Tag Archives: i don’t like

Attribution links to pasted content? – Something is wrong on the Internet!

15 Nov
Some websites will transform, at the paste event, the content that you copy. This isn’t recent, and it was a mild annoyance until it made its début in Opera, the browser I use the most (I installed 12.11 beta RC last last week).

What happens is that when you select text from some web pages, the site uses JavaScript to report what you’ve copied to an analytics server and append an attribution URL to the text that you paste.

What a terrible idea.

As John Gruber put it in a 2010 article on the subject:

It’s a bunch of user-hostile SEO bullshit.

I looked at the Tynt website, and soon found that users can opt out. o/ http://www.tynt.com/opt_out.php

If you don't want Tynt tracking copy activity or adding attribution links,
you can disable Tynt, by clicking the Opt Out button below.
You will need to Opt Out for each browser you use, and have cookies enabled.

It appears that there aren’t any other competitor. I hope it stays that way.

But what I wish even more, is that Websites would just NOT do this. It’s not privacy that concerns me, it’s the fact that in many cases, what I want to paste is lost.
In all cases, what I want to paste is what I select.

I don’t want to need any work-around. Yes, I can view the source of a page and select from there. It’s tedious. Yes, I can paste in a text editor, strip to what I need, copy again and paste what I want. It’s also tedious.

Notes on handling identi.ca group spam accounts

25 Nov
As admin for the identi.ca group Friends of W3C, I spent several hours today blocking spam member accounts. Because I could, thanks to the US Thanksgiving holiday which blesses us with a couple quiet days.

A few notes:

  • It isn’t easy a task. It has to be done from the members page, one at a time, by clicking ‘Block’ and confirm the action in the next page. And it’s really boring.
  • Homepage links that contain ‘buy’, ‘cheap’, ‘best’, ‘reviews’, ‘price’ are a sure sign of a spam account. Ah, and ‘forex’ too.
  • Also, ‘deals’ especially when that follows ‘blackfriday’ in the URI. But this is seasonal spamming.
  • Homepage links which end in ‘sitemap.xml’ and ‘sitemap.php’ all turned out to belong to spam accounts.
  • Homepage links which contained ‘sexy’ turned out to be pretty disappointing. I AM KIDDING, I didn’t look.
  • Those which Bio contains ‘SEO’ most often are spam accounts. Same for Bio that contains ‘increase your’. And ‘toys’; you get the idea.
  • Some trends: identifying ‘Thailand’ as location, promotional links around SLR cameras, watches, TVs. Vaccum cleaners too.
  • While most of spam accounts show the default avatar, a small number of them do have an avatar. Most likely, an image depicting landmarks in Thailand. Or Thai masks. Or Thai temples. After a while I got the feeling they were familiar; they use a very limited pool of images. That’s why.
  • I have nothing against Thailand.
  • Is it a coincidence that some spam accounts have a Bio written in Thai? I’m asking.
  • I was fooled. Nickname ‘cutecat’, avatar of the most adorable sleepy kitteh, Bio ‘I like snow and cats’. A couple inconspicuous micro-blog entries and bam! one that points to an obscure promotional website. Dated a year ago. Blocked.
  • I reached the awkward series of those accounts which joined en masse and which homepage links contained NSFW words. They made me miss the SLRs, watches, shoes and TVs links! I looked at none. Honest.
  • There was a ‘JustinBieberPhotos’ account. Didn’t take the bait!

I’ve been at it more then 3 hours and blocked 830 spam member accounts. I have more than twice that number to go over still. I’m done for now. Next time I’ll do it for a half-hour maybe, and I’ll do it once a week. Till we’re rid of our historical spam member accounts.

These days we get a dozen new spam accounts joining that group. I hope the folks at StatusNet would look for patterns and block them as soon as the accounts are created.

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