Support » Plugin: Spam Free WordPress » [Plugin: Spam Free WordPress] No spam, maybe, Genuine comments lost, YES!

  • Resolved inge12


    “Zero false positives” is NOT TRUE!!

    We use a reliable theme, Weaver II Pro.

    We have a very busy site ( with lots of genuine comments. However, the spam that Akismet put in the spam folder got annoying and the promise of spam rejected before it was picked up in the database was tempting.

    So we installed the WordPress Spam-free Plugin. We inactivated it after 6 hours with no comments, when I thought we should be getting comments. It seemed strange.

    I wondered if there could be a conflict with Akismet, and the author said that it would run with Akismet but suggested that I should replace Akismet with spam-free.

    I was reassured by good reviews and re-activated the plugin.

    I tested the installation with a number of spam comments correctly identified by Akismet. Spam-free let through them through if they did not contain links in the body. Akismet didn’t.

    Spam-free correctly rejected comments with lots of links. It seemed that we needed both plugins.

    The spam queue remained empty!! Great!!

    After working fine for a number of comments, one of my lengthier comments got rejected because I was “posting too fast” and the comment was deleted and unrecoverable. Not sure this was spam-free’s fault.

    HOWEVER, my husband worked for nearly an hour on a thoughtful, detailed comment, but it was rejected by spam-free for lack of a password or “incorrect password.” (Spam-free is supposed to work with “anonymous passwords,” whatever that means.) This was definitely Spam-free’s fault, and the comment was unrecoverable. The “back” link went back to an empty comment form.

    How many other users were frustrated?! We do not know.

    But if you value thoughtful comments on your blog, I would advise against installing Spam-free. Instead, use Akismet, disable track-backs and moderate your comments.

    If you’d just rather not be bothered or just love plugins, by all means use Spam-free. You’ll never know the comments you missed!

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Plugin Author Todd Lahman


    Here’s what inge12 said in the official support forum:

    Is Spam Free supposed to work with Akismet?

    I had both Akismet and Spam Free installed, but there were apparently no comments for the space of about six hours, when we usually have comments.

    Even though I could post comments, I thought maybe others couldn’t.
    And, by the way, I re-posted spam comments that Akismet had accurately flagged (I don’t know how) but they passed through Spam Free.

    I want to use Spam Free because you say it reduces load on the server, AND moderators don’t have to spend time deleting comments.

    Here was my reply:

    Spam Free WordPress works with all other spam plugins, however, it is best to disable all other spam plugins because they interfere with what Spam Free WordPress does.

    To test Spam Free WordPress, logout out of your WordPress account, and try to leave a comment.

    To learn more about Spam Free WordPress please read this page:

    inge12 then replied:

    Thanks. I’ll enable it again to see what it does.

    Now inge12 writes all the garbage you see above.

    As I said, To test Spam Free WordPress, logout out of your WordPress account, and try to leave a comment.

    If inge12 had bothered to read the troubleshooting part of the page I linked to, and asked for more specific help, this issue would have been resolved, as it has been for other users of the plugin. Keep in mind I’m not a mind reader.

    Spam Free WordPress Comment Spam Plugin

    There are people who wrote negative comments like this before, and I still went on to resolve issues for them that were not related to the plugin. Those same people did not take back their negative comments, but they still use my plugin, which works exactly as advertised. This plugin would have worked for you as well if you had done your part in reading the troubleshooting section, and asked for specific help.

    Todd, I’m not leaving “garbage.” Your reply is rude!

    I did test Spam Free by logging out of my account and leaving comments. That was a no-brainer! I submitted many different comments, mostly copies of spam marked by Akismet. It appeared to work, except that it allowed too much spam through, necessitating the use of Akismet as well. I felt no need to test it further because I got no error messages. HOWEVER, that simple test does not guarantee that it continues to work!! The comment that was lost/rejected by Spam Free was a long one. Perhaps you should warn people that Spam Free does not like long, detailed comments?

    Perhaps if you had warned users that the simple test is not enough, I would not have had this problem and left this negative report.

    Another thing that would really help would be preserving a comment and allowing a user to go back to it with the <Back> button on the rejection form. I thought we’d find the original comment by clicking the back button on the form, but it was gone. Not great design for commenting plugin.

    What my husband experienced was definitely the result of Spam-Free with the error message regarding lack of a password or “incorrect password.” His was a real user test –from a different computer than mine. I still wonder how many others experienced the same problem.

    If you have worked with others who had problems, you should know that there are some plugin conflicts. Why do you not post a list of plugins which you know conflict with Spam Free? Then users can decide which they want more –their current plugins or yours.

    Others have had similar complaints. Yet you continue to assert that there are “Zero false positives.” This is simply NOT TRUE!!

    Furthermore, Spam Free passed through spam that Akismet correctly identified. I have no idea why Akismet is so smart, but it sure is a lot smarter than Spam-Free. Perhaps it’s because Akismet is more mature.

    There’s no point going to your “official support forum” while you continue to make exaggerated claims and you are rude to users who do not find your plugin as perfect as you make it out to be. How could you possibly know that there are zero false positives?

    Your users can not know how many comments they are missing, even while they are happy that their spam folders are no longer filling up.

    Of course, I uninstalled your plugin. When it comes to choosing between having to delete spam daily and missing significant comments, I’ll choose the comments any day.

    Yes, I should have done more testing on a test site first. But your claims were so positive (Zero false positives!) that I rashly installed it on a high-traffic site. I will test it again on a test site when I have time. And if I can make it work and verify that it does not come up with false positives after throwing a battery of comments at it, I’ll take back my negative comment.

    How do we know your last paragraph above is true? Words are cheap.

