Fighting blog comment spam

July 4, 2015

Honest people buy advertising. Spammers take what is not theirs, which is the definition of sociopathic:

a disregard for the feelings of others, a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one’s goals

During the life of this blog, I have had to read and discard about 120 spam comments for every one legitimate comment received. Most of the comment spam is entered by humans working for pennies in developing countries. The old captcha didn’t slow them down at all; it wasn’t designed to.

I’ve re-enabled comments, but with a different kind of captcha that requires answering a math question such as “How many degrees are in half a circle?” I’m hoping that the spammers either won’t know the answer, or won’t take time to read and answer the question. I’m trusting that all honest readers of this blog will know how to answer the captcha questions. (If someone doesn’t know how many degrees are in a half circle and doesn’t know how to find the answer with Google, then they’re reading the wrong blog.)

For now, experimentally, comments are welcomed.

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posted in Administration by Dave

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7 Comments to "Fighting blog comment spam"

  1. Karl wrote:

    I am not a spammer! and great video on neural network, would be great if u can do more practical example of c++ coding

  2. Hossein wrote:

    Thank you a gazillion times.
    I was going crazy for not being able to comprehend artificial neural networks.
    Thanks to your great job, I could understand it.
    thank you again, again and again.
    Please keep up the great work of yours.

    By the way, spammers can easily google this, and get the answer, or easily create an application that would do this for them (since finding the result in this manner is easy!)
    I suggest you add the captcha as well, since If they happen to use the app or script (Its unmanned) as I just pointed out, they will get stuck at captcha.
    but without such a thing, spamming this blog is made very easy for them.
    Entering a captcha wouldn’t kill us, but will definitely stop them.
    Hossein
    Cheers.

  3. Jacob Johnson wrote:

    Hello Dave, I’ve just started watching your video “Neural Net in C++ Tutorial on Vimeo” and am commenting while it caches. I’m already enjoying the video – you’re laying it out very clearly.
    I’m thinking of trying a project here shortly where I connect an EEG headset (have made a very rudimentary version before but might just go for an OpenBCI version with this one), ANN, and hacked open USB keyboard. The ANN part is the least understood for me at this point, even after a ton of reading. I expect that in the future we’ll have neural nets on a chip, but I think I’d like to actually be able to build one from scratch / have it do simple things first.

  4. Dave wrote:

    Hi Hossein, thanks so much for the feedback and encouragement. About the captcha, this blog now gets nearly zero spam comments just by using a question instead of the traditional captcha. Apparently the spammers who make a living solving captchas would rather skip the question than break their stride.

  5. Will N, wrote:

    Dear dave,
    Thank you so much for your video and open source code on C++ neural net. I’m an amateur programmer with some high level mathematics under my belt whos interested in AI. I would like to express how grateful I am for your video. It was well oraganized, very detail oriented, with good explanations and was very comprehensible. Also thank you very much for the source code, I did watch the video and write it along with the video which was even more helpful, but having the final document was even better so I could check my work. Im so glad other people besides colleges post open source material like this for those of us who either cant afford it or cant stand the classes. Please dont be deterred by the spammers and sociopaths.

  6. Chris Hanning wrote:

    Hi Dave,
    I’ve followed a trail of links from a forum discussion on neural networks on the CodinGame site.
    Your ‘Neural Net in C++ Tutorial’ on Vimeo is one of the best thought-out coding tutorials I have ever encountered. Honestly, I’m as sparse on superlatives as a nun’s habit is sparse on sequins but I learned so much, not just related to NN’s, but also in terms of good habits and small details when designing code from a plan and a blank page.
    Thank you.

  7. Dave wrote:

    Hi Chris, Thank you so much for the kind feedback. Much appreciated.

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