Advice for Commenters

by W.F. Price on June 13, 2012

I’ve been noticing that a lot of regular commenters have been ending up in spam recently. For the most part, these are people who never caused any trouble here, but I think I know what has happened.

Spam filters rely on reporting to compile databases of IPs. Spam filters are also indispensable for people who do what I do. Without them The Spearhead would be inundated with spam advertisements.

However, they also include those who have simply been “spammed” by people who don’t like their views, language or opinions. This is a totally common practice, and has arisen because, to be quite honest, the anonymity of the internet does give a lot of crude people the opportunity to spout off without fear of being personally held to account for being crude and offensive.

It’s a real problem, and I am pretty sick of it myself, but I’m not going to allow enemies to dictate terms in that regard.

Personally, I assiduously avoid posting any comments on sites where I suspect I might get “spammed.” I would never post a comment on a feminist site, for example, because that’s simply giving them the opportunity to blacklist my IP, and I know they will do so no matter how reasonable I may be.

However, despite being very careful in that regard, I found that The Spearhead‘s IP is being listed as spam simply because I link sites for citation purposes. Each time an enemy site gets a link from The Spearhead, it is promptly classified as “spam” by some angry feminist. This is annoying, but not really a problem. I should have been better about using the “nofollow” value to make sure these sites didn’t get any link juice in the first place. I really shouldn’t have been doing them any favors.

Fortunately, their simple-minded, stupid attitude has given me some motivation in this regard, so I’ve created a macro for links to hostile sites. Although I would never “spam” a trackback, because links always give you SEO cred, the girls who monitor feminist sites are too dumb to understand this.

As for how this is relevant to commenters, what I’d say is that you should simply think for a while before posting comments that you know will elicit a “spam” reaction from censors. Your IP will most likely be classified as spam in short order.

Policing comments has grown into one of the biggest problems in online publishing. It’s been the single biggest headache for me since this site’s inception, costing me about a thousand hours (this is a conservative, fair estimate) of monotonous work and grief from guilt-by-association tactics from detractors. When the topic is political, it’s about ten times worse than otherwise.

For example, I’ve repeated stressed that ugly language bothers me, and I’ve tried to set an example by writing in a measured, aesthetically comfortable style. Yet I am still confronted with language such as “cunt,” “gash,” “buttfuck,” etc. on a daily basis. It isn’t pleasant. I really don’t like it. All it brings to mind is shit and blood, neither of which are substances I like to dwell upon.

Well, enough of my personal tastes. The point is that if commenters don’t exert some self-control, there is a developing entity out there that is starting to do so, and although I have negligible control over the process, I rely on it out of necessity. My personal recommendation would be that commenters put some effort into maintaining the same decorum they would while in public. If they end up in the spam folder, there’s little I can do about it.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: