May 8, 2012
When SpeakerRate started getting decent organic search rankings, the spammers took notice and have been hitting our site hard ever since. A couple of months ago we made a number of tweaks to our spam filter to help catch spam comments and speakers. This afternoon we deployed changes that restrict the use of URLs throughout the site. As of now an entry will be marked as invalid if it contains a URL when it shouldn’t (e.g. the ‘location’ field on the create talk form shouldn’t contain a URL). Entries that should contain a URL (e.g. the ‘slide URL’ field on the talk create form) will be run by our whitelist and either marked as spam or approved. If your URL is marked as spam, please note that you can always request an addition to our whitelist by pinging us through our feedback form.
We have also removed the notion of a pseudo user, which streamlined the process for rating or commenting on talks by allowing users to bypass the account creation process. We liked the simplicity of this approach, but it facilitated spam accounts and comments. We also needed to remove this feature to begin integrating with third party apps.
We realize that in some respects these controls are draconian; however, we believe that the community and speaker ratings are ultimately SpeakerRate’s most important value.
On another note, for the engineers out there, we also wanted to mention that we have recently upgraded to Rails 3.2.x and migrated SpeakerRate to Heroku. We hope this will enable us to build and deploy features quicker while also providing a more stable environment.