Why Sploggers Should be Slowly Disembowelled and Fed to my Cats

The Splogbots finally found the ‘crawl— I got a few dozen link-farm comments (“MsPoOE Your blog is great. Articles is interesting!”) scattered throughout the archives in just a couple of hours. So with great regret, I’ve imposed that Turing test option on potential commenters. Sorry. If anyone can suggest a less onerous way of keeping out the bogus stuff I’d be happy to consider it.

Bye the bye, I wonder why I would so gladly, and without any compunctions whatever, slowly torture to death whatever lowlife cocksucker is responsible for generating these things. Seriously. If there was a button I could push that would result in said spammer being lowered slowly into a vat of nitric acid, along with all his/her immediate relatives, I would push it without hesitation. And yet, spam and splog are really such minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things. Hit delete. Define a new filter (although that’s often more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth — especially when you refuse to abandon Eudora until Thunderbird gets off its ass and supports tabs). I encounter more pervasive advertising every time I walk down Yonge Street, every time I turn on the TV. I’m a biologist; I more than anyone should recognize the venerability of the parasite niche. So why do I (or, be honest: why do we) reserve such homicidal fury for the spammers?

I’m thinking, it’s because we’ve internalized our hard drives as home. These fuckers aren’t putting up billboards over the expressway — they’re coming into our fucking living rooms, they’re papering their crude and off-putting crap all over the inside of our exocrania. This becomes more than irritant; this becomes a violation, and it arouses a visceral desire to inflict extreme, protracted, and ultimately fatal agony on the bastards. This is brain invasion.

Or is it just me?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Saturday October 27 2007at 06:10 am , filed under whinge . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

16 Responses to “Why Sploggers Should be Slowly Disembowelled and Fed to my Cats”

  1. Massive, life-altering offenses make us reach deep and find inner strength – petty ones erode our faith in humanity.

  2. Correction: You implemented a “reverse-Turing test.” A particularly annoying test, at that. As luck would have it, I DO know of a less onerous way to deal with the problem, and that is to replace your current crazy-ass CAPTCHA with one that is short, easy to read, and never changes. This can be surpsingly effective, or so I’ve heard.

  3. Only the true Ubergeek could consider their hard drive to be home.
    however for us mere mortals the hard drive IS a repository of our hopes, dreams and stacks of bullshit from our friends, To have some robotic spam machine plaster some idiotic short-con message that only the truly moronic would fall for all over our hopes, dreams and friends IS an offence worthy of being chopped into little bitty bits, However being fed to cats is too good for them, The last thing in the world that we need is cats virulently infected with the urge to spam people! Feed them to maggots then feed the maggots to fish then feed the fish to the cats, Only then will our hard drives be safe (we hope!)
    Da’ shmeef

  4. I like the nitric acid idea. Perhaps refine it by injecting it into them? For extra amusement (and fury) check this out from the Economist.
    http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9723768

  5. I’ve gotten used to captchas, they don’t bother me unless they are unreadable even to human eyes and you have to try several times. I prefer a captcha over having to register and log in or wading through spam. (xkcd.com uses something like “Sum of 5 + 7 ?” as a test, very unobtrusive though should be trivial for a bot to pass it seems to me.)

  6. Consider using Recaptcha as your provider. It’s a little less nice in appearance, but at least you get to reap good karma in helping to transcribe books.

    http://recaptcha.net/

  7. I don’t mind the image verification thing so much, as at least these are legible. I’ve tried to register for some forums where the image text was so ridiculously scrambled, you couldn’t make an accurate guess no matter how often you tried, and then got locked out.

    It is a little frustrating that I have to do a new one each time I “preview” my image though. I vote for just getting some free message board forum software (is phb free? ), and having a one-time verification. The you can experience the joy of moderating your own little garden of internet crazy.

  8. It would be nice if blogger.com provided an alternative to captcha. Some little and easily fooled by the persistent mofo tricks are:
    dummy fields – put a dummy field into the form, hide it with css so the user doesn’t populate it. If it the form is submitted with that field populated it’s likely a bot simply scraped your html and submitted.

