WordPress Spam – Gobble The Gook

Freshly SqueezedI had a quick gander at Freshly Pressed today – WordPress’s shop-window of what it considers the best in the WordPress blogging world on any given day. I am not sure how this is decided – if there are real people reading through all our blog posts each day ratifying and rating each one or if they do indeed employ helper monkeys detailed in their annual report they so kindly sent me on the new year or even if there is some software algorithm that as if by magic assesses the prosy wheat from the babbling chaff.

Anyway what caught my eye were its stats. Yes there are lies damned lies and then there are statistics but these statistics seemed innocent enough. And it advised that today there were 838,238 new blog posts and 487,313 comments – it is a wonder we have any readers at all given that it seems we are all at it – blogging that is. But the comments themselves though substantial the maths does suggest that about half of all posts go uncommented. Indeed my experience is that some blog posts hog all the comments to themselves so suspect that nearer two-thirds of all blog posts go uncommented. That certainly makes this blogger of many uncommented posts feel a bit better at least!

However what those Freshly pressed stats do not detail and what is the eventual purpose of this post is the amount of unsolicited comments generated each day – in short the extent of spam.

Wordpress DashboardThe WordPress spam filters do a good job in my own experience. The odd one gets through and I usually remove them. I say usually – I did receive one recently following a post I wrote about Twitter from James who thought my blog was awesome – clearly based on the philosophy that though we may suspect insincerity there comes a level of high-praise where we think okay maybe they have a point! – he then went on to say that though he hates reading I somehow got his attention – note James does not merely say that he does not enjoy reading but that he hates it. Yet for all his antipathy still finds the time to read obscure WordPress blogs. He then said while adding if I did not mind (because that is what I hate about spammers not their unwanted attention but their lack of politeness!) if I could visit his blog (even more remarkable, though he cannot tolerate reading he can somehow endure writing!) and we could add each other to our respective blogrolls. I did not do this but decided his comment should remain – its absurdity was entertaining. Although I have a nagging feeling that I am not the first or last to have experienced James’ silky praising prose – perhaps you reader have too, though James may have been going by the name of John or Jill…

Where are we?! Oh yes – the spam that does not make it through the WordPress filter into the twilight of day that is the blogosphere.

I am not going to spend any time dissecting spam – anyone who has ever ventured into the wilds of the world wide web will have encountered it – and daily – we know what is, we know its dark ulterior motives and I have nothing to add, I am quite sure, to what you yourself have thought on the subject.

But it has to be said that WordPress spam is a special sort of spam – as it attempts to kill us with kindness the only thing getting murdered is the English language.

Witness this example from Kenos commenting on a post of mine about the animated graphics used in the 1990’s British Television series version of PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster:-

Would it be possible of which not every aspects happen to be reviewed while they could have been.

You are perhaps now trying to make sense of Kenos’ enigmatic observation. Do not try to make sense of it or even to navigate its grammar – just marvel at its faultless spelling and move on.

Another post of mine about an episode of a young British comedy Him & Her The Sleepover received not one but two comparably enigmatic responses.

The first from Priya Rawat is as follows:

Could not thank you enough for the blogposts on your site. I know you set a lot of time and energy into these and really hope you know how deeply I appreciate it. I hope I could do a similar thing for someone else at some point.

Firstly Priya, and I do hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name, thank you for your generous words, you are most welcome. Note too how he or she is not just praising this one post of mine but all of my posts. I am touched too that if Priya has a blog or decides later to set one up it is now in the hope of inspiring a similar deep appreciation in another spammer sorry reader in the not too distant future.

Actually that comment was not that enigmatic – just flat out flattery – but this next one more that compensates. This commenter goes by just one name, Habilash – perhaps you are familiar with their work? If not, brace yourself:

tn pas cher.tall shelf nutcracker bricklayer shirtwaist linger palette frill laxative pakistani banger line esquire revolting diversity exhort. scurrilous bushel vainglory clarion midships tollgate northwestern underline unkind screenplay fever jailbird uncoloured? strolling blabber…

They go on for many many oh so very many more words but I thought the word ‘blabber’ was a suitable point to end it – I think you have the flavour of it by then.

To those of you perhaps lacking poetry in your soul you will have read the above as a dictionary-soup but for the rest of you I am sure you are as deeply affected by it as I was – and indeed I still remain. You have to imagine Habilash reciting this word-epic on stage each of the above words a declaration and a challenge punctuated by seconds of silence before the next revelation and perhaps accompanied by some music – free-jazz certainly works but industrial techno does not lose its meter either.

All I can say is Habilash I thank you, and I could not have said it any better myself.

