagra and Ugg boots here.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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