    Challenge questions (as mentioned): random set of simple english challenges – “1 + 2 = ____” “Books are for ____”

    You could add variables to the page that must be returned to the server on form submit, this can sometimes filter out bots that do direct server to server POSTs.

    I wouldn’t object at all to having to log in to post.

  9. AR said…

    As luck would have it, I DO know of a less onerous way to deal with the problem, and that is to replace your current crazy-ass CAPTCHA with one that is short, easy to read, and never changes.

    And then Jeff said…

    Consider using Recaptcha as your provider.

    Scott C. said…

    I vote for just getting some free message board forum software (is phb free? ), and having a one-time verification. The you can experience the joy of moderating your own little garden of internet crazy.

    And Jason piped up…

    It would be nice if blogger.com provided an alternative to captcha. Some little and easily fooled by the persistent mofo tricks are:
    dummy fields – … Challenge questions … You could add variables to the page that must be returned to the server on form submi…

    These are all neat ideas, but I don’t know how seamlessly any of them would integrate into blogger. I especially like the Recaptcha idea — even though it wouldn’t save you folks any effort, at least that effort would go to a worthwhile cause. But a cursory glance over their website turns up no mention of a blogger plugin.

    But I’ll look into these options. When I have some time. Which is to say, not right now…

  10. In response to your point about why people hate spammers so much, I can’t tell. My own sense of who I would most like to see kicked in the face and dropped onto a razor-blade slide leading to a vat of fireants that are somehow actually made of fire is, however, equally arbitrary. I would, for instance, be very happy if Eric Bauman, whose only crime is plagiarism against people I don’t know and, as a rule, don’t like, was to be found dead at the bottom of several different lakes.

    In regards to spammers, though, I got over them a long time ago, having since shifted my irrational hatred towards people who click the links contained therein. If nobody clicked on links in spam, or fell for Nigerian Prince scams, nobody would bother creating them and they would quietly go away. That being the case, I would very much like to invent a new sort of spam that looks exactly like regular spam, except that when someone falls for it, they don’t receive a refinanced mortgage, cheap Viagra, or a share of an exiled prince’s fortune so much as a KnifeDroid that comes to their house and rapes them to death.

  11. ar said

    If nobody clicked on links in spam, or fell for Nigerian Prince scams, nobody would bother creating them and they would quietly go away.

    Yeah, but that’s an absolute nobody. Zero. Not 0.1%, not 0.01% (because I bet we’re at that level of nonresponsiveness anyway). We’re talking about a “nobody” that’s way below the normal definition of “negligable” — because if even one person out of a few million gets taken in, it’s still worth the effort to send out all that spam. It’s the ultimate in r-selection.

  12. Spammers send me into a homicidal rage, too. They need a good horse-whipping. Hell, why stop there? Let’s hang, draw and quarter the buggers! I hate those ‘nicey god blog is author good boy. Wanna Cialis cheap?’ comments with demonic wrath. I installed contact forms on my blogs, so that readers could contact me, without me revealing my email address. I got hundreds of crappy spam comments instead. Aaaarrrggghh! You’re not alone in this – I feel your pain! Great article, BTW.

  13. Ok, ok, so maybe spammers themselves are still the main problem. But we do still agree on the point that somebody ought to be forcefully violated by sharp-edged robots until they are at last put out of our misery for good, yes?

  14. Oh yes, certainly. Almost anyone would do.

  15. hope you are ok

  16. Spammers. Yes. Trying to at least work the rage they induce in me into manageable proportions I have developed a theory as to why they are so evil. It has to do with dialogue.

    The way I figure it, we are primed for dialogue. Whenever our e-mail client says “ding,” we expect there to be some message that is relevant to our lives. You cannot escape it. The same way we cannot escape smells, according to Patrick Süskind.

    We all profit from this lack of defense somehow by trying to steer dialogue into an advantageous direction, but spammers go all the way. They are not at all interested in dialogue, yet they approach us on a channel that we cannot close to them.