Not all of the comments are as profound as those from the hallowed Habilash. One commenter told me that they definitely found something useful in my review of the BBC’s Evolution Series The Origins of Us but that its usefulness was impaired for them due to the web-page itself being reluctant to load and would I be interested in a new hosting provider. But since they were going by the name of Wireless Door Bell I just could not take them seriously.

Finally – well not finally but I feel I have to end this somewhere as I fear for the sanity of me and you adrift in the spam filtered netherworld – a comment from Kadry Place who had this to say

Very intreresting blog. It was very useful. I was looking exaxtly for this. Thank you for your effort. I hope you will write more such useful posts.

Kadry is to spelling what Kenos is to grammar.

But not only was the post I wrote what Kadry was looking for but it was exactly what they were looking for. Dear reader a teardrop has fallen upon my keyboard. The post they were commenting on though was The Cannibalistic Councillor – and reader there is no poetic license at play in my title here, it really is about a Councillor with an interest in Cannibalism. So then read again Kadry’s comment – ‘I was looking exactly for this’. So Kadry thank you but if you don’t mind I need to be going, I’ve got places to go to, people to see…

Oh censorious WordPress surely you must know by now that there really is an audience for everything!

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31 thoughts on “WordPress Spam – Gobble The Gook

  1. “I do believe all the ideas you have offered for your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for novices. Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.”

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  2. Wow. You get some excellent spam. I wish I got spam half as exciting and encouraging as yours. 😉 What if these “spammers” are real people, say in some English language class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and it’s their assignment to reach out via the internet and make a connection, hopefully leading to conversations that improve their English? Or what if this is like the modern day prank call– only kids these days are so polite, they don’t know quite how to do it? Perhaps you should be our guinea pig– make contact with the spammer and report back to us to tell us what happened? (Love the post!)

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    • Thank you girl in the hat.

      Going undercover and dressing and living as a spammer…but would I make it out unscathed, would their unsolicited ways leave an indelible mark on me…then only seeking out others company toward selling them pharmaceuticals of dubious provenance or get rich quick for little or no effort schemes?…shivers!

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  3. Pingback: Spammers attack Sam Flowers. Again! « Lady Barefoot Baroness

  4. The most fitting of all comments about this post about spam was received today. In my spam filter. Yes I had been looking daily in anticipation! And here it is. The final seal of approval!

    It is from Brady Hartzell. Take it away Brady.

    “this style of writing is a correct skill and art form! great work I commend anybody with a skill at writing for example yours”. I could not agree more Brady, and may I add, the same to you.

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  5. I must confess that I sometimes see comments like Kenos’ in my spam folder and have to re-read the comment several times in order to work out whether it’s actually an extremely profound comment posted by some fellow blogger who is obviously far more intelligent and insightful than me, or a trashy piece of robot-generated nonsense 🙂

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  6. You did an excellent job of describing the way Habilash’s words/poetry could be performed on stage. I get a lot of those misspelled spam emails too. Do they purposely misspell a word or two, so they are harder to track? Nice post.

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    • Thank you Yearstricken I appreciate your genuine compliments!

      If you ever get a chance to see Habilash in concert…well what can I say, it is truly unforgettable.

      I am actually thinking I may have over-exposed myself to spam and that my own comments have degenerated into gibberish without me even knowing it!

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  7. Fresh pressed in my mind is like all marketing 101. I avoid it. Blogging is a whole new world to me.

    This is a sincere critic, no spam! (*&*) Excellent topic Sam!!

    I loved your essay on Spam on WP and with your permission and re-posting it on my blog?. (I will wait for your response to this) I have a reader who has yet to figure out the Spam filter offered.
    it’s so obvious that the comments are not sincere generated words, but either by an illiterate computer program when it comes to English, or non- English Spammers. I have had the same thoughts you expressed since my blog’s inception. Thanks for saying so out loud.

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    • Thank you sincere one!

      Yes please do repost it. That’s a first for me – thank you very much.

      Your assessment of who or what these spammers might be sounds plausible. It is almost as if bored and frustrated by their comments falling foul of the filters they are seeking at least to amuse themselves with their ridiculous comments!

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  8. Hah! I enjoyed this one – wrote something similar a while back (“People who don’t know me think I’m awesome!”), but I focused exclusively on the spammers and not so much on FP.

    A spammer told me, that because of my post (which she and her whole family read and discussed) she is going back to school – so yes, this brought a tear to my eye as well – I forget which post on mine this spam comment was linked to, but I doubt it was as funny as your cannibalistic councillor – that really does take the prize 😉

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