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August 19, 2011

Chelyabinsk: The Dirtiest City in Russia
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:23 AM *

From The CMO Site: Social Media Marketing House of Fail

Chelyabinsk: The Dirtiest City in Russia
…the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, one of the 10 most polluted cities in that nation, announced a contract worth $10,700 for some SEO expert — hat color not specified — to “optimize” queries to the Yandex and Google search engines using 15 search phrases, including “ecology of the Urals,” “radiation in Chelyabinsk,” and “dirtiest city in Russia.” The result must be predominantly positive or neutral links for the first 150 results from those search engines, with only 20 percent allowed that display a negative tone. How much actual cleanup would $10,700 accomplish, if directed to that end? This campaign can only be seen as fostering the opposite of trust.

Folks like that, the “SEO” merchants and their employers, are why we have a spam-word filter list here hundreds of lines long that sometimes snatches up the innocent into its gnome-ensorcelled hands.

Here’s how I expect they’ll work. They’ll find 200 or so predominantly positive-or-neutral web pages about Chelyabinsk (or write ‘em themselves if there aren’t that many). Then for each of those phrases, for “ecology of the Urals,” “radiation in Chelyabinsk,” and “dirtiest city in Russia,” they’ll post comments in blogs all over the web. The comments won’t have anything to do with Chelyabinsk (which many consider the dirtiest city in Russia, and that means it’s pretty darned dirty). Rather, the poster’s name will be “Ecology of the Urals” (just like a common Making Light poster name is “Cheap Viagra” or “Designer Handbags”), with a comment text that reads:

This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!
or
well let me be brutally honest with you,i didnt like your writing style, but i got what i came searching here for,so thanks for this post,though you can improve your writing style by a bit.
or
is your website supported on safari browser.because i tried using it through safari but the sidebar goes out of the page.

Without active, human, moderation, that sort of thing overwhelms the Web. You can find blogs out there with open comment threads a thousand posts deep, where every single post is spam. As Miss Teresa noted: “I’m starting to regard unmaintained comment areas as the online equivalent of letting old automobile tires lie around in your back yard, collecting stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.”

Strong moderation! Human moderation! As my friend MacAllister Stone notes over on G+, what machine-rules-based pseudo-moderation breeds is a generation of folks who are adept at gaming the system, “people who’ve essentially been rewarded for learning to circumvent and exploit the requirements for participation — and they’re often angry and a little abusive when confronted by a human moderator….”

(Say, do you write poetry?)

Hat tip to my friend Mitch Wagner for the story about Chelyabinsk (the dirtiest city in Russia) producing a new, and different, kind of pollution.

.

Comments on Chelyabinsk: The Dirtiest City in Russia:
#1 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 06:08 AM:

I suppose, since you've mentioned the dirtiest city in Russia, that we'd all better comment negatively (not positively or neutrally) to avoid encouraging spammers.

So: the dirtiest city in Russia is bad.

Will that do it?

#2 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 06:35 AM:

I agree entirely.
A place I'm a moderator on (which I have mentioned before on here in connection with spam), we allegedly had 7,000 members, but it turned out that around 4,500 were inactive or spammers. Having deleted them, and especially the linkspam, there seem to be fewer of them signing up these days, it is as if they watch each other or pass round lists saying which places are open and easy to spam.

Even with approval of first post, which stops most of them, spammers get by. Usually the ones who are more grammatically correct with their English, and who have hidden the link somewhere in their signature or profile so the moderator doesn't see it. Still, it does require a fair amount of time and I'd love to put them all out of business.

#3 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 06:50 AM:

Since there are cities in Russia, there must logically be a dirtiest city in Russia.

Whether Chelyabinsk is the dirtiest city in Russia, I am not qualified to say.

#4 ::: Henning Makholm ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 08:04 AM:

"Since there are cities in Russia, there must logically be a dirtiest city in Russia."

