Spam Attack!

Phew! It’s a “spam-packed” morning here on my online dwelling! Well, I don’t know whether spam is the correct term or not, because the dictionary definition says spam is unsolicited e-mail, often of a commercial nature, sent indiscriminately to multiple mailing lists, individuals, or newsgroups; junk e-mail. I’m getting them both to my website guestbook and also to my personal email address. Less than two hours ago I removed some 30 + messages with links to a xanga website. But they have started it again.

To post this sort of stuff to the guest book, someone has to spend time typing email addresses and all the links into the form. Or can it be done by a non-human bot? I have no idea. I need to find a more sophisticated guestbook to catch them. Phew. In the meantime I stumbled upon some hilarious videos about SPAM and spam. At least, I need to cheer myself up. Warning : This video may contain content that is inappropriate for children

30 thoughts on “Spam Attack!

    1. Oh really? That’s terrible! I just completed deleting another lot! I think I too will have to take down the guestbook.
      By the way, what time is it out there? You’re still awake?

  1. Lohan, is your site on a seperate host or a shared host? If a dedicated host you can install WordPress (http://wordpress.org) which allows commenting but has extremely aggressive anti-spam software. You can also use their website for a shared account. Or try something like blogspot or typepad all which have anti-spam software. In this day and age, there is no need to put with aggrevating spammers!! :)

    1. I second the idea, except with Textpattern, which I find a lot more flexible than WordPress. It also has a plugin for a guestbook, with antispam features. [It’s how I do my site at opalcat.com]

      1. After stumbling upon your website I began using Textpattern for the first time. That means my textpattern life is two or three days old :-)
        Here’s my textpattern blog. http://platinum.goldeye.info Started few hours after my first visit to Opalcat.
        I find it less messy than wordpress. My main problem about both WP and textpattern is that I am unable to design anything until I learn coding.

      2. Awesome! I take it, then, that you went to my “About This Site” page? Of the plugins that are listed there (the list is itself generated by a plugin, by the way) the ones I consider “essential” are these:
        rss_admin_db_manager (for making backups very easily)
        rss_admin_show_adv_opts (you don’t have to open the dropdown to get to things like keywords and so on–it’s open by default)
        wow_menu (greater control over your menu–it’s what drives the Content menu on the left side of my page. You can also configure it to tell you how many articles are in each category)
        and if you want the guestbook, that’s sdr_guestbook
        Installing plugins is the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life, too. It’s awesome :) You will like using Textpattern. Be sure to visit textpattern.org, too, which is where you can get plugins and help for plugins, as well as templates that you can use as starting points to tweak from, since you don’t know the coding yet :)

      3. Oh yes indeed my text pattern life started from your “About this site” page! :-D But I was reluctant to use plugins. Thank you very much for the tips, now I’ll give them a try.

      4. The best thing to do in my opinion is to make an html page of what you want your site to look like, and put in dummy text, dummy menus, etc. Then go to their default page … first I’d do a “save copy as” thing and keep it as “default_original” or something, and by the way I also recommend keeping your page templates on your computer as text files, and every time you make a significant change to a template that had been working, save it as a new version. For example, I were to make a change to my default template today I would open the file which is my current template, rename it to page_default_101107.txt (today’s date, obviously). This way you can make your changes in a text editor (easier than their editing window) and paste them in, and test it until it works, and if you never get it working, you can just open the previously working file and paste that in to revert to the way it used to be. Anyway, so I’d copy/paste their default page template into notepad and then look at the html for your dummy page. Identify the tags in the template that correspond to the stuff in your dummy page, and replace the dummy text with the tags. For example, find the coding that generates the article text and then delete the text you were using as a placeholder for “article text” and paste in the tags that generate it. Once you have all the bits and pieces in place, copy the contents of the body section (the stuff between the <body> tags) and paste it over the stuff between the body tags in the default template (which you have renamed now to preserve the original).I say just the body contents because their template has stuff in the head that you shouldn’t remove. Then try it out. Trial and error and playing around… you’ll get the hang of it.

