Each of them almost looks like a good comment, except the backlinks and links put in the text are very bad. Some reference Methodist weddings, one referenced young clergy on a young clergy post, and all-in-all they look like good comments because they almost match the content.
Today, I got a comment on an old post that blew my mind. And it helped frame what is going on.
Here it is (stripped of the HTML):
I want to just point out that less than full-time appointment is at the bishop’s initiative, but it still requires the agreement of the clergy member. In other words, I don’t believe a person can be appointed less than full-time against their will. (see the second sentence in Par. 338.2). To me, the issue is the bargain made by clergy to have very little say in where they are sent, in exchange for being assured of a place to be sent. Eliminate one half of the bargain, and the other half needs to fall, as well. The way to get rid of guaranteed appointment is to get rid of the bishop’s authority to appoint regardless of the agreement of the clergy person or the congregation.There is already in place a process to deal with ineffective pastors. Let’s use it.
Wow. It references clergy, bishops, and even a line from the Book of Discipline for The United Methodist Church.
So I googled a quote from it and low-and-behold: it’s a direct copy of a comment from Rev. Tom Lambrecht on Rev. Teddy Ray’s blog post here.
I googled a few others and found other website comments that people were posting on my site but lifted them from other Christian blogs.
Wow. Spammers (or some alogarithm has gotten really smart to make copies of comments, inject bad links, and then post them on similar Christian/Methodist blogs. Most impressive.
Two things for webmasters to do who use WordPress.
- Get an email of the blog comments instead of just reviewing them (you can set it in the “Discussion” tab of the WP dashboard). When I get the email, it includes the backlinks and the HTML which you don’t see as easily when you review comments on the dashboard. That helps me immediately see the bad links and can delete the content.
- Set your comments to be moderated until Akismet or whatever figures out how to shut down this algorithm. We’ll only be doing #1 at HX, as moderating comments is just annoying, but it can be helpful to others.
In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes, and blog spam. Thankfully, there’s some temporal help for the last one, some eternal help for the first one, and the middle one, you are on your own.