July 5, 2010

Spam comments try to be more persuasive

Filed under: Administrivia — Tags: — Nicholas @ 09:08

A bunch of spam comments accumulated over the long weekend and it’s noteworthy that there has been a general improvement in the quality of “writing” that goes into them. There are still plenty that are clearly not words or phrases in any human language, but others show not only words but actual comprehensible sentences. The most common pattern is one of general agreement with the topic of the post (always unstated, as these are generated comments, not written ones), along with something like “I’ve added you to my Google Reader/bookmarks/blogroll”.

They’d probably be more effective — in the sense of getting past the spam filter — if there weren’t so many of them following the same pattern.

That’s not a request, I hurry to clarify, just a comment.

QotD: Blogging and the spirit of journalism

Filed under: Media, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:06

I believe the blogosphere first truly gained traction in America for a good reason. There is something about blogging’s freedom from the constraints of conventional journalism that captures an American ideal: civic engagement totally free of anyone else’s influence. It is an ideal of a fourth estate hostile to authorities public and private, suspicious of conventional wisdom, and, above all, confident, even when confidence seems absurd, in the power of the word and the argument to make a difference . . . in the end. The rise of this type of citizen journalism has, in my view, increasingly exposed some of the laziness and corruption in the professional version — even as there is still a huge amount to treasure and value in the legacy media, and a huge amount of partisan, mendacious claptrap on the blogs.

But what distinguishes the best of the new media is what could still be recaptured by the old: the mischievous spirit of journalism and free, unfettered inquiry. Journalism has gotten too pompous, too affluent, too self-loving, and too entwined with the establishment of both wings of American politics to be what we need it to be.

We need it to be fearless and obnoxious, out of a conviction that more speech, however much vulgarity and nonsense it creates, is always better than less speech. In America, this is a liberal spirit in the grandest sense of that word – but also a conservative one, since retaining that rebelliousness is tending to an ancient American tradition, from the Founders onward.

Andrew Sullivan, “Happy 4th”, Daily Dish, 2010-07-04

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