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I’ve just Deleted another 136 spam emails off my Yahoo! Account in-file thing.
I generally hit the little dustbin icon once the number goes over 25. You know my fascination with propitious numbers.
Twenty-five is just about the largest number of Spam emails whose headings I can scan visually to see if any of them are either genuine or interestingly relevant, before totally losing interest.
A hundred and thirty-six Spam emails is really way beyond my sphere of curiosity, and inevitably results in me deleting them in bulk, unscanned.
What I am curious about, however, is why I have recently started getting so many?
A hundred and thirty-six was the overnight total, received in just 12 hours. On Monday morning, after only 24 hours of not attending to the housework, I had to dump 216. At this rate, around 1,500 Spammers a week (of course many are duplicated) are sending me urgent messages about payday loans, herbal supplements, Russian women, IRS forgiveness programs, incontinence pads and reverse mortgage options, roughly one every four minutes, and I am not giving two shits for any of them, bruvv.
You’d think they’d have got the message by now. But deleting them only causes them to breed more. And, as I have bogld before, there does seem to be a disturbing pattern, a coincidence of themes appearing to be linked to stuff I have randomly Posted on this site a few hours earlier.
Take, for instance, the Spam email heading posted at the start of this extended rave. It appeared within an hour of my writing the words contained in the paragraph before the one before this, referring to ‘mortgage options’ – not a phrase I use very often, as I have none. It goes on to drivel randomly about mortgages. It is so obviously a Spam message (I am long past 30) that I am bewildered as to how it snuck like an illegal migrant onto the well-fenced desk of the Boglington Post?
Hmmn. I shall come back to it later…
At the same time, there lurks in the subterranean Spam section of my other, more presentable, Gmail account, only the one message. I have left it there for several days all by itself as a marker-stone, a tribute to the remarkable efficacy of Google’s filtration system; also because I’m feeling guilty that it’s not entirely Spam….
I hereby confess, being a single man, to having registered months ago as a non-paid-up member of a local dating site. I planned shortly thereafter to cancel my registration, on account of the unprepossessing images of everyone else on it; the 100 per cent shortage in Boglington of available, attractive women under 55 with university degrees, independent incomes and a desire for adventure without children, the insistence that I part with a large sum of money merely to be allowed to email anyone remotely fitting the description; but I can’t figure out how to escape.
Simply asking to be released didn’t seem to do it for the owners, they kept on telling me I had important messages, so I naughtily told Google they were sending me Spam.
The point being, that whether I am drowned in the stuff or starved of it, I do at least have the freedom to decide for myself whether to bin it, or to stupidly send off my bank details.
Here at BogPo, things start to get murkier.
According to Arkroyal, the WordPress Spammeister, I have been protected from the horrifying contents of over four and a half thousand Spam Comments since I commenced bogling you on 27 February, 2012. (Could he not just delete them, rather than cluttering up every server in Arizona with spurious vitriol?)
I have no way of knowing if many genuine Readers’ Letters have got caught up in the same gungy lump of smelly crud that has built up around the Spam filter at Word Central. I have not been allowed to choose for myself whether to accept or reject those messages. I have not seen them.
And yet, and yet… Of the perhaps two or three Comments I am allowed to see during the course of a week, 98 per cent are so obviously Spam messages that you do wonder what criteria he is using to decide whether to let them through or block them?
There is a certain style of writing these Spam comments that is redolent of computerised garbage, like a very poor Google translation into English from some obscure Ugro-Finnish dialect spoken only by retired herdsmen in Lappland.
I have sometimes out of desperation based these, my Post themes on the more outstanding examples of Spamulous gibberish I am invited to Approve; as with the textual contents of the message whose header begins this diatribe, with which I shall not trouble you further: it is the Bogler’s Burden, not yours, to bear.
One obvious clue is surely the length and complexity of the email address attributed to the sender, running sometimes to six lines and including some subroutines that could indeed be genuine addresses of people and companies unaware that their accounts are being plagiarised for the purpose.
Another clue is that they are always Commenting on the same, highly obscure Page; an article grimping and miring* about University entrance requirements that I uploaded as an archival item to the BogPo site nearly four years ago, and which has deservedly never once appeared in the Stats of most-read, or indeed read-at-all, items of the week.
A third clue is that they never refer directly to the content of the Page, other than effusing that I should write more of the same (sometimes with maximised h-tags, whatever they are).
I surmise therefore that there is some subterranean mechanical goings-on going-on here, in which no human agency is involved: machine-reading, machine-writing, machine-Spamming in the spidery dark undergrowth of the web, possibly for obscure purposes. Why would anyone commission this stuff, which never receives a reply? Is all as it seems?
One such message managed to get past Arkwright yesterday. It ran to over a thousand words in English, yet ultimately non-linguistic, nonsense. As I gazed at it blankly, I noticed that a black box bearing some alternative text was flashing behind it every few seconds, at subliminal speed. I immediately killed it. Has the damage been done? Am I going to develop a subconscious craving for ice-cream?
I have no idea what that was about, or why. All I know is that, from time to time, a rare Spam Comment slips between the cracks and ends up on my desk in the offices of the Boglington Post, where it shouldn’t.
In the meantime, how much meaningful communication is being lost, caught in the filter?
I recently corresponded briefly with the lovely ‘Ella’, for instance, who wrote in to commiserate and to offer some well-meaning advice in connection with a lengthy enquiry I had made into why no-one considers me employable anymore.
She attempted to reassure me that the BogPo is indeed read and admired widely in the community. Yet I have almost no evidence that it is: other than anything your Uncle Bogler has Posted on the unrelated themes of a) stately homes and how to live in one, and b) the ill-fated Comex expedition of 1967, both of which attract droves.
It now occurs to me that it is possible there is a huge chorus of readers out there, silently mouthing their praises, encouragement, delight, scorn, defiance, withering criticism and strident legalistic demands for retraction, that I am simply not hearing through the thickly padded walls of the asylum. You must think us awfully rude not replying.
Tear down these walls, Mr WordPress.
Let us breathe the air of well-optimised freedom!
*Hundreds of you have asked me politely what the phrase ‘grimping and miring’ means? It is my own invention!
Allow me to explain.
Today’s word is: Onomatopoeia, which as you know means a word that sounds like what it means (unlike ‘Onomatopoeia’…). Fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will recall that The Hound of the Baskervilles haunts a particularly bleak and boggy part of the Dartmoor National Park in Devon. Known as ‘The Great Grimpen Mire’, it sounds just like the kind of dispiriting place you’d moan about a lot, if you were stuck there for any length of time.
Like the Labour Party’s Smith Square headquarters, possibly.
Another obviously Spamulous email is presented to me for Approval this morning, falling between the cracks at Word Central, suggesting I include more h-tags in my Posts in order to better my Googly rankings. Mind your own business, is what I say. Crapulous baboon.
Accosting a bored teenager, I have now bothered to learn that an h-tag is the # symbol that you use to attract attention to whatever tiresome little comment it is that you have made on the Twitter channel, prattling in 140 characters or less about some pointless and probably misunderstood thing somebody almost famous has said, which you have taken completely out of context. (I agree, 140 characters doesn’t allow for a lot of context.)
Be it known to these persons present, I have no truck with Twitter, Bookface or any other ‘social media’ requiring the use of tags. I plead whichever Amendment it is that says I don’t have to incriminate myself. I don’t like them, they are of monumental disinterest and I won’t have one in the house.