# Released from Akismet prison on a technicality

(For background see this post and this one. Nutshell: Akismet, the spam filter for WordPress blogs, has for weeks been blocking me from commenting on WP blogs other than my own. My attempts to get Akismet to unblock me have failed.)

Yesterday morning I found this message from Akismet in my inbox, a response to an email I had sent the day before:

Hi,

I am sorry for this happening and the delay.

I believe it is fixed now and that your comments will appear.

So I went back to the dummy blog Akismet support has set up for testing problems like mine1 and tried to leave a comment. I filled out the comment form this way:

Name: Dr. Drang
Email: drdrang@gmail.com
Website: http://www.leancrew.com/all-this/
Comment: Blah blah blah

When I clicked the Post Comment button—you’re way ahead of me, aren’t you—the comment disappeared into the spam filter and wasn’t published. I decided to try again with slightly different input:

Name: Dr. Drang
Email: drdrang@gmail.com
Website: http://www.leancrew.com
Comment: Blah blah blah

Note the shorter URL. This comment was published immediately! I tried again with the longer URL and that comment was blocked, just like the first one.

This was at my home computer. I went through the same procedure at work and got the same results. Pretty clearly, then, it’s the URL that’s triggering the filter, not my name, email address, or IP number.

So now I have a way to comment on WordPress blogs. Strictly speaking, the problem with my being blocked hasn’t been solved, because my URL is still on Akismet’s shit list. But at least I have a workaround. I tested the workaround on Tom Levenson’s Inverse Square Blog, where I’ve been blocked several times in the past, and my comment sailed through unimpeded.

I sent off an email to Akismet support, telling them what happened, and got this surprisingly speedy response:

I will mention this to one of the engineers and see how it comes about,
I do apologise though for the problems.

Maybe the problem with the longer URL will be fixed, maybe not. Either way, I’m out of Akismet jail.

What’s really weird about this is the reason I thought to try the shorter URL. Just the day before, I finally got around to changing my .htaccess file to redirect hits on the site’s home page (which has never had anything of interest) to the blog—something I’d been putting off for over a year. And it came in handy almost immediately. You might think this would teach me a lesson about never putting off until tomorrow, etc., but I’m sure it won’t.

1. Akismet has recently changed the test blog from public to private, so I can’t get a screenshot of its comment form. I wonder if it’s getting spammed because its address has been publicized? I mentioned it in my last post but didn’t give its URL. I did submit that one fake comment at Fred Mertz, though… ↩︎