Speaking Freely On The Web

I’ve always been an advocate of getting out on the Web and commenting on other’s people sites as not only does it generate more interest on their site but it also can generate interest on your own site as well. Lately however I’ve been noticing more and more people either moderating their comments, adding anti-spam catchers, or insisting on registration before commenting. Well basically I’ve had enough of all this crap and I’ve decide that I’m tired of feeling like some homeless person on the street who isn’t allowed into the building because of the way he looks. "Buggeroff! You’ve got nothing we want to hear!"

Um, what happened to the openness of the Web? The great equalizer? People getting tired of it already? Oh well, at the very least I’ve decided that if I’m going to reply to a post or topic on another site now, I’ll be doing it on my own site instead. It’ll be like my own little rogue radio station where I can broadcast to the world on whatever topic I feel like without be censored or blocked in any way.

Update: I’ve decided to join everyone else and remove my comments too! Feels great to be part of the "in" crowd now! Wonder if Britney Spears is reading my blog now!? Maybe I should check my referrer log!? 🙂

Update: Ok enough already. Jokes over. Comments are back up. 🙂

9 thoughts on “Speaking Freely On The Web

  1. Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam baked beans Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam Spam spam spam spam spam

    ’nuff said.

  2. And then I click a button on this end and remove it (but in this case I won’t). Nuff said. 🙂

    If you want to live in your own little world where you let no speak unless you tell them to, your welcome to. I don’t want to live in that kind of world though.

    I mean should we maybe chop all teenagers hands off at a certain age so they don’t graffiti things? Definitely would alleviate us going around and cleaning up their graffiti mess wouldn’t it?! I’d rather let them keep their hands though in case one of them becomes another Picasso later in their life. 🙂

  3. Consider yourself fortunate not to have been discovered by the spammers. I’ve been slammed by them on my blog, and I’ve been using an approval queue since I started. Needless to say there’s been thousands of comments that I’ve had to delete. Among those there has only been a few true comments.

    It doesn’t help that Drupal’s approval sucks. I’ve resorted to the MySQL prompt using select statements with locate clauses. It helps and is a PITA.

    I’ve also had to disable trackbacks for the same reason.

    And I think the graffiti analogy is bad. A better one would be guys flying over a city with a crop duster dumping paint over everything. Then it’s best to have a no fly zone.

  4. I actually have had some spam in the past. A couple of comment spams but most I get is referrer spam. Either way, if it obvious the person is going to keep it up, I just ban them from my site. As soon as I spot it, I remove it and ban them. I’ve heard the same thing works with graffiti. The quicker you remove it, the less likely they come back because their "work" is not really seen by anyone.

    Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not saying go walk out in the middle of winter in your swim trunks. 🙂 As you’ll see in my latest post, good bot services that can catch the obvious spammer are still great to have but they should only be for something really obvious in my opinion (like someone commenting 5 or 10 times in less than a minute which is obviously a spam bot which means they should all be wiped or held at the very least for moderation). I mean I’ve typed normal comments on someone’s site and being notified that my comments were spam. That’s total BS. Either get something that works or don’t use it.

    Not sure how Drupal works with regards to spam catching but Anthony here at Squarespace has done some pretty amazing things with regards to catching spam. In addition, if one spammer gets blacklisted then they get blacklisted by all Squarespace sites. Here’s a little post from his personal site that talks about this a bit.

    http://www.casalena.org/journal/2005/8/29/squarespace-31-bye-spammers-d.html

    As for trackbacks, well I don’t really use them myself so I could live with turning them off as well.

    With regards to the crop duster dumping paint example, well that sounds like it would compare to a bot spamming your entire site. If so, like I said above, their should be ways to detect the multiple posts (especially if they are repeating the same thing rapidly over a short period of time). The system should detect the "pattern" and flag them and/or ban them immediately (which the admin can then remove later if they wish).

    Actually here’s another perfect example that compares to video games. I remember a few years back when I tried some new first person shooter multiplayer games. In trying them out, I was literally dumbfounded when I realized that the developers had not built in basic features like auto-kick or player voting for kicking offending players, especially when add-on packs for Counter Strike has offered them for years. So basically you have a developer who has released a game which utilizes no past knowledge of these problems in previous multiplayer games.

    Same thing applies to blogs. Track the most evident problems and patterns and empower the system (i.e auto-ban obvious high load spam) and the users to remove the spam themselves (i.e. voting/flagging of spam). Again, as I mentioned, before this can be done you need the right combination of tools not only for the system but for empowering the users as well.

  5. I would hope that you guys let us see others in the square space community, I am curious as to what else I can do with pages… and would like to see other ideas/formats…

    Chris

  6. Chris: While Squarespace doesn’t have a public directory, you can always use Google to explore more Squarespace sites. Just go to Google’s Advanced Search page, enter a "Domain" of squarespace.com and then search for a common words like "the". You’ll get a list of Squarespace sites publicly listed by Google.

    With regards to learning what else is possible with Squarespace, I’ve been thinking about doing something like a tips’n’tricks section on my site here to explain how you can push the limits of Squarespace. Now is probably as good a time as any to start this.

    http://nollind.whachell.com/exploring-squarespace/

  7. Actually just realized one thing. As far as I’m aware there is no way to track (i.e. IP address) who added a reference trackback and thus no way to ban them if they start spamming. Thus trackbacks seem to be an open hole for spammers. If this is the case then I may remove trackback ability in the future, if it gets out of hand, but as I noted above, I don’t really use it myself so don’t care if it’s there or not. People can always comment with a reply saying their response is on their site which I’ve done with some site’s myself.

  8. Spoke too soon about removing trackbacks. I think I’ve tracked down the culprit who just left some trackback spam on my site and got an IP address. Not going to ban them but just going to see if my suspicions are correct the next time this happens. Actually it was pretty easy to track them down, as I just did a filtered search of my Traffic Logs and correlated between the two posts the trackback spam appeared on. Only one hostname / IP appeared on both posts recently (which would have been them getting the trackback URLs for the posts).

  9. Hehe, again I just realized something (as I got a couple more trackback spams). Once someone has the trackback URL, there is no way to stop them from adding spam again because even though they could be banned from the site, they don’t have to come to the site to add the trackback (just a trackback ping is sent instead). Therefore, I’m turning off trackbacks but keeping the comments open, as apparently I was right about trackbacks being a huge "hole" that can’t be closed.

    Actually something else that I’m wondering as well. How does Technorati deal with spam?? Or do they? You know you can add a Technorati link to your site which basically shows people linking to you. Yet does Technorati run some spam blacklist to remove spam from these lists. I mean when I’ve viewed them in the past I’ve never seen any spam but I wasn’t really looking for it in the first place though. I’d definitely considering add these Technorati links to my site (instead of trackbacks) if they were pretty much spam free.

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