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You already learned how to handle user comments in the video about managing comments. You have also learned what a pain in the neck it is. Many of the problematic comments aren't actually from people at all, but instead are computer-generated spam, and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. I showed you how to moderate spam, but there's also one other level of spam prevention, called Mollom. This video shows you how Mollom works, and how you can change some of its settings. Before we go on to Mollom, I do want to suggest that you go back and watch that video about managing comments, if you didn't watch it already, because that really represents your first line of defense against abuse on your site.
Mollom is a unified system for testing anything that a user tries to put in your site. It does that in two ways: First, it looks at the text itself and tries to see if it thinks its spam based on what other people have reported as spam. The second way it does it is using something called CAPTCHA, an acronym that stands for, ready for this, Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. The CAPTCHA is something that's easy for people to do but hard for computers to do automatically.
Now I'll show you how that works. To change Mollom settings, go up to Configuration and scroll down to CONTENT AUTHORING and click Mollom. Here you see different places where people can enter information into your site. By default, Mollom is set up so that you don't even know it's there. It looks at the text and if it thinks its spam, it simply throws it away. I'll show you how to change that behavior. I will do that by changing the comments that go into a news item. Go over to Configure, click it, and that brings up a new screen of controls.
While set to analyze the text, Mollom will look at two different possible problems: either spam or profanity in these comments. It also gives you an option as to whether to look at just a subject or just the comment itself--the body of the comment that, is. And then finally whether it should hold onto that comment or simply throw it away right away. It should be obvious how this works, so I'll move on to more complex one, which is CAPTCHA. I change the radio button there, and that removes all the other options. Click Save.
And of course in the list it shows exactly what's going to happen. When somebody tries to comment on a news item, it will show a CAPTCHA. Now I'm going to switch over to another browser where I'm visiting the site as an anonymous user. And I'll go to a news item, this one here which I added in the last video, and I'll try to add my own comments, let's just say "California stinks, Blah, blah, blah." There we go. Now I think I am going to post that, right.
But then I'm challenged by this CAPTCHA right here, and I have to type in what it says. Now for somebody who is actually typing in information, that's not really a problem. You can see it's fairly readable, zzuBd in this case. But if it's a computer doing it, it looks at this and can't quite make that out, and that's basically how automated spam is stopped by Mollom. I won't even save that. I will just let it be as it is. Let's take a look at some of the other settings for Mollom. To do that, I switch back to my administrative interface. It's possible to blacklist specific words. Like let's say that you're running a site for a company, and you don't want your competitor's name to be mentioned.
Well you can just add and say that is something I don't want to have in any field at all, and you can say whether you wanted to be an exact match or just that it contains the word--that is, it might be in the middle of a string of text. And you would add it as should be obvious here. You can define these blacklists as being spam, profanity or simply unwanted, as would be in the case of a competitor's brand name. Finally, there are certain numbers of settings that you can have on Mollom, generally speaking. These get somewhat complex, and rather than go into all of them individually, I would like to recommend that you visit the Mollom site, which is at mollom.com, and you can read the documentation there if you like.
There are also links from the Configuration page if you like. Finally, if you have decided you wanted to completely remove all protection from some sort of form, you can do that by simply clicking the Unprotect button here and say yes, I do want to confirm that. And in that case, there will be no challenges, either by text analysis or by CAPTCHA. If you want to add protection back again, you just click add a form, click this pop-down menu, find the kind of form that you want to protect, and you might remember that was Comments on News items.
Say Next, decide what kind you want. I am going to keep it on CAPTCHA and save. And it's back in the list. You know, when people talk about spam, they often talk about stopping spam, but I decided to call this video "Slowing spam" instead because to put it frankly, we missed our chance to stop it 20 years ago. The systems that allow it to continue which are both legal and technical are well in place, and they are not going away. Unless you're willing to turn off your comment form and forbid all user input in your site and turn off your contact form as well, I am afraid your tools are somewhat limited. But in combination with vigilance, you can prevent your site from being a big contributor to the problem.
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