Greengard's ChessNinja.com

#400 On My Mind

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Not that you can tell, but this is the 400th Daily Dirt entry. That it has taken over two years to get here proves that perhaps "daily" wasn't the best name, but it was never really intended to be a destination site. I mostly wanted a place to put small items not worthy of a full article and someplace to link to from my ChessBase articles when I launched ChessNinja so people could find out about the newsletters. Now that there are over 5,000 readers every day I feel pressure to actually provide something. (Even if it's waffle meta-content like this.)

When Leonard "The Dean" Barden said kind words about the Daily Dirt in his legendary Guardian column a few weeks ago I felt that maybe I had become too establishment (when I finished feeling delighted). After all, my shaved head and leather jacket aren't visible online.

So thanks for reading and especially for commenting. We've had posts from GMs, super-GMs, US champions, and USCF presidents, and I know from email that people out there are listening. So speak up! (I'll note here that this publishing system masks your email address so it's not picked up by spam-bots, so feel free to post as a real human instead of an anonymous coward, as Slashdot calls them.)


The entries are not always interesting - maybe only 90% of the time. Moreover, the readers´ comments are sometimes irritating, nonsense, sarcastic and even pedantic. Even I occasionally crossed the line, posting a comment not completely coherent with the necessary good manners. And guess what: I like the site a lot, because the information and discussions it provides complement serious sites like chessbase or twic. On the good side, I enjoy a lot Mig´s defense of Kasparov. Let me explain this one: I stopped playing chess and watching related news in the first half of 1980´s, right before K-K matches. By that time, I was a big fan of Karpov, Korchnoi, Fischer, Timman, Mecking, etc. Two years ago, I got involved again (damn chess virus that infected me!) and then I had to known about the man. What a surprise: to me, Kasparov is the best ever. He may not be in good shape, but tough rivals are missing.

A Brazilian chess fan

Watch out, Ronald. Not even Kaspy himself thinks he's lacking tough rivals. You keep up that kind of talk and you'll find yourself with a job offer from Mig or Chessbase.

Don't worry Ronald. You could do a lot worse than being offered a job with Mig or Chessbase. For example, you could end up a critic. ;-)

Mig, I hate to point this out, but the encodings this system uses for email addresses is hardly a spam deterrent. The html entity codes definitely work for a great number of the bots, as they are pretty dumb, but the pro's will 'interpret' the html, the same way your browser does it. Smarter would be javascript generated emails. Fail-safe would be an internal db that allows you to send messages through a form using truly anonymous internal ids, but then you would be storing people's emails. Bots don't fill out forms. :-)

Congrats, Mig.

You're doing the chess world a service. I hope you aren't going hungry.

Bots fill out forms all the time. Why do you think so many registration forms ask you to type in the text in a warped image?

Using scripts is laborious and server intensive and I don't want to store email or any other information about users that the system doesn't archive on its own by necessity. Bots go for the easy addresses. In my tests, alt-code-hashed addresses receive zero spam after a month. Non-hashed receive dozens daily within a week! I don't doubt a bot could be made to read them, but it would be so slow, and so few addresses use them, that it's probably not worth it.

It's called a captcha, and it's point is prevent machines from following a link (mainly). It's a simplistic Turing test.

Bots could fill out a form, but why bother. If they did, they would have to deal with a random key (the point of the captcha). As you say, they get the low hanging fruit, so any protection will go a long way. I was just pointing that your statement "your email address so it's not picked up by spam-bots" was not entirely accurate. People should know that there is a chance, no matter how small.

I have been tracking and fighting spam (as a low-level programmer) since 1995. In my experience, I have only seen a couple of bots try to get past forms (not counting the ones that actually use badly configured forms as a springboard for delivery). Also, the bots go for high probability web sites. As long as they don't consider this site a good source (in the thousands), they won't bother. They mostly hit usenet, directories, whois, high volume community sites and portals, but don't bother much with regular pages.

Anyway, didn't want to scare anybody or denigrate your site. You are doing a great job.


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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 18, 2005 4:07 PM.

    Chess for Peace? was the previous entry in this blog.

    Kasparov Exits FIDE WCh is the next entry in this blog.

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