Blog spam is definitely a problem and I don’t want to pretend it isn’t, and anti-spam plugins like Askimet are great plugins.
But, if you are moderating comments on your blog, you need to make sure you are flagging true spam as spam with Askimet, and deleting questionable comments.
I have heard from some people that a comment of their’s was flagged as spam with Askimet because the owner didn’t approve of the content of the comment. If you don’t approve of a comment delete it, don’t flag it as spam especially with Askimet because if the comment is not true spam, you have just screwed someone.
In summary, Askimet is a WordPress plugin that is used by thousands of bloggers. Blog comments are sent to Askimet and Askimet uses it’s rules to determine if a comment is spam or not. Of course Askimet is not going to tell us how they determine spam, which is good since the spammers would find ways around the Askimet spam rules.
So, if you flag a comment as spam, it’s flagged by Askimet as spam. Once a comment is flagged as spam by you, Askimet will flag it as spam the next time that person comments on a blog post.
I have read that URLs are sometimes flagged as spam, some keywords are flagged as spam and I suspect IP addresses may also be flagged as spam. The next time the person you flagged as spam submits a comment on another blog, Askimet may identify it as spam, and the comment will never be approved – even though it could be a perfectly valid comment.
From what I have read, from people who have ended up being flagged as a spammer by Askimet, is that you won’t even realize you were flagged as a spammer until you somehow figure out your comments on blogs never show up. Some tested by commenting on their own blog to see their comment being flagged as spam.
To get of off the Askimet spam system, I’ve seen people suggest you comment on blogs of people you know, and ask them to mark your comments as not being spam if Askimet flags them as spam. This is called a False-Positive by Askimet. As blog owners approve the comments as not being spam, Askimet is supposed to learn. So if you continue to post comments that are not flagged as spam, you should come off the list.
The best way to stay out of the Askimet spam system is to provide good comments. But someone having a bad day could decide to flag you as spam for no good reason. You wouldn’t want someone doing that to you, so be careful when flagging comments as spam when they really aren’t.
If you have questionable comments on your blog, go ahead and delete them, just make sure you delete bad comments, and flag true spam as spam. I delete far more comments than I flag as spam. A blog comment has to clearly be spam before I will mark it as such, and Askimet catches most of those for me already.
I also encourage you to periodically look at comments Askimet flags as spam on your blog. If you find comments that are clearly not spam, remove the spam flag. You would appreciate if someone did that for you, so do the right thing for them.
Askimet is a great plugin for controlling comment spam on your blog, but be careful how you use it.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Askimet, but I did some research on it to better understand how it works. If you have more information on how Askimet works, I would appreciate your comments below.