Internet Spam And Trolls: Some Thoughts

Spammers and trolls are the two nasties of the Internet. It might interest visitors to this site to know that I use software to prevent the comments from spammers being published. These comments are held in a certain area of the site where I delete them before they are seen by the public.

Spamming, by the way, is placing a comment on a site like this one with the intention of publicizing and promoting a product or website that sells products. The spammers do this by making a silly comment which says nothing while adding a link or lots of links to webpages where you can buy these products which are often very poor products.

spammers and trollers

Spammers and trollers — stats for spammers on PoC

It also might interest visitors that in the period of about two years that this website has been powered by WordPress there has been 547,000 spam comments. An extraordinary number. Every one of them except for about 1000 were blocked by a WordPress plug-in called Akismet. It is the most important plug-in for WordPress on the Internet, without question.

This plug-in is able to recognise a spam comment by the way it is configured. I can understand that because I can recognise spam comments that this plug-in has failed to pick up. There is no doubt that there is a certain configuration to them. Not only are there links inside the comment but the wording is bland and irrelevant, the paragraph breaks are inaccurate due to formatting problems, and the English is often broken indicating that it is a non-English speaking person who is writing the comment. A lot of the spam comments come from Third World countries in my opinion.

As you can see, the amount of spam comments greatly exceed the number of genuine comments. There are about 30 times the number of spam comments than there are genuine comments. But for this excellent plug-in I would be a great burden to run this site because it would be almost impossible to filter through all the spam comments and delete them everyday.

I think the number of spam comments says something about people and their behaviour today. There are a lot of pain-in-the-backside people messing around with the lives of other people. These people have no idea about being responsible for their actions. They have sociopathic tendencies in my opinion. Talking about sociopaths…

I have a theory about people who like to troll on the Internet. I believe that they sufferer from a heavy dose of self-loathing. Because they hate themselves so much they feel that they need to be hated in order for their lives to be in balance. In order to be hated they write comments which make people hate them. The troll suffers from very low self-esteem. You could argue that the troll is to a certain extent mentally ill and needs treatment. Personally I would just hit a troll if I met one! I hate them that much.

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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32 Responses

  1. Dee (Florida) says:

    That is a huge amount of spam trying to get through here, Michael.
    Thank you for sparing us.

  2. kylee says:

    yea half the emails i get esp seeing the email provider here is connected to yahoo. Get spam all the time. Its so annoying.

    • Marc says:

      yeah yahoo is quite spammy and they also have annoying advertising.

      • kylee says:

        yea well thankfully the internet company which also the phone line have increased their security making it more secure but sumtimes theres alot of spam still comes though

    • Do you use a spam filter? I use Gmail and I don’t get spam in my mail because hundreds and thousands of spam e-mails are collected into a different box which I never actually look at.

      • kylee says:

        yea i do i think the prob is awhile ago spam got in when telecom group got hacked. SO seem to have probs but they have made the email settings more secure yea i got both gmail as i use outlook 2013

  3. Marc says:

    80% of emails we get at work are spam.

    How can spammers wake up in the morning? They must realize they are literally the maggots on the pile of shit that is their realm of the internet.

    • Caroline says:

      Well said, Marc. although I don’t think that most maggots are looking for a pile of shit.

      • Marc says:

        I think so – maggots are always where the ‘shit’ is. I should have used quotes – so it’s not literal – but it might be – I am pretty sure maggots eat ..that.. literally. 🙂

        • Caroline says:

          Sorry, I’m not comprehending. My oldest cat died Thursday early. I was offline for a couple of days. I’m now reloading my boot to OpenSuse and an older ubuntu distro. What did you mean?

          • Marc says:

            thats awful I’m so sorry – jeez – you must feel terrible.

            • Caroline says:

              Du hast keine idee? It doesn’t matter that she was twenty or so. She was still my little one. She never asked for much. <3 Marc, thanks for acknowledging her here. I am still talking and seeing her when I go from room to room.

              • Caroline says:

                She was not parasitized by maggots, if that helps. She died. I knew that she was close. just not that close, to passing away. I do believe, though, that she is part of me. That lasts forever.

          • Cal, I hope that you are feeling a bit better after the loss of your oldest cat. Take care and good luck

          • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

            Caroline I’m so sorry, I know you mentioned you’d been up with Lucky all night one night and were surprised she’d made it through, were you with her when she died? It’s very sad but also a relief when a very old cat chooses their own time and you don’t have to decide for them.
            Take care.
            R.I.P little Lucky xx

            • Caroline says:

              Yes, I was with her all night, soothing her with love words and nose nudges. It is so warm and embracing to know that she is still with me in spirit! I feel it so strongly, so even though it is heartwrenching, it is okay. She, like all of our cats, are with those of us who love our cats. The memories are wonderful, aren’t they? thank you, Ruth xxoo

              • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

                Yes memories are wonderful, once the first pain of grief has passed you can think of the happy times, you can never get over the loss just learn to live with it and I’m sure Lucky had a wonderful life with you.

