Dealing with Spam on WordPress

For a while now, I’ve been using the WordPress desktop app instead of the web interface. Mostly that’s gone well, but one serious flaw is in handling spam comments. I still get many spam comments filtered out (thank you Akismet), but it’s easy to forget about them. This morning, I happened to check, and found there were over 1,600 spam comments.

Using the app’s interface to deal with this many comments was simply impossible. You can only review 20 comments at a time using the “Bulk Edit” feature. I’m sorry, 20 isn’t bulk when facing 1,600! I could select 20 at a time, review, and then delete. But then I had to go to a new page, click on Bulk Edit again, review, delete, repeat. I tried changing my settings for how many comments to view (as suggested in Help), but that didn’t change the number displayed in “Bulk Edit.” I also tried selecting multiple pages of comments, but only the last page was deleted.

So finally, I went to WP Admin on the left-hand menu. This took me to the old web interface (which fortunately is working again in Safari, so maybe I can just return to it), where I was able to view Spam comments the old fashioned way. I could have reviewed every one and at least not had to choose “Bulk Edit” so many times to do it (since that’s the default view). But facing about 1500 messages to scroll through, most of which would be long and full of gibberish and links, I opted for the “Empty Spam” command at the bottom of the screen. Poof, they all disappeared.

My apologies to anyone whose actual comment might have been caught in this spam purge. In my experience, that’s very, very rare, so I doubt it happened. WordPress is usually very good about alerting me when there’s a real comment (or one that’s potentially real) and allowing me to decide wither to accept, reject, or mark as spam. And it’s very good at filtering out spam and leaving the real messages for me to approve. As long as I remember to go to WP Admin, spam will be much easier to deal with in the future, and I hope I don’t let it build up quite that much!

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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