Online Outrage

What is it about online commenting that enables people to make totally racist and insulting comments?

TMT Protest in Waimea
A protest against TMT in Waimea, May 27, 2015
This is something I have been seeing all too often in the recent round of local controversies. This is nothing new, we all know and see it if we participate at all in online forums. But I can not just let it slide, I cringe every time.

I make a point of following the pro/anti TMT issue. It is an issue that reveals some of the simmering tensions here in the islands, among those are issues of race and cultural identity.

You cannot reason with zealots. They deify a pile of rocks and worship a mythical past which was in reality a Hobbesian fantasm of violence, disease and poverty. – Richard Johnson Esq. in a Civil Beat comment

I have neglected to include the most egregious comments here, they are just too rude for me to re-post. You will just have to settle for the moderately insulting comments here. Want to see the worst? Just wait for another TMT article in the local press and read the comments.

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Comment Spam

Comment spam is always a problem when maintaining a blog, a constant battle. Generally one my readers do not see, as I have to manually approve any comment from a new commenter. As I have it setup now, once I approve a comment from a particular reader, any further comments they make get posted immediately. I do try to make it easy for my loyal readers.

But this does leave a list of messages in the approval que each day, until recently this was anywhere from a few to a dozen. In the last week the number has soared, to 30-50 spam comments each day. It becomes a real chore to delete them all.

Time to take the next step in the armaments race. I had two choices, disallow anything using an address as verification, or install a more sophisticated filtering software.

Just about every spam comment in the que is using a Gmail address for verification. So are a few of my loyal readers, folks I really do not want to cut off from commenting. These mail accounts are really convenient, for regular folks and the spammers.

Take the other choice? I will attempt to use a spam detection plugin for WordPress called Askimet. As of today it is installed and active, a test.

I do worry that legitimate comments will be lost. Please look to see your comment posts properly, if it does not, drop me a line and I will see if I can add you to the whitelist.