Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Spammer Tar Pit

My spammer came back for another visit, so I decided to have a bit of fun. Here is my second WordPress plugin: TarPit (txt, phps).

What it does

If you have any IP numbers listed in your moderation_keys setting (that’s where you put the spam words in the Comment Moderation setting under Discussion Options), this plugin will check them against the current visitor’s IP number. If it matches, the visitor will get a delay (that’s the tar pit — it slows them down), then an “Access Denied” message. You can customize the delay time and the message of course. Advanced users can also add additional IP matches manually, should they so desire. You might want to do that in order to match against an entire IP block, for instance.

If you’re looking for a more humorous spammer deterrent, try Kitten’s Comment Pay. The main difference here is that with “Comment Pay”, the spammer still gets to post a comment. With TarPit, the spammer cannot access any page controlled by WordPress. At all.

Update: I meant to mention this before, but this works great in conjunction with Kitten’s Spam Words Plugin. Anytime you “Delete comment as spam”, the offender’s IP number will automatically be added to your moderation_keys.

Update 2, Aug 27, 2004: Bumped to version 1.1 and added a check for the case where you don’t yet have any IP numbers in your list.

Update 3, Sep 9, 2004: Bumped to version 1.2. Added option to email you when the trap is triggered (enabled by default).

Update 4, Oct 26, 2004: Bumped to version 1.3. Spammers will now get an HTTP 403 “Forbidden” status code, and the output is set to “text/plain”.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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