May 03, 2004

What a Day!

I'd intended to post a review or two tonight; possibly, I still will. But it's been an interesting evening, from an Internet point of view.

The first thing that happens is, when I download my e-mail, I discover that my weblog here has been hit with about thirty or forty pieces of comment spam. They are all obviously from the same person--but each one is from a different IP address. So not only did I have to ban forty IP addresses, and delete the forty bogus comments, I've no assurance that the same party won't continue with their tricks. And short of turning off comments altogether, there isn't much I can do about it.

Actually, there's some add-in software I can install that will make my blog less of a target, but I'm waiting for MovableType 3.0, which is currently in Beta. I was going to install the add-in a few weeks ago, and then decided to wait for V3.0, which has spam-blocking stuff built in. At the moment I'm reconsidering.

Then, while in the middle of deleting bogus spam comments, I observed that I'd gotten a new non-spam comment on this recent post. It's from a fellow who simply can't understand how a seemingly intelligent person like me can possibly believe in Christianity. Charitably, he finally attributes my inability to question my religious beliefs to my geographical setting and points me at a number of pro-atheism websites.

The man's entitled to his opinion, certainly, and he's even entitled to say so in my comments section--that's what it's for. And I don't believe he was intentionally rude; I think he was honestly mystified. But I have to say, the distinction between honey and vinegar seems to have eluded him.

And then, just to put an absurd cap over the whole thing, I got an e-mail from a college freshman asking me point-blank to help with a homework assignment. It was remarkably tempting to send back the wrong answer, but I restrained myself and simply replied, "No can do."

My father did that once, actually. He was taking a multiple choice test, and noticed that the guy sitting next to him was copying. So he wrote down the wrong answer to every question, making no attempt to hide his work at all--and then at the last moment went back and fixed all of them and turned his paper over.

Posted by Will Duquette at May 3, 2004 08:17 PM

Ian said:

Sorry, Will, but I must disagree with you here.

You ought to have given the wrong answer and taught the little rat a lesson.


steve h said:

Just a few thoughts on comparing the two situations (cheating students versus student asking for help)...

The student who asks you to help with something you know you shouldn't help with is in one situation.

The students who cheats off of another student is in another situation.

Both may be ethically wrong, but the second is unilateral action, while the first is an attempt at beginning multilateral action.

This naturally causes different responses...though I don't know if they are actually in different ethical categories.

Will Duquette said:

It's clear from my e-mail that I wasn't sufficiently clear in my comments above about the gentleman who couldn't understand why I believe in Christianity. When I said that the difference between honey and vinegar eludes him, I was referring to the old saying, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar," i.e., if he wanted to persuade me he could have been more diplomatic. I was not, as one reader feared, snidely contrasting his belief system with mine.

Phil said:

Heh, heh. I thought your honey/vinegar comment may have been intended both ways. He could be more diplomatic to win you, and his beliefs are acidic. Didn't CS Lewis say latter essentially in Mere Christianity?