Comment Blacklist

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  • #2899352
    linuxnorth
    Member

    In Discussion Settings, the description for ‘Comment Blacklist’ states:

    When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, email, or IP, it will be put in the trash.

    I am receiving spam from two sources with usernames that don’t match any normal words. If I add these usernames to the Comment Blacklist, one per line as instructed, the comments from the specific users show up in the spam queue and are not automatically directed to Trash as I would have expected.

    I can make them go away (time and time again!) by clicking on the ‘Empty Spam’ control, but this requires my constant manual attention. It seems that a blacklist should take care of this issue.

    The blog I need help with is: (visible only to logged in users)

    #2899500
    timethief
    Member

    The comment blacklist automatically posts the blacklisted stuff into spam. We cannot change this. https://en.support.wordpress.com/settings/discussion-settings/#comment-blacklist

    #2899584
    linuxnorth
    Member
    Original poster

    If the action cannot be changed, who can change the description “will be put in the trash” which is not accurate? This would at least create an appropriate user expectation for the use of this feature.

    #2899585
    timethief
    Member

    We never ever tell anyone to send spam to trash because that would mean the spam filter would not learn the difference between the two.

    I am sorry but I do not see that in the support doc so please help me find it.

    #2899586
    timethief
    Member

    This is what I see:

    Comment Blacklist
    Comment Blacklist is very similar to the Comment Moderation list, but when something matches here, the comment is marked as spam instead of held for moderation. https://en.support.wordpress.com/settings/discussion-settings/view-all/#comment-blacklist

    #2899613
    linuxnorth
    Member
    Original poster

    The text I quoted is displayed if I access Settings – Discussion on my blog. The description in the actual settings screen does not match that in the associated help file in the support area.

    #2899614
    timethief
    Member

    Oh really? Then feel free to type modlook into the sidebar tags on this thread for a Staff follow-up. How do I get a Moderator/Staff reply for my question? https://en.support.wordpress.com/getting-help-in-the-forums/#how-do-i-get-a-moderatorstaff-reply-for-my-question Then subscribe to this thread so you are notified when they respond and be patient while waiting. To subscribe look in the sidebar of this thread, find the subscribe to topics link and click it.

    #2899654
    linuxnorth
    Member
    Original poster

    “modlook” tag added as suggested. Many thanks for the tip.

    #2899655
    timethief
    Member

    You are welcome.

    #2899657
    kokkieh
    Staff

    Hi there,

    Where exactly do you see this text?

    If I go to https://wordpress.com/settings/discussion the description says comments will be marked as spam:

    https://cloudup.com/cR81dD1UV4D

    I can make them go away (time and time again!) by clicking on the ‘Empty Spam’ control, but this requires my constant manual attention. It seems that a blacklist should take care of this issue.

    You don’t need to manually empty spam. We do that automatically after a certain period of time. The only reason you can see the spam folder at all is so you have the ability to check for legitimate comments that might get caught by accident. But otherwise you can pretty much ignore the existence of the spam folder. If it’s in there, it will be deleted.

    #2899659
    linuxnorth
    Member
    Original poster

    The text I quoted is displayed if I access Settings – Discussion on my blog. See the annotated screenshot at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dguz9h5c2j0rrnn/blacklist.jpg?dl=0

    #2899660
    linuxnorth
    Member
    Original poster

    I appreciate that one wouldn’t wish to have legitimate posts automatically deleted. The problem (as I see it) is that there is no way to have specific, recurring comments – that are obvious spam – deleted automatically. Sure, such messages may eventually be deleted from the spam folder, but some of us like to have a “clean” system on an on-going basis. I guess it’s just a difference in philosophy, and a WordPress “feature” that we just have to live with.

    #2899661
    kokkieh
    Staff

    Thank you for the screen shot. So this is in the WP-Admin dashboard. I’ll report this to the team who maintains that dashboard.

    #2899665
    timethief
    Member

    Following and bookmarked.

    #2899666
    kokkieh
    Staff

    @linuxnorth

    On what site is this? I don’t see any terms blacklisted in the settings of either of your sites, and in my own testing of this blacklisted comments were sent to Trash, not Spam. So it would rather seem that the My Sites settings page and support doc has the incorrect information.

