Akismet shines above WordPress storm
It’s been a long, frustrating, infuriating 10 days for WordPress bloggers. The new and improved editor that isn’t, with all its attendant bugs, hiccups, missing features, and malfunctioning has been driving us crazy and nobody is happy.
So in recent days, when some of my faithful readers were trying to post comments, they and I discovered that Akismet was holding some (not all) of their comments for moderation. It seemed like the final insult. I can’t imagine what they must have thought when they’d been actively commenting and then, without warning, they click on “Post Comment,” and their comment just vanishes. I don’t know if they got a message saying the comment was being held for moderation or if they were just left with an empty comment window.
Anyway, obviously it was a problem with Akismet, our trusty spam filter. Normally it works beautiful, sitting quietly in the background, protecting us from endless spam. But it seemed like this was the week for all things WordPress to malfunction. So why not Akismet, too?
In accordance with my settings, your first-ever comment here will be held for moderation. Once it’s approved, all of your future comments should appear immediately (unless they contain some links).
Except they haven’t been. Not always. A few comments from regular readers were unexpectedly held for moderation.
I checked first with WordPress and received the reply I expected: It’s an Akismet problem. Check with them.
So, last night, I sent an email to support @Akismet.com, complete with a screenshot of the posts awaiting moderation.
First thing this morning I received a personal reply from Greg Stewart. More grumpiness from me. I think when I said Akismet had “blocked” some comments and sent them to moderation, he thought I meant they’d been tossed in the spam bin. Poor wording on my part apparently resulted in a misunderstanding, so I replied, probably in an irritated tone, and tried rewording things.
A reply came within the hour. Aha! Greg had ferreted out the problem, which was so obscure I’d have never figured it out, even though I understand the “rules” for searches.
If you’ve dug deeply enough into the bowels of your Dashboard, you know there are settings for Discussions (comments). See Dashboard > Settings > Discussion. There are two sections there labeled Comment Moderation and Comment Blacklist where you can list specific things in or about comments to cause them to be held for moderation or completely blacklisted. I’ve listed some specific IPs, URLs, email addresses, and screen names. Here’s where I goofed: I listed one screen name, Eric, to be held for moderation. That meant any appearance of eric either as a name or as part of word, would be flagged. And Akismet, like all computer algorithms, took me very literally and held all comments containing the word America. D’oh!!
Greg found the problem right away. I don’t think I ever would have. Such a simple little thing.
So a tip of the hat to Greg Stewart at Akismet for ending this very frustrating week with a burst of sunshine. Thanks, Greg!