One of the things you’re spared, out there on the other side of the curtain at NN.C, is the work that goes into keeping us spam-free. Never fear — you won’t call up this site someday to find a weenie-enlargement advert where the daily update goes. The problem is the comments, where ‘bots daily deliver great bushels of spam to old threads, to pick up search-engine traffic, I guess. Every day, I go to my secret “recent comments” page, look up the source of the bad ones, add them to a blacklist and kill them all.
It’s a minor chore, but one I refuse to neglect. Who the hell do these people think they are?
You probably know how a blacklist works — it’s basically a version of closing the barn door after the horse escapes. The problem is, there are lots of barns and lots of horses, and…never mind. The point is: They leave certain fingerprints, and we — that would be technical advisor John and I — banish them and take them off the guest list.
The problem is the fingerprints. Many of you have wondered why your comments were blocked, and the answer, 9 times out of 10, is that you included the word “info” or “information” in your comment, and “.info” is one suffix beloved by marketers of cheap Rolexes and e.d. drugs. This week I got a particularly noxious dumping from a porn site that uses the URL “.drive.to” and I added it to the blacklist, then deleted it, because the filter kept turning up a comment by a loyal reader and poster who used the phrase “you can drive to the city.”
The day after I deleted it from the blacklist? Eighty pieces of porn spam from the drive.to people.
So. What this means for you is, someday sooner or later we’ll probably switch to a better spam-blocking software — WordPress or another. And if you leave a comment, use “data” or “particulars” as synonyms for “info” and “navigate your motorcar in the direction of” instead of “drive to.”
And we’ll be happy all around. Carry on.