Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Spam Folder




When a moderated comment on this blog shows up on my dashboard there are three buttons I can click on: Publish, Delete and Spam. I’m always scared I’m going to delete something by mistake because those buttons are close together and you can’t undo that action. The comments that get moved over to the spam folder/page can be undone by opening up that page, selecting a comment and clicking on its ‘Not Spam’ button. A couple of times when my brain went out to lunch without me I accidentally missed the mark and clicked where I didn’t mean to click. When it happened I posted an acknowledgment, fessing up to deleting someone’s words and tried to sum up what was said. “Big Deal! You owned up to your mistake." Who said that in my head? Mom, Dad or the Good Fairy in the blue dress?
 
When I look through my spam folder, once in a great while I’ll find something that should have been published. It only happens to readers who post anonymously. Some bloggers don’t allow anonymous comments on their blogs because it cuts way down on the advertisements and the pure junk that comes along. (I’ve learned over time that using ‘sex’ in a title line can get me spam ads for porn, penis pumps and pills for God knows what.) But I still allow anonymous comments because I’ve cyber-met some of my favorite followers that way. I, do, however really appreciate it when people leaving anonymous comments include their first names with their words. Sorting out which anonymous comments should get published and which are fake can get tricky at times and a name helps. My rule of thumb is this: It must be apparent that someone has actually read the post they’ve left the comment on and they haven’t included an email address or a link to a place that’s selling something.

An August post I wrote titled, Love Letters and Those that Aren’t brought in an unusually high number of questionable comments---thirteen to be exact---and I still can’t figure out why. Most didn’t pass my rule of thumb test but a few still have me scratching my head. Here’s a sample: 

“What you said makes a lot of sense. But think about this. Suppose you typed a catchier title? I am not saying your content is not solid but what if you added a headline that makes people desire more? I mean “Love Letters and Those that Aren’t” is kind of boring. You might want to glance at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they create news titles to grab people to click. You might add a video or a related picture of two to get people interested about everything you’ve written. It might make your posts a little livelier.” 

I can’t tell you how long I studied that anonymous comment trying to decide if it was sincere or if Yahoo News actually sends out bots to leave comments like that to drive up their click counter. It also crossed my mind that there was hidden coding in with the words that would blow up my blog if I published the comment. There was a coding icon in it that I’d never seen before, a black square with a question mark in the center. If you have a blog and you have gotten a similar comment involving Yahoo or if you know what that black square is all about, please let me know! Curiosity might not kill me like it did the mythical cat, but I don’t like unsolved mysteries.

I do get my fair share of comments telling me how to improve my blog. My favorite was posted on the above ‘Letters’ blog entry and it said, “You have too much text and not enough pictures.” Short insults apparently are the best. If I had published that one I would have been tempted to do tit-for-tat and reply: “I’m not writing a blog for preschoolers” although a part of me says it’s a fair criticism. Another comment on the same blog entry said, “Can you tell us more about this? I want more details.” That’s it, not another word. Anyone who has read that post knows it wasn’t a how-to article on writing love letters. It was written memoir style and I’d already beat the details to death. I finally decided the commenter didn’t pass the rule of thumb rule but for what purpose would someone leave a comment like that? Another head scratcher. Ohmygod, maybe I should check my spam folder for lice. Every time I go there I’m scratching my head!

All this over sharing of my spam is to illustrate how, on rare occasions, a legitimate comment that comes from an anonymous poster gets accidentally sent off to Spam Land. It happens when I've marked one too many boxes on down the line then clicked on the ‘Spam’ button and off they went in bulk. Gone until I’m bored enough to read my spam folder in the middle of the night. Sorry, Leze, who splits her time between England and New York, I just found your comment about expensive bras and bathing suits, left on my post about getting a bra fitting. But on the good side, it gave me a topic to write about and I thank you for that and hopefully for understanding how your comment erroneously ended up in Spam Land. ©

35 comments:

  1. I don't allow anonymous, and I don't allow my blog to be searchable. It's cut out all unwanted commenters except the occasional pissed off Republican. LOL

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    1. I don't understand how someone goes about making their blog unsearchable. I know someone else who says the same. I just can't figure it out. I've never had a Republican that mad at me. Knock on wood.

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  2. I get "likes" from people who I know have not read the post. They just want to drive traffic to their sites. I also occasionally get a comment from people I know have not read the post, and I've even gotten snarky or insulting comments. Thankfully, there have only been a couple of those in over ten years. I don't see the ads on my site, so I hope there are no "sex" ads. Please tell me if you ever see them.

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    1. You're at WordPress and if I understand them correctly, you have no choice but to allow them to place ads. I've never seen anything offensive in your ads. I've never been sure if the ads that come up at your blog are related to your searches or mine. When I made donations to the Humane Society or Red Cross, for example, I saw ads from them for weeks, but then you could have donated as well.

