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The spammers are getting clever

Most comment spam is pretty easy to identify and avoid. I almost got tricked by a recent one, though.

Just a tip for y’all. If you want your comment to stay and be taken seriously, it’s generally a good idea not to have your comment’s website be a porn website, even if you write a legitimate Ubuntu-related question in your comment’s body.



Blog comments and spam

I just deleted a comment that Akismet thought was spam. I wasn’t 100% sure it was, but I erred on the side of caution.

I like comments. I liked the comment from someone saying Just posting to let you know people do read your blog, even if they don’t always comment. It may be a bit vain of me, but I want people to read my blog. I think I actually have something to say (whether people agree with what I say or not is a different story), and I wouldn’t post otherwise. That’s my main deal. I just want to get people thinking.

When I was growing up, I was really argumentative, and talking was about winning arguments. Expressing my opinion was about convincing others to accept my opinion as correct (and their opinions as incorrect). Now, though, I don’t care if you’re against gay marriage, against Christianity, against feminism, against Linux, or against anything else I’m for. Come on and read what I have to say, because I think it’ll make you think. You may think for a while and then say to yourself, “Naw. That doesn’t change my mind.” That’s okay. You thought about a different perspective, though. That’s cool.

I love comments that give me a different perspective, too (Hari, who hasn’t commented in a while, was great at that, and I have the utmost respect for him, even though we disagree over a lot of subjects). I also love comments that reaffirm me and say, “Hey, you may think you’re the only one who thinks this way, but I think this way, too.” I’m only human. I seek affirmation just as much as the next person. What I won’t stand for, though, are moronic flamebait comments and spam.

Thankfully, I don’t think my blog has gained enough exposure to start attracting en masse the flamebait comments (which I assure you, if and when it does, I will delete promptly and without warning). A flamebait comment doesn’t seek to spark up dialogue. It seeks to incite argument. It seeks to also make personal what should be intellectual. It isn’t any more about what I say but who I am. A challenging comment says “I appreciate what you’ve said, but have you thought about…?” A flamebait comment says “This is so typical of liberals/feminists/Christians….” Believe me, I can tell the difference, and I’ll keep alive the comments that disagree with me intelligently. I’m usually pretty stubborn, but every now and then someone will disagree with me or offer a new perspective that will make me go, “Oh, I didn’t actually consider that.”

And then there’s spam. Spam is usually pretty easy to spot, and Akismet (WordPress’ built-in spam-scanner) has an almost 100% accuracy (in my experience) in terms of deciding which comments are spam and which aren’t. If you ask me, most spammers aren’t very smart. They load their comments full of sex-related keywords in posts that are usually not sex-related, and they put in too many links. A smart spammer would find tags relating to sex and make an actual comment that could be relevant to the post and have the website as the website of the commenter instead of in the comment itself. I had one of these (not sex-related, but related to a commercial company) just now and I had to think about it for a second whether it was spam or not. The comment seemed innocuous enough. It could have been genuine. But the comment was too generic (had nothing to do with the post), and the website of the commenter seemed too sketchy. So I deleted it.

So, thanks, commenters, for keeping the dialogue alive! And thanks, WordPress, for creating and maintaining Akismet.