85,586

It's more than the number of people in Orange County, Virginia (33,885).

It's more than the number of seats in Chicago's Soldier Field (61,500)

It's more than the number of feet between sea level and the summit of Mt. Everest (29, 029), the number of points Michael Jordan scored during his NBA career (32,292), and just a little shy of the number of words in The Verb 'To Bird' (a little over 86,000).

"What does this mysterious number represent?" you may well be wondering. I'll confess, it's a large number, and I'm also happy to report that it's considerably larger than the number of dollars we'll be paying in college tuition next year. But it's not a number I'm terribly happy about it. I stumbled upon it today with a certain degree of alarm--and no, it wasn't the temperature outside, not in Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin--but it's going to take a while to deal with it. I'll keep at it, whittling it down to a manageable size, but it's not going to be a quick process by any means.

It's the number of spam comments in this site's mailbox.

Actually, that's not quite true: it was the number of spam comments in the site's mailbox earlier tonight. I started the whittling process almost immediately, and it's now down to somewhere south of 80,000. Unfortunately, I can delete only a hundred comments at a time, so I'm going to have to spread the effort out a little.

How did it come to this?  Well, I usually focus on my FictCo mailbox, which is where the mail from the site comes; if you write to cashwell at petercashwell dot com, that's where the message appears. Spam emails and spam comments (currently the only kind) turn up in that mailbox as well, and I delete them more or less daily.

But because my attention is usually on the FictCo box, I have a tendency to ignore the Movable Type mailbox, where comments are duplicated. And it appears that deleting them from one place doesn't mean they disappear from the other.

The good news is that I'll doubtless free up a considerable amount of storage space by getting rid of it all, but no matter how much bailing I do, I'm faced with the ugly facts:

It's never going to stop.

Barring some miraculous change in technology or the law (e.g., a bill legalizing the castration of spammers on the first offense), unwanted comments are going to keep piling up, and I'm going to have to delete them.

If only I had some kind of information-processing machine to help me do it automatically.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on June 21, 2011 10:19 PM.

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