That only follows if you assume that dirtiness is a total ordering. The grammatical structure of comparatives in natural languages does invite that assumption, but I'm not sure it actually matches how we perceive "more dirty" in reality.

If we can conceive of two kinds of dirtiness that cannot be compared for which is worst, then it is possible that Chelyabinsk is only maximally dirty without actually being dirtiest city in Russia.

#5 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 08:10 AM:

Here's another trick I stumbled upon recently: someone asked if they could translate a page of mine into Belarusian so they could provide it in "their native tongue" on "their blog".

I've never had anyone ask for a Belarusian version of my page, but I figured, no harm done. So I said: Okay, as long as you credit it, link back to the original, and don't use it commercially.

After they did it, they got very persistent about asking for a link back to it (with both repeated emails and eventually an international phone call). I had a look at what they did, and while there were no visible ads or out-links on the page itself, it was hosted not on any blog I could find, but on the domain of a site that pitched bank loans.

At which point the penny dropped. (My site has high PageRank, and any link from such a site to a particular domain can have the effect of boosting the search engine rankings of that domain.) I said no, I'm not linking back, and please remove the page you made.

We'll see what happens next. But I suspect I'm not the only one to get approached with a scheme like this.

#6 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 09:13 AM:

I've seen those requests to translate various pages into Belarusian before. You aren't the first or the only, John Mark.

#7 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 09:18 AM:

Chelyabinsk isn't so much dirty as it is radioactive -- the storage tank explosion in 1957 is alleged to have released twice as much fallout as the Chernobyl reactor meltdown, over a somewhat smaller area.

#8 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 09:21 AM:

James, that Belarusian translation thing ... I didn't spot it. Thanks; I just removed the link from my Fiction FAQ page. Won't fall for it again.

#9 ::: kimberlycreates ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 09:43 AM:

Those types of comments have always mystified me. In the beginning, I'd let them slip through because they seemed mostly harmless, and they usually used names that sounded legitimate. Eventually I caught on that they were too generic to be real people though. And like guthrie, I had a lot of spammer/inactive members until added a plugin that culled them out.

I've got a contact form on my site that was supposed to reduce spam -- only somehow spambots are getting to that too now. I hate capthas so instead, I added a dropdown list where the default selection is "I'm a spambot." It's amusing right now to see how many messages come through with the tag "I'm a spambot" but eventually I'm going to get bored and have them sent directly to my trashcan.

Thanks for the info on those too-generic-but-otherwise-seemingly-harmless comments. Now I don't feel bad about deleting them!

#10 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 10:25 AM:

And we just got another slew of comment-spammers this morning, at about 0430 EDT.

In addition, another dozen comments were stopped by the filters (which have been adjusted again).

#11 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 11:36 AM:

I wonder how long until spambots realize that "Ugh, spambots! I run a site where I get zillions of login requests and fake, generic comments every week. Why won't they all just die!" is an excellent fake generic comment?

Also, I wonder if there's a site out there somewhere where spammers sit around complaining about sites that purge inactive users and employ clever spambot catchers.

#12 ::: Fuzzy Gerdes ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 11:49 AM:

@ heresiarch - That's already a flavor of spam comment I see on my blogs. There are also spam comments that say something like "you sure have a lot of spam comments on your blog, you should probably install anti-spam software to deal with that", which seems self-defeating.

#13 ::: Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 11:49 AM:

I have wondered for some time what the purpose of those comments was. They rarely get past Akismet, and since they obviously weren't real people I always delete those that did, but now I understand a bit more about the Internet ecology. Thanks.

#14 ::: Planetheidi ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 12:12 PM:

Nothing new here. Ten years ago, Chelyabinsk was home two of the most dangerous hackers the FBI has ever caught. http://www.csoonline.com/article/219964/alexey-ivanov-and-vasiliy-gorshkov-russian-hacker-roulette

#15 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Tires in the backyard breeding mosquitoes? Perhaps more like tires in the backyard on fire.

