Every once in a while a comment is flagged as spam despite not being spam. I try to check out the spam folder and correct comments that are flagged as spam when they should not be, but it can be hard, because the spam folder often contains dozens of comments.
It’s something I had not anticipated about blogging. Many of the spammed comments are simple bot-created advertisements for services and attempts to drive web traffic to various sites. Occasionally some will slip through, but by and large filters can catch these by collecting reports from around the web of the addresses and text used.
There’s another kind of spam that is much harder to deal with and causes the most headaches when it comes to misidentifying legitimate comments. A few people (well one especially) take it upon themselves to repeatedly send me email and comment on this website about their own warped beliefs in Nostradamus or their religion and their belief that I represent some kind of evil in the world. This can be a bit difficult to stop when the individual is constantly creating new email addresses, refreshing their IP address and skipping between ISP’s, proxy servers and locations to login to comment. The best way to deal with it is to block key phrases as well as IP ranges and common links, but it’s far from perfect and all too often it catches legitimate comments.
That said, it has proven important to block these comments because when these do eventually get through they seem to encourage the wacko who sends them to send even more.
Here’s just part of what my spam folder looks like:
For those who don’t know, the individual in question is Dennis Markuze, although he often goes by the name David Mabus or some variation of it. He’s more than just a common internet troll – he is extremely committed and obsessed to his own delusions, and seems to spend a great deal of time posting to various skeptically-oriented blogs and forums. He’s constantly being kicked off and having his posts deleted and when this happens, he just turns around and creates a new name and makes more of them. He creates twitter/Facebook/Youtube/forum/ accounts and harasses people, sometimes sending hundreds of messages. The accounts get closed and he just creates new ones.
He lives in Montreal, apparently with his mother. At one point he sold used computer equipment, but this does not seem to be an active business anymore. He has been especially vicious in his attacks against PZ Meyers and a few other prominent skeptics such as James Randi and Michael Shermer. Although he often sends out large mailings to every name he can find associated with skeptic-oriented groups, even including office staff members.
Apparently I was added to his list of people to harrass after I wrote an article for the James Randi Educational Foundation in which, amoung other things, I dismissed psychics and prophets and stated that Nostrodamus’s writings were so vague and ambiguous they can’t be said to predict much of anything.
Most of the time his messages are not direct threats, but are more oriented toward the “God will kill you” kind of statements that are too ambiguous or indirect to warrant any kind of direct action. Still, he does occasionally cross the line and make very direct and personal threats of violence. For this he has been reported, but things have been complicated by the fact that many of his statements cross international boarders. Still, both PZ Meyers and Michael Shermer have spoken with Montreal police about him. In fact, what he has generally said to me is quite tame compared to some of the threats he made against Michael Shermer.
The man is clearly mentally ill, but his family seems to deny this and insist that he stopped making threats. The reality is that people like this are very difficult for authorities to handle. Making these kind of threats often results in a slap on the wrist and release to do it again. Compelling a mentally ill person to be institutionalized or medicated is a complex process that often is not perused and when they have family members who believe they’re not sick, it makes it even harder.
I have no doubt that eventually, he’ll get himself in some very serious trouble, but it might take a while.
Google his name to find out more.
This entry was posted on Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 12:29 am and is filed under Announcements, Just LAME, Misc, Website, personal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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