A new type of spam is starting to show up here: UU political ads. This blog has long had more conventional spam, such as bots that drop in posts full of links to products and/or malware, as well as trolls with a chip on their shoulder who compose self-righteous arguments and then go out onto the web looking for places to get offended and post them. Now we’re starting to see comments that are essentially shills for UUA presidential candidates–they seem to react to some issue here, but are in fact merely excuses to post a candidate’s name and add a link to the candidate’s campaign site.
To such spammers: please reconsider your strategies. Most people can spot a shill when they see one, and it reflects poorly on one’s own candidate, whether or not he/she has actually approved of your practice. Many people may be willing to allow one or two such messages to go through, sort of as “public service announcements,” but a multiplicity of comments in just a day or two will cause your stock (and your candidate’s by proxy) to plummet in bloggers’ minds. And it seems like a rather bad idea at this point to tick off the UU blogging community if your aim is to get publicity for someone’s run for the UUA presidency.
To reiterate the spam policies of this blog: comments that only take posts here as excuses to leave screeds on one’s pet issues will likely be deleted. Such comments do nothing to advance conversations and there are plenty of other places on the web where such trolls and spammers are free to speak their minds. This is an academic-leaning blog, and just as behavior that highjacks a classroom would not be tolerated, neither will commenting that is disruptive, repetitive, grossly off-topic, basically just an advertisement, or contains excessively personal attacks. Please keep such behavior confined to your own blogs; if your comments are actually worth seeing, people will go there and read them.
One last note: WordPress continues to do a mixed job on spam-catching. People previously approved for commenting nonetheless sometimes still show up in the spam folder; the webmaster is not always alerted in timely fashion when comments need to be moderated; occasionally nasty ad-spam gets through onto the blog. And in the meantime your Transient and Permanent host remains on partial hiatus due to a heavy summer research schedule abroad. Therefore, please be patient if your comments don’t show up quickly or other problems arise. The best way to ensure comments will go through is to keep the number of links in a post to a minimum (ideally, none), as this is the biggest red flag for WordPress’s automatic spam filter.