.Text, Comment Spam, Captcha, FreeTextBox, and more

A friend who runs AngryHamster was recently inundated with spam posted through the comments field of his Web site. His site, much like this one back in the pre-WordPress days, runs on a product called .Text by Scott Watermasysk (the product is now marketed as Community Server :: Blogs by Telligent Systems). Apparently, this comment spamming is not new, and some users have come up with solutions to this problem using CAPTCHA imaging techniques (particularly a .Net implementation by BrainJar).

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get them to work reliably. So, I did what any self-respecting coder would do: hacked it myself.

The implementation (which is running on this site) has the following features beyond the standard .Text 0.95:

  • A limited CAPTCHA method in the comments. I couldn’t get the image to render, so I just displayed it as text. This should solve the problem – at least until some spammers recognize what I did and try to hack it. (It’s a temporary fix until I fix the image rendering.)
  • The latest version of FreeTextBox, a rich text box editor for Web pages. Although totally unnecessary from a spam perspective, it was necessary for a different reason. Since I’ve given up on Internet Explorer and started using Firefox almost exclusively, I’ve had one problem: the .Text: admin section would not use FreeTextBox unless you were running IE5 or higher. I added the latest version of FreeTextBox (2.0.7) to my .Text implementation and hacked the code to use it without regard to the browser used by the client. Nore more IE just to post blogs!

The real test of FreeTextBox will be if this page renders correctly when I click post, so… let’s find out!

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