Akismet/Popularity Comment Count Workaround

When I moved to the new design, I switched the “popular posts” plugin to the much more feature rich plugin “Popularity Contest” by Alex King.  I really like the plugin and the features that it added.  I like that I can weight the different aspects of the posts popularity.  If I think that Comments are most important, I can weight them higher than pageviews.

One downside to the plugin is that it counts all comments made.  That means that any comment that a spammer leaves gets counted.  Even if Akismet catches it.  What that does when you have a couple of popular spam comment targets is to skew the popularity counts and make your spammiest posts your most popular.  In effect, it becomes a most popular spam post list.

I haven’t yet found a permanent fix to the problem.  One way I’ve found to help with it (I haven’t implemented it) is to use both Akismet and Spam Karma.  I haven’t done that because I  didn’t like Spam Karma the last time I used it.  Personal choice.

I did, however, find a bit of a workaround to the problem.  The plugin options page has a button for recalculating the numbers.  Every time I go to delete my spam from Akismet, I then just add the step of going to the options page for Popularity Contest and click that button.  It resets and recounts the counts without the deleted spam comments included.  Giving a bit more accurate list.

Of course, the downside is that if I don’t delete spam for several days it still will be heavily skewed until I delete them and recalculate.  I’d like for it to be automatic or just not count the spam queue comments altogether.  I’m sure that it could be done via some code to eliminate certain flagged comments in the DB, but I really don’t feel like tearing apart the plugin code to figure it out.  Hopefully, Alex will find a way around it in a future release.

Until then, that’s my workaround.


A little over a week ago I wrote that I had passed over the 100k mark on spam caught by Akismet. Shortly thereafter, Sarah of Stuff by Sarah pinged that post with a post of her own about some of the tactics that she uses to fight spam.

I made 3 major changes to the way this site worked.

  1. Change the Comment script filename
  2. Change one of the required form field’s ID/name
  3. Remove the ability for trackbacks

All 3 made a difference however now I only have the first method in place.

Following her lead, I implemented the first method. It’s rather simple really, although I do think that it’ll be broken for a while the first few times I update wordpress. I’m sure I’ll forget it for a day or two.

It’s been very nearly 8 days since I made the change and I’ve had just under 800 spams caught by Akismet. That’s an average of just under 100 per day. Holy Cow! That’s awesome. Some of you may not think so, but the truth of it is that I was getting somewhere around 300-400 spams a day. Wouldn’t you like to eliminate 75% of your spam?

In any case, the instructions are fairly simple. I’ll let Sarah tell you as it was her idea in the first place. Head over to her post, Zero Comment Spam, where she explains it all in detail.

100,000 Spam and Counting

I’ve had my ups and downs with Akismet, but I gotta admit that after catching over 100,000 spams for me, I can’t seem to part with it.  Sure, it catches a few that it shouldn’t from time to time.  And sometimes I don’t check my spam queue as thoroughly as I perhaps should.  But in the little over two years that I’ve been running this site, it’s caught over 100k in spam messages.

I’m fairly certain that there are other spam catchers out there that perform just as well, but Akismet is integrated into WordPress, so it gets the easy nod.  I’ve tried programs like spam karma and really didn’t like it at all.  Akismet is easy to use and aside from the occasional <1% false positives, it does a really good job.