TypeKey and Identity

Six Apart, the makers of the wonderful Moveable Type software that powers this site, has been working on a solution to the recent comment spam epidemic. Currently there are lots of evil-doers posting irrelevant comments to sites like this in the hope of raising their rank in search engines like Google. This is indeed a problem (first hand knowledge) and I would bet that the spammers are quite successful. They are getting lots of free links that no doubt affect search engine placement (more background).
One solution to the problem was to create a blacklist of spammers and prevent them from posting comments. (software here) This works fairly well, but the list requires constant updating. The new Six Apart software, TypeKey, does the opposite. It creates a centralized identity database and lets site owners choose who to allow to comment. This enables people to create a positive identity (who you are) instead of employing the blacklist negative identity method (anyone who isn’t on the blacklist can post – including those that just happen to have changed their identity since the last blacklist release).
I think it’s generally a good idea, but I’m skeptical of a centralized identity database run by a for-profit company (even someone nice like Six Apart). I took an exam yesterday on international institutions and there was a question about the UN disapproving the credentials of delegates from a fictitious country. The initial idea was to confirm the identity of national representatives, but the credential approval process has also been used to deny representation in the UN for political reasons. It’s not that Six Apart will be controlling the content of their database, and it’s the site owners that will control individual representation, so it’s unlikely that that type of problem will arise. Still, it’s interesting to see how the identity confirmation issue can play out in two completely different mediums.

One thought on “TypeKey and Identity”

  1. I’m going to jump all over MT 3.00 as soon as it comes out. I’m really getting sick and tired of the spammers who make it through the mt-blacklist.

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