Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Sausages are required

Along with the upgrade to MT 3.31, I also installed Jay Allen’s Comment Challenge plugin. It’s a very simple, and at least for the time being, very effective anti-spam plugin for Movable Type, that adds an extra compulsory field to the comment form.

Right now, this means that when commenting, there’s an extra box where you need to type the word ‘sausage’ in order to allow your comment to be accepted. Spambots aren’t yet intelligent enough to pick up on these and so the field either gets left blank or isn’t even submitted at all, which the plugin then marks the comment down as junk.

At present, you can miss the field out and your comment will still be submitted, however, it’s likely that I’ll have to fish it out of the junk folder (and I’ve already mentioned today just how many junk comments I’m getting). I will probably change this soon though – in future, you’ll be told that your comment wasn’t submitted and asked to fill the field in. This should mean a lot less work on my part.

It’s not a silver bullet against spam – in fact, it’s pretty crude – but it works for now, and gives me time to look for more permanent solutions. I’m pained to use JavaScript or image verification because of the accessibility implications. I may investigate the use of magic tokens as well, but I don’t yet know of a plugin which offers it.

But, for now, please remember to serve a side order of sausage with your comments.

Update: This morning I fixed a bug which meant that the sausage was silently deleted if you previewed the comment before submitting, which meant that I had to fish 3 comments out of the junk folder this morning.

I’m also now mandating that you type the word in, as otherwise you’ll get an error message.


  1. But I’m a vegetarian…

  2. Imagine they’re vegetarian sausages then….

  3. Mmm… sausages.

  4. Two things…
    I notice this is happening even when I’m logged in on TypePad. Do you actually get spam from logged-in users? If not, is it possible to remove it for them?
    Secondly, the sausage box isn’t in the tab index, so I can’t tab from the URL box to the sausage box to the comments box. :/
    I understand completely why you’re doing this, though.

  5. Oh, I see, now I posted my first comment, it disappears. Okay, that makes sense, I think.
    And yes, I meant TypeKey, not TypePad. It’s late.

  6. *smacks head*
    Clearly I hadn’t read far enough. Thanks!

  7. *smacks head again*
    I forgot you’re using Movable Type while I’ve switched to WordPress. There’s got to be something similar for WordPress. (Failing that, I do know about BotBlock and the other similar offerings.) But really I wish KittenAuth was live…