Scone spam

Anyone who runs a website which allows comments to be posted will be familiar with the neverending stream of spam comments.

They are easy for a human to spot, mostly because they normally talk about things that have nothing to do with your post or site at all. Often they’re nothing more than a collection of random words and then some links to pornographic, drugs, scams or other similarly illicit websites (or try to install malware in your computer). And typically the comment’s author name and email address are a collection of random letters too (or they have numbers on it).

So, it does look like something a bot created. The automated crap can be sensed from a long distance.

The problem is that there are SO MANY comments. It is just so time consuming to remove them. Fortunately there exist solutions such as Akismet that help you automatically filter the trash out.

But sometimes legitimate comments end up marked as spam. So I have a look at the spam comments from time to time to make sure the good comments aren’t lost forever, as the spam gets automatically deleted after a number of days—otherwise the database would eventually explode with rubbish.

Today I just did that, but this time I spotted something unusual: spam which talked about scones, in my Skulls & bones (or scones & scones) post.

Now that is interesting! Spam about baking! How thoughtful!

These comments still feature the usual links to illicit websites, but instead of the body of the comments being pornographic nonsense, they vaguely talked about scones.

Someone who is not as jaded as I am with internet spam could arguably have thought that these comment were valid, and approve them.

Here are some examples of these scone spam comments:

  1. South America[edit] Scones are quite popular in Argentina as well as Uruguay. They were brought there by Irish, English and Scottish immigrants and by Welsh immigrants in Patagonia Britons are the third largest foreign community in Argentina. [23] They are usually accompanied by tea, coffee or mate.
  2. Scones can be presented with various toppings and condiments, typically butter, jam and cream. Strawberries are also sometimes used.
  3. Such a great recipe! I’ve only recently gotten into baking, and these scones were easy enough to make for somebody who doesn’t have a lot of baking experience.
  4. Followed everything to a T and dough was super sticky and wet. The scone had more of a cake like texture. I do love cake, but I was making a scone.

Note how the first two look like they have been picked from the Wikipedia article on Scones—the [edit] string is very telling. And if you do visit the article, voilà, here’s the source:

(the second comment is also in that article).

In contrast, the last two comments are not coming from the Wikipedia article, but they’re coming from the comments section in a recipe for scones from another website (you can check by yourself by googling the text of the comment, with “quotes”).

I guess if you take the comments out of its original post and they’re generic enough you can then comment in other posts that talk about scones. Then spam enough websites and eventually some will make it through!

There’s a certain level of dedication in sourcing and preparing this type of spam, I will admit.

Interestingly all of the comments come from the same IP address 95.216.37.99, which seems to be traced to Helsinki.

Is someone in Finland determined to pursue some sort of sweet, crumbly vendetta against me? Why don’t they go and make actual scones instead of spending their time with these futile activities, I wonder? 😆

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