we are aware of the situation and have stopped anonymous posting to the site for now so we can at least fac the task of cleanup,we are cleaning it as fast as we can while doing a thousand other things preparing for the re-launch of the site towards the end of this month. It is unfortunate that we will have to eliminate anonymous posting in the future until we find a sustainable way to automate as much of the moderation process as possible.
Sadly, a lot of the spam has been done by registered users with, well, fake accounts, we are eliminating those as well but as you can see from the sheer amount of spam, it would require a full time post just to keep it clean, let alone doing proper moderation of legit comments.
Please know that we do continuously work on the site and although we have limited resources, we are working as hard as we can and the new site functionality will hopefully be evidence of that.
This was always a major issue when I worked closely with the Dept for Education, namely everything was stipulated as having a budget that ran to Date X exactly but there was an insistence that there be a digital aspect to everything that could function as a "legacy" for the project with no concept that systems need administration/hosting/support/backups/etc.
Now I am not saying that the blame is singularly with the Dept or with suppliers, just that neither fully understood that the digital offering had to either augment an ongoing human business process, or an ongoing human business process had to have ownership of the digital offering in an ongoing capacity. This is pretty much an unsolvable problem when you address the other issue that funding is always cut at Date X.
In this case though I assume funding is ongoing so it's a case of no one being assigned ownership of moderation (or rather ongoing moderation was not a primary concern of their goal).
Why on earth put comments on a data feed for railway timetables?
I'm sensing somebody being told to make the data "new and interactive" and "customer-focused" and "responsive to customer need dynamics". I suspect the bastard phrase "a dialogue with stakeholders" reared it's ugly head
^^ This BUT they should have done it properly. At the very least they should have added nofollow to all links in user populated fields. IMO they should remove outside linking altogether and cut the spammers off.