Spam is evil.
Doing all this work on my news system has been, basically, a royal pain in the butt. It takes a lot of time and effort and trying different things and debugging when PHP suddenly blows up in my face and in the end I still don’t have all the features that come with your average blog software—but it’s all worth it, because I don’t have to deal with this.
There is now an automated system for spamming weblogs based on MovableType. Apparently, on weblogs that actually get traffic (read: not mine), comment spam has finally started to register; some people are getting hit pretty bad. I expect that auto-spamming tools will follow for other weblogging systems.
However—and this is where all my work pays off—I don’t have to care. My entire website is custom-written PHP. It’s not based on anything else, it’s not used anywhere else, and none of the technical details are published anywhere. There is no tool for auto-spamming my site, and somehow I doubt there ever will be one. I can’t imagine the spammers being so desperate to reach my readership that they would resort to a custom tool or manual comment entry, but if they are, I have something to say to them: I am ready.
Spammers have no scruples when it comes to spreading their message. They will resort to anything—legal or illegal—to keep sending spam. I, on the other hand, have no scruples when it comes to avoiding spam. I will blacklist IPs and host names, or even entire ISPs and address blocks. Someone gets blacklisted accidentally and they want off the list? Too bad, get your ISP to stop hosting spammers.
I’ll add comment text parsing to ban anything that looks like spam. I’ll disable comments completely or even move the site to a pure whitelist system, if necessary, to ensure that my site does’t get used for purposes I don’t approve of. You want to get my hosting provider to kick me off? I’ll relocate to a nice academic server that happens to be run by a committee of students, and they certainly won’t listen to you. Good luck attacking my site name, unless you have prior art from before the 1970’s. The domain name is registered by a relative, and he won’t take kindly to any interference. We know good lawyers. Mark Pilgrim has commented on the difficulty of fighting spam with respect to tools for all weblogs; I only have to fight spam in one place, and I Will Win.