What I’m Up Against
I made a mention a few days ago about the amount of comment spam I get, and I thought you might enjoy some numbers: In the last week, the Whatever received 4,760 pieces of comment spam, as of about 6:20am this morning. I know this because I deleted them all from the junk folder today, because all that crap in the junk folder was slowing down the site refreshes.
For those of you not wishing to do the math, that’s 680 spam messages daily. As a comparison, in the last 24 hours I’ve logged 116 legit comments (i.e., made by real humans), which is pretty much an average day around here. So the spam outpaces the humans by about 6:1.
The vast majority of the spam gets trapped in my moderating and junk queues thanks to my filters, which are updated via a shared blacklist, although from time to time a new purveyor gets through. I woke up this morning and found over 100 spam messages on the site; each had the same keyword. Dropped the keyword into the local junk filter with an instruction to catch all its variants; since I did that 20 more spam comments went right into the junk filter.
I could probably reduce spam comments by entirely closing off comment threads older than a couple of weeks, but some threads are still active by way of real people (the “Writing Tips for Teens” thread is an example of this), and I’m loathe to just seal them off unilaterally. Active spam management is a reasonable compromise at the moment, although if it gets much worse I may have to revisit this idea. I do seal off individual comment threads if I see that the only traffic they get is spam. It’s a continual battle between the forces of good and evil, it is.
The fact I get 4700 spam messages a week is the primary reason why I suspect, should direct brain computer interfaces ever become available, I won’t be getting one. Does anyone doubt that within weeks, the spammers would have found a way in, and your entire visual field would be riddled with spam advertisements for Tramadol, in Cyrillic lettering? And they would never go away. Yeah, I’ll be keeping my brain unwired, I suspect.