Colon Comments

A BIG THANKS to the reader who tipped me off to trouble.

It appears that some spammer tricked me into adding “:” to my comment blacklist, so anyone trying to post a comment got this message:

Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: :

It took me a few minutes to realize that that second “:” is actually the questionable content. Every comment contains “:” in several places, so everything was blocked.

I’ve removed the blacklist entry and things seem to be working fine. My apologies if this prevented anyone from posting their wisdom.

I don’t remember adding the colon to my list, but I often clean out spams while at work and the handy little email link that MT-Blacklist includes deletes the comment, rebuilds the entry, and adds offending strings to the blacklist. If you don’t pay attention, you might somehow add something you don’t want to.

Which makes me wonder if clever spammers figured out how to include common things (like a colon) in their spam so that it would get added automatically. I’m sure a lot of people out there won’t notice or figure out what’s wrong with their MT-Blacklist. They’ll only notice that their comments don’t work any more. So they drop MT-Blacklist, and the spammers have more targets.

That might be a stretch. But who knows?

So if you’ve googled on the error message above, check your List on MT-Blacklist for “:”. I found mine by sorting by date. It was the most recently added.

If it’s there, remove that entry.

UPDATE: Nice. I fix that entry, so now I’m getting bombed by spammers. What bastards.