Thursday, March 8, 2012
I've been very silent as a blogger recently. It's not that I have run out of things to say. I feel I have much to say on OPB (other peoples' blogs). It's just that I have been majorly put-off recently.
I've been blogging on assorted sites for almost a decade, ever since Bush stampeded the USA into Iraq. So this has been an old gripe for me, about which I have occasionally blogged. But recently my old nemesis, spam phobia, is back in my face. This phobia expresses itself in the form of word-verification and comment moderation.
What has caused this to happen? One guess is that there are a lot of new people doing blogs, and they just think this is the way to protect their sites as well as their own sense of propriety. Maybe a newly-released Google template offers word verification and comment moderation as a default. I think maybe the second is true for the sites I visit.
My vast experience in blogging is that both features are deterrents to the enjoyment of spontaneous, lively and creative discussions.
When I mention word verification, everyone knows what I'm talking about. Sometimes it's called "Captcha". Blogger calls it "automatic spam detection for comments" requiring "people leaving comments on your blog to complete a word verification step".
I am so fed up with this I could just puke. I wish I throw brown ink on every blog which obligates me to decipher two words of randomly spaced consonants and vowels printed in messy, illegible and irregular fonts and transcribe them into plain arial print. My eyes are bad enough with one cup of coffee in the wee hours without being subjected to this unnecessary stress test. Add in my aged fingers and age-appropriate impatience. All conspire to make any first draft of mine appear to have been written in shorthand. Sometimes I leave entire syllables, even words, missing. Thus handicapped, whenever I manage to complete an intelligible comment, I then have to contend with a Captcha drill? Come on, already!
Gripe number two is comment moderation: after I get a blog to accept my comment along with my verified Captcha, it's published. Except that I can't see it because it's not going to be published until the blogmeister approves it.
My complaint against this prior restraint of expression is that it suppresses the spontaneity of the conversation: no one can read my comment until the blog host reads and publishes it. In the meantime, who knows how many other soulful comments are held captive in the Internet's version of purgatory along with mine? This process also means that when comments are eventually posted, they cannot appear in any logical or meaningful context, one with another, because each was composed oblivious to the others. Some moderators will even publish them in inverse chronological order! WTF is the point? I want to ask ...
Both of these anti-span devices are patently unnecessary. In the first place, Blogger employs a very thorough behind-the-scenes spam filter. Very little has gotten through into my various unprotected blog sites in the last decade.
Whenever objectionable material appears, and on my political blogs it occasionally has, it's a snap to remedy. You can delete it without a trace, or you can vindictively leave a trace with the author's blogging user name attached. In particular cases where someone has written a page of particularly abusive stuff, I have relished in leaving just his name there so he gets the message that he's putting out much more energy and time trying to be abusive than I am deleting him.
There may be a role for comment moderation as pertains to dated posts where comments are no longer current. And it is usually here that my blogs have encountered spam. But in this instance, Google's Blogger's comment moderation feature can be tweaked to cover only comments that are submitted two or more weeks or any other specified time period after the initial posting of a column.
Another caveat I'll entertain are special categories of blogs which might attract Rush Limbaugh think-a-like misogynists. I give them a pass.
For the rest of you spam phobic offenders, here are your directions for liberating your blogs from the tentacles of paranoia.
My time is limited. And so is my patience. I'm mad as hell & I'm not going to take it any more.