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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

I’m All About the Prongs!

So, I’ve got two things to discuss today — one of them involves a two-pronged attack, and the other includes a four-pronged plan. That’s six prongs, people — six prongs! You don’t get that kind of shit anywhere else. Not other blogs, not news sites, not the Wall Street freakin’ Journal. They got three, four prongs a day, max. Unh-uh.

All right, so first the two-prongy thing, and that has to do with the onerous issue of comment spam. I hate comment spam. If I were in charge of the world, there’d be an extra-special circle of hell reserved for the slimy assbaskets who engage in such behavior — right between the bastards who don’t use their turn signals and telemarketers who call before ten in the damned morning. And I’d tell people, right up front:

Hey, you want to try to use my personal site as an ad for whatever shit you’re peddling? Well, go ahead, then. But let’s see how you feel about the issue after a few eons in a Bactine bath with leeches glommed onto your privates. That might just change your happy little tune, there, sporto.

Fucking bastards.

Anyway, that’s where my prongs come in.

(Oh, and believe me, if I could get really get my ‘prongs’ into these cheesebags, I would. I’d tack the bastards down like an insect collection, for all the other kids to ‘Ewwww!‘ about. Losers.

But it’s not those kinds of prongs that I meant. I get a little excited sometimes. So sorry.)

The point is, for the past few months, I’ve employed a two-pronged attack for fighting off these douchemonkeys, and keeping their slime trails off this site. First, I installed MT-Blacklist, which I’d recommend to anyone using MovableType (or any other code it supports). The time it’s saved me by letting me quickly delete goofy-assed ads disguised as ‘comments’, or by rejecting them altogether, must run into the order of weeks by now. Maybe months. I’d be, like, sixty years old without this thing. Very cool.

And believe me, it’s getting a workout. A week or so ago, I had no less than — are you sitting down for this? — three hundred and twenty-two ‘spamments’ rejected by the software from the same address in one day.

(Yes, I counted. No, I don’t have better things to do. Yes, my life is a hollow shell of what it should be. Blow me.)

Now, folks, I’m a fairly optimistic guy — sometimes to the point of near-delusion. But I can’t imagine any situation where I’d get rejected — by a website, or a woman, or a credit card agency — three hundred and twenty-one times, and then say to myself, ‘Eh… just one more try. This time, it’s gotta work!‘ So, not only are these cluetards annoying, they’re apparently also a bunch of fricking morons. Their mothers must be so proud.

(And yeah, I know they must have some sort of automaterated doohickey or other that makes the actual requests. Nobody’s quite that stupid. But I still like to think that most of them are close to that stupid — bunch of mouth-breathing, names-in-underwear, pants-on-backwards, Hee-Haw-hooting hosebags, if you ask me.)

Anyway, the thing is, I get tired of seeing all those rejected comments in my logs every damned day. And so, I instituted my second anti-spamment prong: the IP exclusion.

See, MT will let you specify certain IP addresses that are simply forbidden to even attempt to comment or trackback to your site. So, whenever I noticed the same address coming up more than once in my logs, I nuked it. And the requests from those addresses stopped showing up. Beautiful.

(Of course, they were immediately replaced with six or seven other damned addresses, because these people apparently spread their satany seed like fricking rabbits. But, I could always nuke those, too. And then a half-dozen more would ooze into their place. And I’d nuke them. And they’d come back. Nuke, swarm, nuke, swarm.

It’s like having goddamned tribbles around, you know? Assbags.)

Well, long story ever-so-slightly-less-long, I eventually got up to about 250 addresses. Yes, you read that right — just around two hundred and fifty distinct crapmongers have repeatedly tried to bury their filth within these pages in the past six months or so. And I know I’m not alone in this, or MT-Blacklist wouldn’t exist in the first place. Amazing.

Apparently, though, Movable Type itself has some trouble dealing with such a large IP blacklist, and — if recent behavior is any indication — eventually just decides that nobody is allowed to post a comment. I got emails from people who couldn’t submit, finally checked it out, and found that I couldn’t submit, either. To my own site! Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

So, I blew away all the IP addresses I’d accumulated over the last half-year or so, and that seems to have fixed it. The moral to the story being, if you’ve tried to comment in the past couple of days and been denied, please — oh, please — consider it a temporary ‘blog fart’ and try, try again. I miss the comments, folks. The real ones, anyway. Just don’t try to write in, selling penis enlargement pills or some shit like that. You’d never get past the blacklist, anyway. And if you did, your comment would have a shelf life of maybe twelve minutes, so please don’t bother. I don’t wanna have to start a new IP shit list, all right?

So, on to thing two — the four-pronged affair. There’s actually less to say about this matter at this point, so I’ll try to be brief and to the point:

Two days ago, I noticed a link incoming to my site from another weblog. Upon investigation, I discovered that the link was actually a broken link that mistakenly pointed to my site, when it was meant to go to another.

(For you HTML-savvy types out there, it was a case of a missing ‘http://’ in the link. So, instead of specifying the intended site, the link actually mistakenly pointed to the local site, instead. Which was mine. Except the link was on someone else’s site, and therein lay the problem. See?

And for you non-HTML-savvy types, here’s the short version: Somebody lifted my shit.

Heh. Sometimes it pays not to be all technical and shit, eh, folks? That second version was much more straightforward.)

