MT-Approval is a set of tools that you can use to protect your site from receiving automatic comment spam, all bundled into one easy-to-use plugin.

  • Easily mask the true location of your comments script with JavaScript
  • Quickly add a beacon to your comment forms to discourage direct posting
  • Require challenge and response for comment forms, like Comment Challenge
  • Add a timer to your comment form to help root out quick-posting robots
  • All options can be configured to discard, junk or moderate comments

It is commonly known that there are two sorts of comment spammers. The first is someone who visits your site and posts their spam. This is a very time-intensive process, since the user has to actually go to each page individually, and so it isn't as profitable.

The second method is much more lucrative (for the spammer). It involves posting comments in a completely automated manner, using bots which simply pull up your page and then submit them (or even bypass the page altogether, submitting directly to your comment script). MT-Approval was originally designed - way back in 2004! - to help prevent this process by generating a hash when visitors previewed their comment.

However, there are at least two problems with this. One is that it required a comment preview, and some people don't like to preview their comments. Two is that the development of automated tools that can process the preview option means that even this was no guarantee that it would work. So it was time for another update.

The latest release introduces several changes to your comment form.

The first alters the location of your comment script so that users must use JavaScript. This is an unfortunate side-effect, but it has been found that this simple act cuts down drastically on the number of automated comments received.

However, if the location of your comment script is already known, then hiding it will only do so much good, so there are some other features as well. These all fall under the broader umbrella of junk filters, and you can use one of them or all of them - or any combination. It is your site, and it is your choice! But in a nutshell, they allow a variety of ways that you can easily customize your comment submission process, making it more difficult than ever for automated comment spam to be left on your site.

There is a beacon, which simply provides a hidden field in the comment form. You have the option of providing a challenge and asking for a response. These two functions are taken from the Comment Challenge plugin, which unfortunately has not been updated for MT4 at this point. Some other enhancements have been added as well, making them even more useful.

You also have the ability to introduce a time stamp when the page is loaded and another when the comment is saved, which can be used individually or combined to determine how long it took the comment to be written. Most humans will take a little while to write, while an automated submission, by its very nature, will send the comment very quickly. This allows you to account for that.

Each of these filters can be configured individually to determine whether you will discard a throttled comment, whether the throttled comment will be junked - and if so, what weight the junk will receive - or simply moderated. Of course, you can turn any or all of these tests off as well. What's more, many of the field names in use can be customized at any time, so even if the name is added to an automated poster, your site won't be affected. If you think your site has been compromised, simply change the name, rebuild your templates, and you're off and running again!

MT-Approval is one of the oldest anti-spam plugins available for Movable Type, and it has turned into something of a Swiss Army Knife of tools for your web site. Try it today!

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Documentation

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