Like most blogs, this site gets its share of spam comments. Most of them are from various sites looking to get traffic or try to use the comments for free advertising. Others are from various malicious individuals who simply want to cause trouble or harass readers and blog authors.
It is the policy of this site not to block or restrict comments simply because they disagree with a premise or express an opinion that is not wanted. Only comments that are entirely for such advertising are blocked along with repeat offenders who only want to repost the same thing over and over or harass readers. That said, the right to editorial control is reserved.
As a reader, you have probably seen spam comments from time to time. However, the vast majority never show up on the public side of this website. In fact, the comments are spammed multiple times per day, but well over 95% are caught by filters, which flag spam comments and prevent them from showing up. These filters use several methods, including blacklists of URL’s and common phrases along with banned e-mail addresses and IP ranges.
The filters are not perfect, and in addition to sometimes allowing spam to make it through, they also sometimes flag legitimate comments as spam and send them to the spam folder, rather than posting them. This is not intentional. It is simply an unfortunate reality that compromises must be made to balance the effectiveness of the spam filters with the problem of false positives.
Over the past few years, one particular spammer has been of particular difficulty in dealing with. In addition to deluging the site with repetitive, often incoherent comments, this spammer is very tenacious and responds to having comments blocked with the use of different ISP’s and alternate e-mail addresses. Because of this, they sometimes manage to slip through. When this occurs, the filters are updated.
This spam usually comes from the province of Quebec Canada, but more recently, has been traced to ISP’s in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It’s not clear if this is the origin or if proxy servers are being used. Some of these comments have managed to get past all the automated filters and show up in the comment feed.
As a result of this, it has become necessary to tighten the rules for comment filters. Unfortunately, this does increase the risk that legitimate comments will be flagged and not show up. I do periodically check the spam folder to see if any comments have been miss-identified as spam. These comments are not lost, and I do correct this when I find them, thus restoring them to the site. Due to my busy schedule, this can sometimes take a couple of days. If your comment does get flagged, you can contact me by email.
Also, be aware that despite these measures, it is still possible some of the unwanted comment spam will slip through.
Gee… I wonder who could be responsible for this???