Now that I'm awake from the hotel spam. I guess I should channel my annoyance into at least one more blog entry.
Comment spam is becoming more "sophisticated". Originally, my policy was to erase stuff that linked to commercial sites if they didn't add to the dialog in the comments. Now comment spammers are actually trying to contribute to the discussion, but still leaving links to their commercial sites. It is much harder to identify as spam. Only by looking at the site that is linked do you realize that it's probably spam.
This is sort of the social equivalent to hanging out at someone's party and handing out flyers for penis enlargers at the end of the party.
The problem is, I've always had people who post on my blog partially to promote themselves and their own sites. There are some borderline sites that the spammers are promoting that don't have to do with pharma, sex or gambling. So where do we draw the line?
The new version 2.661 of Movable Type has a feature that allows you to throttle the number of comments from a single IP address over a certain (configurable) time period. It also causes a redirect before linking to the web page of a commenter. (Prevents google juice from being transfered to commenter.) These features are like banning flyers at parties or only allowing a person participate in one discussion at a time at a party. I think this will help, but the question turns into a question that we are faced with in real life. What do we do about people who are blatantly self-promoting in a context where you are allowing anyone to speak freely?