perception & censorship

I’ve been thinking a bit about perception recently, both in the context of starting a new job in a new town, and in the context of online personas. I am rarely truly aware of how I am perceived by others, and often I move through life oblivious to how my words or actions might come across to someone who does not know me well.

New situations make me nervous, and when I’m nervous, I often find myself babbling inanely until someone more sociable is able to skillfully maneuver the conversation to something more suitable. I’m hyper-aware of this now that nearly every day presents a new situation, which makes me even more worried that I’ll say or do something stupid.

The thing is, I’m generally a good person. I try hard to find common ground with those around me, and I’m fairly open to criticism or “learning experiences.” I can also be cranky and a bit mouthy, but usually only when I’m frustrated or pushed over my tolerance limit. Long-time readers of this blog may have picked up on all of this, but there’s no way for me to know for sure. I just have to hope that as I have grown as a person over the past five years, so has the representation of me through my writing.

This brings me to the topic of censorship. I would like to state clearly, for the record, that I do not censor comments on my blog, unless they are spam or trackbacks from splogs. Those things are evil and should be destroyed. Comments that are not spam are freely posted, regardless of their content.

One of the reasons why I moved from the MovabeType blog software to WordPress was because I was getting 50+ spam comments an hour caught in the clunky spam filter used by MT. This made it a nightmare to check, and often I just deleted them all without making sure that no legitimate comments were accidentally marked as spam. Since I rarely get comments, I wasn’t too concerned with that, anyway.

However, several people have indicated that they thought I was censoring comments on this blog because I didn’t want anyone who disagrees with me to comment here. The folks who told me this are friends whom I trust, and it surprised me that they would make that sort of assumption. Again, this is a problem with perception verses reality.

Do I come across as someone who does not want criticism? I hope not. Sure, like anyone, I prefer to have constructive criticism, but that is a difficult thing to get in the virtual world where it’s much easier to make snarky comments or flame someone than to have a real conversation where everyone feels like their perspective is heard.

All this is to say, please, do comment here. If there is an old post that you’d like to comment on and you discover that commenting has been disabled for it (an old setting I used to limit spam), send me a note and I’ll open it up.

degunking your gunk

New email users and those overwhelmed by the size of their inboxes will find this book useful.

Degunking Your Email, Spam, and Viruses by Jeff Duntemann

Duntemann is a co-founder of Paraglyph Press, the publisher of this how-to computer book. His previous publications include Degunking Windows (Paraglyph) and Assembly Language Step-by-Step (Wiley), and he has been writing technical books for the geeks and the plebes for many years. I was immediately drawn to the accessible, common language used in the book. Although, I did find it difficult that he tends to use some non-standard terms several times before actually defining them (ie mailbase).

Continue reading “degunking your gunk”

comment spam: bragging too much

Shoulda kept my mouth shut…

So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve bragged a bit about how I haven’t gotten any comment spam since early August. I should have known better. I’ve been hit by about ten or so comment spam messages in the past few days, despite all the nifty ways I’ve blocked this from happening. Oh, well. A couple of clicks and the spam comment is gone and the URL is blacklisted.

I wonder if the reason why I hadn’t gotten much comment spam until now was because I wasn’t posting much? I’m quite pleased that I’ve managed to keep up with posting something interesting (IMHO) at least five days out of the week this month.

MT comment spam solutions

Comment spam giving you trouble? Try this.

The Digital Librarian has been comment spammed to the point of turning off comments, which is too bad, since I can’t leave a comment for a solution, so I’m writing this here.

I’ve been using a combination of CloseComments and MT-Blacklist since the begining of July, and I’ve had very few comment spams get through. In fact, I haven’t updated my Blacklist since the first part of August, and I might have had one comment spam get through (I can’t remember for sure when that happened). For anyone who has not upgraded to MovableType 3.0, this combination is one of the best for blocking comment spam.

spam poetry

Andrei Codrescu on spam poetry.

I am always pleased to hear Andrei Codrescu‘s commentaries on NPR, and last night’s piece on “spam poetry” was no exception. I have been wondering about those bizarre messages that get filtered to my Held Mail folder. My email provider, SpamCop, uses the SpamAssasin software along with other spam filtering programs to keep my inbox clean.

ebay fraud warning

Apparently, this isn’t the first time some bozo has attempted to obtain username/password combinations from unsuspecting victims, but this morning’s email was the first one of these that I have received. I wisely checked with eBay after noticing that the mailing headers on this message looked a little odd: Received: from amiras-station6.minisat.ro (HELO eatmydick2000) (eatmydick2000@80.96.134.37 … Continue reading “ebay fraud warning”

Apparently, this isn’t the first time some bozo has attempted to obtain username/password combinations from unsuspecting victims, but this morning’s email was the first one of these that I have received. I wisely checked with eBay after noticing that the mailing headers on this message looked a little odd:

Received: from amiras-station6.minisat.ro (HELO eatmydick2000) (eatmydick2000@80.96.134.37 with login) by smtp.mail.vip.sc5.yahoo.com with SMTP; 29 Jul 2003 23:37:18 -0000

Never, never, never, never assume that just because the visible From address looks valid and the body of the email looks valid that any email requesting your username/password combination for anything is legitimate. Always do your homework before giving that information to anyone. Thank you. This message brought to you by your local friendly cybrarian.