#16 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 01:02 PM:

It also means that any public Wiki must have a minimal number of people who are not only empowered and trusted to maintain it, but have the time to do so.

I've seen at least one small wiki which, despite a fair bit of public participation, is effectively dead, because the two "real" owners went off to do something else... and the one empowered user wasn't up to daily cleanup, and didn't have the access to work on automated defenses. (Also: "the reCAPTCHAs, they do nothing!")

#17 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 04:40 PM:

The Last Ten Minutes in Spam:

Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you're using? I'm going to start my own blog soon but I'm having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

Very good suggestions, you just gained a brand new reader. I’m curious if you have any follow ups to this post?

a good discussion can be started on this post,as i do not fully agree with you,but nevertheless,good post.

hello!a bit offtopic but can you tell how much does it cost to setup a blog?not a expensive and good looking one like yours,but a small normal one?

I have been meaning to post something like this on my blog and this gave me an idea. Cheers.

I just added this site to my bookmarks. I like reading your posts. Thank you!

your site ranks high on yahoo and i must say your consistent writing style deserves your blog to be such high in rankings.i relished your writing style.keep it up.

There are some attention-grabbing closing dates in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There may be some validity but I'll take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as properly

And some exact duplicates.

Posters include but are not limited to: Garmin GPS Forerunner 305, hotels in shimla, pregnancy-symptoms, and Brooklyn Apartment cleaning service (plus a variety of random human-style names, including but not limited to Masako Balbi, Tamika Guadian, and Lila Ketchersid).

#18 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 05:47 PM:

What I don't understand is why rel="nofollow" doesn't put these people out of business, or at least make them go somewhere else.

Since some sites no doubt still don't implement rel="nofollow" for comment-provided links, is it perhaps the same psychological effect that causes people to repeat more of a behavior that is only rewarded occasionally than one that is rewarded consistently?

#19 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 07:03 PM:

"your site is one which I've heard around is very highly sought after by spammers! After reading your writing style with my 100% organic human eyeballs, I can tell that relish is thoroughly deserved. Boy is your writing style consistent! Keep up the good work."

#20 ::: Той, хто толькі напалову мову ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Я не ведаю, чаму ты так прадузята ставяцца да нас беларусы! Мы проста спрабуем разводзіць камароў - гм, гэта значыць зарабляць на жыццё, як і ўсе астатнія!

#21 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Larry, I think it's less of an imminent danger of total destruction and more of an ongoing public health hazard; hence: mosquitos.

#22 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 09:08 PM:

heresiarch @ 19... After reading your writing style with my 100% organic human eyeballs, I can tell that relish is thoroughly deserved

The writing passes mustard?

#23 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 09:24 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue #21: "tires on fire" don't usually produce total destruction (you may be flashing on one of the big tire-dump fires); they do produce toxic smoke and leave toxic waste behind.

#24 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 09:41 PM:

So it's poison or biohazard. Hmm. I see your point, but I'll still go with the mosquitos (West Nile).

#25 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 11:59 PM:

In the last six hours, "hotels in shimla" have hit us 39 times. "Copenhagen Hotels" gave them a run for their money with 34 attempts.

"Atlanta chiropractors" have tried to post 3 times. "Boise Chiropractic" showed up 6 times, while "miami chiropractors" and "Tucson Chiropractors" wound up in the spam filter 4 times each.

"Best electronic cigarette reviews," "Web Site Builders," "Online Website Builder," "Learn Guitar Brighton," "baker boxes," "ugg laarzen outlets," "spelletjes," "top insurance company," "Garmin 1490t," "Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags," "poker-sites," "NFL Teams jersey," and "Queens House cleaning service" joined the mix with one appearance each.

Then there were another 97 posters that would pass the Google+ "real name" test.

So goes another day, minding the back of Making Light.

I thank all the regulars who post "Spam Spotted" messages. Couldn't do it without you, folks.

#26 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 12:26 AM:

@20: ::woggle:: Google Translate initially "detected" English, and then when I specified Belarusian, it decided I must want it translated into Chinese.

