Spamcommentology, Part V: Porn (You Knew It Was Coming*)

So this week we’ve arrived at the climax** of my Spamcommentology series, with a very common sort of spam comment. I would ask the reader to take a wild guess what this category is, but since I already bared it all in the title, I’ll just get right down to it! (Incidentally, this kind of spam always includes links, but I’ve taking the liberty of stripping said links from the screen shots.)

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Spamcommentology, Part IV: Word Salad, Plus Bonus Category: It’s A Conspiracy!

Hello and welcome to yet another installment of Spamcommentology! This week we’ll be looking at Word Salad, with a bonus look at the “It’s a Conspiracy!” category. Now, the Word Salad type of comment is, as you may have guessed, when the spambot just throws a bunch of words into a comment, presumably in the hope of fooling spam filters with heaps of text, as well as to overcome any minimum-length requirements that a site may have. Mostly Word Salad comments are merely gibberish; sometimes they seem to sort of quasi-make sense, until you actually try to parse them; and sometimes they rise almost to the level of some sort of koan, as if an abstract impressionist painting decided to upchuck a poem. Here are a few examples:

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Spamcommentology, Part III: Praise and Insults

Now that we’ve dispensed with the fake advice and fake technical support spam, it’s time to look at another common category: Fake praise and fake insults. The fake praise is designed to get you to approve it even though it’s clearly B.S., and the fake insults are designed to provoke a response even though they, too, are clearly B.S. For example:

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Spamcommentology, Part II: Seeking Fake Technical Support (And Fake Technical Comments In General)

So last week I posted some examples of spam where the spambot was allegedly seeking advice about various things, such as blogging platforms, AOL, and sex toy manufacturers. This week I’m back with a somewhat related category of spam, in which the spambot either claims that there’s something wrong with your site which they beseech you to fix, or else tries to make it sound like they are totally hip to today’s technology and so are you. Unfortunately, it seems like spambots don’t get updated regularly, and so these sorts of comments are often hilariously out of date. To wit:

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Spamcommentology, Part I: Seeking Fake Advice

So one of the regular housekeeping chores involved with running a blog is of course reviewing spam comments. I mean, you don’t have to do it; you can just ignore your spam comments, and let them be fully managed and deleted automatically by your anti-spam plugin. (And you do need an anti-spam plugin. Oh boy do you need an anti-spam plugin.) But if you never review the comments on your spam list, you will miss the (very) occasional real comment that gets caught up in the dragnet, and you don’t really want to leave someone twisting in the wind after they took the time to write a comment, do you?

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This Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month Reminder Brought To You By An Insurance Company That Doesn’t Want To Insure You If You Have An Aneurysm

So September is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month, and as it happens, I received this advertisement from AAA life insurance (I added the red box):

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To the Costco!

So back at the beginning of April, my wife and I became eligible to receive our COVID-19 vaccinations here in California; we couldn’t get them sooner than that because neither of us fell into any of the previously-prioritized high-risk age, essential occupation (my wife is a substitute teacher and animal trainer who stopped doing in-person work once the pandemic started picking up steam last March, and I have worked from home for years—not, unfortunately, as a full time fiction writer) or medical categories (“The Event” notwithstanding). Once the window opened for us, we had about two weeks before it opened for every adult in the state, so we figured we needed to get scheduled as soon as we could. But of course, first, there was bureaucracy to navigate―nothing as Kafkaesque as The Saga of the Possibly Rabid Skunk, but still.

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“It’s A Very, Very Bad Thing To Have Happen To You.”

So those who have been hanging around here for at least a year may remember The Event, my six-part writeup of what happened when I had a small (~3mm), undetected (as they usually are) cerebral aneurysm rupture (as they usually don’t). A few days after the rupture I underwent an emergency coiling procedure to basically stuff the aneurysm with tiny platinum steel wool, thus making my noggin slightly more valuable than it had been previously.

Since The Event, I periodically find myself searching the Internet for information about aneurysms. Sometimes this is triggered by aneurysms in the news, as with the recent hospitalization of the famous rapper Dr. Dre, and sometimes it’s triggered by, say, looking up information about the author of a book I’m reading and discovering that she suffered a fatal head injury after collapsing in her driveway due to a stroke. This being the Internet, which, although it has a long memory, very much favors the short term, usually what you find when doing a search will be recent; but sometimes I find old news, an example of which is this piece from The New York Times, which ran nearly 20 years ago:

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Closed Captionses

As I’ve mentioned several times before, back when Dennis the Vizsla had become a noisy-little-old-man-loudly-complaining-that-it’s-bedtime dog, we got in the habit of running videos with the closed-captioning turned on. Sometimes the closed-captioning has typos. Sometimes the typos are pretty amusing. And sometimes they may reveal something about the program you’re watching …

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I Want Candy

So as I mentioned over on my other (much more popular) blog, when we had Dennis, our fearful vizsla, on Halloweens, we abandoned the practice of answering the door and handing out candy directly, instead putting out a big box of candy and a sign and dispensing it on the honor system*. Generally, this has worked out fine; there was only one year where, when we went to the collect the box at the end of the evening, we found its contents completely emptied (and, if I remember correctly, the box itself was out in the yard). This year, although there’s no Dennis around, there is a pandemic, and so there was no chance at all we would be interacting with ghosts and Batmen and princesses and whatnot**, and so, we put out the box and the sign and it was business as usual.

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