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    2. There is a choice at WordPress. It's $30 per year to have an "ads-free" blog, which I pay. If you ever see an ad there, let me know, because I'll need to have a word with WordPress.

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    3. Will do. It would be worth it to me, too, to pay to have an ads-free blog. Bloggers doesn't make us pay but I suppose that could change sometime. I like that WordPress lets people 'like' posts but they don't allow anyone ((like me) who isn't on WordPress to use that feature.

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  3. I'm an Anonymous commenter, but do put my name for identity (its intriguing how commenters have their own individual personality that comes out in the text of their response. Amazing what 24 letters in the alphabet, plus grammar can produce).

    I must admit I don't like blogs that don't allow me to do this. Initially, I felt guilty because a blog post had provided me information and I'd have like to express my application and provide my own knowledge-input. Now, I shrug and think: well, if blogger has made it impossible for me to comment, that's their loss.

    However, I do now understand that bloggers have their reasons, including wanting to avoid spam. ~ Libby

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    1. I agree about the individual personalities that come through in text, especially with repeat commenters like you and others.

      Spam isn't so annoying that I'd turn off the anonymous comments. I suppose there is a tipping point for everyone, though. I don't get spam on every post but just certain ones bring them in.

      Do you have to prove you're not a robot to comment on my blog?

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  4. *appreciation*, NOT 'application'

    No, I don't have to prove I'm not a robot on your blog. But I did have to on a few, and many times failed the 'test'. And when I had to try several times to pass the test, it just became too arduous and not worth it, and I stopped commenting. So, that's the story from the other side of the fence on commenters' travails. ~ Libby

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  5. Interesting. I can't normally comment on wordpress. I hate wordpress on a readers end. I read a great many on there but only a few have allowed me to comment from day 1 even with a sign in etc.
    I don't get ads or see them on my site or yours so not sure what you are referring to. I do not have my blog searchable and I don't allow anonymous comments. I used to allow anonymous and sometimes it was so ugly and mean and frankly I just don't need that. Or they were sexual in content that had nothing to do with the topic. I also used to have to press submit or accept or whatever it was after a comment was made. But that got too time consuming for me. I figured if it was a nasty comment I can always just delete them. It has worked fine. I still don't understand why people need to write as anonymous in the first place but if they want to it's okay with me.

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    1. I probably didn't explain the "ads" I get right properly. I meant the ads that people put in comments that I don't publish. I don't allow Bloggers to put ads on my blog. I guess you can get paid to allow them but I wouldn't like the cluttered look.

      I use the moderated feature because I am away from my computer for long periods and I wouldn't want someone to be exposed to some of the spam I get until I can remove it. You use the 'prove you're not a robot' feature that probably prevents that from happening to often.

      I think for people who don't have a profile on Bloggers or google, they can't post any other way but anonymously. It just means they don't have a blog or website to link to their comment.

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  6. Hmm. Things are slightly "Greek" this morning. I hate when that happens.
    I seldom get 'helpful' suggestions on my blog, but when I do - I delete them. I'm an old lady, I put into my blog what I had to offer, and nobody needs to tell me what I should do with it. I'm not out to win any rewards or drumming up business. I'm just me. (and I am a stubborn or _itch)

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    1. I always think those offering "helpful" suggestions are angling for something...like if you reply they will reply back with trying to sell you a software or service.

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  7. I had to take the comment moderation off because I kept forgetting to publish the comments. LOL I may be getting too old for this intricate work. I rarely get Spam anymore, but if I do, I just delete it.

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    1. So far---knock on wood---I don't forget but if I started doing that I'd do the same as you did.

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  8. The black box with the question mark is often an emoji that is left untranslatable by Blogger. It usually means a commenter used his/her phone to comment on your blog.

    Lots of those ambiguous comments that are vague and not really related to your content are usually bots. Once in a great while, they may be foreign language students who are practicing their English; I learned this from a friend who told me that is how she teaches her ESL students to use written English. She urges them to comment on a certain number of blogs after reading as much of the content as they can.

    As far as anyone offering suggestions--whatever. Why they think they can or should, who knows. Back In The Day, when bloggers were into SEO and Personal Branding and all that baloney, maybe it was a Big Deal. My blog (which turned 11 this past August) has never been about all that. I suspect yours might not be either. It all depends upon your Mission.

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    1. Great information! Thanks for sharing. I was just reading an article about how people in Russia read American blogs to learn English. I never thought about them commenting for the same reason.

      I once wrote a satirical blog about "personal branding" which I think is ridiculous when it comes to personal blogs but in a way I have branded myself with my little intro paragraph at the top. I think the commenters trying to sell services don't read our blogs enough to realize they aren't commercial blogs trying to make a buck.

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    2. I also think a lot of commenters are strafe-commenting blogs merely to pepper their links all over the web. They figure the odds are in their favor if even a tenth of the people click their link, if only by accident.

