Impolite and Humiliating Spam and Why We Really Need Tags for Spam Comments More than Time Machines

It has been a while since my last spam poem that was really compliant with the rules. My most recent attempt at Spam Poetry bent the rules. (But it is true – I am usually changing the rules as I go.)

Recently I have learned from fellow blogger and spam poet Michelle that there is National Poetry Month in Canada. She has raised the bar for spam poets quite a bit with this post. (Voice from the future: Link is broken – web.archive-isize it yourself!) I am not sure if I can rise to the challenge.

My spam queue is spilling over every day, but I have been choosy in the past weeks: I have only considered impolite, negative, and downright humiliating spam comments eligible for this poem – and these are rare.

I have removed some words, such as kinda or a bit to make this so-called poetry more dense, and I have added a few comments which are strictly speaking not humiliations. But in one of many possible universes, they probably are.

WordPress architects, in case you read this – I would like to request the following feature: Please allow for tagging spam for future poetry and for archiving spam already poetri-sized. I have evaluated spam comments for two months now for negative statements, copied all interesting phrases to a draft post – and deleted the comments afterwards.

Now at the end of this mind-boggling creation process I came up with the idea of adding some quirky, but not necessarily negative comments. And I have run out of spam. And I have announced the poem already to the Canadian Community of Poets in a comment to Michelle’s blog. High expectations of fellow spam poets and spam poetry aficionados are lying heavy on me. I need to publish an incomplete poem.

If I would have been able to archive and tag spams, I would have revisited re-evaluated them. Currently I have no other option than to time-travel back to uncover the deleted comments.

Unfortunately, at an earlier point of time I am / will / have not been aware of my new idea and as soon as I would / will / have been arrived in the past I would / will have forgotten what I had been / will be / would have been searching for.

Having stated this, my spam poem now makes a lot of sense (to me):

Past few posts are out of track! come on!
the last several posts have been boring
I miss your tremendous writings.

I do not agree on everything you write.
you simply copied somebody else’s story

the posts are too brief for newbies.
Could you please prolong them?

Have you ever considered adding more than just your articles?
execute an effective enquiry about his past record.
Yeh! Right! This is absolute nonsense
Read Even more

you need to check the particular spelling on your posts.
The words in your content seem to be running off the screen
you might want to put that on your blacklist.
Several ones are rife with spelling problems
I find it very troublesome to inform you.
improve website design!

Fancy, acquaintanceship, honour, you shouldn’t connect persons over a commonly used hatred to get anything at all. [*]
I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual.

[*] I have no idea what this means. Very postmodern! The last paragraph should add an unusal perspective and render the poem enigmatic, useless and mostly harmless. (Remember, we are going to celebrate Towel Day in about 42 days.)

Processing my spam comments happily, applying the same procedure as every months – I nearly failed the Turing Test again.

The following was a spam (?) comment on my first post on politics and economy which was not exactly a funny and light post.

The following time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I do know it was my option to learn, however I truly thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you could possibly fix if you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

I figured: Depending on the definition of whining and attention seeking I cannot deny the validity of this comment completely.

I needed to do a Google-check this comment, and I learned that many bloggers have fallen for the same spam comment.

But this post on Culture Digitally // Examining Contemporary Cultural Production provides an interesting explanation why we fail the Turing Test often: It is not machines becoming more human, it is us acting more like machines on web 2.0.

15 Comments Add yours

    1. elkement says:

      I am “cross-posting” the commented I added on Michelle’s blog again if anybody searches for information on the attack:
      A post by the founder of Automattic / wordpress:
      Official page of the US-CERT team:

    2. elkement says:

      And here is a comprehensive overview by security insider Brian Krebs:
      I would recommend turning on two-factor authentication, BTW.

  1. M. Hatzel says:

    Good job, Elke. I got exactly the same comment on the post on virtual dwelling (I think that most of my nasty comments are connecting with discussions of on-line participation, so Bert, these may be focused on tags and categories!). When I followed the nasty comment link stated above, the nastiness of it didn’t connect with the site so I thought it had to be a weird new form of spam. If spammers really want to imbed links in my blog to boost SEOs, then the kinder, more generous comments would probably stay un-trashed in my spam folder much longer.

