A note on comments.

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.

Posted at 8:37 am in Uncategorized |

8 responses to “A note on comments.”

  1. Dorothy said on September 21, 2005 at 9:30 am

    Wow I never realized how much work is involved in keeping up your site, Nancy. It must be awfully time consuming, but rewarding nonetheless. Why else would you keep doing it? And we loyal readers extend three cheers (actually waaaay more than that) for your diligence in all things anti-spam-like!

    And you can navigate that in a motorcar all the way to the bank.

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  2. John said on September 21, 2005 at 10:43 am

    This is one of a few daily stops on my first coffee of the morning. I love your writing as well as the loyal readers’ comments and appreciate your efforts. I get enough weenie and various pill ads as it is.

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  3. Mindy said on September 21, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    Like you don’t have anything else to do — thanks for swabbing that deck so much and so often. It would be a drag for the comments to meet an untimely end. My morning coffee wouldn’t be nearly as refreshing without them.

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  4. basset said on September 21, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    what we need to do is round up a site sponsor who’s willing to send Nance out on tour… coffeehouse discussions and invitation-only salons in selected cities, say two weekends a month. this idea will start looking really good when the Detroit winter sets in, probably around Halloween.

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  5. deb said on September 21, 2005 at 6:48 pm

    get right on that, basset. and make sure you include milwaukee on her whirlwind salon tour.

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  6. MichaelG said on September 22, 2005 at 8:50 am

    We’ve got a spare room here in beautiful Auburn. I’ve also got a ton of SWA drink tickets I’d be happy to share.

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  7. Joe said on September 22, 2005 at 11:09 am

    Hell, get her a airplane I’am a pilot and would be glad to fly Nance around.


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  8. Mike said on September 24, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    Glad you do that filtering, the comments are a good part of each post. I’ve been getting some lately that are just a URL linking to some SPAM. Typepad lets me block IP’s but that doesn’t help much. I could block from old posts but need to do that on a per post basis – annoying. Guess I need to nag my support people.

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