What year is this, again?

This morning, Jay prompted me to read an article on weblog comment spam in El Reg. According to it,

Blog spamming is turning nasty. First spotted approximately a year ago, blog spam involves the automated posting of Web address onto weblogs or online discussion boards.

(Added emphasis not even needed, for anyone who’s been around.)

This evening, the Yahoo! News channel on RSS & Blogging prompted me to read an article (which, after some digging, I discovered was published in the awkwardly capitalized eWEEK) by Mary Jo Foley on Microsoft’s new blogging venture. I managed to hold my tongue in cheek check through the absolute lack of information, as the Microsoft nonspokesperson said “nope, dunno when we’ll do it outside Japan, nope, dunno if we’ll charge, nope, dunno if we’re actually hosting, or just doing a content creation tool, nope, dunno how many cheese sandwiches are actually eaten in Japan.” but then I got to the inevitable “everything’s about Microsoft vs. Google” part:

Some industry watchers said they see Microsoft’s move into blogging as a counteroffensive against MSN archrival Google. Earlier this year, Google purchased Pyra Labs, the San Francisco-based vendor behind the Blogger blog-authoring platform.

Right. Step one: hover your mouse over the clock in the corner of your computer screen, the date including the year should pop up. Note the year. Step two: google it.

comment spam. Be a pro, actually scroll through the first page of results, clear down to the bottom, you should find me talking about comment spam in October 2002. Really suck it up, read the post and the comments, and you’ll see that at the time I was calling spamming individual posts just the same old thing that had been around a while already. Either way, retail spamming or wholesale spam bombing, October 2002 is not approximately a year ago.

google pyra. Dead simple, your first result is Dan Gillmor’s post that actually broke the story. February 15, 2003, which was only earlier this year last year.

Does it matter? Well, compare these two things: “starting from scratch to compete with Google’s recent purchase of tiny Pyra Labs” and “starting from scratch to compete with Google’s purchase 18 months ago of market leader Blogger.” Which one leaves you wanting to bet on which horse? In the case of El Reg, the difference is really only whether or not it’s news: if you know that automated comment spam bombs are going on two years old, that anonymous proxy use for comment spamming is nearly that old, and that using nipr.mil proxies for various things that scare people is far, far older, then there’s really no news there: day 632, spammers spam, ISPs ignore, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. At least it got MT-Blacklist some well-deserved press.

But what really gores my ox is the awareness that, since every news article I read about something I actually know is completely, utterly, absolutely, factually, wrong, I have to assume that all the ones I read about things I don’t know are just as wrong. Maybe they get eight out of ten facts in the article right. How do I know which eight, or more importantly, which two?


Comment by Shelley #
2004-08-05 06:10:30

But Phil, you’re not accounting for the weblogging time factor.

We all know that weblogging has been going on since the 1990’s, but to the world, weblogging started with Howard Dean’s use of the blog last year. This contradiction created a disturbance in time, resulting in a time warp — a fold in time, as it were.

Walking back in time, the day before October 16th, 2003 is not October 15th, 2003 as you would expect; it is, in fact, October 15, 2002 because there’s a fold in time between these dates.

Now, those webloggers who have been around weblogging before all the current fooflah are out of time — out of synch from the timeline the rest of the world follows in regards to weblogging. That’s because they’re caught in that same fold of time!.

(Kind of like the ants in Kip Thorne’s Black Hole discussions.)

You just have to understand how all this works. Then what you read will make much more sense.

Really — all this was explained a couple of weeks ago at a huge bloggers meeting held in Topeka, Kansas. I mean, everyone was there — just everyone!

But you were on blogging vacation, and missed it.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-08-05 14:19:23