Akismet: Not Very Intuitive

I think it’s safe to say you’ve heard of Akismet. Good old Akismet, by the makers of WordPress, is the de facto standard for blocking comment spam. It normally does an excellent job, though it misses a few spam comments here and there.

I think it’s safe to say that 98% of WordPress users (I made that number up, just so you know) use Akismet.

But what about the web newbies, just installing WordPress for the first time? You know, the people who don’t have a whole lot of experience with the web, but heard about blogging and WordPress, and decided to set it up with Fantastico on a cheap shared webhost. Those people are in for an unpleasant surprise…

Akismet, by default is deactivated, therefore unprotected. The equivalent of running a Windows-based PC on the internet without a firewall and antivirus, the blog will be slammed with spam pretty quick. It may not be a lot at first, but it will happen.

And not only is Akismet not activated by default, it’s buried on the Plugins page, where non-techies aren’t necesarily going to look. Then you need an API key to use the plugin, which requires registering for a blog at WordPress.com (a most confusingly named site) and then hunting down the page with the API key and pasting it into the plugin settings on your blog.

Here’s how it should work: When you first install WordPress, it should gently nudge you to activate Akismet, and like to the Plugins tab. When you activate the plugin, it should request that you enter your API key, and instead of telling you to get one from WordPress.com, link to Akismet.com, and let them applu for one there.

  • http://www.eclicker.net John


  • http://www.myturbotraffic.com MyTurboTraffic.com

    Your right. I recently joined wordpress and thought it was a little silly that the blogs script that you can download and upload to your own server were hard named wordpress. Then half of the themes didn’t work. After using a shovel and digging through all of the unusable admin options I finally got it going. When I installed the update plugin and the spam plugin it acted funny and just annoyed me til I deleted it and now I just use my wordpress account blog. Seems as popular as wordpress is they’d have a dummy version for newbies who weren’t so blog techy! Just a thought but I feel your pain! Dave

  • http://webmasters-forum.org Webmaster’s Forum

    I agree,they sholud remind you to activate the plugin.

  • http://www.netage.co.za Goran Web

    I am currently researching creating a blog for our site. Is it advisable to switch it on as I have heard that we will loose a lot of posts initially that might be potential posters, or is this not the case.

  • http://www.webmaster-source.com Matt

    @Goran, You shouldn’t have any trouble. Yes, some legit comments will probably be flagged when people post them, but they go into the Akismet queue, where you can approve/deny them. Akismet will eventually learn which are spam and which are not.