Friday, July 27, 2007

Bots and What-Nots: Feeling Stupid

I remembered, suddenly, that I have another site , created a year or so ago -- the experimental Global Warming Compendium -- which, like this one, languishes in obscurity. I went there a few days ago and was stunned to find that 30 new people had registered! Oh joy! Oh shock! I immediately and breathlessly dug up a new quirky and interesting news article on climate change for the home page, formatted it, posted it, and sat back, breathless. Then I decided to check out the new people (certainly smart, concerned netizens who had stumbled on my little php experiment while scouring the Web for ways to connect and collaborate to save the planet).

It only took a few minutes to realize ... I've been had. Bot (see malicious purposes) and paid for. They were all fake, jennifer13984, bill39872, cindy10928, etc. All from... nowhere. Sigh.

Then I noticed one that was different... One "Annabeth" with a hotmail account. Yes! A real person. From British Columbia (who would fake that?). I immediately set about emailing Annabeth, anxious to encourage the few registered users I can claim. My email was pithy and breezy, heartfelt and grateful and quite well-done, I thought, at a little over 250 words.

I was about to press "send" when I remembered that I myself had created lovely the Annabeth out of whole cloth, back when I thought I needed to seed this sorry site with at least a couple registered users. At that moment, I personified the word "cringe." (And what a great word, right? Cri or cry + unhinged + whinge + itch + wring + grinch + flinch + wench. C'est moi).

I fiddled with the site's registration process and I'm pretty sure now anyone who wants to register (ha) will have to provide me their complete CV, an essay on "What Global Warming Means to Me," a valid e-mail address, their mother's maiden name and will need to wait for a CIA background check. So, go on, sign up to day!


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