" 'Is there anybody there?' said the traveller, knocking on the moonlit door." Walter de la Mare's plaintive line has lingered in my mind for umpteen years, since perhaps third form (year 9 in today's money).
The traveller is in need of a warm welcome, but he knocks in vain. No one looks out of a window. No one turns the key to open the door. Frustrated, the traveller shouts into the silent night, "Tell them I came, and no one answered" and rides away through the darkness.
Sometimes that's how it feels when bloggers blog doggedly on (how about that for alliteration) and no one answers or remarks or even complains. It's a shame that people rarely comment on posts now – but it's not surprising. I've tried leaving comments on other people's blogs in a spirit of fellow-feeling but give up in frustration. Since the spammers latched onto the possibilities of spraying their misspelt, garbled messages wherever they can find space, bloggers have had to guard the ramparts. Now if someone leaves a message (thank you, it's deeply appreciated) it doesn't get published unless I say so. And that's only if the someone makes a heroic effort to negotiate the first lines of defence, like the diabolical word recognition test which, by the way, I can't always read but the spammers obviously can.
This spurt of dummy-spitting has arisen because I've spent the last few days helping to keep another website clear of a sudden surge of spammy messages. It involved visiting the site a couple of times a day and deleting the offending posts, a bit like hovering over a mouse/rat hole with a mallet at the ready. Occasionally I saw a suspicious character on-line, twirled my moustache saying ha-ha! and sure enough, another piece of garbage appeared. Whack! My best time was two and a half minutes between post and delete.
What do the bleepwits get out of it? The messages are unreadable. They contaminate the sites. They deter legitimate users. No one with half a brain cell would follow the links. Bloggers sigh. The moonlit door remains shut.
"Tell them I came, and no one answered" indeed. It's getting lonely out here.