This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a long time. The original title was “If Wishes Were Fishes” because that rhymes. That is a common saying, but it wasn’t the nursery rhyme I was thinking of:
If wishes were horses then beggars would ride,
If turnips were swords I’d have one by my side.
If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans
There would be no need for tinker’s hands!
I pulled the post out of the drafts folder, planning to delete it because I had written it based on a current event in 2013, but one I never thought would remain timely. My addition to the nursery rhyme was to include:
If spam counted as comments
I’d be rockin’ my stats.
That’s because if I counted the stuff Akismet has removed, I’d have 14 times more comments on my blog. 14X. An order of magnitude and then some more comments.
I know, I wrote about spam earlier this week. This is different. Trust me. This isn’t about spam and it’s not about marketing. This is about the currents and eddies and backwater rivulets of Internet activity that can’t be easily explained. OK, now I sense that half of you are saying “Ohhhhh, why couldn’t this be about spam? How about a little background?
In my all-time favorite episode of Star Trek (original series) “The City on the Edge of Forever”, Dr. McCoy gets juiced up on an overdose of a wonder drug, overpowers a few security guards and beams down to a barren planet. Captain Kirk, Commander Spock and a few other important crew members, (Start Trek was famous for putting the Enterprise’s senior staff into harm’s way) follow McCoy to the planet. There they discover the Guardian of Forever, a time portal. Of course McCoy jumps through the portal, changes history and wipes out the Federation. The only option is for Kirk and Spock to go back in time, find McCoy and prevent him from doing whatever it was he did.
Remarkably, the Guardian is sophisticated enough to be able to send people through time, powerful enough to record all of time to-date, but has no memory of where the last passenger went. No redial-last-number. No undo button, no slow-motion and no instant-replay options.
Kirk and Spock land in New York City, about a week before McCoy arrives. The time is the 1930’s, well before transporters, GPS, the Internet, jet aircraft and any reliable means of finding another person in your neighborhood, let alone somewhere-on-the-planet. Kirk is frustrated by the fear of never finding McCoy and being stuck in a past without a flagship to command, but Spock assuages the Captain’s fears with a bit of curious reasoning (full dialog is here if you’re interested):
Spock: “There is a theory. There could be some logic to the belief that time is fluid, like a river, with currents, eddies, backwash.”
Capt. Kirk: “And the same currents that swept McCoy to a certain time and place might sweep us there, too.”
Lately, I’m thinking that that that theory applies to the Internet. You see, about 30,000 of those 45,894 spam comments were attempts to comment on my post “On the Radio” from July 2012. July 2012 is back when this blog was averaging about 3 visits a day. The reason I didn’t throw this post away is because over 200 of the 323 comments in my spam queue today are for that post. I am trying to figure out what it is about that post that acts as a spam magnet. The categories and tags used on that post appear in about 20% of my posts so I don’t think there’s anything special about that one post. The post itself has not been viewed that many times (although I really like it).
I have a few theories of my own.
Theory number one: the one comment and the one pingback that post did receive are themselves spam that snuck through Akismet’s usually adept filter. If that’s true, they might be guiding other spam to a what appears as a spam-friendly blog post.
Theory number two: A ‘bot’ or a ‘botnet’ is stuck in the groove or is no longer able to update its targets.
Theory number three: Spammers and bots are being led to that post by some mysterious force and 60% of all future spam will land there regardless of what I do.
I can’t do anything about theories two and three, but I can delete the comment and the pingback. The other thing I can’t figure out is why so much of that spam, well over 50% is from people trying to sell Ugg Boots. In any case, Akismet is doing a fine job. The reason people try to spam your blog’s comments is to impress Google with links to their web page. If wishes were fishes in this case, their sites would appear at the top of my search results instead of three paid-for ads and Nordstrom.
Pictures – I don’t have many pictures of horses. The ones included here are from a horseback tour Faith and I took while visiting Gettysburg in 2012.