Preventing TrackBack Spam and Bad Robots

Steven Taylor passes on some good suggestions for derailing trackback spammers.

He’s also soliciting advice for keeping pesky robots from visiting. Clearly, the robots in question have not been programmed according to Asimov’s specifications:

1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

It would seem that the robots in question are interpreting the 1st law too narrowly, the 3rd one too broadly, and ignoring the 2nd law entirely.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Blocking trackback spam is simple; use the Trackback Validator plugin from Dan Sandler and Andres Thomas-Stivalet. I turned off Akismet completely, and in the years I’ve been using Trackback Validator, only ONE trackback came through it into the moderation queue (the spammer had a pseudo-blog that had a legitimate link-back).

    Dr. Taylor’s security-through-obscurity may work for a while, but will be considerably less effective than the way Trackback Validator works…simply checking to see if the page linked actually links back to you.