              • Caroline says:

                Ruth, hope you get this…what you said is so. Lately, I stretch my arms up high in the dark, after looking for her in her favorite spot. I stretch my arms up to the heavens! and if I have to do this for the rest of my life, so be it! xxoo

          • Dee (Florida) says:

            I’m so sorry about losing your oldest cat, Caroline.
            For me, it doesn’t matter if one of mine is 20 years or 20 months, I never feel that I’ve had enough time with them.

        • Caroline says:

          Maggots will eat anything that is viable. Living tissue. And what most don’t realise is that they have a voracious need for anything that is infected, as long as it is living. 🙁 You and I know this.

          • Marc says:

            This is exactly why they are, technically speaking one of the greatest things here. Anything that can recycle the crap we leave behind is a good thing.

            • Caroline says:

              I know that scientifically, they do not eat living tissue. And when applied within a controlled environment, they behave awesomely, performing just exceedingly well.

            • Caroline says:

              I wonder if we’ve got engineers working on fly/maggot bots that break down plastics and such…wouldn’t that be great?

          • Dee (Florida) says:

            I’m certain that you are right, Caroline.
            Many years ago, a homeless man was brought into our emergency room with a huge, deep, gaping wound in his groin area that was filled with maggots.
            When the wound was washed and the maggots gone, it was the cleanest wound I had ever seen. Those maggots did a bang up job ridding it of debris.

            • Caroline says:

              Thank you for the kind words regarding Luck. I just wish -was thinking about it for years- that I had had a camera to use for taking images of that sweet, innocent, vibrant face. She’s a tortie; not chimeraed, but still had a beautiful long orange streak down the center of her nose. She was such a dope! <3 Huge, golden eyes, her face always alert and youthful, quite poignantly pointed 🙂 lol!

              Housefly maggots disgust me, een though they are practically used in treating infected wounds in humans. I do however have a fondness for Drosophila maggots, as I love their adult stage, and used to have so much fun in biology classes, breeding and studying their cute little feet and faces. 😉 In fact, still love to have them in the kitchen, flying above the overripe fruit that I forget to use.

      • Maggots can actually do some good 😉 They eat dead flesh and in the war-I think it was the First World War-maggots were placed on soldier’s wounds to eat away the dead flesh and help the wound heal more quickly! It sounds gruesome but apparently it can be effective. I’m not actually sure whether maggots are still used today in some hospitals.

        • Caroline says:

          They are being used again in some hospitals here, both university hospitals and other well-known research-heavy hospitals. What do you think? I think the use of maggots in these medical settings has cycles, surges, in practice. You mentioned WWI application. I can only imagine that they’ve been employed for millenia to treat infected wounds. lol. The smell is very difficult to take, but then, so are the putrification odors. ooh, enough said from this end. 😉

    • I have a feeling that a lot of spammers live in Asia. I don’t know why that’s my gut feeling. They only get paid peanuts but peanuts in numbers can keep a person alive in Asia.

  4. Caroline says:

    We had no idea of these spammers that you block. It seems that that they are indeed a breed of sociopaths. This is very sad. You should not have to deal with this on your website. It doesn’t say much for the public who waste their time on loving, caring, genuine sites concerned with the welfare of our animals, does it. grrrrr!

    • You get used to it as a person who runs a website and you can tell immediately when a comment is a spam comment. They are all the same sort of comment: very bland, irrelevant, stupid, often bad wording and bad grammar with the inevitable link. Sometimes, quite often actually, the spammer praises your website and says how wonderful you are in the hope that you will allow their spammy comment. Don’t worry though because it isn’t really a problem any more as it is controllable

  5. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    This is very interesting. I had no idea PoC had so many spammers and trolls!
    The facebook anti declaw groups Babz and I run or help admin, have a lot of spammers and the UK pension age protest group we run has even more. We’ve had to make that one so that only an admin can allow people to join. Every day we get requests from strange sounding names but on facebook we can look up their profiles and 9 times out of 10 it’s a male profile with no comments on but with a woman flashing her bosoms lol
    I don’t think any of us realise how hard you work at keeping PoC a pleasant and safe place to come to, thank you Michael for doing that.

    • No problem, Ruth. I try and keep the admin side of things to a minimum and rely on software to help me through the day-to-day tasks. I think it’s just typical of the Internet these days that websites have to put up with spammers and trolls. I think you will find that the reason why quite a few websites do not allow comments is because of the people I’m referring to. There are an awful lot of bad people out there if one is honest.

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