1.2 Why one of your posts didn't appear for hours...

Or - some notes on how to stay out of the spam queue.

Sometimes, when a comment is posted, it doesn't appear - or not for hours, anyway. It's a puzzling and frustrating experience. If you have been posting successfully already, this is usually because of OlyBlog's spam filter - a web service called Akismet, engaged in an endless co-evolutionary struggle between its mechanisms for sorting spam out of the millions of messages it filters every day and the invention of new clever ways to evade those mechanisms by spammers.

Several times a day, when Akismet can't confidently categorize an OlyBlog message as spam or ham, bogus or real, it puts it in the site's spam queue until one of the people who has volunteered to look at them logs on, checks them out, and decides whether to post it or delete it. It can be a while until that happens, so a post can mysteriously fail to appear and then show up hours later.

For example:

  • Akismet seems to think that posts with nothing in the actual message (or just ...) might well be spam; but it thinks that messages with "No text" or even "n/t" are OK.
  • Akismet thinks that two or more separate messages with identical or very similar text, posted immediately after each other, might well be spam.
  • Akismet thinks that messages with links to commercial sites might well be spam, especially messages with links to several commercial sites or to ones that are being linked to by a lot of other spam messages in the millions of messages a day it filters, as well as by your perfectly legitimate link. But it's usually perfectly happy to post a message that just has the address of a site like that, but no link.

As you can see, if you don't like waiting in the spanm queue, some small changes in how you post can help you avoid this trouble, and reduce the workload of the volunteers who look at what Akismet can't decide about. (I'm adding this post to the collection of tips in the "How To Use OlyBlog" section.)