It’s just data

Beware of Strangers

Robert Castelo: Think about this though - if it is spam, someone is being paid to add interesting and relevant content to your site!

Um, the fact that you are getting paid is supposed to make me feel better?  I don't think so.  And I have to agree here with what Doc said about content.  'nuff said.

At the present time, the throttle and nonce are both working, so what remains are these hit and run jokers.  Each time I get a spam comment, I look at my Apache logs and I see somebody new, from an ip address I have never seen before, who comes in from a random vector, and never returns.  I tried to see a pattern in the queries and in the content. Without much luck.

Then I read this delightful piece by Stavros The Wonderchicken where he explors the falsely dualistic opposition between two unrelated words (like 'party' and 'publication').  Apparently, given that particular choice, the Wonderchicken will pick party every time.

This lead me to think about what I wanted to accomplish with my weblog in general, and on my comments in specific.  Words like Connect, Collaborate, and Communicate came to mind.

Then it struck me, the distinction that the words publish and party imperfectly capture are the distinction between a monologue and a dialog.  One way communication and two way.

Then it struck me: from an ip address I have never seen before.  Light bulb.

Hit and run.  Strangers.  People who never have been here before.  These people are unlikely to be seen again.

And if they don't come back, it is not possible to have a two way conversation, is it?

So I set to work. I wrote a script to scan my Apache logs for everybody who has ever visited my weblog within the last week.  Bots, aggregators, and an occasional carbon based life form, I make no distinction.

Then I add in everybody who has left a comment in the last ninety days.  And not just ip addresses, but also urls.

All these people are welcome to comment freely.  And everybody who visited any part of my site over an hour ago.

Then I roughed in some moderation code.  Something I am monitoring now.  I'll let you know how it goes.