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John T. Unger

PSA: Use Caution with this Hack, or Better Yet, Wait for the Feature

John T. Unger April 24, 2006

Update: This warning is no longer active. The hack discussed below has been released as a feature and the issues discussed below have been resolved. 5.4.06

If you read the comments on my recent post about CAPTCHAs, you noticed that Colleen at TypePad posted some very interesting info there about a powerful hack to combat spam. But be warned,
this hack is in beta right now… I honestly must recommend that you hold
off using it for the present until a few issues are resolved with the
way it implements.

It's in process now and I'll post about it the minute that it's safe
to use. I'm only calling attention to it now to make sure that everyone
who saw the comment knows that there are good reasons to wait. I've
talked with Michael and there are reasons to be really excited, but just not quite yet. Soon.

Below are Colleen's comment, Michael's response, and the warning that TypePad has posted on the IP banning page:

The IP banning page can be used to block keywords, URLs, email addresses, etc:
Posted by: Colleen | April 19, 2006 at 11:23 AM
The word banning hack that Colleen posted about
above is definitely a hack, and we're working on turning it into a real
feature. When we do that, we'll post about it on Everything TypePad,
and I'm sure John will post about it here, too.
Posted by: Michael Sippey | April 22, 2006 at 05:33 PM

I want to quote the warning from the IP banning page in full, since
there is definitely a call to use caution if you play with this hack:

When adding keywords or URLs to your comment ban list, be
careful with words that can be used to form other partial words. For
example, if the word "the" is entered into the comment ban list, any
URL using this word in its string would be banned. In addition, any
word in a comment using these letters consecutively would also be
banned. This means words like "theme," "therapist" and "theatre" would
be banned from being used in a comment, even though they are not on the
comment ban list. This could inadvertently prohibits legitimate readers
from commenting.

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