      BTW--my blog actually turned TWELVE this year. I was doing a little blog maintenance and came across my blog birthday post. Imagine my surprise! Sigh.

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    3. That is really cool! Twelve years of blogging is a nice accomplishment. Congratulations.

      Peppering comments to drive up clicks on their own site is kind of waste of time, I think. Better to take the same time to register in some blog catalogs online.

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  9. I stopped allowing anonymous comments on mine because the ones that I was getting always had links to sites that I don't think any of my readers would appreciate. Changing that setting has helped a lot, any others that come through with an actual name and a questionable link gets marked as spam.

    Constructive criticism is one think but suggestions like you were getting makes me think they should do their own blogs and leave you alone, your blog is just fine...I don't think much about titles, sometimes I don't even have one at the end of writing a post so I go back and simply pick out a statement or a few words from the post for a title...works for me.

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    1. Titles have always been my biggest writing challenge. When my husband was alive and could still talk and I had to name paintings or stuff I wrote, he often came up with the best titles. Now with people doing computers searches I sometimes go with a title that might "seem off" but I know it won't get searched and bring me some unwanted comments. Picking a title is the last thing I do, too.

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  10. I stopped anonymous comments also a long time ago and I very rarely get spam or critical ones. Sadly though, it has kept my sister from commenting. Sorry Sis.
    Goodness, being critical of someone they don't know really takes a lot of gonads.That being said, I'll probably get one today:)

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    1. I really don't mind differing opinions on the content of my posts. I can put on my big girl pants and defend my positions but telling someone their titles are boring crosses over the line. I think I will keep allowing anonymous comments. The critical ones serve a purpose in keeping me humble. LOL

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  11. Sounds like bots to me. Not real people, but some sort of "take my writing class" phishing expedition. I don't get anything like this on my blog, but I don't distribute it as widely as yours....which is why I'm always disappointed to get so few comments. Only yours and a few others. LOL

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    1. I bet you're right. I have wondered if I had published and responded to some of those comments that are telling me what I need to improve if they'd come back and then try to sell me something.

      I'v been listed in two blog catalogs since I began plus posting twice a week puts me higher in a google search than people who only post once a month. I really love your blog. You're so honest about your emotions.

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    2. I'm thinking of expanding my reach....but I'm pretty ignorant about how to do that. What are blog catalogs. Can't you just fly out here and tutor me????

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    3. A blog catalog is just a place that offers free listings in a catalog of blogs on the web. Once you register and get approved your blogs will update automatically. Click on the bottom link in my right hand. It will take you to my page on a blog catalog. Click around the site from there. People looking for blogs to read use blog catalogs.

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  12. I do the "approved" comments also. I hope I haven't accidentally not published any! But you are right ... we do get a lot of email some days.

    I've never had to prove I was not a robot on your site. And I think I'm going to add steamier titles to get the readership up again! Since I don't publish daily, the numbers have gone way down ....

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    1. While you're thinking up steamier titles, I'm trying to do the opposite. LOL Maybe we should title each other's blogs. Hold a contest. hehehehehe

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  13. I would definitely read that Yahoo comment as spam -- no reference to the content of your post, just the title. Wordpress almost always sends comments like that to spam automatically, and I don't rescue them. I very much appreciate that you have moderated comments, which means I don't have to prove I'm not a robot to comment. Because Blogger is owned by Google and Wordpress is a rival blogging platform, Google products generally make the interface with Wordpress as difficult as possible to drive bloggers to their own platform. I've learned that when I can't comment on Blogger blogs using my Wordpress credentials, I can comment by signing in via my Google account. -Jean

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    1. I saw a pie chart of the twelve blogging platforms and was surprised that WordPress and Bloggers are the two largest but a long shot. I was naive about platforms when I started and just went with the first one I came across but I do like Bloggers. WordPress won't let me "like" anyone's blog that they host so maybe they, too, make the interface harder for non users? I love bloggers! Well, most of us anyway. LOL

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  14. Greetings from one of your anonymous commenters! And why am I an anonymous commenter? I do not spend a lot of time on the Internet: I read news, watch YouTube videos of certain late night comedians and read a few blogs. During my career in a correctional facility, we did not have access to the Internet. So I am not really that familiar with the workings of the Internet and to me, commenting anonymously meant that no one could find my email. I don't have a personal blog and am not all that familiar with 'the blog world'. So, I guess in conclusion I can tell you that I have chosen the anonymous option out of ignorance, thinking that it would leave me less vulnerable to intruders,
    Your spam comments certainly do sound like spam...very general and open. I am sorry that my bra comments fell in there!!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I'm glad you found this post! Your bra comment was freed from the spam box and published. Late but still valued.

      Your reasons for being anonymous make perfect sense and I think there are a lot of other people with a small footprint online and who feel the same way. I keep the option open because I'd been to a few blogs where I couldn't comment and I didn't like it.

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