Spam Raises Its Head Again

After a period of virtually no forum spam I'm seeing a spike in the amount of spam. This may be because of the recent NuCaptcha break or it may be due to the spammers using a Mechanical Turk-like strategy of paying a small amount to have people to enter the codes by hand.

The spam falls into two groups. The first is just the normal junk consisting of little more than a link for Google to notice. They typically try to hide by getting added to older posts.

The second is more interesting. They try very hard to hide in plain sight by looking like legitimate comments. Comments are selected either by a keyword search or perhaps by the tags. The fit isn't always perfect, of course. A post concerning Emacs, say, might get a comment that's also about Emacs but about some other aspect completely. In some cases the comments are taken from Irreal (in at least one case, from the same post it appeared in) and others apparently from other blogs. The comments appear to be retyped—there are usually a lot of typos—rather than harvested programmatically.

Oddly, the spam in the second group, although clearly bogus, does not contain any links other than the poster's Web URL, which always points to a nearly empty Facebook page for the commenter. These Facebook pages appear to be from Germany, the Netherlands, and other European countries. I can't quite think what the point of it is. Has anyone else seen this? If so, do you have any idea what's going on?

I'm going to ping NuCaptcha to see if they have a fix for the NuCaptcha break in the works. If not, I may have to turn on moderating again. I hate that and I'm sure you do too. If anyone has a good WordPress solution please leave a comment.

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