Archive for the ‘Spam’ Category

The three million mark

January 17, 2015

Earlier this morning, the number of spam comments Akismet has snagged on my WordPress account (since December 2008) passed three million; last I looked, the score was 3,002,256. On these milestone occasions I reflect some on the blogging experience.


Today’s spam publication

September 29, 2014

From someone using the name “Tomas Kant”, to a huge number of groups (including the linguistics faculty at Stanford), a call for papers for a “journal”:

International journal of science, commerce and humanities (IJSCH) is an open access, peer-reviewed and refereed multidisciplinary journal published by post academic publications. The objective of (IJSCH) is to provide a forum for the publication of scientific articles in the fields of science, commerce and humanities. In pursuit of this objective the journal not only publishes high quality research papers but also ensures that the published papers achieve broad international credibility.

Yes, it stinks of spam; note the absurd breadth of the fields covered, and the absence of capitalization in the names of the “journal” and its “publisher”.


On the spam train

September 12, 2014

While I was sleeping, the tally of spam comments reported by Akismet for this blog passed two million; at the moment, it seems to be 2,000,736. Obvious trash is filtered out automatically, without my even seeing it. But every day there are requests from Akismet for me to moderate comments, most of which I’d characterize as non-obvious trash, some of them fairly clever attempts to get me (and my readers) to link to a url that usually turns out to be a commercial site of one sort or another. Recently, many of these come from sites in Germany, I don’t know why.

Some of them are content-free congratulations on the marvels of my site. I have to look at congratulatory comments fairly carefully when they come from people I don’t recognize: a few of them mention specific content from one of my postings and have no commercial link, so they get a pass.

Others masquerade as requests for technical help of some kind.

And then there are the “advice” comments, designed to get a rise out of me: they report that there are a lot of misspellings (not specified) in my postings; or complain about some posting that I provided only “visuals” (images), when I should have posted more text; or complain about some posting that I provided only text, when “visuals” were necessary. Sigh.


June 20, 2014

A moment out from posting more or less serious things to note this entertaining comment, which was snagged by my WordPress spam filter and turned up at the top of the queue (so I noticed it):

[N N fountain pens] On hearing this Anna sat down hurriedly, and [N N] hid her face in her fan. Alexei Alexandrovich saw that she was weeping, and could not contro [N N Fountain Pens] l her tears, nor even the sobs that were shaking her bosom. Alexei Alexandrovich stood so as to screen her, giving her time to recover herself…

A brief digression with Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin and Anna Karenina. And their damn N N fountain pens.

Miscellany for 9/19/13

September 19, 2013

Twelve items that have come by me recently.


Autograph spam

January 16, 2011

It came by back in September, my first piece of autograph spam:


Professor of Linguistics, Stanford University

Arnold M. Zwicky

Guggenheim Fellowships


Good morning


My name is Andrzej Migdalek.

I am a collector of autographs for 20 years.

I collect autographs of famous and popular with the world of politics, culture, science and sport from around the world.

In my collection I have over 6 thousand of the original autographs.

I kindly ask for an autograph.

An autograph would be an honor for me.

A heartfelt greeting from Polish.


Yours sincerely:

Andrzej Migdalek.


Below I’ve included your postal address:


Andrzej Migdalek

ul. 1000-lecia 22/6/1

41-933 Bytom


A few words about the linguistic aspects of the message, then some about autograph spam.


This week’s best spam comment

December 2, 2010

This morning, on this blog, on my link posting “On AZBlogX: the gay baths”:

[site offering “Meet Thailand girls”] is just for you if you are looking for a place where you can find, singles for friendship, love, casual relationships at our site.

Presumably, the spam bot was just searching for mentions of sex, and so picked up this posting, so inappropriate to what the Thai site is offering. (Not that an offer of Thailand boys to “meet” would have interested me.)

(The comma between the verb find and its direct object has its own charm.)


Annals of spam

February 14, 2010

A spam comment on my iPad posting, from a clearly commercial site:

I was studying something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your linear position on it is diametrically contradicted to what I read in the first place. I am still contemplating over the diverse points of view, but I’m leaning heavily towards yours. And regardless, that’s what is so good about modern democracy and the marketplace of thoughts online.

Totally devoid of substantive comment — in particular, not connected at all to the material in the posting it’s “commenting on”.  Just designed to attract clicks to the originating site. Still, for a spam comment, pretty well written.

Predictably, the very same message appears, with various names as the “poster”, in comments on a number of blogs, sometimes more than once on a single blog. Not on my blog, since I spammed it to death.

Others have complained about it. For instance:

Amusing. You win. Your prize is that I won’t post your spam in my comments because it’s still spam and obviously crap; but I will take your pathetic words and use them to amuse myself for the three minutes or so it took to deride you in public. (link)

There are two points of usage interest, though: be contradicted to something, contemplate over something. Both caught my eye, but the first struck me as odd, possibly non-native English.

Googling on {“contradicted to”} pulls up some entirely grammatical examples in which the to begins an adverbial complement to the verb: a purpose adverbial, a degree adverbial (to some degree), etc.

Then there some odd usages that look malapropistic to me: contradicted ‘contraindicated’ (in medical contexts), as contradicted to ‘as contrasted to’. Be contradicted to ‘be contradictory to, be opposed to’ (as in the spam comment), if from a native speaker, might also be malapropistic.

There are also a fair number of examples of a different sort, which look like instances of “intransitivizing P-addition” (here), with intransitive contradict to as a variant of standard transitive contradict, for instance:

These are just a few of the great names who had laid down the foundations to the massive world of mathematics. People had contradicted to their views and theories, but as they always provided a mathematical explanation to each of their theories, they are all recognized today. (link)

It was generally believed that teleportation was impossible, for it contradicted to all scientific laws imaginable. (link)

Both of these seem to be from non-native speakers, however, so it’s not clear what the extent of the phenomenon is for native speakers.

Contemplate over is different. OED2 has contemplate on, upon, over, with the object of the preposition denoting something contemplated, but all are marked as obsolete. OED2 doesn’t list about, but I’d venture that it’s now the most common P for complements of intransitive contemplate. But there are a fair number of instances of over in this function: I am contemplating over whether…, contemplating over weight loss products, contemplating over a new car. As well as a large number of instances of about in this function.

Of course, transitive contemplate is also available, so this does look like a case of intransitiving P-addition — with the usual twist that the transitive and intransitive variants are often subtly different in meaning.

(Contemplate about has an ambiguity parallel to one for think about: “contemplating about art” ‘musing about art, thinking deeply about art’; “contemplating about relocating to Charlotte” ‘considering (as a possibility) moving to Charlotte’.)

For me, when I want an intransitive construction in such cases, I find about much more natural than over. But others seem to find over natural in many circumstances, so I suppose I can’t fault the blog spam on that account.