Wednesday, June 9, 2010

About 'Anonymous' comments

Thanks to Pune rains and the ensuing power failure and resultant net failure, I was away from blogging for some time.
OK, that's an excuse that is valid only for the last nine days. Before that, I had stopped writing just because I couldn't think of what to write. The usual rampant infection - writers' block.
After returning to the internet, one of the first things that I did was look at comments 'pending approval' on my blog. Not surprisingly, there were only useless Anonymous comments just waiting for me to press 'delete'.
But that very thing has prompted this post.
I admit that I am a little naive in this area and am asking you all for some enlightenment. WHO writes all these anon comments? Who has so much time, I mean?
Earlier I had kept the setting for comments as unmoderated, so had to constantly watch and delete all the nonsensical stuff. (It has a collateral benefit. If, say, you have 10 comments, and 5 of them are fraud anon ones. You delete those five. Blogger still shows the footer as '10 comments' ! Haha!
Coming back to the point. Some months ago, I decided to change the setting to 'moderated' and set upon the noble task of preventing the senseless stuff appearing on my blog.

Be that as it may, one anon comment did catch my attention. Now you have to see this in perspective. Most of my blogging hours are post-midnight. Which means that my retina and its connected grey cells have a fair bit of coating of whisky when I write. Even in that state, it was never difficult to see the utter trash status of these Anon comments.

1. NONE them have anything to do with the post's topic.
2. They usually start and end abruptly.
3. They often have a link to some obscure web page. Which I have never dared to visit?
4. VERY often, they have a porn angle in the text.

Now now now. What am I saying. I am sure all you readers already know this and must be facing this all the time.
But some days back, I read one Anon post before deleting it from the system, and it was a very learned treatise on the art of gambling. It was not just about stakes and the different systems governing the same, but it also had some sideways remarks about today's governance! In fact, it was rather philosophical in parts. With or without whisky, there were parts of it that were quite interesting!!
So in case you have some idea about this - please provide some answers to the following -

A. WHO are the kind of people who write all these Anon comments?
B. How does it all this junk find its way to my blog? (Or any blog, for that matter.)
C. WHAT do these mystery writers stand to gain?
D. If some of them can write good stuff like what I saw, why cant they write it in a proper forum?
E. Finally, is there some foolproof way (maybe not immediately, but at least in the foreseeable future) that these people can be thrown out of the web?


Rohini said...

The anon comments with Viagra, gambling, porn links are from spammers who get linkbacks from your blog by posting those links. If you don't delete spam comments for long after they are posted, these links and the content along with them gets indexed in search engines as a part of your content.

You could try enabling comment moderation for old posts (e.g. posts older than 30 days) and also enable word verification.

And then there is always for controlling comment spam.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Rohini - Thanks for the gyan, though I have to admit I didn't understand much of what u have said! As for my blog, I spent a long time weeding out ALL the anon comments from all the posts. Now I have moderated comments only, so keep deleting the anon weirdos periodically.
Thanks again!

Rohini said...

Maybe the wiki page about blog spam would explain it better:

omkar reggae said...

Most are bots. There’s some kind of a mechanism through which fake accounts are created ad random stuff is stored in their account. Then, when one of your blog posts is found to have any of the keywords that the bot recognizes, it instantly comments on your post. Now, say you’re talking about the census and you say “sex ratio” somewhere, the bot recognizes the word “sex” and assumes its meaning. TOTALLY OUT OF CONTEXT.

It’s not a person. Most of the time these are fake accounts that are handled by professional hackers, who are well, payed for it. So, that answers your question about “who has the time to///”

Now, this anon post that made sense (with or without whisky) must have been from a genuine account who’s scared to reveal himself. That was an exception.
As far as the solution to this is concerned. It’s a never ending process. The hackers on one side come up with a strategy to keep the other hackers away. But these hackers find other ways of coming back. Vicious Circle.

PS: this comment starts and ends abruptly. also, most of it is nonsense and has the word SEX in it. But no, I'm not a bot.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Rohini and @ Omkar Reggae - OK OK folks. I can live with the fact that I have to keep my posts moderated. Rest of the spamming world can go to hell.
Omkar - Your comments are always welcome. I can't see a bot there.
Thanx, both of you!