WordPress Plugin – Simple Spam Filter Hack Available

Recently RT from Untwisted Vortex threw down a WordPress Plugin Rewrite Challenge, asking whether I’d rewrite the Simple Spam Filter plugin from Joe Tan. RT is a fan of Simple Spam Filter but felt that some additional checks would result in more spam being caught.

I accepted the challenge, although I didn’t rewrite it – I just tweaked it a little(with RT’s help) to add the following features:

  1. Check whether the author name appears at the start of the comment text, which is common with spam comments.
  2. Check for the use of an ellipsis (ie: …), which is unlikely to be typed.
  3. Strip the following characters from the comments before checking for words (to catch vi-agra): -.*%_&$

We’ve been testing the changes for a little while and it seems to be going well. Therefore, I’ve made the hacked version of the plugin available from the Simple Spam Filter Hack page.

Joe Tan has indicated that he will add this functionality to the original plugin. The hacked version will only be available here until Joe releases the new version. It’s far better for these functions to be part of the original plugin than for the code to be split.

I’ll admit to feeling a little uncomfortable about providing a hack of someone else’s plugin. It’s released under the GPL so I can do this, but I’m not sure how I’d feel if someone provided a hacked version of one of my plugins. Of course that’s the point of open source software – that others can contribute and help drive the product forward.

I want to go on record and say that Joe Tan has been great throughout this. I know RT has some frustrations with a lack of response from Joe, but I’ve received quick responses from him and he’s been very positive. Thanks Joe!

17 responses on “WordPress Plugin – Simple Spam Filter Hack Available

  1. Myspace Stuff

    That’s fantastic, thanks alot. It’s good of you to make clear that it is based off of somebody elses work to start with.

    Marty.

  2. Stephen Cronin Post author

    Myspace, thanks. 99% of it is Joe Tan’s work, I added 1% to tweak it slightly. I’m not someone who’ll take credit for someone else’s work… If people did, the whole open source thing wouldn’t work…

    1. Stephen Cronin Post author

      Buy beats,

      Do you mean scraped? If so, I can assure you that I wrote the post above (and I made the hack to the Simple Spam Filter). If you’ve seen this somewhere else, then that was the scraped version, not this.

      By the way, I’ve removed the URL from your comment – I don’t mind commercial sites and keywords instead of names, but your comment needs to be a bit more substantial… Sorry – but many would have marked you as spam…

  3. MSN hacken

    At the moment this plugin doesn’t work :s? I can’t access the download page, maybe it is my provider which is deny me acces, but maybe the server is down. I will try another time, i hope then it will work, because I need this plugin, because Akismet doesn’t work for me because I don’t have an API and i don’t know how to get one.

  4. Emilio@Technically Minded - Blog de Tecnología

    @MSN hacken, the download works OK for me.

    @Stephen: Great plugin! Probably I’ll use it in my blog in the future, but for now Akismet has been working OK. I don’t want to overload my account at my super-overselled hosting provider :p

    Greets!

  5. Chris Cox@opsec

    Thanks for putting that together. Right now, the simple addition plugin seems be be holding the wolves at bay, but it won’t forever. Do you have any thoughts on when “too many” ant-spam plugins become “too many”?

  6. Jim

    I own a company called Green Image Solutions. Please be careful of buying ink and toner from just any website. I am in the business of selling quality ink and toner products specializing in compatible ink and toner. Yes we can offer you inexpensive products but they are quality. most web only based sites sell cheaper ink and toner because it is cheap quality. make sure who ever you buy from they offer other services and have a staff you can call, customer service is key. you can go to http://www.thinkofgreen.com we sell quality products and have high customer service. We also are a “Green” Company so while your saving money with us you can help save the planet.

    hope this helps…

  7. Missy@Phone Cards

    A good addition with “-.*%_&$” symbols. The anti-spam plugin on my WordPress blog misses them, and I have to suspend the spam comments manually. And it’s the task of Sisyphus with tons of spam coming every day.

  8. George The Computer Repair Guy

    As much as I understand that the proposed in the plugin spam filter would work and would work successfully, I still think that “the question and answer” type of protection against the spam is more effective than simply character filtering. Spammers every day invent the new spam messages and texts and it’s virtually impossible to keep track of all character combinations.

    George

    LINK REMOVED: because of failure to use KeywordLuv syntax (name@keywords)

  9. Mike

    At first you can have a good laugh reading spam comments but when it continues everyday it starts irritating and spoils the day’s work! – Mike

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