Current Events: A Matter for Comment

Warning, tired crankiness ahead.

Okay, if you read my fics on AO3 regularly you may note that they are now all comment-moderated. I hate to do that, I know not everyone has an account, but starting yesterday a series of names just started posting comments on my fics that were nothing but gibberish and links to follow. Links that Gmail marked as potential spam and phishing sites. I had no less than five pop up on five different fics in the space of a minute.

And… I simply do not have the energy to go through and mark as spam every last one of these that pops onto my fics. I can’t outcompete a bot. Plain and simple fact.

If I weren’t so tired, I’d be very, very angry.

Fanfic is what I do for fun, and to keep my writing muscles flexed until I’ve got time and energy to make the next big “write the darn book” push. I post it up on Archive of Our Own because, like all geeks, I like to show off Shiny Things I Made Or Found in the hopes that someone else might also find them Shiny. (And maybe even useful, fun, etc. You never know.) And I know most people posting on AO3 are posting for the same reasons. People are there to read, snark, and have fun.

Someone coming through with their vandalizing bots and putting harmful links up….

It’s like someone came by the bowl of treats you left out for Halloween, and laced them with arsenic and razor blades. You meant this to be fun, and someone else just wants to profit off it, no matter how much it harms other people.

I’m really, really tired of people being mean to others Because They Can. So… moderated comments on the fics. And no unregistered comments.

(If a registered account holder is doing the spam, well then that’s another problem. I doubt it, though. We’ll see.)

When I have a little money put aside beyond handling the next bills coming up, you can bet I’m donating to AO3. Their admins and legal team deserve it!

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18 thoughts on “Current Events: A Matter for Comment

  1. Haven’t had that happen to me yet, not big enough I guess. I’m sorry this is happening to you. The good news is that AO3 has ways to deal with it, even if we all wish they didn’t have to.

    Hugs, if you want hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had something similar happen to me some years ago on FF and I had to do the same thing. :/ At least in my case I was able to take my fics off moderation a couple months later when I was confident the idiot had gone away.

    At least at the time as far I could tell there were fandom-specific attacks going on; someone would pull up a particular fandom and just start spamming garbage on any story that happened to be convenient. Probably happened to individual people too, all their stories getting hit at once. (I only had one at the time so couldn’t say for sure.) Sometimes there just aren’t enough shotguns to deal with Those Who Shall Not Be Named Due to Bad Words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, I had two of those pop up on my stories yesterday. Definitely annoying; my writing’s been at a crawl for months, so I was hoping the comments would be encouraging. Random spam was not what I had in mind.

    Though I’ll take that over detailed malicious commentary, honestly. I had to start moderating guest reviews at FFnet years ago when one particular troll took a dislike to me. I had to block two separate accounts from the guy, then delete about a dozen guest reviews in the space of half an hour. He hated my work, and hated me, and was _determined_ to make me know it. (What made the whole thing outright bizarre is that some of his more vicious attacks were directed at plot elements he’d _praised_ in a previous review.)

    I don’t understand trolls. At all. What’s so fun about ruining others’ fun???

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In simplest terms there are three kinds of people.

      There are the people that do whatever the hell they want, even if it is criminal, and then get surprised when Consequences Happen.

      There are the people who behave themselves because they are at heart good people.

      Then there are the people who would like to do whatever the hell they want but are afraid to do so because they fear consequences. (Social, economic, or criminal for example.)

      Trolls are the third category. On the internet they have anonymity so they avoid the social consequences. And they often think they are brilliant so “no one could ever catch me!” For them acts like this are liberating. They finally get to be “who they really are!” even if no one ever knows about it.

      From their perspective it makes sense. From my perspective I’d love to see more investment in countering trollish behavior so there are consequences. (Mostly because they tend to be cowards and would stop causing problems for everyone else)

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Also in the third categories are the reason we can’t do much about trolls– bullies.

        Any consequences we bring into wide use are going to be corrupted and used against folks who are seen as a good target– generally with the trolls as footsoldiers.

        That’s one of the reasons that by-site moderation is the best way to avoid troll infestations.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Yeah, the lack of consequences is… annoying. There’s this one guy on GameFAQs who’s been banned about two. _Hundred_. Times. And keeps coming back. He claims there’s a mod who’s out to get him. The more likely explanation is his habit of indulging in circular reasoning, goalpost-moving, and sheer, howling hypocrisy.

        I’ve dealt with overactive mods on some sites, but GameFAQs’ refusal to enact a more permanent solution here is too far in the opposite direction. FFnet’s the same way–one fellow was recently spamming the Persona fandom with truly loathsome screeds about how “ugly people are evil and should die”–and apparently once drove someone to _suicide_–and the mods did nothing, despite multiple people reporting it. It only stopped when the guy apparently had some kind of breakdown (not sure how you could tell, given how nuts he already was, but whatever), and deleted his own “stories”. Gah.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the discords I’m in actually warned me that this was happening yesterday, just a few hours before I got hit myself. And I already have all my comments moderated. Let me see if I can find it…

    From the Admin and one of the Head Mods: “For all members of ao3, there are currently a lot of anonymous accounts going around under various nicknames and leaving random comments with links on fics.

    DO NOT click those links or copy/paste them anywhere!

    For your safety, please go to the comment itself (not in your inbox, on the fic) and hit the Spam button. This will delete the comment immediately.

    Keep yourselves safe online~!”

    And yes, it did actually happen that fast. I usually don’t get hit by these things…

    Liked by 2 people

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