    I am receiving spam from two sources with usernames that don’t match any normal words.

    Do you mean these comments originally appeared in the spam queue to start with? If that’s the case, blacklist settings will have no effect. Blacklist settings are only applied to comments that have been cleared by our spam filters already. But if a comment is filtered as spam, that’s where it stops.

    Trash is intended for comments you delete, be it manually or via the blacklist. Spam is intended for comments we automatically filter out so it never makes it onto your site at all.

    I’ll make sure the copy on the My Sites settings and support doc is updated.

    #2899668
    linuxnorth
    Member
    Original poster

    I removed the terms from the comment blacklist since they were having no effect.

    The comments in question are indeed getting past the spam filter and ending up in the spam folder. If I am unable to direct such comments to the trash, before they end up in my spam folder, so be it. But, it’s a pity that there is no blacklist option that lets me identify comments (and senders) as spam and automatically send these to trash.

    However, perhaps this whole issue is just one of miscommunication. The notes on the Settings – Discussion page really should be expanded a little to indicate precisely what the features actually do. For example, your statement “Blacklist settings are only applied to comments that have been cleared by our spam filters already” is quite clear.

    #2899669
    kokkieh
    Staff

    But, it’s a pity that there is no blacklist option that lets me identify comments (and senders) as spam and automatically send these to trash.

    The Spam queue and the blacklist really have completely different purposes. Comments go to the spam queue based on algorithms we use to automatically detect spam, or “fake” comments. This is an intelligent algorithm that reprograms itself every time a new comment is manually marked as spam, so it can more effectively filter those comments in future.

    While the spam filter very occasionally would catch a legitimate comment, it’s intended to be a set and and forget it feature. In fact, in discussion settings you can enable a strict mode that should automatically delete spam without even letting it go to the spam queue where you have the ability to review it. We’re so confident in our spam filter’s ability that we recommend that.

    Real comments, on the other hand, should never be marked as spam, no matter how objectionable you find them. The reason for this is because it will teach our spam filter to block comments that aren’t really spam, leading to an increase in false positives (or what we call Ham).

    The blacklist exists to give you an option to still filter out comments you don’t want to see, but which cannot be classified as spam.

    I hope that clarifies it for you.

    #2899680
    linuxnorth
    Member
    Original poster

    kokkieh:

    Thank you for the clarification on the way that the spam filter and comment blacklist features work.

    Can I suggest that a new feature should be added? In particular, what would be useful would be a method by which an end user could blacklist specific words for items in their spam folder whereby the system would automatically transfer such items to the trash folder. Currently, there is no option to further process items that make it through to the spam folder. Since the proposed system would only operate at a local-user level, it would provide such a capability without having any impact on the general comment system.

    Should there be no interest in providing such a feature, I can live with the current system. I will just continue to process such spam manually.

    #2899681
    kokkieh
    Staff

    I think that’s the intent behind the Strict setting for the spam filter, which would cause it to automatically delete all spam without holding it in the Spam folder for a couple of weeks, but if I understand correctly you’d like more control over this so you can still review spam, but automatically dismiss some spammed comments?

    I can submit a feature request, but do also consider enabling the Strict mode for spam. I understand the need to check the spam folder for legitimate comments – I did it myself for a time – but false positives are extremely rare in my experience and these days I just ignore the spam folder :)

    #2899682
    linuxnorth
    Member
    Original poster

    Kokkieh:

    I concur that there are rarely – if ever – legitimate comments in the spam folder, but I would hesitate to simply send everything to trash by using the strict filtering setting. After all, the main spam filter evidently couldn’t decide on this course of action and is providing the end user with a chance to review the dross. I don’t mind doing this since I don’t receive that much spam. But, what I do find annoying is the same spam and/or sender arriving multiple times. That’s precisely the reason for my suggested added feature of an end-user filtering option. So, I would be most grateful if you would submit the feature request. Other than the coding work required to produce the feature, since its use will be at the end-user level, I don’t see any downside to simply providing this as an option.

    Many thanks for your assistance and explanations of the current methodology regarding spam filtering.

    Alan

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