Just a brief housekeeping note: I’m experimenting with a new commenting system here to try and reduce the number of automated spam comments that come in. As a side benefit(?), you can now log in from your Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress.com accounts if you so choose. Let me know if that makes your lives immeasurably more convenient.
For other self-hosted WordPress bloggers who might be interested, I’m using Jetpack Comments. I’ll be curious to see what it does to page-load times. Other comments plugins already in place include Bad Behavior, which has cut automated comment spam submissions by about two thirds, and Akismet, which still does a great job blocking at least 99% of all spam from appearing on the site, with very few false positives. Why worry about spam comment submissions if so few of them ever make it through Akismet’s filters? Because every submission refreshes the page, regardless of how well the site might be cached, so that an intense spam storm can be a real drain on server resources. Like most websites, Via Negativa is on a cheap shared webhost, and a year ago got booted off its previous webhost for using too much CPU — precisely because I didn’t understand how automated comment spam can produce CPU spikes.
UPDATE (10/19): There appears to be a conflict with Bad Behavior, so I’ve deactivated the latter plugin for now. (Depending on what happens with spam comments, I may end up reactivating it and deactivating Jetpack comments.)
UPDATE 2 (10/21): Wow, this is MUCH better than Bad Behavior at stopping spam comments! Only three have made it through to be caught by Akismet in the past two days (normally it would be around 100). The main downside I see to this system is the longer delay after posting a comment, but that doesn’t seem like to big a deal. Also, it conflicted with the comments subscription plugin I was using before, so I had to switch to the Jetpack-provided option, making me even more reliant on the plugin.