Back On The Grid

In the past half year, I’ve posted three times. That just won’t do. I’m back on the job. And while I risk this commitment falling through before it even starts, since I don’t have a pipeline of posts just waiting for me to click Publish on, I’m bursting with topics I’ve wanted to write about, but haven’t been disciplined enough to find the time for.

So many things have changed over the last half year.

The Next Chapter of Random Process

It’s time for Random Process to move on to the next phase of its existence.

I started Random Process, née Nfiniti Plus One, in 2005 to keep in touch with friends and share my thoughts after moving from childhood home of Prince Edward Island. Since then, I’ve charted my progress through university, showcasing my changing interests and passions. I am about to graduate from my engineering program and enter the working world, and it’s time for this blog to grow up as well. Writing about my day to day thoughts and activities is no longer very appropriate for the environment I’ll be in.

Photography has increasingly become a significant part of my interests and I’m going to repurpose Random Process to show my work. I’ve posted a photo or two in the past, but the design of the site was never conducive to displaying the work in a pleasing manner. What you see here is the design I’ve come up with to put the emphasis on photography.

Hopefully this will also be an incentive for me to get off my butt and process the sea of photos on my hard drives. Enjoy the stay.

Human Comment Spammers – What To Do?

Yesterday, a comment on this blog irked me more than I’d like to admit.

Blog owner runs a fake dofollow blog. Goes and sneakily deletes all links. FUCK YOU!name (required)

I believe in rewarding conversation, and I’m more than happy to allow links to a user’s website if they show they actually care about adding to the content. In the past, it was pretty easy to tell. Spam bots posted garbage. Anything that seemed even a bit unique was probably human and okay to let through. But with automated tools like Akismet doing a better and better filtering out spam bot-generated comments, it’s the human spammers that are starting to take over my spam box.

SPAM

And that fellow above? I deleted a link back to an advertisement website, but left the comment up. At the time, I didn’t feel that the comment, ‘What is the monthly fee on that GPS unit?‘ deserved a link back to a spammy website. In retrospect, perhaps I was a bit harsh in that judgment. Clearly, with the response I got, the author of the comment felt that was so. Still, let me be clear: I don’t delete all links. Far from it.

I can usually categorize human-generated spam comments in two main groups. The first is exemplified by an SEO’ed link back to a blatantly spammy website, with the comment body made up of no reasonable content whatsoever. These are easy to deal with, as they add nothing and only attempt to push their sites up in ranking engines.

  1. Thanks for the info. Great stuff! – Perth Photography
  2. I must download this version. I’ll give it a try and see. – How to edit pictures

These make up the majority of spam comments that find their way past Akismet. I delete these without remorse.

The second category of human spam is trickier to deal with. Usually, they have something to do with the post, but the comment isn’t exactly enlightening. The links are a bit spammy, but it’s usually not a keyword link. Most of the time when a comment like this shows up, I either let it through, no holds barred, or try and categorize it in the first category, deleting it altogether. I try to not let many comments into this second category, but then they do make it, I delete the links and leave the comment standing. Some examples:

  1. Nice post! I really like your site design. Just thought I’d drop a line, take it easy!
  2. I hate the iphone, too much hype.

The thing is, all too often, I get comments with weak content that are simply looking for traffic back to their site (which usually is most often commercial in nature), or very good comments, but with no link at all. The latter are typically from people who are truly interested in the topic and comment based on that fact, not for ulterior motives. Some of the reviews I’ve done have great comment threads, as do many of the articles I wrote on the Dell XPS M1330 and ones discussing WordPress designs.

After reading all this, what do you think of my comment moderation rules? Are they too harsh? Too lax? I’m very curious how others handle these sorts of comments, as they are cropping up more and more. I haven’t seen much discussion on this topic.

Hiatus

There’s been a pretty lengthy silence here at random process, first due to recuperating from a hectic time towards the end of the work semester at Indigo, and then re-recuperating from eating and drinking too much over the Christmas break.

Starting next week, expect to see much more regular updates, including some reflections on my wonderful semester at Indigo, the random doo-dads I purchased during Boxing Day and a look forward to two semesters in a row of university.