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February 27, 2008

Recent Site Woes... and Please Write Your Congressman
Update: A response

Pixy finally found out what was causing the frequent site outages:

Hi guys.

This was happening again just now, and finally I was able to catch it in
the act.

The mail server that runs on this machine is going insane and eating all
the memory. Looks like one user is getting spammed to death, and that's
causing all the problems.

I've reconfigured his email to simply delete spam as it arrives, and I'm
working on reconfiguring the mail server so it doesn't do this.

Sorry about the troubles we've had with this recently, but now that I
know what it is I should be able to put an end to it.

Ace - I'm currently off on my three days a week of paid work, but after
tomorrow I'll be back to finalise your move to the new system.

Best regards,

Pixy

I've had e-goddamned-nough of this fucking bullshit and so I wrote a guy I know who works for a Republican Senator. I won't say who as I don't know this fellow wants it known he sometimes associates with the likes of me (or, frankly, you lot).

For what it's worth, this was my email:

Hello [unnamed dude]. I have a problem, as does the whole blogosphere, and I thought I'd bring it to your attention.

Spam commenters are hijacking bandwidth across the blogosphere and frequently bringing down sites with their relentless overloading of our sites' mail and comment systems. Congress has acted against telemarketers and email spammers before. I know this is not the biggest issue for you all, but it also should be a fairly uncontroversial issue to resolve.

I repeat, they're not just advertising on our sites somewhat illegally without our permission, violating normal rules of contractual advertising agreements. They tend to post the filthiest porn links possible, often on sites which are G- rated, so that their porn come-ons are visible to children, etc. My site is R rated, but still I blanche at some of the sick crap that pops up in most recent comments. I don't think that someone visiting a non-porn website should have to see this crap.

Furthermore, unlike email spammers who merely (and I use that word advisedly) fill up a mailbox and slow it down with their relentless spamming, these guys are able to actually bring down websites for long periods. My site is frequently down because of them. So any First Amendment issues seem rather slight -- their "right to spam my site with porn comment come-ons" is actually interfering with my right to express myself and have my readers be able to access my writing.

As my readers are primarily coming to the site to read my posts and my cobloggers' posts and comments from fellow readers, and not, primarily, to read about the latest teenage girl fetish video websites, I really think we ought to have first priority as regards First Amendment conflicts.

I feel sort of stupid bringing this to your attention, as it is, in the scheme of things, rather small beans. But I also think it would be relatively easy to expand current spam laws to embrace these -- well, I will not pollute your email box with the curse I want to use. Let me just say I'm not a fan.

Thank you so much for your attention and support,

Ace

I guess I'm link-whoring a bit here, but I hope others get on this with me. Yes, it's not the biggest issue. But it is an issue, and Congress can and should act to do something about it.

Especially if you're a blogger or sitemaster and can personally testify to the havoc caused daily by these fucking assholes who should all die in a fire, write whatever Congressmen or Senators you know.

We really shouldn't have to put up with this crap.

Old But So Satisfying: Notorious Russian spammer murdered, bludgeoned to death, hopefully by a penis-enlargement tube filled with Pure Discount Mexican Viaggra.

Thanks to Eric.

More: As always, I had more to say and didn't really plan it out before I hit "send." I wrote him again to further make my case.

Sorry [unnamed dude], I couple of points I wanted to make.

First, Congress has cracked down on email spammers -- I think the law begins blocking domains that send email spam, right, until local authorities get a handle on it? Plus fines and such. But the effect has been to re-direct their efforts to an unregulated area-- massively spamming blogs and other websites. They didn't stop, they just found new victims.

Further, while Google and Yahoo and other email providers have monstrous server capacity and can absorb a good deal of this spam, we bloggers and website managers have a far more limited amount of server capacity and power. In essence, whether these bastards intend it or not, they are essentially engaging in cybersabotage, harming the net in massive scale Denial of Service attacks. If a hacker deliberately overwhelms a website with such an attack, he could go to prison. . These guys, as far as I know, face no sanction at all, despite the fact they are deliberately doing the same thing -- or if not quite deliberately, wholly indifferently to the damage they cause.

The effect is the same either way. Deliberate or not, this is essentially malicious computer hacking and knocking out websites through illegal action. Or action that should be illegal, but as far as I know is not.

Again, thank you. It's not a sexy issue I realize. There is some hot-button element to the issue, though, as I assure you most of what these guys advertise is illegal, from sham pills to child pornography.

Sincerely,

Ace

Update: I wrote another congressional contact and got this reply:

I definitely sympathize with you on this issue.

This may work as an issue for us. Not only is it the right thing to do, but social conservatives (who have not had an issue on the floor in a while) would rally to the cause because it goes after porn and indecency...plus it would just feel good nailing these a-holes. I will bounce the idea around with conservatives on the hill. Thanks Ace.


digg this
posted by Ace at 10:14 AM

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