I've discovered that the scourge of spam even reaches into the blogosphere.
As a writer, I find feedback invaluable. As a blogger, it's nice to know that someone out there is actually reading what I write (or at least visiting the blog and considering reading it). That's why that new little map tool on the sidebar is so cool. Not only is there the ubiquitous "visit counter" but the map shows that there were people in Iceland and Australia reading something I wrote. But it raises all sorts of questions -- how did they find "Walks in the Marsh"? How did any of you? What were you looking for? Did you find what you were looking for here? I definitely wonder about these things and that's why, when I get an e-mail alert that someone has left a comment, I'm always excited.
Did the reader like what I wrote?
Did they disagree with something in the blog?
Do they have something to add to the conversation?
Comments are like Christmas presents. You see them under the tree and can't wait to open them to discover what treasure lies within. I hope that, as someone reading this blog, you might feel the same way about the blog itself...looking forward to opening it up and finding out what lies within.
And that why the appearance of spam comments today is just so disappointing. There's nothing quite so disheartening as when you open that Christmas present to discover that it's just nice wrapping around an overdue utility bill, a confirmation of an upcoming prostate exam, or a nice steaming pile of something unpleasant (not that any of those things have happened, mind you, but you get the idea).
Don't we get enough of this stuff in our e-mail? Do we really have to put up with someone taking the time to post commercial messages here?
They start out innocuously enough ("hey, great blog" or "I love this post") and are then immediately followed by a commercial pitch (pre-lighted fake Christmas trees in one case; a link to a low-interest rate finance site in the other). Ugh. And if the people who left those messages actually did like the blog, that's fantastic...just please don't tack on that spam message at the end.
At least, as the proprietor of this blog, I'm given the option to delete comments if necessary. I haven't gone so far as to turn on comment moderation yet but I suppose that's always an option so that you don't have to see them. Hopefully, they won't last and this and other blogs will remain open to legitimate, thoughtful commentary because that's why this blog exists for me. It's a venue in which I can ramble on in the hopes of stirring some sort of response from you.
So in the holiday spirit, take a minute and leaving me a Christmas gift of your comments to unwrap. I love getting Christmas presents!
And won't it be ironic if a spam comment shows up in response to this posting? I might actually leave that one up. Nah...not really.