SPAM! – Marilyn Armstrong

For a long time, I got two spam messages for every real hit on my site. I was getting almost a thousand spam messages on heavy days. WordPress finally fixed the bug, but it was overwhelming for a while. Was this a record?

I have many questions about spam. The big one is simple. How did a slimy, over-salted canned meat come to be synonymous with electronic junk mail?

Even more puzzling is that people some people still actually eat Spam. You may take that any way you like. In case you didn’t know, it now comes in a variety of flavors. Yum!

Most of my spam comes from a Spanish list server (lista de emails … anything you get from this address is spam) or outlook.com — and 80% of these were porn. The rest are bots and scams. Legitimate companies do not send thousands of illiterate, nonsensical messages to random blogs.

Then, there are those who ask for advice. They use some version of this message as a comment to a randomly selected post.


“These are in fact fantastic ideas in concerning blogging. You have touched some good things here. Any way keep up wrinting.


Huh? What? It gets better. For completely incoherent, this is one of my favorites. I receive several dozen of these every day:


“Fine way of explaining, and fastidious paragraph to take information concerning my presentation focus, which i am going to convey in academy. Watch Elementary Season 1 Episode 5 Online”


I couldn’t have said it better myself.

A few of my best friends and followers always get mixed in with the spam, so I can’t delete it without looking at it. I have to read through it. Sometimes there are 10 to 15 pages or more, but since there are usually a few real comments mixed in, I have to at least look through all the pages.

Every once in a while, something looks like it might be the real deal … a true comment, but I can’t always tell. When in doubt, I spam it.

If you’ve been trying to comment and aren’t showing up, probably you’re getting dumped into the spam and because I don’t recognize you, you’re getting deleted. If you are a real person, please say something that identifies you as a human and not a machine generated message.

I apologize in advance if I have over-zealously deleted you.

I know that I am by no means alone in getting tons of this garbage. And with all the “spam bots” all over the world, it’s only going to get worse.

So, what do these spammers hope to accomplish by sending me this stuff? The messages never have anything to do with my posts. All are repetitive and obviously generated on a computer programmed by someone whose native language is not English. Most of it is gibberish.

Then again so are many posts on Facebook, so maybe that’s not a good example.

There are the spams that warn me my blog doesn’t display properly on the sender’s computer in Internet Explorer. Why would I care?

There’s are three or four versions assuring me I am brilliant, they love my post about (insert post title) and promise they will tell everyone how useful the information is on my web blog. They always call it a web blog like they just learned the term.

The thing is, while there are many ways you could describe my site, no one could honestly say (not even me) that it’s full of useful information. My stuff may be interesting, thought-provoking, occasionally funny, off-beat and apocryphal, but useful?

I don’t consider it useful and I write it.

There are those that request I exchange links with them and those that would love an invitation to write for my blog, those who suggest I come to their site to see huge penises, hot lesbian sex, hot gay sex, hot sexy sex, huge breasts, gigantic butts, and attractive ladies doing disgusting things with inanimate objects. If not, they would like to sell me some Viagra.

Does anyone actually believe this will generate business?

Make money?

If they believe this, why do they believe it? Does anyone ever respond to these “messages”?

So many questions, so few answers. If anyone has an answer, let me know. I’m baffled. It’s not the only thing about which I’m baffled, mind you, but most of the others are more serious.

Meanwhile, feel free to visit the Spam website. You’ll be glad to know that Spam comes in a wide variety of flavors, including a low sodium version that dodges the question of all that fat but it does lower the salt level. The site includes recipes, a Spam Museum and an online shop where you can buy Spam gear, such as caps, tee shirts, and other strange and wonderful things.

So maybe I do include useful information. I guess it depends on how you feel about Spam.

ONE MORE TIME: DOOM DESTRUCTION AND THE DNC – By Tom Curley

I originally wrote this on election day 2017. It reminded me of a post I wrote a while back that sadly is still as current as it was back then. And it will be current next year too. And the year after that.

I don’t know about anybody else but I usually spend at least five minutes every day deleting the junk email from my account.