JDM @25: Dumb question: doesn't mentioning them by name in a comment boost their ranking (if even minutely)? (Serious question. Does Google only rank links and not mentions-in-text?)

Actually, this thread has provided a tangential service, for which I thank you, Jim. One of the "duties" listed in a lot of web-related job listing is "understanding of SEO." Instead of feeling inadequate because that's not a skill I can honestly claim on my resume, I can summarily reject any job with that as required responsibilty. I try not to work for places that manufacture landfill, or otherwise damage the environment as part of their business model.

#27 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 12:29 AM:

Hm. A thought: the mods have commented that one reason they leave comments on in old threads is that occassionally some actually interesting person with actually interesting things to say will Google by and make an actually interesting comment, and sometimes even stay on to become part of the community.

Would there be a reasonably easy way to route all new comments to old (like >1year, or something) threads to the current Open Thread? This would have the triple effect of bringing new legimate commenters to the positive attention of the community, bringing old threads up in conversation again, and consolidating spammage into a central location?

I have a vague recollection that this suggestion has been floated before and discarded for good and rational reasons. If so, please disregard.

#28 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 12:30 AM:

"leave comments open on old threads"

(I did preview. Honest.)

#29 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 01:19 AM:

I know a guy who does "grey hat" SEO as a very small part of his job. (I don't know if there's any effective SEO strategy that I would consider entirely white hat, though I might be wrong.)

He doesn't use bots as far as I know. Instead, he gets friends and acquaintances to put links to sites he's working on in their signatures on old message boards that they no longer use (or just give him those logins outright). Those sigs occur on anything from dozens to thousands of pages, but the chance of any human eyeball seeing them again is low, and the content of the comments the sig is associated with was legitimate at the time it was posted. He asked me if I had any defunct accounts he could use, but I told him no... (I did go back and meticulously make sure that all my defunct or seldom-used accounts contained a link to my own actual web address, of course. Some dark magics can be co-opted by the forces of good.)

A lot of porn sites do semi-visible link exchanges as well. They'll join a link-boosting network, and post dozens or hundreds of links to other sites in the network on their own site. The other sites will do the same, to boost the collective ratings of in-network sites versus those not participating. I consider that pretty grey hat as well.

A lot of the most annoying and intrusive SEO techniques can be done in a way that is less intrusive and doesn't really hurt anyone. There are ways to do SEO without bots or comment spam. They're just a lot more work, so places that sell SEO as one of their primary products don't bother with them. 95% of that grey-hat guy's business is web design, content management, and marketing, so he goes out of his way to do SEO without being too much of a nuisance. A lot of social networking grunt work is essentially white or grey hat SEO, though it serves other functions as well.

#30 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 01:44 AM:

re 20: Pulling up "all comments" on this message shows that the latter feature hasn't been introduced to Unicode or some such similar failure.

#31 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 09:51 AM:

The world in Comment Spam:

"Copenhagen Hotels" and "hotels in shimla" are still hammering us pretty hard; "restaurants in kandivali" is the new addition.

"Best deals," "my deals," "big deal," "best deal search," and "deals for today" have joined the hit parade.

Meanwhile, more locally, "Apartment cleaning Queens," "House cleaning service Queens," "New York Studio cleaning service," and "Residential cleaning service NY" appear to have paid their bucks to some SEO outfit who promised them ... that they'd become hated?

"Bad credit," "health care tips," "niles motorcycle dealer," and "pyschic medium" are on the board with one appearance each.

So ends the last six hours.

What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.
#32 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 12:40 PM:

Leah @29: (I don't know if there's any effective SEO strategy that I would consider entirely white hat, though I might be wrong.)

