“Some superb entropy” in the language of spam

April 6, 2013

A recent post by Mark Liberman at Language Log showcased the following fine spam comment:

1. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge on the topic of unexpected emotions.

It reminded me of one in my own collection (yes, I have a collection):

2. What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable experience regarding unpredicted emotions.

The parallels are blatant, and confirm my supposition that spammers (or the algorithms they employ) often use thesauruses to auto-replace words and generate variation, if only superficial, perhaps the better to avoid being blocked. Here’s another congruent pair:

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March 19, 2009

This week I received a comment saying “Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.” May the gods forgive me, but something about the message didn’t quite ring true. Indeed, it was so lacking in even the slightest flavour of human personality that I doubted it would pass the Turing test.

But surely its writer took the time and made the effort out of a genuine sense of global community, a willingness to connect with humanity for its greater good and for its ongoing integration and moral development. Or at least just to say hello and mean it.

Yet for all my attempts to give him or her the benefit of the doubt, I had a niggling suspicion that my visitor was, well, a lying spammer. A quick search on Google revealed a plethora of identical messages strewn across blogs everywhere, from New York to Tokyo, from the South Pacific to a place called Planet Cazmo. The commenter’s own URLs were similarly diverse, and linked to all sorts of commercial enterprises of uncertain repute.

Something tells me this poor misguided spammer isn’t getting the most out of life.