As the spam comments on this blog rapidly approach the one million mark (since 2008), I’ve been coping with a variety of puzzles, comments that I have to moderate by hand. Most of these are quick decisions — they come from people I know, or at least recognize, though in one case the writer mistyped his own e-address, so I had to do some checking; or they have the stigmata of spam: links to dubious urls, dramatically non-native English, empty praise of my postings, queries designed to get me to reply, or at least link to their websites (for whatever dubious purpose). I’ve been very cautious, since I’m now getting a rising tide of spam e-mail as well as spam comments. But some cases are tricky.
Archive for the ‘This blogging life’ Category
A periodic report on comments spam on this blog, which has taken an uptick in recent days. In any case, the spam count (since the blog started late in 2008) passed 800,000 this morning and is already over 801,000. As against 8,210 approved comments. The avalanche continues.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 350,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 15 days for that many people to see it.
(About life on the net.)
Back on September 19th, I wrote:
By the end of the day, I will have accumulated 400,000 spam comments on this blog since it started. Meanwhile, spam e-mail has been accelerating; I’m now getting hundreds of pieces a day: spam in Chinese, lots of spam from Dr. Oz, huge amounts of penis enlargement spam, and much more. Fortunately, almost all of this comes via a Stanford server that will shut down at the end of the month. Meanwhile, it takes a lot of time just to find legitimate mail in this heap.
Then things got worse. The amount of spam e-mail — almost all of it for penis enlargement — increased by the day, until I was getting 300+ such messages a day. Appalling, since this junk was mixed in with mundane e-mail and things I really wanted to see.
This morning, I found 17 messages in the queue, instead of roughly 200. No penis enlargement ads at all. Oh blessed relief! (On the excellent hymn Blessed Assurance, see here.)
A truly dreadful day. To start with, it’s 9/11. Then came the news that my friend and colleague Ivan Sag had died (at 63) yesterday afternoon. (I will post on Language Log on his death.)
And then WordPress told me that this blog had been suspended because it violated their terms of service (without further explanation). I filed a complaint. And now:
Thank you for getting in touch. Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.
… We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.
Not a good day, though some of it came out ok.
Over the years, I’ve had a number of Stanford e-mail addresses. For the one I’m now using (the simplest possible), see here. This address replaced a longer one, which I used for some years. The older address went through a server that closed down some time ago, but continued as a forwarding service. On September 1st it’s scheduled to be shut down entirely, and forwarding will stop.
So make sure your address book has my current Stanford address.
I’ve been getting an astonishing amount of spam mail recently, most of it through the address that’s about to be discontinued. I’m hoping that that will eliminate much of this spam.
[Update: users of the old address have now appealed to the staff, saying that the end of August is too soon, and the shift has been postponed for a month. I was hoping for some relief from tlhe spam -- now 50-70 messages a day -- but I'll have to wait a month.]
… and the sun continues to rise in the east.
Another report on views of this WordPress blog. Last time I checked in, the most-viewed postings were heavily about sex and sexuality, though my “agapanthus” posting (on the plant) had been leading the charts by a considerable margin for months. Then “agapanthus” dropped like a stone off the list, and “Five-Ku on Channing Tatum” (with hot photos as well as haikus) zoomed to the top and has held the lead for at least a week.
Top posts for the past week, as of today:
Five-Ku on Channing Tatum, 172 views; Gang showers, 124 views; The Weinerfest rolls on, 64 views; Olympic exposure, 64 views; Men kissing, 61 views; Seven Supermen and Brad Pitt [with homoerotic shirtlessness], 60 views; Three more cartoons for Sunday [Bizarro, Pearls Before Swine, Dilbert], 48 views; soft/hard, 48 views
Only the cartoons for Sunday have (as far as I can discern) no sexual content.
I note that I post a great many pieces with no sexual content, or only the most glancing reference to sex or sexuality: technical stuff on morphology and syntax, lots of postings on language play, things on music, art, food, and plants, and so on. But the sexy stuff sells.
The story starts with this cartoon, sent to me by Don Steiny for pretty obvious reasons:
The cartoon is one of several offering, as an explanation for why unicorns went extinct, that Noah took two male unicorns onto the ark, so of course they couldn’t re-populate the species after the Flood. (In another version, the unicorns are explaining Noah’s mistake to him.) In another vein of cartoons, the extinction of unicorns is explained by their having missed the sailing of the ark, through a misunderstanding about the day or the time of day of the ark’s departure.
Side matters: one, the source of #1, which is obviously a professionally drawn cartoon; and two, the rise of a rainbow – butterfly – unicorn association in popular culture (a modern wrinkle in unicornology).