Recently RT from Untwisted Vortex (site no longer there) threw down a WordPress Plugin Rewrite Challenge, asking whether I’d rewrite the Simple Spam Filter plugin from Joe Tan (from TanTanNoodles). 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:
- Check whether the author name appears at the start of the comment text, which is common with spam comments.
- Check for the use of an ellipsis (ie: …), which is unlikely to be typed.
- 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!