Post-truth: alive and well

Romanesque grotesque on font, Brecon Cathedral

It’s time, whether you like it or not, for some more superfluous post-truth arse-licking material (better known by its initials) to be analysed and then despatched down the refuse chute. First up is in the category of irrelevant statements.

I decided to have some shared funds to diversify my cash.

Yeah, like anyone cares, Anonymous Person. Unless of course I click on your link … and then my cash may well be diversified to somewhere I can’t access or even trace.

Flattery will get you nowhere
Some posters try the oleaginous, unctuous approach, occasionally in a language that’s other than broken English.

Hi, all is going nicely here and of course every one is sharing facts, that’s genuinely excellent, keep up writing.

The truth is, everyone is sharing lies, not facts, and that’s not genuinely excellent. But I’m glad for the observation that all is going nicely here.

I am honestly grateful towards this site who has provided this passage that is wonderful at here’s proprietor.

Aw, sweet. I do like a statement that suggests I can trust the speaker. As with the politician who answers an interviewer’s question with, “Well, to be honest …” Of course, we were always hoping you as a politician would say something approaching the truth.

I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!

Thanks. But honestly, I wish you really had refrained.

Me a encantado el articulo, un saludo.

Hola! to you too. And your point is … ?

Good posts, beautiful blog. Congratulations.
Welcome to see my creations …

I was nearly convinced there. Until you invited me up to see your etchings.

Now some questions that require no answers, but I honestly couldn’t refrain from commenting:

Fantastic post, however, I was wanting to know if you could write a little more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos!

Ah, you’d like me to write a little bit more? There, is that enough?

And here’s a couple of questions that obviously originate from one and the same source:

1. This post is worth everyone’s focus. When can I find more out?

2. This post may be everyone’s that is worth consideration. When could I find more out?

Well, dummy, you can find out more when you bother to read the article in the first place.

You can’t beat combo
Last in the current batch of superfluous post-truth arse-licking material is what must be the ideal comment: one that combines irrelevancy, flattery and pointless questions. Here is a recent contender.

Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything. But think about if you added some great visuals or videos to give your posts more “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this website could undeniably be one of the very best in its field. Fantastic blog!

Undeniably your comment is one of the very best in its field, and what is says is important and everything. Sadly, all it’s missing is a bit more pop. Anyway, my friend, you could try reading the actual content of my blog first, maybe try the words? Welcome to my creations.

• WARNING The grammar police have gone through these unsolicited messages with a fine-toothed comb. However some mistakes have slipped through the net for the purposes of establishing authenticity


23 thoughts on “Post-truth: alive and well

  1. Lol. The first time I received one of these kinds of messages (way back) my heart lifted for a moment. But it had an odd feel about it and I quickly realised the post had not been read at all. Honestly (should I put that in quotes?) I don’t know why they bother but I guess it probably isn’t a person but just an algorithm used for the purposes of trawling info . . . blaa blaa blaa. I’ll stop my rant right there otherwise I may be here all day . . . stop I say, stop!

    1. I think I’ve played out my personal spam issues, Alastair — for the time being anyway! — but I do find these ‘missives’ fascinating, so very different in style from spam emails offering dubious sexual products or favours, or phishing trips or whatever.

      Like you I was confused by the first few I got when I started blogging (you know the ones, “I noticed that your SEO …”) until Akismet kicked in.

      But almost anything that can be read I find fascinating — cereal packets, Cataloguing in Publication data, anything in fact but T&Cs which drone interminably on, merely confirming that you’ve irrevocably sold your soul …

      And you?

    1. I’m sure you’re like me, Lynne, constrained to check them just in case something genuine has slipped in by mistake but bemused that so much wasted effort must have been expended in the first place.

      Sadly, unlike real junk mail, which can be physically recycled (for yet more junk mail possibly) the dumping of these can’t be used to any advantage. Except to lampoon them, as here, and give us a much-needed guffaw or snigger!

      1. Yes, I do check to see if anything genuine has slipped in and once it did, someone who has followed me for a long time, so it is worth it. Are they really people or computer generated stuff, I just cannot really grasp what they hope to gain. Surely no one accepts them, or though I suppose if one does, thats enough to generate something. I read a couple this morning and truly didn’t understand them, they seem to tag on to the same old posts, there must be something in them, that they pick on…….very strange.

    1. “… where do they all come from? Where do they all belong?”

      It must seem strange to get “Dear Joan” letters after all these years, Lizza, I don’t know how I’d feel in the same position.

      As for those content improvement offers, the fact that the actual content of these messages is so indigestible suggests the authors are no great shakes themselves at communications skills!

  2. Have you had the one that tells you your blog will go viral if you follow these instructions — just click this link?

    I know you’ve written about this before, but I’m genuinely puzzled by those people who follow and clearly have no interest at all in what your blog is about, or only the most minimal (we get lots of dog people every time we feature a dog). Why do they bother?

    1. Ah, those “followers” who don’t follow. It’s truly a puzzlement, Gert. Maybe it’s another aspect of our ‘clickbait’ culture: a virtual button to press is the equivalent of the hypnotic lure of a fisherman’s rod or (as I prefer to picture the scenario) of a predator angler fish. I do it with online petitions; others do it with those dubious ‘what Star Wars character are you?’ questionnaires, or sign up for ‘free’ holidays abroad. It’s a peculiarly 21C addiction.

      I’ve not had the ‘viral’ spam message yet, but I suppose it’s only a matter of time. I myself shall stick to the creed that there’s no such thing as a free lunch …

      1. I once sat in a theatre behind a girl scrolling through her Facebook ‘friends’ and there were more there than the twelve thousand tribes of Egypt. I suppose it’s the same thing. On the other hand, there could be a more sinister explanation. Every now and then we get a cluster of views from Russia and we know it’s Vlad targetting us for his own devious purposes. Maybe all these ‘followers’ work for him?

          1. I hate to lose an opportunity for outrage (there aren’t enough of them) but it was actually before the play started.

            Oh for the days of my youth when communication was via relays of donkeys.

  3. I always considered the odd syntax of these messages to be the result of imperfect/challenged translations. But it could very well be that they’re created by bots. Either way, as you say, it makes no difference. They’re mildly amusing and mostly harmless.

    1. I find it extraordinary, Lizzie, to consider that Akismet has possibly detected more spam comments to this blog than Calmgrove has had genuine messages (including my replies). They’d better be mildly amusing if they’re going to earn their keep!

      I notice too that sister blogs My New Shy and Zenrinji get hardly any spam — I wonder if spammers (or spambots) detect increased content flow and up their targeting and frequency accordingly.

      1. I’ve wondered about that as well. Also, re ratio of spam to real responses: it’s a good reminder of the number of tricksters in the world, alive and well and sitting at a computer!

    2. I’ve just now had a spam comment which, though irrelevant, intriguingly seemed to make some sort of sense: “Hans Peter Feldmann aime aussi à jouer avec les idées ancrées dans nos têtes sur ce que l’art doit et ne doit pas être.”

      Curious, I put this in on a search engine and came up with its source on (a page dedicated to the design lab behind French cheese brand La vache qui rit). It appears the spammer/s just copied and pasted a random sentence, presumably to get round (unsuccessfully as it turns out) Akismet’s algorithms.

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