I use Akismet on the blog here to trap SPAM comments before they appear. For those who don’t know, that is where I post an article to Thomo’s Hole about, well, anything. Then a comment is posted to the Hole with text like “great article” and then a series of links . The links in the comment inevitably lead off to places that want to help me increase the size of certain parts of my anatomy; or keep that size for longer periods of time; or indeed, even route me to sites that are supposed to provide a non-chemical assistance to the aforementioned size issue.

So, for example, in the Hole here I have made 437 posts. There are another 79 pages (which you should also be able to comment too). 331 Comments have been left in my comment queue of which 289 have been approved and 42 identified as SPAM that Akismet missed. Akismet has, however, picked up 48,648 SPAM comments over the period of these statistics. Yep, that statistic is correct. I’ve had over 200,000 page views in this time as well.

OK, so Akismet is doing a great job picking up the SPAM. The way the SPAM works is that a little piece of software finds a post on the blog and constructs a comment complete with links to various other sites offering previously mentioned anatomical greatness, posts it to Thomo’s Hole and Akismet then grabs it and dumps it in the bin so you, gentle reader, are not exposed to the SPAM. All this I understand.

What I don’t understand though is the all the crazy members I get joining the Hole. I mean, there are only two of us that really post here, and that is me and Mal (and Mal very occasionally and usually only when I ask/beg him to let me republish something he has written). There are 751 other users. I reckon about 50 to 100 (maximum) are genuine and the other 650 are potential spammers. I get crazy users like:

Username: CorkPledeerge

Now, one doesn’t need to be an intellectual genius to work out that email address. Tracing the domain “usviagra” back to its source reveals a landing page in Russia (and in Russian). Of course, joining Thomo’s Hole has so many benefits that I can understand these potential spammers joining, however, I just can see how they can take advantage of the membership.

Can anyone tell me how it works for the spammers?

Nuisance Value

I get to see a lot of stupid chain letters (or rather chain emails) and I also get to see my far share of hoax letters. At least two of my friends now check with me before blindly sending on those warnings of dire things happening to your PC that Norton and Microsoft are powerless before. As a result of my nice healthy cynicism, I also get asked to check other things as well now.

My good Chinese friend asked me to check this website, Say NO to United Nations’ abolishment of Traditional Chinese in 2008, to see if it was genuine or not as she particularly likes Traditional Chinese script and wanted to see her cultural heritage preserved. So I checked. It looked pretty legitimate and had lots of nice links to various websites pleading the same case.

Then I went hunting and checked further – partly because there was a little bell ringing in my head that said Chinese is only used by the Chinese and that is the People’s Republic of China; the SARs Hong Kong and Macao; and Taiwan. Singapore uses English and that’s it. Now Hong Kong and Macao do not have membership to the UN, so that leaves it at the PRC and Taiwan.

So I checked further – firstly with Wikipedia and then from there to sites such as the actual UN.

Seems that the UN will NOT abolish Traditional Chinese in 2008 as the UN ceased printing reports and using Traditional Chinese in 1971 when the PRC took Taiwan’s seat in the UN, replacing it with Simplified Chinese.

So, those 542108 folks who signed the petition are only about 37 years too late. The petition is just Nuisance Value!