August 9, 2010 at 9:30 AM by Dr. Drang
Here’s an update on my inability to leave comments on most WordPress blogs. Shorter version: I’m still being screwed by Akismet. Longer version…
After that last post, Matthew McVickar—who’s becoming a ubiquitous presence here—gave me administrator access to an unused WordPress 3.0 installation on a server he controls. I tried a handful of commenting permutations and came up with these results:
- First, I left a comment as me (which is to say, identifying myself as Dr. Drang and giving my email and web addresses) without first logging in as an administrator. This comment was published immediately. This was a bit of a surprise until I logged in as an administrator and learned that Akismet hadn’t yet been activated.
- I then activated Akismet and left a message while still logged in as an administrator. This comment, too, was published immediately. No surprise there; comments from an admin account should bypass spam filtering.
- I logged out of the admin account and commented again as me. This comment did not get published immediately. Upon logging in again as an administrator, I found it in the spam filter. Finally! Clear evidence that Akismet was blocking me. I reclassified the comment as ham, and it was published.
- I logged out of the admin account again and tried another comment as me. This one was published immediately, presumably because I had just told the blog that my previous comment wasn’t spam.
Unfortunately, this reclassification of me as a non-spammer was only a local change; I was still (and am still) unable to comment at, for example, Tom Levenson’s Inverse Square Blog.
So I left another message at Akismet’s contact form:
My comments been getting flagged as spam on other sites. I have left basically this same message here twice before in the past week, but haven’t heard anything from you. How can I get myself unblocked if the blocker won’t respond?
Yes, I said “my comments been”—I was angry and my typing got ahead of me. Perhaps the illiteracy helped; unlike the two previous attempts, this complaint got a response:
There is no reason akismet would stop your comments.
Could you comment here please? http://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.wordpress.com/
The first sentence was a bit off-putting and not just because the writer failed to capitalize a proper noun. I know there’s no reason for Akismet to stop my comments, but it is.
Anyway, I went to the site, which is a test blog just like the one Matthew gave me access to. I’ve changed its address to protect Akismet, which is more than it’s done for me. I entered my name and addresses, typed in a short comment and clicked the “Post Comment” button. My browser showed a blank page with the address
Going back to the main site, I found that my comment hadn’t been published. No surprise.
That was back on July 31. I tried again just last night and got the same result. I also tried commenting as someone else: Fred Mertz (firstname.lastname@example.org). That one was published right away.
Twice I’ve sent email to Akismet—using the address from which they emailed me—telling them that I’d done what they asked and my comment didn’t get published. No response.
I feel kind of bad complaining. Akismet does a fine job of blocking spam from this blog, and I don’t pay anything for it. But as I’ve come to realize how much power it has over me—it’s silencing me on every WordPress site but one1—I’ve developed a real resentment for this shadowy censor that won’t answer my questions.
Obviously, the Fred Mertz example shows the way to get around Akismet’s filter. But I don’t want to comment as Fred Mertz, I want to comment as me.2 It’s like I’m caught in some low-budget 60s rehash of 1984. I have no mouth and I must scream. I am not a number!