Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

“The Frustration Loop”

Published on in 🔗 Links
Short link: https://b.jlel.se/s/6f1
AI generated summary: The blog post discusses a strategy to frustrate spammers by implementing various measures such as clearing forms, disabling pasting, switching input focus, and throwing different errors, resulting in a significant decrease in spam.

Spammers and their spam are annoying.

Instead of just blocking them, Herman, author of the Bear blogging platform, had a clever idea to make their lives frustrating:

  • When spam is detected, clear the form (so all the info needs to re-typed) and throw an error, eg: “Our servers are bearly managing. Try again later.”
  • Disable pasting in all text areas. We can’t make it too easy.
  • Every 5 to 10 seconds the element focus switches to a different input so while they’re typing in one area, they may accidentally start typing in another in a mildly annoying way.
  • And finally to top it off, if/when they finally manage to submit the form again, throw a different error, eg: “Ensure content contains necessary parameters.”
  • Repeat.

And it seems to work, as spam dropped from 30% of new blogs to 5%.

When I implemented the contact and comment forms in GoBlog, I noticed that using a CAPTCHA (even if it’s just a simple one) already prevents a lot of the automatic spam. But about once a week, I still get spam comments or contact messages thinking my blog might promote sketchy online casinos.


Jan-Lukas Else
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