      5. Thanks! Before seeing your comment I made the mistake of not keeping backups. I had to do two new installations :-D But now I’ve leaned the lessen ;-)
        Now I’m confronted with another question which I asked it on the forums too: what is the best way to display my art, paintings, drawings etc on a textpattern site?
        should I
        1) install a separate gallery tool (gallery or plogger) and integrate it with Textpattern
        or
        2)use a gallery plug in from inside textpattern, (such as http://textpattern.org/category/galleries)
        People on the forum say that depends on what I need from the galleries. I just want static gallery pages for each type(paintings, drawings, alteredbooks etc just like I have on my current site)
        I see you have a gallery separately installed on your site. I guess that needs lot of coding skills to make it look like he rest of your site.

      6. The gallery I use has an html header/footer thing where I slap in the stuff for the rest of my site, but I did have to tweak a lot of the CSS to make other things match up. If you just want separate pages for each, I’d just upload them through the Images tab, then make an article that includes the image.

    2. I second the WordPress suggestion. I have the comments feature on my business site wide open, and no spam gets through—it’s all stopped in a handy little intelligent queue so I can delete everything with one click.

      1. Lisa, my problem about both wordpress and textpattern is designing. I will have to use someone else’s template if I use wordpress because I can’t design anything with it.

    3. Thanks Jen, yeah I guess you’re right, wordpress will be the best and safest option. I already have a wordpress backup blog on that server (for this journal) but if I use WordPress for the main website, I should be able to make a new unique theme/design for it. Right now I have no knowledge at all about theme making and coding. That means I will have to replace my web design with a template. :-(

      1. Well, I don’t feel like parting with my own banners, web design and layout. I made the site myself. I made everything there. I always wanted to enjoy the kicks of doing my art site myself.
        I see many hundreds of people using the same wordpress theme. I can identify the original template unless it is 100% customized. Removing the header image doesn’t mean customizing. Best templates are used by a large number of people. I personally don’t think it’s a good idea for an art website to use other people’s designs. That’s my stubborn personal view anyway. I guess I won;t making the move unless I’m able make the exact layout, exact colors of my present site with WP(or Textpattern) or unless I get someone with coding knowledge to implement my design :-)

      2. Wow. That’s pretty harsh. ;) And while I can understand to a certain extent – lord knows I’ve spent enough time designing my own website’s in the past – do you make your own paper for your works? your own paints from pigments? heh. Maybe you do. And good on ya. But personally, after spending one too many evenings designing yet another website or the maintenance thereof I decided I’d rather make ART – tactile three dimensional art – than frig around with code. Your mileage of course may vary. :)

      3. **smiles**
        Hum, that’s right, main intention is making art, not websites. I waste lot of time trying to fix little bits and pieces of the website. But still, i’m finding it bit difficult to give up the present design I have :-)
        who knows I too might get fed up with site making, but so far, textpattern turned out flexible enough to handle.
        http://platinum.goldeye.info/

  2. Just find a guestbook that uses captcha, and you’ll be fine. Also, if your guestbook and your mailbox are being spammed by similar messages, you might want to pull your email address off your site in favor of a contact form that uses captcha—the bots are probably harvesting your address when they’re on your site.

  3. In the Presentation tab, Pages sub-tab, make a copy of the default page and call it “guestbook”, and then go to the sections sub-tab and choose “guestbook” where it says “Uses page:” for the guestbook section.

    1. Thanks! I think now I have some sort of a gustbook on the test site. But it looks like a normal blog entry because it shows newest comments last. But from what I read and saw on your guestbook, it should show the latest entries on top. isn’t that right?
      I think I got it wrong when dropping that text tags. There is no instruction about the place where we should drop that tag. I’m talking about the second setp of this:
      http://textpattern.org/plugins/90/sdr_guestbook
      I tried “dropping” that text lines on various places and pages but it didn’t work. The Textpattern forum seems very inactive too. I didn’t get any answer from there.

      1. The best place to get help with the plugins is the forums at textpattern.org. Most of the plugins have a corresponding thread there (do a search), and you will get answers both from other people using the plugin and often from the person who wrote it in the first place. It’s been so long since I set mine up that I don’t remember the details of the process well enough to probably be much help to you without going back and studying it.

      2. Thank you again. I will start searching the forums. I moved the site to a new place, and installed a new template too :-) [ http://lohang.allhyper.com/ ]
        It was far easier than my first experience with WordPress. And also I like the “textile” input method too.

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