Spammatical Errors

Akismet traps spam

I usually ignore the comment spam folders on this website as per my own advice. Occasionally, however, I will scan them quickly. I do so if a regular reader has commented and has emailed to say that their comment is yet to appear. Legitimate words do sometimes get caught in the Akismet netting. I can then add the individual to the filter whitelist and approve the comment.

Spam comments usually come in one of a few limited types. The first is the straightforward nonsense list of random lewd keywords, Rx ingredients, and messages pertaining to the impossible enhancement of various organs, and it is not to Messrs Hammnond nor Henry Willis and his Sons to which I am referring here. The second type is the bizarre one-word message saying: “Cool!”, “Nice,” “Sorry,” and “Interesting”. When you first see this kind of message, they may give a blogger a little ego boost (about 0.000003154%). But, after the 10,376th you begin to doubt their sincerity, especially as they are usually accompanied by links to lewd keywords, Rx ingredients and the enhancement of various…you know the rest.

Anyway, there is another kind of comment spam and that is the kind that resembles a genuine comment but then lets itself down with a stupid link to a dumb site. It’s usually a brief sentence or phrase. Sometimes it will be an entirely random string of words, presumably scraped from an online text, but occasionally it will seem to actually be attempting to engage in a conversation via a blog’s comments.

You might see phrases like: “Hi Guys! What Your Site Powered By?” and a link to some expensive software, “My brother Tom’s been working real hard all year, but he’s struggling to make ends meet. How do you think he could improve his credit rating?” and a link to a credit card site, or perhaps “Let’s keep in touch we can help each other with sites,” and a link to some unknown web hosting company. Even bizarre queries such as “What effects did katrina on mississippi?” with an insurance link appear every now and then.

Of course, at this stage in blogging history, most bloggers recognise these messages as detrimental to their sites as, once again, they will have the enhancing, Rx and lewd keyword links built in. But, it’s the unusual style in which some are written that intrigues me. I don’t think it says anything much about the psychology of spammers, especially those that are nothing but spewing bots, nor about anything deep taking place in English lessons. They are intriguing in how sophisticated might be the phrasing let down by a slip of syntax or grammatical integrity.

For instance, a recent commenter was able to construct the following quite complex sentence: “Your website is beautifully decorated and easily navigated.” and yet they blew it with their second line: “I have enjoyed visiting the site today and visit again,” which unfortunately doesn’t parse. Similarly, “Some nice article here. thanks for it.” Not only starts a “sentence” with a lower case “t” but there is a serious mismatch between the quantities discussed.

Admittedly, some of the less exact grammar comes from spam originating in parts of the world where the native tongue may not be English. Personally, I would be useless at spamming in Portuguese, Mandarin, Hindi, or any of a few dozen other languages. I could probably scrape through with a spam in French, German, Italian, or Spanish, although I’d have to have an international lewd word dictionary to hand to do so.

In the following comment spam, there is almost subtle use of the word “seldom”, but it lies in stark contrast to the quality of grammar in the rest of the phrase: “This is really fresh idea of the design of the site! I seldom met such in Internet. Good Work dude!”

An easy target is this comment, which appears repeatedly: “I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links”. Yes, if that one had escaped Akismet and I’d approved it I can just imagine readers dashing off to look for those links, which, you guessed it, pointed to some great insurance deals on organ enhancement drugs.

Author: 雷竞技官网

Award-winning freelance science writer, author of Deceived Wisdom. Sharp-shooting photographer and wannabe rockstar.