I’ve had an AOL account from literally when they first started. I briefly worked for them and got the account for free. Yes you had to pay for an email account back in those dark early days.

I have other email accounts, but I like this one. I’ve had it for over 20 years. I know that if you have an AOL email account millennials think it’s funny and it means you’re old.  And do you know what I say to that? Fuck you, you little bastards. I was using email before you were even a gleam in your father’s eye.  (And get off my lawn!)

Most of my junk mail is from political organizations like the DNC, Move.on.org, People for the American way, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Michelle Obama’s cousin, etc. I’m sure the Republicans do the same thing. Blessedly, I don’t get those emails.

The ones I do get are incredibly annoying. They are always at def-con five. Or is it Def-con one? Whichever is worse, these are them. The world is always coming to an end.

Here are the real subject lines from three of these emails:


KISS ALL HOPE GOODBYE!

WE FELL SHORT!

THAT’S IT! IT’S OVER! TIME TO PACK UP AND GO!


The body of the emails will tell you that the Republicans have won everything. It’s over. We are all doomed. Everything we hold dear is gone.

DEAD!! NO HOPE!!

But when you get to the bottom of the email it says:


“However, if you could just chip in 3 dollars,
we could fix all this and the world would be fine again.”

Excuse me?? THREE DOLLARS??

You just had me freaking out about the end of all that I love and hold dear — and you could fix it for THREE FRIGGING DOLLARS!!!?

For God’s sake, take up an office pool! Dig up lost change in the break room sofa.

Tell me there isn’t a few bucks in there.

All I’m saying is, tone it down, guys.

God, I wish spam filters actually worked.

SIX THOUSAND SPAM MESSAGES IN AN HOUR – Marilyn Armstrong

Although this hasn’t affected WordPress, my email has been walloped by more than six thousand spam messages in the last hour. About 5,000 were caught by the Google’s spam catcher. I took care of the rest AND changed my password.

For safety’s sake — for me and everyone — I deleted pretty much everything I had in my inbox, trash, and “sent” sections, then rebooted.

I was hit like this once before, but it was on WordPress. This seems to be limited to Gmail. They don’t have my password —  I just changed it again and even I don’t remember it without looking it up — but whoever is doing this is being extremely annoying. I don’t want to change email unless I must. So many things are attached to this email, it would be a real hassle. If I have no choice, I’ll do it.

And Facebook assured me it wasn’t going to be a real problem. They wrote me and TOLD me that. Liars.

Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, there’s no threat to anyone but me.

Just letting you know. I was one of the people hit by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and their televised apologies just aren’t working for me these days. I’m pretty sure that’s where all of this is coming from, though I can’t figure out what in the world they hope to gain from it. It’s annoying, but unless I was dumb enough to actually open any of these, they remain harmless.

We also installed a new router. To the degree that any home user can be protected, we are. I have to assume these guys think if they just keep swamping me with emails, sooner or later, I’ll open something.

I won’t. I promise.

DOOM DESTRUCTION AND THE DNC. AGAIN! – BY TOM CURLEY

I wrote this on election day 2017. It reminded me of a post I wrote a while back that sadly is still as current as it was back then. And it will be current next year too. And the year after that.

I don’t know about anybody else but I usually spend about five minutes every day deleting the junk email from my account.

I’ve had an AOL account from literally when they first started. I briefly worked for them and got the account for free. Yes you had to pay for an email account back in those dark early days.

I have other email accounts, but I like this one. I’ve had it for over 20 years. I know that if you have an AOL email account millennials think it’s funny and it means you’re old.  And do you know what I say to that? Fuck you, you little bastards. I was using email before you were even gleam in your father’s eye.  And get off my lawn!

Most of my junk mail is from political organizations like the DNC, Move.on.org, People for the American way, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Michelle Obama’s cousin, etc. I’m sure the Republicans do the same thing. Blessedly, I don’t get those emails.

The ones I do get are incredibly annoying. They are always at def-con five. Or is it Def-con one? Whichever is worse, these are them. The world is always coming to an end.

Here are real subject lines from just three.


