Friday, December 19, 2008

A few words about Comments

I'd like to start by thanking my readers who leave comments about posts they find interesting. Your feedback is very much appreciated, and it's good to know I'm not the only one with a warped sense of humor!

That said, I had to start moderating comments on this blog when the controversy over The High Road erupted a few months ago. I've posted about it on four occasions, and I'm preparing another update that I'll publish soon. Some trolls decided that since the truth of the message was beyond question or challenge, they'd rather attack the messenger. Regrettably, many of them - not all - couldn't even do that in a civilized manner. Their vocabulary was of the gutter, and their grammar and spelling weren't much better! Needless to say, no such comments are welcome here. Disagreements are fine, provided we can be civilized in discussing them. If not - no discussion at all.

Over the past two months in particular, there's been a growing flood of 'spam' comments from IP addresses in India (mostly) and other Middle and Far Eastern countries. Most appear innocuous on the surface, but they invariably contain links to Web sites advertising various products. Some are infected with viruses and other nasties. I've tracked back all I detect, and deleted them, of course. I've also reported their IP addresses and other details to the appropriate authorities.

Unfortunately, I don't always have time to follow up every link in every comment. This means I'll have to introduce a new policy. If you've commented here before, and I know you, I'll accept that any links in your comments are likely to be OK, and publish your comment with them. However, if you post anonymously, or using a name I don't know, and there's a link in your comment, it's going to be deleted without further ado. I can't risk exposing my valued readers to spam or infectious computer code.

Also, there are some commenters who seem to have no reason at all for posting their replies. I've had a couple by visitors identifying themselves by a first name (which links to another site if you click on it), and a one-word comment like "Hi" or "Hello". They don't have anything to say about the post to which they're responding. I can only assume that the Web site to which their name links is also either a spam site, or one with infectious code: so such comments will also be summarily deleted.

I'm sorry if this policy means difficulties for anyone. I invite and encourage comments, and I think most of us enjoy reading them. However, I'm not prepared to let this blog become a gateway for spammers and crooks. That means I have to take these precautions.



Julie said...

sounds like a fair approach to me, Peter.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't agonize over it. I would expect your readers to be familiar with anti-spam provisions.

We all have to deal with this crap. If we all dealt with it effectively, then it wouldn't be profitable and it would go away.

Of course, you can consider it a sign of success ... I co-own a small manufacturing company and we'd take the spam if it came with additional traffic and sales on our site.

Of course, not everybody's ways of dealing with such things are sensible. I am doing business with a (famous) artist who has an e-mail link on his page. The link behind the words goes to a dead account-you have to type in what it says, and not let the computer fill in the "to" window. There's no warning on the site and you don't find out until a week after you've e-mailed him and you get a "mailer-daemon" error back.

You're being a lot nicer about it.

Anonymous said...

I reckon this won't affect your honest readers. Jim.

SordidPanda said...

Everyone appreciates a well administered website. Brigid does the same thing, so do I (but without your or Brigids numbers).


Anonymous said...

Flogging for the first offense. Secong offense, keelhauling. If they survive and commit it a third time, then it's drawing and quartering. Once we've located a couple, others would think twice before starting.
Hey, I can daydream, can't I?

"He's just this guy, you know?" said...

Having a quiet little blog, as I do, seems to be an advantage in this way. Spammers don't bother with me... no profit in it.
There's an upside to just about everything!

I do enjoy reading yours, friend. Plaese continue, and thank you!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Peter, those most affected won't be reading this post and/or won't care anyway. It's a shame those folks cause the extra work; they are the blogging version of undiciplined people with cans of spray paint. I believe your approach is totally appropriate.

PeterT said...


It's not an issue, you have a light touch on the delete button.

Spam appears to be one of the penalties of a successful site. I suspect congratulations are in order!


Anonymous said...

Again, I am reminded of Robert Heinlein. While I am a big booster of free speech "There is no free lunch." You want to advertise get your own blog. This one is yours, and you may say what goes on inside.

The incivility and rudeness of folks who wish to commercialize bloody everything really annoys me. I don't allow links in my comments, and you're being rather nice about it.

Ami said...

I think it sounds fine, also.

And wanted to say that even though I'm the only one from my family commenting, I read a lot from your blog out loud to the rest of the bunch.

Evidently my entire family has a warped sense of humor.

I blame it on the air in manic, pass the granola, Portland, Oregon.

Anonymous said...

I have posted comments on your blog several times, alway anonomously --- for a variety of (private) reasons, just as I post anon. on two other blogs I regularly read.

Comment moderation is not only your right, it's a valuable tool to weed out the jerks, and any sane and thoughtful commenter should not have any problems with it. I enjoy your writing, even if I don't always agree with you, and will happily jump through any hoops you as the blogger deem necessary to keep the peace.

Anonymous said...

Do what you need to to keep the spammers away. Or the tin foil hat brigade.

Xavier said...

Good policy Peter........

I don't think your dedicated readers will mind.

Simeron Steelhammer said...

I understand the feeling too well.

You can be too nice of a fellow for your own good you know Bayou.

But the sad truth is this....

You often have to put up fences not to keep the cows in but the wolves out.

That is what this policy is to me, putting up a needed fence to keep the trolls out while still allowing the good posters in.

Only thing I see you might want to work on a bit is a way to "check" new posters links to see if they are worthwhile...and that could be a real headache in and of itself.

Perhaps an "AVG" style of checking. I know thier webshield checks websites before you go there for bad ones and puts a red flag on it instead of a green checkmark...

But that is of course up to you and seems more fuss then least for now.

Regardless...I'll still be reading the blog and chirping up now and