Have you ever felt like calling the blog police? Have you experienced a break-in at your blog site? By that I'm referring to unwelcome blog comments or those weird things that are in no way comments, but just weird things that seem to come from out of the blue--intrusions on the idyllic peacefulness of your blog. Or have you yourself ever been a blog invader? And what exactly constiutes invasion? These are just a few of the questions I would like to ponder today and hopefully get some good feedback from you readers.
Recently I followed the advice I found on a blogpost by Tamara Heiner about eliminating the word recognition screening technology known as "Capcha" or "Captcha" which is sort of an acronym which stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart". In other words, it is a test which is supposed to keep automated spamming programs from invading our sites and leaving useless advertising messages or nefarious web addresses on our comment pages.
As I stated in a previous Blog Boggled post, I eliminated the Capcha test to see if it increased my comments in any way. It's only been two weeks but I have my initial conclusion: I don't know for sure, but I don't think it matters that much. The rate of comments has remained about the same and seems to correspond according to how much I have commented on other blogs. I really don't think other bloggers mind the Capcha that much, and probably, like I did, learned how to avoid losing comments. Actually, I sometimes enjoy seeing what the "word" is and have noticed others, as well as myself, mentioning the capcha identification word in their comments.
Has my spam increased? Maybe--I'm not real sure. I think some of the off the wall things are manually entered by some person in India or somewhere--and this is not to be derogatory towards India, but I've seen the link for "Work at Home India" or something like that.. I've also gotten repeated messages at different times, messages that I've seen appear in other blog comments, about investing or other weird stuff. They usually have a link to click on or a web address, but no way am I going to click on these links or go to these web addresses unless they really appear to be legitimate and harmless.
I understand some people are merely advertising their businesses and I have the option of deleting their messages and that's what I do unless there is something humorous about the message and I want to let it into my comments. We all have the option of controlling what we publish in our comments if we have the "Comment moderation" box checked in our settings. I get comments emailed to me first in order for me to screen before I publish or reject them. However, I've seen some of these spam comments showing up in some blog comments so maybe those blogs aren't moderating their comments or they are just publishing everything that comes their way. Did you ever see one of those messages all in Chinese characters or something like that?
Now personally I have promoted my own blog through another blog's comments. But I try to always be polite about it, leave a relevant comment, or have a sense that the person upon whom I am intruding might be interested in the post I am promoting. I don't like to think that I am an intruder on their blog, but a guest with something I'd like to share. I welcome a visit to my blog from another blogger who wants to share something they've posted. It rarely happens, but when it does I think it's kind of friendly--kind of like a neighbor dropping by with some cookies they've baked or something they've grown in their garden.
Then there are those visits that just pique my curiosity about the other bloggers--which is every new visit from a blog I haven't seen before. That's part of the fun of commenting and getting comments. Just popping in on strangers to see if they'd like a new friend is kind of fun and can lead to some valuable relationships.
When the visits are genuine attempts to make positive contact, to learn, to advise, to give support, or even to constuctively criticize or disagree, I think it is perfectly acceptable and welcomed by nearly all of us who blog. But those sinister invasions meant to do us harm or make us look bad in the eyes of others are something we can all do without. There are things that ol' computer dummies like me don't totally understand--like viruses, bots, spys, and what-nots. I just want to blog and enjoy the community.
If you've gotten rid of "capcha", did you notice any increase of comments? Increase in spam? How do you deal with spam? Have you ever clicked on one of those weird links in comments? Have you ever had a bad experience after clicking on a link or going to a site meant to harm your computer? Have you ever promoted one of your blog posts on someone elses site? How do you feel about others doing this in your comments?
I found another excellent post on improving your blog at Living Out Loud . Check it out.
Also, as pointed out in the comments here L. Diane Wolfe also has a post about this today.