KISS ALL HOPE GOODBYE!

WE FELL SHORT!

THAT’S IT! IT’S OVER! TIME TO PACK UP AND GO!


The body of the emails will tell you that the Republicans have won. It’s over. We are all doomed. Everything we hold dear is gone.

DEAD!! NO HOPE!!

But when you get to the bottom of the email it says:


“However, it you could just chip in 3 dollars,
we could fix all this and the world would be fine again.”

Excuse me?? THREE DOLLARS??

You just had me freaking out about the end of all that I love and hold dear — and you could fix it for THREE FRIGGING DOLLARS!!!?

For God’s sake, take up an office pool! Dig up lost change  in the break room couch.

Tell me there’s not a few bucks in there.

All I’m saying is, tone it down guys.

God I wish spam filters actually worked.

A WHOLE LOT OF SPAM

Akismet, WordPress’s virus scanner-remover hasn’t been doing as good a job lately as it used to. It used to catch all the spam for this site. They did such a good job I didn’t even worry about it. These days, a lot of spam is sifting through as “trash,.” Trash isn’t categorized as spam … and as a result, it isn’t blocked the same way.

I’ve been trying to keep up with it. Most of the spam I get is full of viruses, worms and who knows what else. Often it is pages long and each line is a link to something I don’t want any part of. Last night, during a look around my site, I casually checked to see what was in the “comments” section of my personal page … and I realized there were more than 3,000 spam messages there — all received during that past 10 days.

What?


“Ham” is e-mail that is not Spam. In other words, “non-spam”, or “good mail.” It should be considered a shorter, snappier synonym for “non-spam.” Its use is common among anti-spam software developers, and not widely known elsewhere. In general it is probably better to use the term “non-spam”. 

Note that Askimet’s assessment of “missed spam” is a lot less than the spam they really missed. They missed thousands of them this month. 


I tried to delete them in one go — as in “Delete spam” — and the site crashed. Which it usually does if I try to delete more than a small amount of anything. This system is much better at adding stuff than removing it. I finally discovered that 50 was the maximum number of spam messages the system would delete without crashing. I deleted and deleted and deleted and noticed that for every fifty I deleted, another half-dozen would arrive. All were labeled as some version of “buy cheap auto insurance.” The comments which are, I assume, copied and pasted from who knows where, ranged from gutter porn to a criticism of political views I’ve never expressed, as well as the usual offers to set me up for working at home for triple digit salaries every week.

Half of the incoming posts were labeled trash, which I converted to spam and then deleted permanently, but I couldn’t get on top of it. I finally copied the contents of my page and deleted the original. Then I pasted the contents into a new page. I went into settings and removed “comments” as the default setting. I can add it for any post, but it won’t automatically appear and this is important on those pages where we don’t usually look.

It took me hours to deal with this. I’m writing this as a warning: there can be spam and dangerous viral spam in more places than just the spam and trash folders. If you have other pages, check and see what’s wormed its way into the “comments” on those pages.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting a lot of hits from Google these days, but the volume of spam coming has gone way up. It isn’t the highest it has ever been, but it has been very persistent and worrisome insofar as half of it comes it as “trash” rather than spam. Sneaky.

Popularity is something we aim for as bloggers … but spam is the price we pay for it. I’ve been hit by more than 20,000 spam items this month. I know a lot of people think spam is sort of funny and cute, but so much of it is full of malicious malware and viruses, I am having trouble seeing the humor of it. Mostly, I wish it would go away. Oh … and all the spam in my regular comment pages is mostly from the same five or six spammers, except for another few dozen who call themselves “floor sanding” companies.

A lot of it was originally written in Russian, Chinese, Greek, and other alphabets I can’t read.

Floor sanding?

Cheap insurance?

Does anyone … anywhere … look at this stuff? The people who do this must do it for a reason, presumably. They are trying to make money, right? Does this stuff actually make any money? Is there anyone so naïve that they believe this is “real”?