When I used to do it as part of my web design job, the general approach was:

1. Put up a load of interesting & informative pages on useful topics that have minimal branding, etc, but a lot of content (1,000 words minimum, 2-5,000 much better). Make sure you hit your main target keywords early (preferably in page title, initial heading, and first sentence) and often.
2. A link at the bottom of the page and from any relevant keywords in the text of the page can go to the main site you want to promote.
3. Ask owners of as many highly-ranked pages on related pages as possible to link to them. Be honest about commercial nature of site, promise to keep the information relevant and not try anything sneaky.

This is more work than less honest approaches, but the results seem to last longer -- your links tend to duplicate by themselves after a while, so you don't need to keep getting new ones in.

#33 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 12:58 PM:

Jim Macdonald @31: Apartment cleaning Queens sound awesome. Now I don't know whether I want to picture Elizabeth II or RuPaul in my apartment. Or Freddie Mercury.

They'd all rock. Particularly Freddie.

Well, actually, it's a house now, but I live in hope.

#34 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 01:40 PM:

And "recipes," "cake recipes," "cupcake recipes," and "carrot cake recipes" have come rolling in.

I really like Carrot soup greatest what about you? Whats your Favourite soup recipes ? and have you ever used [redacted]?

I like Carrot soup perfect what about you? Whats your Favorite soup recipe ? and have you ever used [redacted]?

I adore Carrot soup best how about you? Whats your Favourite soup recipes ? and have you ever used [redacted]?

I really enjoy Carrot soup perfect what about you? Whats your Favorite soup recipe ? and have you ever used [redacted]?

I love Carrot soup greatest what about you? Whats your Favorite soup recipes ? and also have you ever used [redacted]?

I prefer Carrot soup perfect how about you? Whats your Most desired soup recipes ? and also have you ever used [redacted]?

(Links disabled--JDM)

#35 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 02:09 PM:

I use [redacted] all the time. And I clean my apartment with it too.

#36 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 02:14 PM:

[Redacted]! It's a floor wax! It's a dessert topping! It's BOTH!!

#37 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Jim - Thanks for the shout-out, but I have to give full and complete credit to my colleague Keith Dawson for doing all the work on that blog.

Daniel Martin (#18) - What I don't understand is why rel="nofollow" doesn't put these people out of business, or at least make them go somewhere else.

My theory: The business being supported here isn't the "Atlanta Chiropracters," "Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags," "Apartment Cleaning Queens," etc. The business is the sleazy SEO consultants.

As long as the sleazy SEO consultants can convince Atlanta Chiropracters, Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags, etc., to give the consultants money, then the business model is viable, whether or not Atlanta Chiropracters etc. make a single dime off the investment.

#38 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 03:03 PM:

37
Sounds like the robocalls (mostly for carpet cleaning) that ignore the do-not-call listing on the phone number.

#39 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Daniel Martin #18: Adding to Mitch Wagner #37, the SEO guys themselves may not be in the business you think they are. This sort of spam is a major driver for virus spread and botnet recruitment....

#40 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Speak of the devil! "Carpet Cleaning Utah County" just arrived with this message:

This will be a terrific site, could you be involved in doing an interview about just how you created it? If so e-mail me!

We also got a post from "Volume Sperm." I don't really want to know what they're pimping.

#41 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 06:51 PM:

C. 30: Yeah, VAB doesn't appear to handle the Byelorusian Cyrillic well.

#42 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 06:56 PM:

C.Wingate #30.

I've pointed this out before, too. It's not that View All By doesn't use Unicode. The page is labelled as UTF-8 and the weird characters are specified by UTF-8 sequences.

There's some interesting double translation problem going on, where Xopher types Unicode U+042F, CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER YA, which is represented in UTF-8 by bytes D0 AF, and displays correctly in the current thread. In View All By, we get each byte interpreted as a Unicode point, so we get U+00D0, CAPITAL LETTER ETH, and U+00AF, MACRON.

