Blogging Challenge: A Political Post

Every week, Lorelle offers up a new blogging challenge for anyone that wants to try to improve their blogging skills. This week, the blogging challenge is about writing a political blog post. I don’t discuss politics that much because it’s no where near my area of knowledge but I figured I would make at least one political post that explains my stance. If this entire post seems like a giant rant, I’m sorry. But this is how I feel.

Going through high school, American Government was a class that I needed to take in order for me to graduate. It was the most boring class I have ever had the privilege of taking. None of the course material dealt with current day issues. Instead, it was mostly about court cases and things that happened in the past. Hell, I didn’t even manage to learn what the difference is between a Republican and a Democrat which I’ve managed to do on my own. They are both political lesbians that do nothing but catfight as their constituents are screwed in the process. I understand that the country is built upon a two party system, but whatever happened to WE THE PEOPLE? Too many times I’ve seen politicians place their party above what’s good for America.

Politics Suck

I constantly feel as if the United States Of America is slowly imploding. The only things people care about now a days are abortions, homosexuality, gay marriages, brittney spears, and paris hilton. I simply don’t understand why this is. At any rate, I have yet to hear any candidate discuss the issue of the American People being taxed to death. It would be nice to hear a representative of congress discuss the issue of the Income Tax and if it is actually against the law or not. Take poll numbers for what they are worth but they have consistently shown that the American people have lost faith in congress. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, we always end up being screwed and in no better shape than before.

Another problem I see in the great US of A is that the American people do not hold politicians accountable for their actions. Candidates do a lot of talking. When they reach that position of power, theres not a whole lot of action. We need to start asking elected officials why they haven’t kept their word. They say all sorts of things to get in office, then they don’t do a damn thing.

I think the fact that the majority of Americans don’t trust their own government speaks volumes. I wish a young, fresh, face without any political family ties or background would come in and provide a refreshing overhaul of the government and associated congress. Give Americans a different perspective. Unfortunately, greed, corporate ties, and corruption will keep this from ever happening.

To wrap up this entirely pointless rant, I don’t get involved with politics because it’s nothing but a giant mess that not even a mop the size of Texas would be able to clean up. I hate the fact that you have to swing one way or the other when all that matters is the American people. I do exercise my right to vote, but it’s getting tougher and tougher to go to the polls to vote someone else into office that will keep running the country deeper into the ground. So all in all, Politics suck!

A New Spin On Blog Spam

Lorell On WordPress Logo

According to Lorelle, blog spammers have developed a new technique of scraping a blogs content and then publishing it on their own blog. The new technique centers around the use of WordPress plugins that excel in scraping the content and then using software or other plugins to replace certain words with synonyms. The result? The same old same old.

Here is an example of some text from an article that Lorelle wrote.

Yesterday, I wrote an analogy of comparing blogging to dancing, and how it helps to know the steps, but I also addressed the issue of blogging in your native language compared to blogging in English.

Words carry a responsibility. They convey meaning. They reek with intent. Change a word and you change the meaning.

And here is the text scraped from the article, with certain words replaced with synonyms.

Yesterday, I wrote an faith of scrutiny blogging to dancing, and how it helps to undergo the steps, but I also addressed the supply of blogging in your autochthonous module compared to blogging in English.

Words circularize a responsibility. They intercommunicate meaning. They exudate with intent. Change a word and you modify the meaning.

I don’t know about you, but I have never, ever, heard of the word autochthonous before. Does it even exist? At any rate, if you compare the two excerpts, it’s clear that the second one is obviously some sort of spam. I realize their are people out their who write in this fashion as English is not their native language. However, since the text IS in English, it has to be noted that there is no way a human being would write something like that. It comes down to common sense.

In the end, this is a new technique that is netting the same results. Crappy look a like posts which don’t gain any value for the spammer, unless the trackback link makes it through the spam filter.

Near the end of the article, Lorelle goes on to discuss various aspects of copyright law and if this new spamming technique violates a bloggers copyrights. Here is a published quote on her blog from Jonathon

Fortunately, the law is very clear on this subject. Copyright is not merely the right to copy one’s own work, but a set of rights that includes the right to create derivative works…This right to create derivative works covers the right to create translations and any other work based on copyrightable portions of the original. Spinning, since it starts with a copyright-protected work and creates a new work based upon it, violates that right.

Fair use arguments fall equally flat in the eyes of the law. Spinning is not transformative as it is designed to replace the original, it offers no commentary or criticism, it is for commercial use, it can greatly harm the market for the original work and usually is unattributed. There is almost no fair use argument left for the spammers who modify the posts they scrape, leaving the door wide open for rightsholders to take action.

Interesting, but here is my point regarding this mess. You’re more likely to waste time and energy going after these sploggers than actually accomplishing anything worthwhile. Most of these sploggers are automated, meaning they can be tracked to a particular location, but the only thing you’ll find is a machine with a programmed set of instructions. The reality of the situation is that, spam, splogging, feed and content scraping are all part of the game known as blogging. It happens and there is no PRACTICAL solution to combat the problem.

Here are some tips to help you go up against a content scraper:

  1. Do as my friend Brad of has done and add a text link that says something like “By NAMEOFBLOG“. Because sploggers scrape the entire content of the post, this link will always be presented in the spammers post which will not only raise a red flag that the post was stolen, but will allow people to follow the link back to the source.
  2. Instead of publishing the FULL RSS FEED, switch to only publishing a PARTIAL FEED. I don’t like partial feeds and neither do alot of other people but it helps in dealing with the spam issue.
  3. If you notice a trackback URL on one of your posts, be sure to visit the blog the link points to. If the offending site has posts covering all sorts of topics with no rhyme or reason, chances are, it’s a spam blog. Instead of deleting the URL track back, submit it to Akistmet by selecting the SPAM it option within your commenting admin panel.

This post has inspired me to write up another article called, ‘What To Look For On A Blog You Suspect To Be A Splog‘. Look for that in the coming days.

What do you think of the issue of content scraping and splogging in general? If you’re a blogger, let me know how you do deal with issues and what you look for when deciding if a comment or trackback url is considered spammy.