Happy NW [first name] to All!

It’s getting harder every day to argue that email is not a dying medium. The latest stats suggest that around 90% of Internet email is now spam of one form or another. Even good email often seems to get blocked by spam filters.
The spammers also managed to keep ahead of the game at every point.
The past few days have provided a good example as I’ve received, as I’m sure many of you have, hundreds of spam emails with the subject line of “Happy NW [sender's first name].”
On the blog front, things aren’t much better. Today, I deleted 153 spam comments and found zero real comments. This is a typical day. I estimate that 50% of the legitimate comments I get for this blog end up first in the junk comments filter.
If (1) I didn’t get the occasional truly wonderful comment and (2) we weren’t in the middle of that classic annual end of the year / beginning of the year blogging tradition of debating whether a blog without comments enabled is a “true blog,” I’d be tempted to turn the comments off on this blog. I’d rather revive the annual “email is dead” debate.
By the way, I’ve offered my comments on the “what is a blog” question before here. To me, the key feature of any blog I actually read on a regular basis is that it has an RSS feed. Since I read all blog posts in my newsreader, I couldn’t even tell you whether most of them have comments. As for the current debate, I’m agreeing with Dave Winer’s approach. My own notion of “online newspaper or magazine column without the newspaper or magazine closely echoes Dave’s “unedited voice of a person” notion, which should not be a surprise since most of what I learned about blogs early on I learned from Dave and he was one of the biggest influences on me starting this blog.
It’s interesting how this issue of blogs and comments keeps coming up year after year. The debate usually lasts a few days and then dies away, unresolved. I watch these debates with a little wariness, concerned that someone might declare that I really have not been writing a blog for the past almost four years.
In the meantime, to return to the main point of this post, it does seem prudent to begin exploring alternatives to email for communication that matters. I think the kids are all right about email today.
Happy NW Dennis to all.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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  1. says

    Happy NW Jack to you to! I recommend that you set up a “human being” test on your blog. It needn’t be a formal captcha with blurred text. I have been very happy using Jay Allen’s CommentChallenge plugin for MT (http://jayallen.org/projects/comment-challenge/2006/11/comment_challenge_v10_released.php) and it has (virtually) eliminated my need to deal with comment spam. Yes, there is a little setup, but once done it works smoothly.
    Happy new year!

  2. says

    I enjoyed reading this post and I could not agree more. Sorting through the spam can become a full-time job. SPAM blockers either don’t catch all the SPAM or block legitimate Email messages. I have found the only truly effective method of blocking SPAM is to use a whitelist but they are difficult to maintain and can become a management nightmare. As for SPAM and blogs I have found that using an authorization image works well. On my WordPress blog http://gotitsolutions.org I use a plug-in call AuthImage (http://dev.wp-plugins.org/wiki/AuthImage) to prevent SPAM. I have had good luck with AuthImage and recommend investigating a similar system for your blog. Check out http://gotitsolutions.org and comment on a post to see exactly how it works.