    At this point in my life, the shaming comments people make don’t bother me that much, and I know that the best way to deal with them is to speak of the experience honestly, thus I put up a post earlier this morning, wondering if these nasty spams are connected to a hacker event that a friend warned me about (more info in the post).

    It’s best to deal with these things in open discussion, as I know there will be people who will be turned off blogging by crap like this. I’d rather encourage people to remain in the discussion. :) I think I’ll go back to the post and update it with a link here.

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks for the pingback and for sharing the warning, Michelle. Yes, it seems to be genuine as it is shared by some hosters’ sites, such as this:
      These attacks seem to be targeted against self-hosted installation, so I count on the team.
      Currently it is still easy to identify spam as such – however, as I replied to Bert below, I see a trend of increasing utilization of some level of bot-like automation by reasonable human bloggers and Twitter users I know. I conjecture that in the future there will be grey zone of automatically generated or distributed content sent from legitimate accounts. E.g. if I would run such a bot today that would collect geeky quotes by Douglas Adams etc. and reshare them an behalf of me – it would be hard to tell the difference to my “genuine social media sharing behavior”.

  2. So, bitching about the conomy is whiny and attention-seeky… like DUUUUH! Why else blog, other than to whine, bitch and seek attention? And, of course, promote spam poetry, search term poetry, tell stories of every degree of interest…

    btw, that sentence with the asterisk doesn’t even make sense to me, and I am famous for finding sense in othing at all

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks a lot – this fully re-establishes my self-esteem as a whining and attention seeker blogger :-) You are right – isn’t any kind of art about attention seeking?
      Yes, I will go on promoting these most useless, but mostly harmless kinds of poetry – I would really like to know if there are readers who think this is intended to be serious poetry ;-)

      1. M. Hatzel says:

        I like your spam poems, as they give me a chance to peek at what other bloggers get for spam comments; this was especially important when I wasn’t getting a huge quantity of spam, and wasn’t always sure how to gauge some of these weird messages, and others that felt almost sincere. (You could tag them as public service announcements.)

        1. elkement says:

          I can relate! This post by Alex Brown – – motivated me to write my first spam poem. This spam comment was positive, and in a sense related to his post – similar to the issues I had with the rant spam comment on my post on politics.

          1. M. Hatzel says:

            I looked at this post and other related ones in the blog. Thanks for the link.

  3. bert0001 says:

    I don’t get it. Why focus on spam so much.
    I just delete them once a day.
    Sometimes 10, sometimes 400.
    Never cared to read it.
    Those who want to really comment,
    will try again with a real avatar.

    1. elkement says:

      (I can hardly resist reformatting at your reply by formatting the short lines as centered paragraphs – poetry-style… ;-))
      That’s a valid question of course: “Why focus on spam so much”. Probably I should take my obsession with spam to the next level and devote a full blog post to musing about that! Turning spam into lines that are not even quite poetry has no deeper meaning, but it allows my brain to relax from focused and serious research.
      As a more serious aside, I am fascinated by failing the Turing test and the reasons given in the article listed at the bottom.

      1. bert0001 says:

        If I were a spammer, I’d make an algorythm focussing on tags and categories, and intertwine them in a message via google translate in a usefull sentence.
        10 years ago I said something like “If I’d write virus code, I would … ”
        So in 10 years time spam will be an entirely different problem, unless of course you use your ID-chip to authenticate.

        1. elkement says:

          Thanks for the interesting comment, Bert! Probably it will be “normal” and “accepted” to rely heavily on bots and automation – in order to deal with millions of social networks you ought to participate in? It is sometimes hard to tell today where “professional online marketing” ends (e.g. scheduling your tweets) and where robot-like spamming starts.
          I wonder if there is a SciFi story dealing with spam of the future – similar to the way user-targeted advertising based on your iris had been anticipated in Minority Report.
          As a PKI freak I would like to logon using my ID chip, but I guess some sort of phone based two-factor authentication will be used – as the smart phone is considered an important part of your digital identity already, more than your digital ID card. (In Austria the chip card issued by the governmental social insurance agency can also be used as your ID card – but this service is not used in way it had been hoped for.)

          1. bert0001 says:

            perhaps a bit tax might help

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