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Akismet: The Anti-Spam Tool to Censorship Evolution



Updated on



Mark of Automattic.com corrected this problem.

Akismet, the anti-spam plugin/tool we all know and depend on to filter millions of spam each day is being used to censor certain bloggers. Recently, someone or a group of people blacklisted my online-moniker, Small Potato.

I know this because my comment (on my own blog) is listed on the Akismet Spam list. This morning, I posted a comment on WpCandy.com to thank Michael Castilla for featuring my themes and that comment also didn’t show up. (Michael de-spammed my comment so you can see it now.)

Maybe I’m paranoid, but I have a feeling getting blacklisted a week after launching my $5 themes club isn’t an accident or a coincidence. After all, a lot of what I said, how I see things, and what I do in the WordPress community rub people the wrong way.

For the sake of a coherent message, I’ll put my thoughts in an ordered list:

  1. First of all, I do not know how Akismet’s internal system work, but I managed to track it down to my name, Small Potato. Fortunately, my email, blog’s address, and IP are fine. I was testing the comments on my personal blog (not this one) and my comments got through as long as I didn’t use the name Small Potato.
  2. Second, I’m pretty sure that I’m not dumb and/or sleepy enough to mark my own comments as spam again and again for the past several days. At this point, I believe it took the effort of a group of people to blacklist me.
  3. Third, the other possibility is the spammers are going after the term Small Potato and I’m simply caught in this new spam wave for potatoes. I doubt it.
  4. Fourth, if some people did get together just to blacklist me, that’s really lame. Don’t blacklist me, bro! Hahaha. However, what’s happening to me isn’t a surprise, like most things you do with other people in life, you have to trust the people until they prove otherwise so I’m not going to start doubting my friends and people I know.
  5. Fifth, even if this whole thing turns out to be an accident or a glitch in the system. The potential to privately censor people is there. And, it’s difficult to combat this sneaky method. No matter how big or small, going through the spam list is a tedious task that no one wants to do. Therefore, if you’re being blacklisted on your friends’ blogs, they won’t check for you unless you bring it to their attention.
  6. Sixth, who knows how many people are being blacklisted. I get hundreds of spam comments per day. Usually, I just clear the spam list without looking through it. (You probably do the same.) And that’s really…unfortunate for those blacklisted bloggers like myself.

I don’t care about my own comments, but I’ll test out an alternate spam filtering system for the sake of this blog’s commenters.

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