Anyway, what had apparently happened was that another blogger had found one of my posts, copied it to their site, edited a few bits here and there (but not many, and not including the broken link — luckily for me, or otherwise, I’d have never known), and then published it as their own. I’m talking plagiarism, folks. Pure and simple, and not appreciated in the slightest. So, I put into place a four-pronged plan to right the wrong:

Prong 1.) Send an private (and courteous) email to the author asking that the post be removed, or that a link back to the original post be added as acknowledgement. Hope that the author was mistaken, or has a change of heart on his or her own.

Prong 2.) Post a comment on the offending post, asking that the post be removed, or that a link back to the original post be added as acknowledgement. Hope that the author’s readers will react, and gently nudge the author into compliance.

Prong 3.) Post, in detail, about the situation on my site, naming names and displaying righteous indignation about the whole sordid affair. Hope that my readers will react, and gently — or not-so-gently — nudge the author into compliance.

Prong 4.) Take the matter up with the offender’s weblog host, asking them to forcibly remove the offending material, or remove the offending site altogether, offering clear evidence of the heinous crime and proof of non-compliance. Hope that the post in question is actually worth all the damned trouble.

(I should probably point out here, of course, that I got most of these very good ideas from the eloquent and capable Julia of Tequila Mockingbird, to whom the same poopy thing happened. Her post behind that last link also has more info about protecting your online work and intellectual property, and inspired me to get myself a spiffy new Creative Commons license of my own. Thanks, Julia!)

Luckily for me, however, my saga didn’t get nearly as ugly as hers, which escalated through Prong 4, as I recall, and in which the word ‘lawyers’ was bandied about. (And rightfully so — her post-pilferer was quite a persistent little pup.)

In my case, I got as far as Prong 2 last night, and woke this morning to find the offending post removed altogether from the site, so there was no need to get nasty. Or to sic you nice folks on another site, assuming you’d agree to be so sic’ed in the first place.

So, happy endings all ’round. Comments are back, my shit is still mine (as far as I know), and we can all head into the weekend holding hands and singing together, and secretly trying to cop a cheap feel, as long as we think we can get away with it. Ah, these are heady times. Until the next post, folks — have a great weekend, and go, go, go, Red Sox. Later.

Permalink  |  7 Comments



7 Responses to “I’m All About the Prongs!”

  1. Sychotic1 says:

    All I can say is, that is the price of too much success. You get the blog brand of stardom. Instead of paparazzi you get SPAM. Instead of Gucci you get PLAGIARISM.

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t go into showbusiness?

  2. Steph says:

    GO RED SOX GO

    It’s too bad, really, that the damn plagiarist took it down so quickly. After reading that I was looking forward to finding out who it was and bombing them like we did for Fish.

    You rock.

    And apparently you are one hard ass. Good work.

  3. You’d have to be the biggest loser on the planet to copy someone else’s entry and post it as your own on your own blog. Hopefully they die a rather untimely death. Bwah ha ha ha ha!

  4. Frac says:

    You know… I kind of blame Google for your woes. The one reason they do this is to exploit what I see as a weakness in Google.

    Google needs to work to solve this by working to identify when people do this, and promptly dropping their rank.

    Yeah. All sorts of problems doing this. Who gives a shit. Google: fix the problems you caused. I know you can; you have a fantastic track record of problem solving.

  5. Luke says:

    Click HERE for some HOT PORN.

    Just kidding.

    Sort of.

  6. Richard says:

    I had one of those nasty spambots – it went through and added a comment to every post. The one coming to my sie was posting ar decreasing intervals over 12 hours even after I added enough keywords to the comment spam keyword list to catch every comment and send it to moderation hell. Then the next day it came back with a new link URL (a different gambling site but same style). None of the IP addresses were the real source, different for every post, but the link URL and the name and the fake email address were the same or similar enough that the spam filter got them. The idiot must have looked the next day and realized his bot-buddy wasn’t doing any good because it stopped after the first 9 useless posts. I also found at least one other person – a member of blogexplosion too – who got the same comment spambot infesting her blog.

    So far nobody I’ve talked to has a better solution than a spam keyword list. Unless it’s a truly dumber than dirt brain dead slug, none of the IPs will repeat – or only rarely when it redirects through the same anonymous server. So many morons think they can do anything and somehow it’s OK because . . shit, I don’t know, maybe their momma is proud of them and they come from a long line of inbred droolers whose moral precepts include, “Who, me?”, “duh”, “nobody knows so it’s OK”, and “I didn’t do it”. Course they can’t remember ALL those teachings all the time, so sometimes they screw up. Did I mention how much I hate that kind of crap?

    The plagiarism thing is too much. At least it’s a compliment (OK a weird sort of compliment) and it is pretty pathetic – why not just link to a cool post? Oh, right, too dumb to write something anyone would read long enough to find the link.

    You know, all that stuff you write, you’re just asking to be plagiarized. If you wrote really dumb boring crap nobody would steal your stuff.

    The Hair Cut post is great. No, it’s brilliant. OK both. blogexplosion surfing got me here this first time. I’ll be back.

  7. #Debi says:

    “Hee-Haw-hooting hosebags”–boy howdy, I do loves me some alliteration! Brilliant! :^D

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