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Spam awareness 101

Just to warn regular commenters: our incoming spam level has shot up in the past couple of days — we seem to be getting on the order of a thousand a day five thousand a day now. (Yes, I'm looking into additional methods for weeding it out. Where is ATHENA when you need it?) Virtually none of it is getting through, but it does mean that the spam bin is impossible to search for legitimate postings.

If you post a (non-spam) comment and it is held for moderation, it goes into a different folder, which we can still keep an eye on. But if your comment doesn't appear after 24 hours, the odds are high that it's lost for good.

Apologies for any inconvenience ...

16 Comments

1:
Where is ATHENA when you need it?
Athena? She's there!.

Sorry. Couldn't resist cross-authoring.

2:

Grrr! Even with preview, my links get mangled!

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7188/6966776573_85d5bb610c.jpg

would be the link above!

3:

I want to see spammers get years in jail

4:

I think spammers should be forced to do manual spam detection. I figure reading through 5,000 messages full of Nigerian enhancement ads and penis scams every day ought to be a fitting punishment.

5:

"Where is ATHENA when you need it?"

Is ATHENA neuter gender? I thought she was feminine.

6:

In one story, I mentioned an idea to solve spam by recruiting organized crime to do it - as a public service in lieu of part of jail time. Following the spammers by their IPAs, locating them and breaking their kneecaps would not be exactly lawful, but boy what a deterrent that would be...

7:

Haven't read "Rule 34" yet, have you?

8:

After years of success, I've been getting a rash of shit for the past 3 weeks that's been proving to be difficult for spamassassin to adapt to. These clever fuckers.

9:

When it comes to spammers, I rather prefer what the nominal, if not quite human, protagonist in Daniel Suarez' Daemon decided to do with them. It involved handguns put together from parts made by 3D printers and wielded by ex-cons recruited by a widely distributed botnet. Not the best novel in the world, but poetic outcomes like that made it worthwhile.

10:

Before I simply gave up on email, I had realized a large percentage of spam could be detected by running it through a simple spelling checker. A grammar checker would be even better, but I couldn't locate anything workable from a command line at the time.

11:

Alas, this is all my fault. As of 20 hours ago, my (sigh) Facebook status was a link to "Memetic Prophylactic". Given the situation Over Here, I felt the message worth repeating. ("The Handmaid's Tale was a warning, not a roadmap!")

Is there any correlation between Facebook linkbacks and comment spam?

12:

Boyd you may have a point.
HOWEVER
As is often the case, XKCD got there first ...
Try " XKCD 810" for an explanation - there - done it without a link (!)

Is this a practical solution in realisable real-time (next 10 years?

Seriously, what can be done about spam?
It is screwing everyone, but no-one seems (note the seems) to be actually doing anyhting about it, in terms of serious international legal penalties.
Suggestions / comments, anyone?

13:

@4: I think spammers should be forced to do manual spam detection

On a related note, this David Langford short story appeared in Nature originally:

New Hope for the Dead

14:

Thanks for that link. The story reminds me of the old joke about the guy who gets a guided tour of hell before having to choose where he's going to stay. The first place he sees is full of damned souls being roasted over open fires by demons who poke them with sharp-tined forks to see if they're done. The second place is where the damned are being tossed off of cliffs onto the rocks below to go splat amid howls of pain. In the next place he sees thousands of the damned standing in a lake of shit up to their necks drinking cups of coffee, and the demons are standing around talking to each other. He says to guide, "I'll stay here, this looks tolerable", just as the boss demon yells out, "Coffee break's over, losers, down on your knees!"

15:

[singing]
My object all sublime,
I shall achieve in time,
To make the punishment fit the crime,
The punishment fit the crime,
And make each prisoner pent,
Unwilling represent,
A source of innocent merriment,
Of innocent merriment,...
[/end] (don't all cheer at once! ;-) )

16:

Ever since I learned about the Singularitan idea of uploading everyone so they can live forever in the bosom of computronium, I've wondered if a few thousand virtual years of playing billiards with elliptical balls and helical cues would allow you to become really expert at it.]

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on March 9, 2012 4:41 PM.

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