Skip to main content

The spam fairy

Blogs traditionally suffer from a fair number of spam comments, which try (feebly) to look like real comments, but are really just there to include a link to their own website. I didn't realize just how much this happened until I changed the www.popularscience.co.uk website into a format that allowed comments on each page and got absolutely inundated - probably at least 10 spam comments a day.

So I signed up to a spam blocking service that's well-integrated with the WordPress environment I now use for that website. For months, all those comments were slammed into a holding area by the blocking service and I could see them building up more and more. But then they just stopped coming. For weeks now there hasn't been a single one. Somehow, the spam fairy is catching them before the blocker gets its hands on them.

I thought initially that this was down to a change of approach by the blocker, simply trashing the spam rather than displaying its trophies. But now I'm not so sure.

The thing is, I subscribe to the comments on this blog as an RSS feed, meaning I get alerted whenever someone makes a comment, so I can come back with a snide (sorry, supportive) reply. What is really weird is that I am still getting the spam posts here (the spam blocker isn't on this site) - they turn up in the RSS feed - but the spam fairy is deleting them before I get to the actual blog to do anything about them. They have just disappeared.

I really have no idea what is happening and where this beneficial help is coming from. Can I stop paying for the spam blocking service, thanks to the spam fairy? I really don't know!

Just to show you the kind of thing I receive, particularly because I love the wording of this one, here is the latest spam comment for this blog, as seen in my RSS reader, but which simply isn't there when I go to the blog. Don't you just love that sentence? Eat your heart out, James Joyce.


Comments

  1. simply trashing the spam how do you stop spam rather than displaying its trophies. But now I'm not so sure.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Mirror, mirror

A little while ago I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Royal Institution in London - arguably the greatest location for science communication in the UK. At one point in the talk, I put this photograph on the screen, which for some reason caused some amusement in the audience. But the photo was illustrating a serious point: the odd nature of mirror reflections. I remember back at school being puzzled by a challenge from one of our teachers - why does a mirror swap left and right, but not top and bottom? Clearly there's nothing special about the mirror itself in that direction - if there were, rotating the mirror would change the image. The most immediately obvious 'special' thing about the horizontal direction is that the observer has two eyes oriented in that direction - but it's not as if things change if you close one eye. In reality, the distinction is much more interesting - we fool ourselves into thinking that the image behind the mirror is what's on ou