Comment spam in WordPress

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Something that shocked me when I first started blogging was the existence of “comment spam.” I had no idea that spam existed outside the world of emails. But then, every day there’s roughly 50 comments for my blog that aren’t real comments from real people.

They have different levels of sophistication, too. The simplest ones are just extensive lists of URLs for places to buy drugs online. Those are easy to pick out.

However, the majority of them look, at first glance, like an actual comment. They don’t have any links in the body of the comment, and many of them just have (usually) flattering but unspecific comment.

For example:

Essentially, the article is actual the sweetest on this noteworthy issue. I consent with your consequences and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. With your authorization allow me to grab your feed to be up to speed with future articles. Thank you a million and please keep up the fabulous activity.

This is an actual comment spam that is pretty typical of a lot of spams that I receive. And of course, there would be a link to some site that they would put in the “website” field, so that they can get some links from my blog to theirs. (Being linked to gives one a higher spot in Google search results, and of course just makes it more likely that someone will click the link in error, which is why there’s so much spam of this type.)

Then, there are also comment spams that are just weird or ungrammatical:

I not to mention my guys were found to be looking at the good hints located on your web blog and so immediately got a horrible feeling I had not expressed respect to the web site owner for those secrets. My young boys appeared to be totally stimulated to see all of them and now have certainly been using these things. Thanks for truly being really thoughtful and for making a decision on this kind of important guides millions of individuals are really desirous to understand about. My honest apologies for not saying thanks to you sooner.

My temptation is to remove the back-links, but keep the vague and flattering comments and respond to them all as if I actually believed that these spammers found my website helpful in such a nonspecific way.

Here’s an interesting and somewhat related question:

Recently, I went to my (actual, physical) mailbox in my apartment, and found an unsolicited print advertisement had been delivered there. I took it out, and remarked to my friend that I had only received spam. At that point, we both wondered whether something can be spam if it is in print, or if that appellation is suited only for emails? Can I get spam by post?

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1312,
    title = {Comment spam in WordPress},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-22,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/22/comment-spam-in-wordpress/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Comment spam in WordPress" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 22 Feb 2011. Web. 10 Dec 2018. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/22/comment-spam-in-wordpress/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 22). Comment spam in WordPress [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/22/comment-spam-in-wordpress/

Fun things to do with news headlines

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Do a search on your favourite news site for the word “gay,” then intentionally misread the word “gay” in the headlines as a pejorative. Here’s some examples. It’s fun. :)

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-1067,
    title = {Fun things to do with news headlines},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-12-22,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/12/22/fun-things-to-do-with-news-headlines/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Fun things to do with news headlines" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 22 Dec 2010. Web. 10 Dec 2018. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/12/22/fun-things-to-do-with-news-headlines/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Dec 22). Fun things to do with news headlines [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/12/22/fun-things-to-do-with-news-headlines/

Which is worse?

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Velociraptor on a bicycle

Velociraptor on a bicycle

Which is worse? A velociraptor on a bicycle or a bear with an automobile?

And yes, there is a correct answer.

I asked Pickles, and she says, “They are both unimaginable evils.”

Four points to whoever makes the most persuasive argument. If you can also give a feasible plan for escaping a bicyclic velociraptor or automotive bear, you will also have the satisfaction of probably having saved us all.

"Who's been driving in my car?"

"Who's been driving in my car?"

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-844,
    title = {Which is worse?},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-08-7,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/07/which-is-worse/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Which is worse?" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 07 Aug 2010. Web. 10 Dec 2018. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/07/which-is-worse/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Aug 07). Which is worse? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/07/which-is-worse/

Search engine optimisation

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The following is a list of keywords that will bring up my site on the first page of results in Google. In some cases they are the first result!

For some reason, my blog ranks really well with Google for these terms.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-805,
    title = {Search engine optimisation},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-08-1,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/01/search-engine-optimisation/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Search engine optimisation" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 01 Aug 2010. Web. 10 Dec 2018. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/01/search-engine-optimisation/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Aug 01). Search engine optimisation [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/01/search-engine-optimisation/

McGill University’s website

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Check out the latest XKCD comic. Let’s use this comic to evaluate McGill’s front page, www.mcgill.ca:

Things that the XKCD comic says will be on a typical university’s front page:

  • Campus photo slideshow … ✓
  • Alumni … ✓
  • Events … ✓
  • Press releases … ✓
  • School’s philosophy … sort of, if you count the summary in the footer
  • Letter from the president … ✓
  • Virtual tour … no
  • Full name of the school … ✓

Things that the XKCD comic says that people will be looking for on a typical university’s website:

  • Faculty contacts … no
  • Campus address … ✓
  • Application forms … there’s a link to a page about it (half points)
  • Academic calendar … I have no idea where to find one of those for McGill, and I’ve been a student there for over a year. I’m serious about this. I have no idea how to find out when Reading Week is, officially. Last year, I found out by looking on the McGill Student Union’s site for the week in February when it wasn’t offering any programmes or services.
  • Campus police phone number …no
  • Department/course lists … no
  • Parking information … no
  • Usable campus map … such a thing does not exist at McGill. And yes, I’m aware of this map – it is unusable. Try to find the Bioethics Unit on there without cheating.

Looks like the XKCD cartoon gives a pretty much accurate assessment of McGill’s front page.

If we compare this to the front page of UWO, my alma mater, UWO does slightly better, but not because they have anything more useful on their site. They just don’t have the campus slideshow or letter from the president.

I’m tempted to email this comic to McGill Communications Services, but I don’t want to be a jerk.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-798,
    title = {McGill University’s website},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-07-30,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/07/30/mcgill-universitys-website/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "McGill University’s website" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 30 Jul 2010. Web. 10 Dec 2018. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/07/30/mcgill-universitys-website/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Jul 30). McGill University’s website [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/07/30/mcgill-universitys-website/

It’s live

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BGC Web Design Logo

The new BGC Web Design logo

I have put the finishing touches on my refresh of www.bgcarlisle.com. Actually, I’m still doing some compatibility tests, but I wanted to launch the site anyway. I can’t be bothered to make it work with IE6, really.

There is a brand new logo, a new look-and-feel to the whole site, a portfolio of previous projects, and testimonials from one client. (More to come, I promise!)

Here’s hoping the investment of time pays off this summer!

Check out the new www.bgcarlisle.com and then send all your friends with small businesses and lots of money my way.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-695,
    title = {It’s live},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-03-31,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/31/its-live/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "It’s live" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 31 Mar 2010. Web. 10 Dec 2018. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/31/its-live/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Mar 31). It’s live [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/31/its-live/

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