    Plugin Author Todd Lahman


    Everything you said in your reply proves you never read a word on this page,, as I suggested in our first interaction. I realize that getting a free plugin takes away the incentive to be an informed consumer, but being uniformed does not excuse your defamatory accusations. I take offense to your accusations, and would suggest you govern yourself in a respectful manner, as well as refrain from making such false statements regarding my plugin.

    I also suggest you read, so you can see how uninformed you are.

    If you have not read the plugin literature, which you clearly have not, and if you have never read the plugin code, then restrain yourself from making any sort of accusations, because doing so can get you into trouble. This trouble is further compounded, when you recommend in a public forum, that others avoid using my plugin on a false and uniformed basis while also making false accusations. I consider your accusations to be serious, and so should you. I will respond accordingly if you continue your attacks.

    Todd, you wrote:

    Everything you said in your reply proves you never read a word on this page,,

    As a matter of fact, I read every word. Normally, you “troubleshoot” when there is a problem. If the first remedy works, that’s where you stop.

    There was no problem when I tested the plugin by leaving comments that had been caught by Akismet, other than that Spam-Free did not filter them out. These may not have been comments left by bots, but Akismet is smart enough to flag them as spam. (And, by the way, in thousands of spam comments over the last few months, we have not had a false positive from Akismet. I think Akismet “learns” from comments manually marked as spam.)

    But the point is that you advise:

    “To test Spam Free WordPress, logout out of your WordPress account, and try to leave a comment.”

    I did that, and it worked fine. So no more testing was presumably needed.

    I would not have known that serious comments are blocked by Spam Free if my husband had not worked so hard on a long, serious comment, only to see it vanish into cyberspace. In your plugin, the “back” button should lead back to the original comment, which should have been stored in a temp file on the computer. But it doesn’t.

    Furthermore, you do not warn people to do extensive testing for this sort of problem.

    Your threatening does not demonstrate that your plugin is as you describe it:

    “IThis trouble is further compounded, when you recommend in a public forum, that others avoid using my plugin on a false and uniformed basis while also making false accusations. I consider your accusations to be serious, and so should you. I will respond accordingly if you continue your attacks.”

    Characterizing me as ignorant does not demonstrate the value of your plugin.

    Characterizing the description of my experience as “your attacks” does not demonstrate the value of your plugin.

    It seems to me that as long as you characterize users of your plugin as ignorant and the telling of their experience as “attacks,” rather than figuring out how you can improve user experience, people should be very wary of using any of your plugins.

    It also seems to me that by forcing people to come to your site for support, you are controlling what appears on the WordPress forum, and thus WordPress users cannot tell how many problems people actually have with the plugin.

    The bottom line is this:

      Even if it worked as described, Spam-Free is not the only plugin needed to control spam. Akismet is still needed to catch manual spam.
      Bloggers who value meaningful comments should do extensive and thorough testing before installing your plugin on a live site. (My mistake was that I only did the recommended test.)
      Yes, Spam-Free does a good job of blocking spam with a lot of links, and that will reduce the amount of spam that needs to be deleted.
      HOWEVER, it is not true that it produces “Zero false positives.” That is actually too big a claim for anyone to make, because it cannot be proven. However, it can be disproven by just one false positive–which is what I experienced.

    I noted the following in the FAQ

    Is Spam Free WordPress compatible with other comment spam plugins?

    Yes, however, other comment spam plugins will cause false positives, so it is best to disable all of them, including Akismet.

    I figured that “false positives” would not be a problem, if they ended up in the spam folder, as they do with Akismet–especially if the number of spam comments were reduced.

    Hence I ran Spam Free WordPress with Akismet.

    The problem was that the comment was rejected/lost without ever getting to the spam folder (as WordPress Spam Free appears to be desiged to do) Thus neither the comment writer nor the moderator had any way to retrieve the comment.

    Plugin Author Todd Lahman


    AFter writing I did not get false positives with Akismet during several months, I got 6 false positives today!

    Just sharing in the interest of transparency. 🙂

    Still would love to think that Todd’s plugin works as promised. It would make life SO much easier.

    Am testing the “Math Reloaded” plugin at the moment. Looks promising: Much easier to read than most CAPTCHA’s, and I’m not sure we need comment from people who can’t do 12+7=?

    Plugin does not require Javascript, unlike the Growmap plugin, which uses a simple check box, but requires Javascript to be enabled.

    Someone keeps marking this thread as “Resolved.” I wonder who that might be?

    I’ve been testing more spam plugins. I found NoSpamNX, which looked really promising. No javascript required and no math. Local blocklist, etc., much like Todd’s plugin.

    I seems to catch all spam as well as Akismet does. It seemed to work well on a test site — just as Todd’s plugin worked well on initial testing. (I have not yet done extensive testing on a test site.)
    HOWever, NoSpamNX also produces false positives from comments that are thoughtful and have no earmarks of spam. It shouldn’t happen with that plugin, according to the posted design of the plugin.
    The difference is that the author of NoSpamNX did not claim “No false positives.”

    Back to Math Reloaded for the time being. It’s a bit of a bother for those who comment, but better than losing comments.

    Just wondering whether Spam Free WordPress requires Javascript. Instructions don’t say so.

    Moderator Jan Dembowski


    Brute Squad and Volunteer Moderator

    I’m closing this topic as it’s really not productive.

    @inge12: You have a problem with this plugin and/or the wording or support. It’s a free plugin please consider using one of the many others in the repo.

    This really isn’t the forum to complain about the instructions for Todd’s plugin. If you need help then work with the plugin and use Todd’s forums. That’s why he set them up as he’s made it clear that that is where to get support for his software.

    Spam Free WordPress Comment Spam Plugin

    If that doesn’t work out satisfactorily then really, just stop using that free plugin and move on.

    @todd Lahman: Really? Defamation?

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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