SPAM: How Not to Be Seen


One of the frustrating factors of owning a blog is dealing with SPAM comments. But, if we bloggers don’t take steps to prevent them from posting to our blogs, they’ll be there for all the world to view. Your WordPress installation comes with a few default plugins. One of them is an excellent SPAM filter called Akismet. Today’s Techie Tip will teach you how to set up this plugin.

And now for something completely different . . .

Before we get to the actual installation instructions, though, let’s learn why SPAM is called SPAM. Hormel calls it SPAM because it is (supposed to be) “Spiced Ham.” But, for the Internet reference, you can thank our friends from Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the Geeks who revere them.

Here’s the scoop, according to Wikipedia:

“The troupe produced a sketch set in a cafe where nearly every item on the menu includes SPAM canned luncheon meat. As the waiter recites the SPAM-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons drowns out all conversations with a song repeating “SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM… lovely SPAM! wonderful SPAM!” hence “SPAMming” the dialogue. The excessive amount of SPAM mentioned in the sketch is a reference to the propinquity in the United Kingdom of imported canned meat products — particularly corned beef from Argentina — in the years after World War II as the country struggled to rebuild its agricultural base. SPAM captured a large slice of the British market within lower economic classes and became a byword among British schoolboys of the 1960s for low-grade fodder due to its commonality, monotonic taste and cheap price — whence the humour of the Python sketch.”

Apparently, in the 80s, the term was adopted to describe abusive users. In early Chat rooms, these would repeat the word SPAM a number of times in order to scroll other users’ text off the screen, thus “SPAMming” the dialogue. If you consider how SLOW the Internet was at that time, this must have been quite an annoyance. The SPAMmers also often flooded screens with quotes from the Monty Python sketch.

And now, we return you to today’s lesson — “SPAM: How not to be seen.”

Log in to your blog’s admin panel and scroll down the left sidebar until you see “Plugins.” Click the link to go to the Plugins screen. Locate Askimet on the list and click “Activate.” The next step is to get a free WordPress API Key. To get that, you can go HERE. This key is like a password. Once you’ve signed up to receive your key, go back to your admin panel and look for this message (See figure 1):


Click the link and a box will appear where you can enter your key, then click the checkbox so Askimet will automatically discard old SPAM messages. The last step is to click “Update Options.” When your screen reloads, you should receive a message that says, “Your key has been verified.” That’s it!

Askimet will now automatically hold any suspicious comments in a separate area and send you an email notification whenever a new potential SPAM comment is being held for review. Simply click on the link provided in these emails and determine whether or not the new comment is in fact SPAM. Most are. Check the box next to the SPAM comment and then click the “Delete all SPAM comments” box and you’re done.

Happy Blogging!

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#1 Angie on 10.29.09 at 2:11 pm

Your blog is full of great material. I now get it automatically. Thanks, Linda :-)


#2 Linda Fulkerson on 10.29.09 at 2:17 pm

Thanks for signing up, Angie!

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