Monday, January 18, 2010

Spammers -- Stomping Roaches

As Travis mentioned recently, the spammers have gotten more active lately, and some of them are also subtler. At this point, though, I've had it up to here with spam, and my tolerance for anything which seems even vaguely spammish is at an all-time low.

So. What this means is that I'm going to assume that anything which might be spam is actually spam. On the borderline, that means anything in a foreign language I can't read will be deleted. (For a while I copied these and ran them through Babelfish just in case, but I never found any which weren't spam and eventually gave up.) Anything which talks about an unrelated subject ("Hey, interesting discussion here, reminds me of my new plumbing business I'm eager to tell you about...") without any specific commentary on the actual topic of the post will be deleted. Any vague praise which could apply to literally any blog ("I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the hard work you put into your articles and that I've bookmarked your blog and will visit daily!") will be deleted.

If that means I end up deleting a comment by the occasional sincere reader, I'm truly sorry for that. But I'm not willing to leave someone's vague, spammish comment (and their link) up long enough to be spidered if I can help it. All roaches, and anything which has more than four legs and therefore might be a roach, will be stomped immediately, no exceptions.

Note that I don't object to links per se. Someone on my Wordpress blog posted a short comment on my Visiting San Francisco post which actually responded to something I'd said, rather than just making some vaguely general remark. I responded to the comment and left it where it was, despite the very clearly commercial link attached to it. Anyone who actually participates in the conversation is welcome to include a link to their web site. And participation doesn't mean a dissertation-level commentary -- just some proof that the commenter actually read the post and is responding to some specific bit of it is enough.

I don't think that's too much to ask, and anything short of that will be deleted. I really don't want to have to set up captchas on my blogs (or comment moderation on my LJ; I've gotten one or two spam comments on LiveJournal, but for the most part the spammers have so far left it alone [crossed fingers]) because I want it to be as easy and un-annoying as possible for real people to leave comments. That means, though, that I need to be a hard-nose about after-the-fact moderation.

I don't imagine this'll affect any of my regular readers or commenters, and I hope legitimate first-time commenters won't find it impacts them either.



Charles Gramlich said...

It is like stomping roaches, in that the job is never done. I've been fairly lucky but I really hate dealing with it. Yet, it seems to be the price we pay

Angie said...

Charles -- exactly, there's always more. :/ I hate letting them pile up, too, because most of the time what they're looking for with comment spam isn't actual customers (although they'll take those, of course) but rather links to their blog to drive them up in Google standings, etc. Whenever I see comment spam, I drop whatever else I might be doing online and go delete it immediately, hopefully before any spiders get to it. [sigh]


writtenwyrdd said...

As far as I'm concerned, commercial link = spam. I do not allow my blog to become the forum for commercials and adverts. I dont' put ads on it, and nobody else is going to coopt my (admittedly limited) forum.

Angie said...

WW -- I'll give a bit of leeway for someone who's making a positive contribution. I mean, one could interpret my URL link as "commercial" since I'm hoping people who come to my blog here will occasionally click on the sidebar link and buy my books, so there's a bit of room for interpretation. But my tolerance for advertising is extremely low -- basically one blog link, and if it's drugs or porn or any of the usual spam stuff, that's an automatic delete -- and the participation in the posted conversation has to be very clear.