It seems that I have fallen for it again. Every once in a while, years ago, I would admonish my relatives for replying to emails that were clearly of dubious authenticity (at least they could have checked with Snopes first). But I took a sucker punch to the head with this new WordPress blog before I added the Akismet plugin.
I have gotten several legitimate comments to my posts, but apparently I had some trouble screening out the bogus ones. If I am overreacting, perhaps the true human author will respond to this post and clear things up. When I first created the blog, there was a Hello World placeholder post (which I decided to keep as part of my learning curve). Several of the comments are from me or someone I know (or the placeholder comment from WordPress). But on 27 Oct 2010 I got a comment from Suchmaschine (which turns out to be a German web search engine); I thought the language was a bit awkward, but knowing no better, I approved it. I thought perhaps the author was just being very sarcastic. Later on, I noticed that comments from friends and family actually had meaningful names and email addresses that I could easily recognize. Suchmaschine listed google.com as its web site and a hotmail.com email address. I got a comment from Italy, so I thought nothing more about it (because that one actually had a link back to an Italian web site that seemed to match the information of the comment).
At about this time (with the site up for about a week or so), I finally had a chance to notice the Spam page for comments and took a look at them. This was a true revelation. On 24 Oct 2010 I published my Sunrise at Bass Harbor post (backdating it to 12 Oct, the day after the events discussed and the day after the pictures were taken). I got some feedback from Sichere Geldanlage 2010 on 26 Oct and wrote a separate post about the K-Meleon browser mentioned in the comment [Browser Rendering Issues]. Chip Bennet actually started to research the issue. But I am now coming to believe that this may all be just spam!
I haven’t contacted the author of the NextGEN plugin yet (and I think I will wait a while until I clear up this whole spam mystery). It turns out that there is quite a lot of spam coming out of Germany (and most of the spam seems to have a hotmail account connected to it). One more example (this one was caught by Akismet and appears to be a reply to Sichere Geldenlage 2010):
Clearly I have a ways to go on this learning curve. If I get reliable answers to these mysteries, I will post them here. [On 10 Nov I noticed another interesting connection between the spam comments: same IP address.]