My Surprise Fan Club … not. :/ (This Ever Happen to You?)

Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. – Psalm 12:2

Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet. – Proverbs 29:5

It started this morning when I got an email notification with a comment from my fellow blogger Manu on my latest post. It was a kind comment, and I wanted to answer it. But when I clicked on “View This Comment,” it connected me to the post and comments following … which did not include Manu’s. I asked Word Press about it and was directed to a link where I could mark her comments “Not Spam.” (Not sure how they got marked “spam” in the first place, especially not this comment, which was brand new.)

I went to the link provided, and sure enough, there was Manu’s comment …

… along with over a hundred others I hadn’t seen!

> What the —!? <

I recognized a few of the people commenting and wondered, as I had with Manu, how in the world they got spammed. I un-spammed them immediately.

There were also dozens of comments from bloggers I didn’t know, most of them months old. I was delighted to get them and at the same time horrified that I had never responded to them. No wonder they hadn’t come back!

The comments were very uplifting, saying things like:

“Good info. Lucky me I found your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!”

“Spot on with this write-up, I honestly believe this site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!”

“I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I really hope to view the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now.”

“This is the right web site for anyone who hopes to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just excellent!”

“Good blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!”

“Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am having problems with your RSS. I don’t understand why I can’t join it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!”

Has anyone noticed what these comments all have in common, and what’s wrong with them (other than the fact that I’m not a “dude”)?

If you said, “They’re all generic,” BINGO! You probably caught on a little faster than I did. For a few minutes I thought I had some fans I hadn’t even known about. But as I noticed identical comments given on different posts and the fact that some of the words didn’t really fit the topic (There’s only so much that can be explained by “Maybe English isn’t their first language…”), I realized these were all commercial bloggers fishing for more followers or computer-generated comments from fake bloggers.

There are three ways scammers and con artists approach their victims: by (1) appealing to their vanity (“Help me – you’re my hero!”), (2) eliciting their compassion (“You’re my last hope. If you don’t help me, I won’t survive!”), and/or (3) taking advantage of their greed (“I’m a Nigerian prince, and if you help me during this temporary setback, you will be richly rewarded as soon as I get access to my fortune again.”).

I’ve always laughed at these scams, and yet I almost fell for a blogger’s version of #1!

So, I went from the momentary thrill of adulation to the annoyance of being approached by some faceless, generic flatterers – the kind of people the Bible clearly warns us about.

(If I want my intelligence insulted, I’ll turn on the news.)

So, now what? I remind myself that there’s only one opinion that matters, and He has called me to write, which I will do as He directs, according to the gift He has given me. Whether my following is ten people or ten thousand is irrelevant. God knows what He’s doing, I trust Him, and that’s enough for me.

Prayer: Lord, You have warned us against people who flatter. And Your Spirit in us helps us realize when words are insincere. Save us from the vanity of vanity and help us to seek only what You would have us do, in Jesus’ name, amen.

43 thoughts on “My Surprise Fan Club … not. :/ (This Ever Happen to You?)

  1. LOL! Good post. I am also a queen of the bots. This is why a real relationship is so important. “My sheep know my voice.” The Lord might even flatter us, speak some words of encouragement and praise, and if we know Who is speaking to us, we’ll know they are genuine. Something else I love about the Lord, He is never trying to sell us something or manipulate us. His encouragement is simply, “hey, be encouraged today.”

    We Christians really do need to learn how to speak to one another with some flowery praise, begin each letter with, Beloved…. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Ann, I have gotten some of those generic “flattering” spam comments before, but thankfully, it’s been a while. I still get some other spam comments, usually something related to supposedly “making money.” Ultimately, as you say, only the Lord’s opinion really matters, although thankfully, He can and does use specific comments from others to give us some idea how we’re doing. I always appreciate yours because I know you’re not just trying to flatter me!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Keith. My mother always said, “Consider the source.” So, it was great getting positive feedback from an outstanding world-class writer such as yourself, the likes of which has never been seen, and will never be seen again!
      … a little too much? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I didn’t know that there was still someone who wasn’t aware of:
    – non-spam comments going to spam
    – most spam is spam
    I’m glad that you realized what was going on fairly quickly with the generic ones. When I first received them, I would post them because they sounded nice, but soon – they morphed into such randomness that I realized they were not meant to be.
    As far as the non-spam comments are concerned – yes, you have to keep periodically checking. While 99% of the comments in the spam folder will be spam, 1% will be real and you will have to fish them out. Just today, I noticed a real comment in my spam, but wanted to delete the real spam first. Well, I hit the wrong button and ALL comments in spam got deleted. Ehhhh

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ann, I am so glad you retrieved my comment from the spam
    Folder. I keep getting those kind of messages all the time. I click on bulk edit and delete them. I keep a reasonably regular check so the folder does get too filled up.
    We write not for followers but for Christ – we always need that reminder.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oooh yes let’s write to empower people even if they are two who will be impacted by our life transforming messages, it is well with God and it should be well with us.

    I am always deleting these spam messages.
    I don’t have an appetite for them anymore as I am growing in this blogging ministration.
    Thank you for writing this and echoing my sentiments too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Annie, you’re right about the numbers and they are most times misleading, not to mention, not the point to which we strive. As one of your readers noted, most comments flagged as spam, are actually spam, but once in a while, a comment will get falsely flagged. If you go to the trouble of blocking them individually you will find that your spam comments will diminish radically over time. A little extra effort for a little extra accuracy. I very rarely get spam now. Deleting isn’t enough, close the door to the source. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Annie, in your admin panel in WordPress, click on Comments, select Spam and then individually click on each spam entry. To the right is info on each entry, click on Info and then you can block them there, so they can’t send you more. It takes a while to do it but it is worth it in the end because it radically cuts your spam down. Hope that helps!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post and comments, Annie! I check my spam folder frequently and also bulk delete. I am going to implement what Bruce said about blocking. I know that my comments have often gone to spam so I am very thankful to comment on your blog! Love, hugs and blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post, useful and informative.
    I too receive many comments that are rightly placed automatically in the Spam folder. What I don’t understand, however, is how those of some people I interact with often end up there, even during a
    conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes. There are a whole lot of imposters out there on the inter-webs these days. Some with relatively benign motives and others with much more nefarious aims. Thank God you remembered the REAL audience you are answering to and kept a level head. Continued blessings as you respond to God’s call to write and help spread the Good News.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah yes, the never ending slew of spam. Good that you recognized these for what they were before you approved, liked, and replied; inviting more and more. I agree, we write, because God has called us to write, and not for the followers or comments. It’s easy sometimes to forget that though. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, Mitch. It’s easy to recognize attacks when they come in the form of insults, accusations, and threats. But flattery is more insidious. I was a sucker for it when I was younger, but as I’ve gotten older, I tend to be more cynical. In either case, it’s best not to take ourselves too seriously.

      Like

  11. A couple of thoughts … First, this literally made me LOL: “If I want my intelligence insulted, I’ll turn on the news.” Secondly, “Whether my following is ten people or ten thousand is irrelevant.” God has also impressed this on me. Great post, Annie! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

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