For a while now, I’ve turned off comments for posts more than a year old–the hard way, going in and editing each comment, a month at a time. A nuisance, but it cuts the amount of spam even further, particularly the “meaningful spam” (most of which is something along the lines of
I’m not sure I understand everything you say about [title of post is automatically inserted here], but I’ll have to read more about it.
Or something along those lines. The purpose of the spam is, presumably, to increase the visibility or PageRank of the URL the commenter provides. There are variations, of course, but the message is typically innocuous and sounds as though someone could have said it–except that I use a lot of post titles that really don’t make sense as part of that sentence. This kind of spam is almost always attached to old messages, where I’m presumably paying less attention. (Spam Karma 2 actually catches it pretty much all the time–but that means more spam for me to check, to rescue legitimate comments.)
Somebody–Jessamyn West? Somebody else–recently noted a newish WordPress plugin, comment-timeout, that does this automatically at whatever interval I choose. Getting a little braver (and with better SFTP tools at home), I actually downloaded, uploaded, and activated this one on my own, instead of asking Blake Carver to do it. (Taking off the training wheels? Maybe. At least this time.) The plugin has some nice nuances: You can set it so that ongoing discussions don’t get trapped at the timeout mark and so that popular discussions (you set the level of popularity) can go on even longer.
Looking at the reality of comments around here, particularly comments from my core audience, I’ve set it up like this, subject to change down the road:
- For most posts, commenting gets turned off six months (actually 180 days) after the post. If you look at the May 2007 archives right now, you’ll see that: You can comment on some posts but not others.
- For posts with ongoing discussions, commenting can extend 60 days after the most recent approved comment.
- For posts with more than 20 comments (the default measure for “popular” and certainly a solid count for any liblog post), commenting can extend 90 days after the most recent approved comment.
Coincidence that I had to clear more spam today (before installing the plugin) than I’ve had any day in more than a week? Who knows?
Oh, then there’s another frequently-occurring spam text–one where I really wonder what universe the spammers operate in. The text refers to my “awesome guest book.” I don’t have a guest book. I can’t think of a single blog that I read that does have a guest book. At least “awesome blogroll” would have some faint hope of success–not here, but elsewhere.
The ALA note (hmm, I grumped about ALA interactive services a year ago–for much the same reason):I got the email asking me to renew my personal membership online. Logged in (the password sent in the email–password sent in gmail, which is a really stupid idea, ALA–was wrong, but that was OK: I know my ALA password). Got to the “category of member” page…and thought about it. Hmm. I’m not salaried (the new part-time position is a contract position). I’m semi-retired. I’m not really a librarian. Should I be paying $180? ($120 ALA, $60 LITA) I needed more info, so clicked on the appropriate link.
Which goes to a list of division memberships. Not to the page that explains the rules for different categories of ALA personal membership. Indeed, using the site’s search function
Stop laughing. Site search functions do work in some cases.
I was unable to find a page that defined “non-salaried librarian.”
I was about to choose that $42 category–well, actually, I did, but hadn’t checked out yet.
I mentioned it to my wife. She’s fully retired now, but was in a similar “unsalaried, but still doing some work” situation for 2007. (Of course, she is a degreed librarian.) She said something about “I think you have to earn less than X.” X being somewhat less than my contract and other library-related earnings should total next year.
So I canceled the transaction. Today, I went in via a different route and found the appropriate page–not by searching, to be sure. Indeed there is a limit of X for “non-salaried.”
I still have a mild quandary. My new position isn’t managerial as usually defined: Nobody reports to me. It doesn’t require an MLS or state certification. Come to think of it, that’s been true of my work for close to a decade…
Does that mean I’m library support staff and can get by for $42 instead of $120?
I’ll probably pay the $180 for 2008. Oh, and check my preferences again to see where ALA will send various emails this time around.
I discussed this with appropriate people at ALA and will act accordingly.