Spam

Spam screenshotI should probably look at my spam folders more often. Here’s what I recently found.

From the contact page spam list: about a year ago David Buckna (yes, that David Buckna) wrote insisting that Neanderthals were humans. Apparently he had posted a comment “3 or 4 times” and wanted to know why they hadn’t appeared. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that those too landed in spam, but I can’t tell for certain as the comment spam list doesn’t go back nearly so far.

This brings up a couple of issues: if you’re worried about your comment landing in spam, while I do encourage you to poke me about it you should note that your using the contact form will probably lead to the same result. There are instructions on that page for deriving my email address directly: I suggest you try that instead.

The other is the non-existent comment policy here. I don’t have any rules, but the result seems to end up that I’ll approve almost anything that makes it into the moderation queue (eventually), but will almost always forget to reply. Something similar goes for emails you send me, unfortunately, but I try.

Back in July, meanwhile, Jonny Scaramanga of Leaving Fundamentalism wrote to ask if I’d seen an ICR article going around at the time encouraging students to become creation scientists (I had). I got that email, but apparently he sent a second shortly afterwards saying that he’d found the relevant post – this landed in spam somehow. I’ve no idea how that happened, sorry.

That does seem to be all in that list, thankfully. Most of the rest is just various forms of the car spam in the picture above.

The comment spam list is much longer, despite only going back to the middle of October (doubtless there’s plenty I missed from before then). The only definitively real comment in there is from Sapphire, which I actually fished out a couple of days ago. I’m guessing that starting your comment with “Wow! So much packed into so small a space.” automatically trips the filter, regardless of how relevant and insightful the rest of what you wrote may be, or even if you’ve commented before. In fact, a common theme in all three of these cases seems to be that all have passed the filter in previous comments.

Those might be all of the obvious false positives, but the number of cases of spam that almost manages to be coherent is quite interesting. For example, does this sound like a believable comment to you?

I believe 100% with proper doctrine, theology & truth being espoused within the church leadership & ministries.

That doesn’t sound so unreasonable, until you see that the comment then provides an unexplained link to “new nike nfl jerseys” and even uses that for their name. Very strange.

I’ve found and ticked a box in the settings that will hopefully mean that old spam wont automatically get deleted in future. In the meantime, though, has anyone else had a comment not get through that I should know about?

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5 thoughts on “Spam

  1. Mostly Askimet seems to do a pretty good job of identifying spam. There have been perhaps two or three false positives. Spam that is not flagged is a bit more common, but still rare.

    I posted some samples last year. They are probably similar to the kind of spam you are getting.

    Recently, there have been a few in Chinese or Arabic. I cannot read either, but I figure that such posts are inappropriate for an English language blog.

  2. I find just as long as you disable pingbacks/trackbacks, that will eliminate all spam. It can be a pain to go back and do it to all previous posts, but it was worth it, I think.

    • I do get quite a bit of pingback spam. But most spam is not pingback.

      I would think that Peter does want pingbacks. His posts are often cited elsewhere, so the pingbacks give him pointers to those citations.

    • Yeah, it’s a useful, if horribly inefficient system.

      Since I wrote this the new spam has taken a turn for the unmentionable, and the Spanish. A strange mix all round.

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