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  13/07/07 I'll sing you a song, it won't take long: All spammers are bastards!  
The internet is in a pretty bad way. At least, that's if the two months it's taken me to make my forums spam-proof are anything to go by. I was a relative latecomer to the net, gaining access in late 1999 (although I wouldn't have a home connection for another five years after that). Despite my fairly short time online, I still feel a sense of nostalgia for how things used to be. It seemed as if you didn't have to register for anything if you didn't want to, and spam was limited to the occasional 419-scam email preying on the credulity of the stupid. Nowadays, you'll struggle to find any forum that doesn't require registration, and spam is everywhere. Not just in email, but plastered all over the web. My understanding of the inept spam postings you'll often find on forums is that their primary purpose is not to generate clicks from the forum users (since even the spammers, it seems, aren't stupid enough to imagine that disrupting somebody's discussion forum is a god way to ingratiate them with towards your product) but to increase the number of search engine hits for their product, thus moving it up the Google rankings. In a sense, this is more insulting than mere spam. At least those emails you'd get advertising some cheap Viagra knock-off were targeted at you. You were seen as a potential customer. With this forum spam, you're reduced to a mere tool: a means to an end.

I'm afraid that there isn't going to be much to this posting other than me saying "I don't like spammers" - not exactly an original view, I know. But it is something I feel strongly about. Sure, there are worse things going on in the world than the consistent disruption of discussion forums, but nonetheless, I feel that anybody who will cheerfully infuriate millions of ordinary, decent people for a few potential sales of their crappy product has to belong to a special class of evil. Actually, "evil", overused as it is, probably isn't the best word. To act in this manner suggests a lack of conscience, an absence of empathy towards other humans. I mean, I harbour a generalised disdain towards the vast majority of humanity, but this is way beyond anything that I'd do. Even if I was offered all the money and cheap, crappy drugs I could handle.

Finally, on a more positive anti-spam note, I suggest anybody out there with a forum that's being spammed look for a "security question" mod. I very much doubt it'll be a permanent solution, but right now it's working well for me.
     
 
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© George Hutcheon 2007

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