THE JINGLE JANGLE TROLLING OF THE BELLS

THE JINGLE JANGLE TROLLING OF THE BELLS

One of the reasons I tend to avoid some subjects is not that I’m afraid of them. It’s not that I don’t have enough data. It’s just that some of these topics attract trolls from near and far. Gun control and “right to life,” or more to the point, the right of the unborn as opposed to the rights of the already alive. These are two of the hottest spots on the Internet. Like moths to lights in the dark of night, the trolls will flock to you.

How do you know you are being trolled?

You may not notice it —  at first. It’s usually a new follower. They start a conversation, but they never quit. By the time a second day of conversation arrives, they have stood on every side of the “discussion” … and are becoming aggressive. Mean.

I have been trolled on places like Amazon. You wouldn’t think a review about a book about Alexander Hamilton would be trolled, but you’d be amazed at the damage they do. I think Amazon has done something to control these jerks, but not nearly enough. If they want reviewers, they will have to end the trolling. Places like Facebook are obvious trolling sites. If you are fool enough to open yourself to that sort of thing, you will get whacked for your effort.

This isn’t Facebook. My site is not public. In this place, I am Queen. This is uncomplicated for me. I’ll put up with conversation as long as that is what we are having. The minute it starts to edge into trolling, I will end it. One warning from me — and if there is another murmur from the aforementioned troll — he or she is blocked. The end.

Sometimes, you get an apology. “Oh, I was just trying to make conversation.”

Don’t believe it. Trolls know what they are doing. They do it wherever they go. They aren’t stupid and they think it’s funny. If you ask them they will say they like “stirring the conversation” by which they mean insulting and harassing anyone else on the site. They like to think they are just “getting conversation moving.”

It’s trolling. If it is making your nervous system jangle, you can bet it’s trolling. Unless it is someone you know who has just gone a little over the edge, it’s trolling. Do not let them turn your site into a battleground. Spam them, block them, get rid of them. They will drive your real readers away and inflict a lot of damage — to you and many others. Trolls are ugly.

I sometimes wait a while to see if the commentary is going that way, but when it’s a “new reader” with a flurry of nasty, sharp things to say? It’s a troll. Bet on it.

There are things we need to say and sometimes they are controversial. People argue, sometimes with considerable fervor, but I think you will know the trolls from regular readers with strong opinions.

Shut down the trolls. Don’t let them back on your site, no matter what they tell you.

Once a troll, always a troll.

DOOM, DESTRUCTION AND THE DNC – BY TOM CURLEY

I don’t know about anybody else but I usually spend about five minutes every day deleting the junk email from my account.

I’ve had an AOL account from literally when they first started. I briefly worked for them and got the account for free. Yes you had to pay for an email account back in those dark early days.

 I have other email accounts, but I like this one. I’ve had it for over 20 years. I know that if you have an AOL email account millennials think it’s funny and it means you’re old. Fuck you, you little bastards. I was using email before you were even gleam in your father’s eye.  And get off my lawn!

Most of my junk mail is from political organizations like the DNC, Move.on, People for the American way, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Michelle Obama’s cousin, etc. I’m sure the Republicans do the same thing. Blessedly, I don’t get those emails.

The ones I do get are incredibly annoying. They are always at def-con five. Or is it Def-con one? Whichever is worse, these are them. The world is always coming to an end.

Here are real subject lines from just three.


KISS ALL HOPE GOODBYE!

WE FELL SHORT!

THAT’S IT! IT’S OVER! TIME TO PACK UP AND GO!


The body of the emails will tell you that the Republicans have won. It’s over. We are all doomed. Everything we hold dear is gone.

DEAD!! NO HOPE!!

But when you get to the bottom of the email it says:


“However, it you could just chip in 3 dollars,
we could fix all this and the world would be fine again.”

Excuse me?? THREE DOLLARS??

You just had me freaking out about the end of all that I love and hold dear — and you could fix it for THREE FRIGGING DOLLARS!!!?

For God’s sake, take up an office pool! Dig up lost change  in the break room couch.

Tell me there’s not a few bucks in there.

All I’m saying is, tone it down guys.

God I wish spam filters actually worked.