Update, 2013-04-09: I’ve narrowed the comment window to one week. To comment on an older post, send me an email using the “Email Me” link in the sidebar. Akismet captures all but 0.001% of spam comments, but, even so . . . .

Update, 2012-10-02: Comments to posts are set to close automatically after two weeks to prevent comment spam to older posts. If you have a comment for an older post, use the “Email Me” link in the sidebar.

Update, 2012-02-08: I have set the blog to close comments on any post older than two weeks in an effort to reduce the amount of deleting I have to do, since many spam comments are attached to older posts in an attempt to fly under my radar.

Update, 2010-02-27:  I have turned off the anti-spam question and am testing Akismet.

Comments not tagged as spam by Askimet may be still held for moderation. This may be because they contain strings of letters or words that I have put on a watch list, because they contain more than two hyperlinks, or because they otherwise match criteria that I have established. For instance, the sentence “I traveled via grade A transportation” could get your comment moderated.

I check whether there is anything in the moderation queue when I log in. I normally approve any comment that looks like it came from a real live human being. Occasionally–and I’ve done this so far only in the case of excessive profanity–I have emailed a visitor asking that the comment be toned down.

It’s my blog. I define “excessive.”

To post a comment, you must answer the anti-spam question that will appear in the comment form directly above the comment box.

(Registering allows you to log in and make the anti-spam question go away. The automated registration link on the front page now works.)

The anti-spam question blocks comment bots which crawl around the web automatically entering comments on blogs and websites (they do this to increase incoming links to their phony-baloney websites so as to raise their page rank with search engines, not because they expect any sentient creature to read their drivel).

The anti-spam question works not because bots are incapable of answering the question, but because the bots are incapable of even realizing that a question is there.

I like it because it’s simple and easy, it works, and it uses almost no processor overhead, unlike Captcha, Askimet, and similar methods.

I’ve tried to design questions that are simple and obvious. Here’s an example:

Q. What color is turquoise?

A. Turquoise.

If the question is overlooked or answered incorrectly, a message will appear saying

Sorry, posting has been closed for the time being.

The “time being” means the “time being until you answer the question.” (When I get a round tuit, I’ll fix that message so it actually says something helpful.) that says

Sorry. You must have missed the anti-spam question. Use the “Back” button to try again.

Don’t feel bad if you overlook the question; I forget about it about half the time myself. Use your browser’s “Back” button to return to the previous screen and complete the comment form or reenter your comment.

Edit: Comments are closed. Comment spammers have taken to spamming pages, as well as posts.