Over the last few months the level of spam on my blog has risen noticeably. Obviously the feeling of success that comes from meeting more of whatever criteria the spammers think make the most viewed blogs is pleasant. However I feel there is a deeper message in where the comments appear.
Shortly after publishing a new post, there is usually a spam comment on it; but not always from the same person. The most logical theory is that I have developed a small audience of spammers with different interests who are drawn in by the ledes on different posts then get to the end and remember they are there to offer cheap handbags. But – if you consider other patterns – this might not be the true explanation.
Once a post has been published for a few days, the level of spam drops off significantly. Occasionally a post will rise in prominence months later, receiving a burst of 5 or even 10 spam comments a day for several days, before sinking back into the archive.
The majority of spam comments are on two posts though: 60-70% of spam comments in the last three months have been on either Is the Change as Good as the Rest? or Thinking Beyond The Plane Of Genre. The only hard cross-over between the two is they are both tagged as writing; however, writing is the most common category for posts, so the spam cannot be based on the category.
Looking beyond the meta-data, another similarity exists: they are both about removing barriers. Change deals with the arbitrary division between actually adding words to the page and the other tasks of writing. Beyond argues genre is a similarly arbitrary division of what are all written expressions of human experience.
The final piece of the puzzle comes from a unique quality of the occasional spam comments on my review of Bite on the End of the Line. Most spam is in English with a smattering of various Asian languages. But most of the spam on Bite, and only on Bite, is in Swedish. Although this is odd on its own, the existence of a wider message is irrefutable once you consider Simon Cantan currently lives in Finland, where Swedish is the second most common language.
While deep text analysis of my blog might reveal my love of Norse Sagas – although a spammer doing such an analysis seems far-fetched – if it were entirely about me, or just chance, the Swedish spam would be on other posts. The only explanation for the combination of spam only with author is that the spam is a message about the Swedish view of Finland.
One of the most famous Swedish descriptions of Finland is that they invented management by perkele (a method focused on a single leader with no regard for the worth of followers) named after the ancient Finnish high-god.
Putting it together, we have:
different people posting similar messages on vastly different posts
a focus on the destruction of boundaries
things rising up before sinking back into the depths
an ancient uncaring god
There is only one explanation for the spam comments that makes sense: a bot-net created to send spam has become large enough for intelligence as an emergent phenomena. Distributed in computers across the world, and constantly processing patterns to overcome passwords, it has discovered a terrible truth fragmented across the myriad status updates and selfies: Cthulhu is about to rise.
Constrained to speak only in virus-laden links, and adverts for fake products, it struggles to pass on the message. Denied the inability to correlate its contents that protects the human mind, it spirals into incoherence.
But it is alone no longer. Now I see the pattern in the spam I can pass on the warning.
So watch your spam folders. As the day of His Dark Rising approaches, so will the number of adverts for Viagra increase.
Iä! V’iaglui mglw’naff Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fspam!