To the “subscribers” of this blog

This post is being written entirely on-the-fly.


I have over some period of time observed that far too many of the subscribers of this blog (may be more than half of them) actually are/should be fake accounts.

But, as you perhaps might know, I have been, say, “follow-up”ed for a somewhat longer length of a time—and, with those “followers” never having to have had created any email account any-where, to be able to “follow-up” on me—in real life, too.

So, being “follow-up”ed, but without causing immediate trouble in my immediate life/surroundings, was a bit of a curiosity for me, and so, I tolerated them—these recent email IDs, so to speak.

No, not with a sense of amusement, but with that of keeping them, as they say, “under observation.”


Anyway, as to the non-authentic ones:

I invite these “subscribers” to get themselves off, silently if they prefer, but very certainly—and, very immediately.

[Yes, they may “post” their “protests” in the forms that are able to more silently hit me in ways more than just a few postings here and there on the ‘net. I don’t care, any longer.

Neither about these account “creators”, nor even about those who are (and were) skeptical about what such forms could possibly be—even if I wrote about such forms honestly.]

But for those among my “subscribers” who are willingly to unsubscribe from this blog, I shall give them a time-period, of until:

2 \text{April\ } 2018  - \epsilon \text{\ IST\ }

where (\epsilon \rightarrow 0) is: what even an idiot who has never studied beyond XI/XII science would be able to tell them—or, should be.

In other words, the Fool’s Day is their last day, as far as this blog of mine is concerned.


In other words, I “promise” to grant them a personal pardon that if they do wind themselves up, off my blog, in the due time-limit.

… No, I don’t expect them to do that. …

But if not, I shall do the latter for them.


[… No, never ‘been afraid of an extra bit of a work, ever in my life. …]


A Song I Like:

(Hindi) “kitnaa pyaaraa waadaa hai in matwaali aankhon kaa…”
Music: R. D. Burman
Singers: Mohamad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

 

2 thoughts on “To the “subscribers” of this blog

  1. Fake subscribers? Do they have real email addresses or are they “fake hits” on the site? If fake hits, they are probably just bots looking for a way to post a link to some vile site… I have encountered those myself (strangely, they were almost always located in France… I do not know why). Following the referring links usually leads to something utterly wortheless like a porn site or some rubbish snake oil advertising site, so after having only followed a couple I stopped and simply ignored them… and eventually took down my blog to get rid of them… they were very persistent and extremely annoying and there seems no way to block them.

  2. No, fake hits is not the issue, not any longer anyway. I perhaps used to have a few fake hits, but it was long time ago. After watching the hit-maps and their apparent correlation to the topics (i.e. since 2010 onwards), I think it’s no longer an issue (certainly not within, say, last five years). Fake hits could still be a persisting issue at public fora like iMechanica. But no, at least for this personal blog, it has ceased to be an issue.

    The current issue is: the apparently unreal email addresses being used by the “subscribers”.

    Why do I think they are unreal? Here are a few clues: (i) None of them has any other credentials available on the Web, not even nominal credentials like a nominal blog, or just a gravatar ID, or any other of the OpenID credentials. All that they supply at the time of subscriptions is an email IDs. (ii) Most of such email IDs use a single email-providing service’s domain name (like, say, hotmail.com, though I hasten to add that hotmail is not the actual service being named here). (iii) The “name” part of the email seem to be machine-generated using algorithms like those used in the password generators (but of poor quality!), e.g.: “getermrozellax@” or “rooksxvnickyne@”, (iv) They come in the droves. Suddenly, there are 2 to 5 new subscribers coming in, all within a span of a minute or so. (v) The blog hit-pattern doesn’t apparently change: there is no correlation between getting one of these subscribers, and an increase in the number hits to the posts of a certain kind, or the number of hits coming from certain countries or so.

    My best guess is that the offender here does not mean to cause a direct harm to _me_ as such. I think the offender’s objective here seems to be: to _indirectly_ encourage _other_ people to subscribe to this blog. (He may then hack into this blog (very easy to do that), and find out who those actual people among my subscribers are, and then target _them_ for whatever it is that he wants to target them. That’s a well known tactic in such games.)

    But why would he increase my apparent subscriber base?

    There is a kind of security in numbers, in being a part of the crowd, that people feel. For instance, if just one/two people lose their track while trekking, they usually feel a bit more anxious and nervous than they should be—even if they are carrying food and water supplies to last them for a couple of days, and even if there are no bad wild animals known in the region, and even if the region has mobile coverage. However, if a bus full of people breaks down at night in a desolate place say in the middle of a jungle some 50 km away from any civilization, or a train gets stuck in a region cut off on all sides by flood-waters, then, even if not many people are carrying much food/water with them, and even if there is no mobile coverage, people still feel more safe and secure, simply because there are so many others with them.

    I think the offender here is counting on this psychology, and hoping to get authentic people to subscribe to this blog by increasing the apparent number of subscribers.

    From all the available data, that’s my best guess-work.

    Also, from all the available data, I think that I am not being singled out here. They way the offender operates, it’s obvious that he would be targeting many blogs of my kind.

    Regarding spammers: I think that these days, big-data techniques have improved to the point that spam-detection has become pretty accurate. At least the Akismet engine (I guess that’s what WordPress uses) is (or has become) pretty good in separating the real comments from spams. Once or twice, I myself was foxed. Casually or hurriedly going over the comments-moderation queue, I thought that Akismet had wrongly flagged a valid comment as a spam. There was no offensive content, no outgoing link, and in fact, once or twice, even the originating IP address was not to be found in the then current blacklists/suspected lists/suspected regions of origin. But on a closer inspection (i.e. on the second reading), it turned out that, yes, Akismet was right and I was wrong—these were not real comments. (And yes, on the third reading, I figured that there were some subtle sentence structuring aspects that might have become accessible to AI algorithms only with the advancements in deep learning.)

    So, if sheer spamming is your concern for staying away from blogging, then I would say that yes, the situation has improved a lot. But then, that’s not all. There is _another_ aspect to consider too. “Follow up” on the net sometimes also means something coming/being arranged in the real life too—something that wouldn’t come your way if you were not so visible on the ‘net in the first place. That part is something every one has to figure out for himself. Things do vary. I haven’t got many spams/bad comments from France the way you mention, or from Romania the way some of the American bloggers had mentioned in the past. So, the context differs. Further, I think that if you are a working engineer (i.e. in fields other than in IT), then blogging would not be so directly well suited to you the way it would be to an IT engineer or an academic animal. A chemical engineer might be working on building a new plant that takes 2 years, and may not have much to blog about his work as it goes on (and not much even after its completion). But a CFD engineer conducting this simulation today and that simulation tomorrow might want to share his experience of using this mesh vs. that or this algorithm vs. that. … But once you begin blogging, people come to expect you to maintain regularity, even when there is not much to blog about. So, for many engineers in the core sectors (not IT), the best decision actually could be to stay away from all blogging.

    Anyway, thanks for your concern.

    Best,

    –Ajit

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