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Spam Situation Ridiculous (Ask the Readers)

I realize this comes with the territory of being a hugely successful blog, but in spite of the magic of Akismet we get so much comment spam, we’re wondering how to fight it without hindering actual commenting – that’s really vital to us, we do not want to make it less likely that you’ll comment. But the spam is making us look like a link farm and in addition to being an irritant it may be killing us with Google. Pic related.

I took out the website field in the comment template and I set comment threads to auto-close after a few weeks or so. Not good enough. Here’s the list of remaining options I came up with when spitballing how to battle the spam with the fellas:

A) Simple captcha system (what’s 2 plus four)
B) Typical annoying captcha system
C) Comments with URLs in them going to pending
D) Comments with URLs get rejected
E) Site user registration, only let people post URLs in comments if they are logged in
F) Disqus-like comment system again requiring people to log into something
G) Make sure Akismet’s working.. dig around WordPress forums for tips
H) Tighten article comment cutoff to one week or whatever
I) Maybe there’s a way to let people post URLs only if there’s been an approved post with the commenter using the same email address and masculine nickname?
J) Look for phrase consistencies in recent spam, set up rejection filters for things like “my website”
K) Look for geographical consistencies of spamming IPs, ban entire countries from the site (EG China, most of Eastern Europe, Nigeria), or if possible just from commenting but not the whole site

I noted that I did not like any of these that much, Smith’s reaction was that none of them are good in that they would all hinder commenting or traffic or both and so we should just put up with the spam and delete on the fly. But I’m more concerned than he is so here I am now adding L) to the list, post an Ask for Readers bit about this. Please do not post fake spam here as a joke because it feels ironic, it’s not that ironic. Maybe a little. Any tips?

Update: Ike advised us to install Bad Behavior, so we did. My money’s on Ike, think we’ve got our answer.