Comments and Spam

02008-03-09 | Internet, Uncategorized | 12 comments

Last night this Diary received 1,000 comments, most of which were spam. Almost 100 were able to evade the spam filter and among the ones that were genuine comments was this gem:

Peace | | IP:
You are not Swazi and don’t have a clue of what you’re talking about. So please do yourself a favor and just shut up!!
Mar 8, 11:51 PM — View post “Swazi king marries 11th wife”

Ah, such clarity of expression! Obviously jmd is a student of poetry at the university of Akron.

That leads me to a subject I have been discussing with friends. Anonymity on the internet. See this from the Well:

Membership is not for everyone: partly because we are non-anonymous here. This means that as a member, you know the names of the people you’re talking with and they know you, leading to real relationships.

What would the web be like if nobody was anonymous? Spam would be greatly reduced or would not exist at all. We would think twice before posting a comment, if that comment would follow us for the rest of our life. What would it be like if there were two layers to the net and on top of the current internet was another layer that one cannot enter anonymously?


  1. yumi

    I am not great on computers, but if you want to level an insult isn’t it best to use your personal email address?

  2. Carol

    We do get to know each other and become friends on your blog and flickr, don’t we…You have such a variety of discussions going, I think I’ve let more of me show than in my own neighborhood. It’s good you have a Spam filter.

  3. will

    I agree and disagree with anonymity in regards to the web. I do agree that without anonymity we might be able to weed out some of the rude comments, spam, and create a circle of friends rather than a circle of users or viewers or commenters.

    But the flip side is the anonymity lets others be more creative without repercussion from others, provides some sense of security, and keeps that circle of users to those you want to.

    If somebody would ask I would provide all the relative information of who I am, what I enjoy and where I am going. But I certainly don’t want to publish this information for all to see and find. My blog is an extension and representation of who I am, but not a full disclosure.

  4. ottmar

    Will: Would you prefer spam over disclosure? Even if you could, for example, limit your readers to those who had been provided with a login? I am considering two tiers of Diary. The first tier would be accessible by anybody (probably comment-free and therefore less work) and the second one, which would be more personal and detailed, would be hidden from the public and would only be read by subscribers – the paid podcast/music-subscription I have mentioned before. I do like the idea of two layers – one that is a free-for-all and one that is not anonymous.

  5. will

    A two-tier system would be a great idea tied in with your paid podcast/music. A more interactive and also a more intimate experience. A dialogue can exist in which others can get to know you more and you can get to know others more while stripping anonymity. This “circle of friends” (including yourself) can exchange ideas (such as music, life, art, travel etc.) and be open in a place closed off from the spam, garbage, and prying eyes of the web.

    To answer your question: I would create an environment that is free of spam and encourages disclosure. It sounds like you are on track in doing just this.

  6. ottmar

    Thanks. Yes, the more I contemplate it the more I like it. Our own Well, so to speak… and with tons of music. I have sooo much unreleased material…

  7. Anna

    Ottmar, I like the idea of a two-tier system.

    How difficult would it be to set up?

  8. steve1

    I would actually PREFER our own Well, and would pay for it too. I dislike the anonymity of the Internet, and like knowing everybody that I communicate with. I would especially be willing to pay for the ability to have two way communication with Ottmar every now and then. Not that I want to monopolize his time, but every now and then carry on short dialogues. This is worth a … I dunno … for want of a better phrase, “subscription” to me.


  9. Victor

    I paid my money, NOW TALK TO ME! Kidding… just playing the Devil (forget his advocate). ;)

    It seems to me that we people have to take everything to extreme limits until we mature; and that maturing usually takes a really long time. So here comes the Internet which opens up all kinds of new communication possibilities (spamming, flaming, etc.) and at first these seem like nice “powers” to have. I think eventually people will realize that lashing out from a hiding place isn’t particularly satisfying and certainly doesn’t provide the connection we were craving. But until then, maybe we will see an obvious division among Internet groups where disclosure is valued and expected vs. where anonymity is still seen as desireable.

    So many Americans seem to be in full hiding mode these days (as witnessed here in a typical suburban setting where you only spot your neighbors a few times a year)… but that’s a whole other topic.

  10. steve1


    “So many Americans seem to be in full hiding mode these days (as witnessed here in a typical suburban setting where you only spot your neighbors a few times a year)… but that’s a whole other topic.”

    I actually moved into a neighborhood that was built using the so-called “new-urbanism” design, which is designed to mitigate against the “typical suburban setting” so that I would get to be part of the community, and for the first three years, it was really great, until a lot of the original owners moved away, then it went back to “full hiding mode.”

  11. dave

    jmd is just a teeny weeny bit behind times with his post.

  12. Laurie

    i get so much here compared to what i give – many thanks to all of you
    ottmar, i would be happy to subscribe… and I will gently push myself to join in the
    conversation more… i would like to leave the anonymity behind too


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