*And no, “Ban” is not an up-cycled traditional French men’s name. I literally mean “ban” as in “refuse access”
New self-hosted website, new world, brave new problems. So far I have been extremely lucky in the troll department *knocks on wood*. Mostly because my site is very small, possibly because the tiny niche of aspiring writer is a hard one to have a big old troll issue with? For whatever reason, I mostly got useful, legit comments on the old site.
No longer. The new site gets a few (I’m talking very few) more visitors a day and upwards of twenty spam comments a week now. SEO is magic I don’t pretend to understand, but there are plugins and Google analytics and lots of fancy things to show me exactly how little my presence on the worldwide web matters. I even have a spam filter, where the nasty little wigglies get trapped until I can squish them.
So far I’ve gotten:
- incomprehensible words and numbers that sometimes made a sentence (the kind of sentence a monkey would make by rolling its head across the keyboard and letting spellcheck do the rest) with mentions of Jesus thrown in.
- lots of overt shameless spammy selling (“Your website is not showing up well in SEO searches! Go check out our answer, boorfe’s tips! For free!)
- other shameless spam (grow your website views by 2 million views today!)
Most recently, it’s been comments that seem pretty innocent or even nice but trip my “creepy possible hacker” instincts. They usually include a compliment (“Wow I really love your content! Bookmarking this site for future visits! My brother recommended I look at this site and I’m really glad I did!”)
Nothing obviously wrong with that. Grammar and spelling pretty much fine. No angry Jesus. But . . . not quite right. They usually don’t address the actual article they’re under. Nothing mentioned about the topic. Just a random compliment.
For these most recent commenters, if you’re actually going to read the article, here’s a tip: I can see the website you left as your website address in the comment form, WITHOUT having to click on it and then get the virus you’re peddling.
100% of the time, that’s my biggest clue that these comments aren’t genuine. I hover over the address, see a nice little pre-screen of the website and . . . it’s a 404 error page. A blank page. A “user not available” blogger.com page also seems to be very popular. Once in a while it’s a “Here Have a Virus!” looking site that’s nominally about movies or video games. One was a straight up naughty site, gaping anatomy and all, so that was fun. It made me snort water through my nose, anyway.
Further tip: If the website looks iffy, I don’t give it the benefit of the doubt. Part of self-hosting means that I now have the ability to block IP addresses. You might have meant that compliment, but the website address you left does not look like it.
Randomness+Sketchy website=You will be Banhammered. No first chance.
I didn’t come up with the term Banhammer, but man do I love it and I will use it with full credit given back to Chris Breechen. I used the exact same gif here, too. It’s like we’re twins! Cybernetic, spiritual twins.
He runs a much bigger website, not to mention a Facebook page, and he uses the Banhammer daily on much more vicious trolls than I have to deal with. His post about dealing with Facebook comments is a funny and very interesting read, if you’re so inclined.