March 14, 2004
MT Quirks, Spam-Comments, And More

To save money and time, none of my Lanx Satura blogs has its own domain. This works well except for two quirks in Movable Type:

The first is minor, but annoying: The file numbers of individual posts all share the same sequence. I would have preferred that a separate blog with 11 posts number them 1-11, instead of interleaving them with the numbers of all my other blogs.

The other quirk is more serious: When I ban someone in one blog, I would prefer that he be banned in all the rest without my having to put the information in separately. I already have three Lanx Satura blogs (plus one 'meta-blog') and hope to add more, and that makes for a lot of work. (Yes, I know: I need to get the software add-on.) The porn-spam comments I've been getting have been more abundant than actual comments, and each one is more perverted than the one before.

One thing that puzzles me: I've recently gotten three porn-spam comments that no one else could possibly ever have seen. Two were comments on an unfinished post from last June that was never published, and the other was attached to a post on an experimental blog that was never unveiled even to my friends and has never been linked by me or (I assume) anyone else. I'm torn being glad that the spammer was wasting his effort so stupidly and angry (also a bit worried) that he can even get at my unpublished stuff.

Porn-spam comments annoy me far more than ordinary e-mail spam, however filthy. It's bad enough to have my own peace of mind disturbed, but at least the e-mails leave my readers out of it. It's rather like the difference between getting an obscene phone call and having filthy graffiti spray-painted on your house for every passerby to see. (I do wish a certain family half a block from here would paint over the unexpurgated 'F*ck Y*u B*tch' that's been on their garage door since I moved in six months ago.)

Last Tuesday, Tyler Cowen of the Volokh Conspiracy reported that on-line casinos have been targetted by extortionists who used "denial-of-service attacks" to shut them down until they were paid large sums of money. Would it be possible to use such tactics on spammers? It would be important to make sure that no innocent parties got caught in the crossfire, but I wonder if there is some way to attack the spammers with their own weapons. What I have in mind is some kind of easy-to-install software that would allow me to select an incoming porn message or (even better) porn-spam comment, click once, and have 100 or 1000 messages automatically sent back to the spammer. If these messages were cunningly designed to look like actual orders from porn-fans or viagra-users or inadequately-endowed men (or those who fall into all three categories) the spammers would have to sift through all the fake messages looking for the ones they actually want. Probably there's some technical reason this wouldn't work.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 14, 2004 10:28 PM