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The Six Dirty Words You Can’t Say on My Blog

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When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
  –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A few days ago, my husband tried three times to post a comment to my blog. Each time, his comment was rejected because it looked like spam. The poor man was completely perplexed. What had he done to appear as if he were spamming my site? He had no idea, but like the little train that could, he just kept typing away and eventually wrote a comment that was not rejected by my spam filter.

The first three times, he had apparently used a dirty word. But not any old dirty word, a BHW dirty word.

My spam filter, MT-Blacklist, works by screening comments for text strings, URLs, and regexes [fancy geek-speak, I think, for a method of matching sequences of characters or words] that are on a blacklist. I can set each blacklist entry to either block the comment or force it into a queue where I have to approve or reject it. MT-Blacklist also forces moderation for comments posted to old entries and for suspicious-looking comments, such as those containing a bunch of URLs.

Make no mistake, MT-Blacklist is a censorship tool. In addition to banning URLs, I have had to ban specific words from the comments to keep my site from being overtaken by spammers. I hate banning any words at all. But if I don’t use MT-Blacklist, I might as well shut the whole site down because it would become nothing more than a huge gambling-prescription-drug-mortgage-refinancing-dick-stiffening advertisement.

Oddly and pleasantly enough, however, George Carlin’s seven dirty words are still legal. So go ahead and comment to your heart’s content about shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Say ’em loud and say ’em proud, motherfuckers.

But don’t you dare write about casino, credit, equity, online, poker, or Texas. Those are the new dirty words, the vilest of the vile. Put just one of them in a comment on my blog, and feel the wrath of the BHW anti-spamhole rejection message, beeotch.

To recap, fuck is in, Texas is out.

Has anyone noticed what’s missing from my list, by the way? I have not one word specifically targeting the killer app of the Web: porn. I think the blacklist regexes are catching most of the porn spam, so I haven’t had to add any individual sex words to the list. Thank goodness.

Trust me, I wouldn’t use a blacklist if I didn’t have to. I thought I might wax philosophic tonight about the slippery slope of Big Brotherhood. But who wants to hear that crap? Besides, spammers suck. They basically spray paint their ads on my website, some of them hundreds of times. So they need to be stopped.

Look at these numbers. Since May 3, MT-Blacklist has blocked 11,419 spam comments on BHW. And it has sent another 730 to the moderation queue, all but about ten of them spam. [A big hello to my five remaining readers.]

2200 blocked comments contained URLs with variations on “texas-holdem.” Apparently, spammers think people like to gamble.

And how many comments have my dirty words stopped? A lot. Keep in mind that I manually added these six words to the blacklist this month, and none of them has been on the list longer than three weeks.

Casino: 405 blocked
Credit: 140 blocked
Equity: 100 blocked
Online: 739 blocked a week ago; today, 3035 blocked
Poker: 566 blocked
Texas: 125 blocked

Clearly, online is a good catch-all spam term. Spamholes use it in just about every spammable product out there: gambling, pharmaceuticals, sex, loans/credit, whatever.

So when you comment, think euphemistically if you need to write about online-texas-poker-casino-equity-credit. Consider it as a creative vocabulary building exercise, if nothing else.

But feel free to cuss like a sailor.


Also posted at Bitch Has *Word*.

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About bhw

  • Donnie Marler

    “Say ’em loud and say ’em proud, motherfuckers.”

    My monitor thanks you for the coffee bath. Very entertaining, thank you.

  • Ahhh, that would explain my difficulties in posting my DVD review for Scorsese’s “Casino” in your comment section. Maybe I should call it “Goodfellas 2: The Wrath of Nicky”.

  • bhw

    I think most spammers just look for sites with lots of old posts and open comments on them. They don’t do a whole lot of checking … I can see that some spammers who have been banned on my site for a couple of months still try to post to the site. I think they use scripts to automate the process.

  • The amazing this is that we wrap URLs in redirectors and nofollow tags here, so nobody gets any googlejuice from comments, and yet I guess most people don’t check to even see that.

  • bhw

    Maybe it’s because their native comment handler doesn’t allow href links.

    That’ll do it. The links are there more for Google juice than they are for readers to find and then click.

  • Funny, I don’get spam at all, and Blogger doesn’t really have any blacklisting capabiliy. Maybe it’s because their native comment handler doesn’t allow href links.

    Or maybe it’s just that books aren’t a big draw for gamblers…

  • wouldn’t the blacklist get blacklisted?

  • I’d post the blacklist for comments here, but, um, I don’t want to give any ideas. Suffice to say that I have several varieties of poker games listed: holdem, hold-em, hold em, and so on.

    So far, only in URLs and Names, but I’m finding that I’m going to have to start doing more parsing of comment text soon. Clever buggers.

  • Bennett

    Yeah Chris, but in a way I cool with it. I use my blog as a repository and construction site for my BC posts.

    Not enough time to do the “daily blog” thing anyway.

  • I don’t even get spammers…… I don’t get much of anyone at my site…

  • Bennett

    Thanks for this bhw. I need to set up the list on my blog. Right now it’s on moderate all comments and that seems to stop ’em.

    Almost no one except spammers ever visits my blog (so it seems, I could be wrong, and that may change someday).

    You must have quite the traffic!

  • bhw

    Hmmmm… hadn’t thought of that. Although Texans can just abbreviate to TX, I suppose.

  • I find that scanning for Holdem works exactly the same as scanning for Texas, but folks from Texas can still mention their state in responses.


  • Ah-ha. I’ve been trying to post on a friend’s blog often and getting the same problem. Now I’ve had these hints I’ll have to try again.

    And even if it doesn’t work, thanks for a most enjoyable post.