I’m being punished for supporting blog comments!


Suzumiuya Haruhi and the SOS-Dan gang
We must ask ourselves… What would Haruhi do? She could kick their arses… into another space time continuum :)

It's almost as if a divine power is somehow punishing me for allowing comments on my blog posts! I've said numerous times I love having comments left by people because unlike hits or unique visitor logs it shows that someone has read my material and has thought it worthwhile to leave a message, question or reply to a previous message or question. It's what makes sites interactive, otherwise you may as well just watch TV.

I've been getting my fair share of rude messages both here and on other sites I host content, and I've been getting my fair share of generic spam messages (if by share I mean deluge) and unsolicited targeted advertising. They're aggravating, but I can deal with them. I like to think of them as the side effect to having a successful blog, right? As my father would say: "Uh, yeah"!

ASIDE: Speaking of religious salvation (below), I was visited by a pair of Jehova’s Witnesses this morning. They were both quite old ladies, one of which looked as though she was about to faint, the temperature today is 31C (high 90s F). I offered her a glass of water, then promptly told her I was an atheist and wasn’t even slightly interested in what they were preaching. I admired the fact she didn’t spit the water out once she found out! A heathen offering water… I would have thought she would have suspected I had put a drug in there to force her to believe in evolution or to get a same sex marriage!

What I have a much harder time dealing with is unsolicited targeted advertising that gets added to the comments sections for blog posts where I discussed my mum's funeral, or my mum's oncologist, or benefit concerts for jazz legends who have been diagnosed with cancer. I can deal with people trying to take advantage of the fact I posted about a game console or a piece of software and they so happen to be selling related material for it, but people advertising funeral services, miracle cures, religious salvation and dodgy counselling services and somehow infinitely more offensive.

I know spammers don't care about the sites they fill up with their junk, because that's their aim. At the very least spammers could check with some sort of automated system that a post they're spamming isn't about the death of a loved one. I know spammers are doing it for the money, but even this is lower than low. And besides, as Jim Kloss so rightly put it in an audio magazine back in 2005, if spammers want people to buy their products, they're not helping their cause if they make the people they're pitching to hate them in the first place! It's ethics we're dealing with here, but even if it weren't, there's also some Bidness 101 common sense here too.

Mourning the death of common sense
Common sense, we hardly knew thee…

I don't want to turn off comments on my blog posts about my mum because I get so many nice messages from people, and I've even got in contact with some family friends that way. I'm running out of ideas though. Perhaps with time I'll just get used to seeing these kind of messages. After almost one year though since it happened, it ain't getting easier so far.

I'm off to buy myself a new pair of brightly coloured 100% cotton socks, then I'll go for a coffee. That always cheers me up.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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