Saturday, September 10, 2005

Our Robot Overlords

Even though Adventures with Play the comic strip is set in the swords-and-sandals fantasy genre of World of Warcraft, Adventures with Play the website is all about fighting robots. Miserly ad robots determine how much money I earn from your eyeballs and clicky-fingers. Tireless index bots figure out if my site is worth finding on search engines. Graffiti-spraying spam bots slither through every cranny, seeking any opportunity to inform my readers about weight loss plans and anime porn. It doesn't even matter if AwP readers don't care about dieting, the spam bots are fighting the index bots and this humble site is just a tragic, pock-marked battlefield.

Of course the worst robots of all are the nefarious email harvesters. They skulk through every letter on this site looking to pluck an innocent email address from the text and sell its still-squirming soul to the spammers and the phishers and the IRS.

Some of these robots can be reasoned with, as long as you speak clearly and make no sudden movements. I posted a letter to the Google ad bots which seems to have been fairly effective. To see it, click on any of the comic strips to bring up the full-size version and scroll to the bottom of the page. Use this link if you're too lazy to scroll down to a comic. Cherish that laziness! To paraphrase my uncle, "You'll work when you're a robot!"

The spam bots and mail harvesters, however, must be fought tooth and nail. That's why you need to enter a captcha (or "word verification" as Yahoo calls it) to post a comment here, and why, if you want to email me, you'll have to use your human eyeballs and fingers and send mail to:

And if a robot ever asks to borrow your eyeballs, run.


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