#43 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 07:00 PM:

And, I forgot to add, the source for View All By shows that it really is double translation, since CAPITAL LETTER ETH and MACRON are represented by HTML entities Ð and ¯

#44 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 07:34 PM:

It may be incorrect, but it hardly seems like anything worth fixing. While there certainly are cases where we'd need to be able to read text in a different alphabet, ISTM that all or nearly all of them are thread contexts; it seems unlikely that such posts would really be relevant in the sort of context for which we use VAB (except perhaps to note that a particular poster has posted ONLY in non-Roman alphabets).

Also, if you click the date link on the post on the VAB page, it goes back to the thread, displaying it correctly.

#45 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 07:42 PM:
I tried to publish a comment earlier, however it has not shown up. I believe your spam filter may well be broken?

No, compañero, my spam filter is doing just fine. This was the ninth comment-spam post in a row from you, the others being totally generic yet wildly inappropriate, many to threads where the last post was two years ago or more, fired within a matter of minutes. All of the others were filtered for good and sufficient reason.

Wow, look at me. Arguing with a bot.

#46 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Yog (#45)
"...Wow, look at me. Arguing with a bot..."

Cue to a scene in the film version of "George Of The Jungle:"

"Are you arguing with the narrator?"

#47 ::: Sebastian ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2011, 08:23 PM:

James @ 45: Bots With Chutzpah. A new series starting this fall on the Space Channel!

#48 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2011, 09:58 PM:

James @45: Perhaps you're arguing with the bot's driver, not the bot itself.

As for Chelyabinsk, it might well not be the dirtiest city in Russia. Chelyabinsk might instead be tied for dirtiest city in Russia with one or more other dirty cities in Russia. Which is still bad.

#49 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2011, 06:18 AM:

Jim @ #40

Pimping or pumping. ITWSBT

(On second thoughts, perhaps we shouldn't.)

#50 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2011, 09:58 AM:

I too hate captchas -- I did something at my site which is kind of similar to a captcha without seeming as irritating, which is to just have javascript put up a message box when a new commenter posts, and have the commenter click "ok" -- admittedly mine is a very small site, if it were bigger spammers would probably put the minimal effort required in to figuring out how to circumvent this guard, but I have gotten no automated spam at all for going on four years, after a surge of such first inspired me to implement the guard.

#51 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2011, 04:10 AM:

Stephen Sample @ #33:

The Queen of Melanesia, perhaps. She already has a history of dropping by to help with the gardening.

#52 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2011, 11:08 AM:

Chelyabinsk-65 and -70 were nicknamed chocolate city, because these cities were among the few cities in USSR where chocolate was available in abundance.

Candy is dandy. But plutonium makes you sicker. Quicker.

#53 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 10:35 AM:

This just in: A comment spam received here at ML where the operator didn't know how to set the Random Phrase Dropping option, so we can see all of the possible variations on the text:

nowadaysNowadaysNowadaysPresently connected withregardingincluding austerity together withalong withadditionally toin addition to family member concern with dealing withcoping withacceptingregistering for financial debtcharge card debtfinancial obligations, many peoplemany peoplemany people hesitate unlike theresistant against thefacing the concept of utilizing a charge cardbank cardcharge cardcredit card to create purchase ofobtainingpurchasing of itemsproductsgoods additionally totogether withas well as purchase a visit, choosingselecting, ratherratheras a substitutealternatively to be able toto have the ability tothat you should depend onrely onrely onrely on the attemptedattemptedplayed around with withused as well astogether with reliablereliablereliablereliable approach to creatingcreatingproducing settlementshell outarrangement -- uncooked moneyearnings. NonethelessNeverthelessNevertheless, if you've got the moneyearnings open to buyspend their cash One hundred percent, after that, paradoxically, this is really thethis is actually thethis is often a finestbestfinest time for you tofor this to have the ability tobe capable ofmanage tohave the ability to take advantage from themake use of theutilize minute cardcharge cardcards for many reasons.

And another from the same guy:

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#54 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 10:46 AM:

Jim @53:

Awesome.

Shame it got marked as spam upstream of our content filters; I went to the back end looking forward to seeing how many different ways your regexes were going to flag that one.

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