Yesterday, while moving through my usual Internet reading routine, I visited Blurbomat and read this post. Later that evening, during dinner, Toby and I had a two hour discussion about comment spam and blogging.
As many of you already know, Toby Joe is a big geek. He wrote this Web site for me using PHP. Each time he updates mihow.com he takes something from before and expands upon it, making it better, or he fixes something he now sees as “incorrect”. (He finally conquered three years of my using Amazon.com links and their fondness for using ampersands, which consequently, used to break this site). I appreciate Toby’s work and his maintaining this Web site more than you can possibly imagine.
One of the best things about having a one-of-a-kind Web site (by “one-of-a-kind” I mean the software it uses) is I haven’t gone through the perils of comment spam. Not only have I not experienced it, but up until recently, after speaking with Missy at Listen Missy and watching Essl foam at the mouth over his plethora of gambling spam, I hadn’t realized how absolutely huge and annoying it’d become. And I’m still not sure I really understand the intensity of the problem since I haven’t experience it firsthand.
Toby seems to think that the community as a whole needs to change and the software behind it and the way it’s designed needs to be reevaluated and reworked. Basically, (and hopefully he will correct me if I’m wrong) the foundation needs to be rebuilt. On the flip-side, I wanted to look at the problem and come up with ways to destroy it.
Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I began to think about everything he said. And, like many times after I have a discussion with Toby Joe, I have to chew on his words for a while before the ideas begin to fall into place. (He’s a smart one, that hubby of mine.) And I think I summed it up in my head; If he were a healthcare professional, he’d take preventative measures against future health problems. Not that humans generally practice this, but I think it’s safe to say that many times it’s better to put a lot of money, thought and time into something up front to avoid a frustrating battle down the line.
Perhaps the community does need to be rebuilt from the ground up. Perhaps building plug-in after plug-in, barely keeping up with these spam-bots (which are growing more and more intelligent by the hour), isn’t the right way to go about it.