There are some things I find amusing, even though they are not inherently funny. One such source of merriment are the regular bot-generated spam comments that get trapped in the spam filter for this blog. Unlike, I suspect, the majority of bloggers, I still take the time to check these missives before they are automatically consigned to oblivion – the filter isn’t infallible and does occasionally grab legitimate comments – and I’ll even go so far as to read their content… Why? Because that’s just the way I am.
This is where the unplanned humour creeps in – bots these days are generally pretty good, up to a point, but even then, parsing a straightforward English phrase in an intelligent, logical and realistic manner is a difficult task. The result can tend to come across as a foreigner with basic high school foreign language mastery, desperately trying to make a point on a subject about which they have little grasp in the first place – a bit like me trying to buy tickets at a Moroccan railway station where nobody spoke any of the languages of anyone else present: not the most straightforward of processes! This in itself can cause unintentional humour, but when it comes to this blog, bots can find themselves in real trouble.
These parasites of the digisphere crawl the net, looking for victims to which they can attach themselves; like an electronic flu virus, they look for signatures – metadata they can latch onto – keywords, categories, web links and tags. This is how a bot sneaks under the radar, masquerading as a real ‘intelligent’ comment that takes its content from the context of the post to which it attaches itself. And that’s where things can go terribly wrong – to begin with, I never use tags or keywords; the categories to which my posts are assigned only make sense to real people, (occasionally), and – as you, gentle reader, will be more than aware – even a human being might struggle to make sense of the content of some of my posts, particularly if they’re not au fait with the intricacies of SL.
Faced with such an awkward task, the usual comments that turn up in the junk filter tend to be wholly inconsistent with the message of the post to which they’re supposedly responding and full of gibberish as a result of trying to make sense of my ramblings; fun but somewhat disappointing. However, one ‘comment’ did make an heroic effort today, and almost got it right, with one major shortfall, (that’s if you don’t count the link back to a Thai porn site, but we’ll overlook that for now). Up it popped in response to a post from last year: My ultimate SLurvival Guide to SL – and it was very convincing. There was the usual piece of flannel and flattery about the blog and how well written, followed by a cogent and reasoned – if rather vague – discussion of the points raised in the post. However, it all fell apart in the end with the ‘commenter’s’ bold assertion that “These tips will be very useful when I next travel to Brussels to help me stay safely and with no fuss.”
My friends, take it from me, the absolute last place to rely on for advice on surviving in a real foreign country, is a post from this blog giving tongue-in-cheek tips for getting by in SL.
Imagine stepping off the plane in a new and unfamiliar location and striding up to the nearest stranger and immediately offering them your eternal friendship, in fact why not go further and ask if they “want to do teh sex?”
Having barely escaped that encounter with your life, you make a hasty exit from the airport, hale a taxi and ask him to take you somewhere with lots of people and decent shops. Having reached your destination, you make the cabbie’s day by tipping him 100 bucks – well, as far as you’re concerned, it’s the going rate – and you take a stroll around the neighbourhood. As you walk, you peer through people’s windows and have a good old nose at what’s going on behind closed doors; as for those doors that aren’t closed, well why not just wander in, take a good look around, try out the bed and sofa, and play with any ornaments you find?
Somehow, your curiosity doesn’t go down well with the locals, and having been chased down the street several times now, you decide that if you’re not welcome in other people’s homes, you may as well set up your own. Finding a nice empty plot, you immediately start filling all the available space with furniture, shrubbery and a begging box, demanding that visitors give you money.
Everything seems to be working out… you’re going to like it here.
Stop your messing around
Better think of your future
Time you straighten right out
Creating problems in town
The Specials – A Message To You, Rudy