E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.


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Stuff I Use

Bitbucket, Debian Linux, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, macOS, Markdown, Mercurial, Python, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, xmonad

Spam Report

At least 237138 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

More on "Splogs"

"Splog" as a label for spam blogs seems to be taking off. I'm not crazy about it, because I think the challenges and possible solutions of fake-blog spam sites have huge overlap with fake-portal and fake-search-engine link farms. The difference is mostly significant to people who run blog indexing services.

Not to discount their needs or their efforts. J. Scott Johnson, CTO of Feedster, weighs in today with a piece in Online Media Daily. One of his best points: "Can the war on splogs be won? No." In other words, expect to deter and minimize blog spam,not to eliminate it.

For the past few days I've been involved in a small-group discussion of this issue; one participant is a technical staffer from a leading blog search/stats site. He's intrigued by a couple ideas: a flagging system where participation would depend on endorsement by a known "good" flagger; and whitelisting of known "good" sites to defend against some of the many possible poisoning scenarios.

But I don't hear any of the services talking about a distributed, shared, public system for filtering search results. Similar to, as I said before, Razor or Pyzor or DCC in the email-spam world. Maybe it's just not in the cards. Or maybe we just have to build it and convince them that way.

Imagine if there were a public service that you could feed a list of blog URLs and receive back a "cleaned" list that eliminated known spam blogs. With appropriate software support you could use this service to filter comments, regulate referrer spam, receive alerts of domain-jacking among the sites in your blogroll, filter the results of web searches you subscribe to via RSS, and so on. I have some specific implementation ideas that I'll share in a future post -- or maybe even in a proof-of-concept.

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005
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Comment from Nancy , 19 months later


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