Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why I Am Now Moderating Comments to This Blog

About a year ago, I got an email from someone (I forget the name he used) asking me to insert a link into one of my posts in exchange for over a hundred dollars. The link was to one of these places that lends out money before payday. The business sounded legal enough – I understand that there are places like these all over the US – and I looked up the site. It appeared well-kept and above-board, but I still felt uncomfortable. The whole thing just felt fishy, and it felt even fishier when I saw that the person who got in touch with me was using a fake name. (I don’t remember the name now, but it was unusual, and when I looked it up, it turned out to be the name of an obscure American figure from the Civil War era.) I explained that I was not comfortable accepting money from someone I didn’t know, and I asked him for his real name and location. I never heard from him again.

Well, now the tactic is a bit different. First there was the guy who left a marginally-relevant comment whose obvious goal was to drive traffic to his site, which is actually about a topic I like, but it’s still a trashy content farm. That was a day or two ago. Then there was the shameless spammer who left a comment on the post that I wrote about my teacher, Miss Jurist, mentioning her by name and saying how fondly he remembered her classes... and leaving a link to some SEO site. Pretty low, if you ask me.

So I᾿ve had to lock the door and use the peephole before I allow anyone inside. In other words, comments are now moderated. I don’t like it. I wish I didn’t have to do it. But spammers are slime, and their techniques are getting a bit more sophisticated – fortunately, not so sophisticated that I can’t protect myself.