Prank contact form emails

My first website, byGosh.comlaunched at the dawn of the millennium – features public domain literature. It includes all the classic stories for kids. I rewrote parts of many kid’s stories to remove the violence. Red Riding Hood is rescued by her grandmother who chases the wolf away with a broom, Jack returns the harp and lets the giant climb back up before cutting down the beanstalk, none of the three little pigs get eaten – even the wolf lives happily ever after, and so on.

Over time, the site became reasonably popular by my modest standards, especially the kids section. It gave me pleasure that my site was – in a small way – bringing the stories that I loved as a kid to today’s tykes. The popularity came to a spectacular, screeching, fiery halt at the end of August 2017, with Google’s libelous assertion that my innocuous site promotes racial hatred and violence, and engages in criminal copyright infringement.

I got kicked out of LeapSearch – which drove most of my traffic – and my pageviews plummeted.

Somehow, around December 2018 – through no effort of mine, I had given up – I got back into LeapSearch. Pageviews are again trending up. This is a welcome development. The new visitors are greatly appreciated.  It seems petty to complain about a relatively minor side effect of the site’s new popularity – but I won’t let that stop me.

One of the the things that LeapPad users – young kids – seem to enjoy is sending prank emails from my contact form. *Lots* of prank emails. Usually just a nonsense string of characters, or sometimes a mild word like ‘poop’.

Don’t let the feigned innocence fool you. This is the face of a serial prank emailer.

I put up with it for a while. Didn’t seem to be much I could do. Finally, I put a page in front of my contact page. The new page explains that under the Childhood Online Privacy Protection Act, I cannot accept emails from visitors under the age of 13. The language is mild, but mentions cops just enough – I hope – to put the fear of justice into the hearts of the mischievous tykes. Time will tell.

CloudFlare Canaries

CloudFlare is awesome – in many ways. Not the least of which is their support for Internet freedom. Twice a year, CF issues a Transparency Report, with the opening statement …

An essential part of earning and maintaining the trust of our customers is being transparent about the requests we receive from law enforcement and other governmental entities. To this end, Cloudflare publishes semi-annual updates to our Transparency Report on the requests we have received to disclose information about our customers.

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WordPress Lives!

Any question of the demise, or even decline, of WP due to the inexplicably clumsy imposition of the block editor has been resoundingly answered with a thunderous “nope”. WP continues to thrive. In fact, WP just passed a huge milestone – it now powers over one-third of the web!  From about 13% in January 2011, WP use has grown steadily to 33.4% to start 2019. Non-CMS share of the web has correspondingly plummeted, from over 75% in January 2011 to less than 50% today.

The trends appear intractable, so much so that I will make a foolishly reckless prediction – WP web share will surpass non-CMS before the end of calendar year 2019, U.S. Pacific time.

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Cloudflare Access

Back in January 2018, Cloudflare introduced a new service, Cloudflare Access. As is their generous habit for many of their features, CF even made it available on the free tier. CF describes Access as “a perimeter-less access control solution for cloud and on-premise applications”. Basically, Access lets me host internal applications on the Internet, where use is controlled, authorized, authenticated, and encrypted. For the end user, it works very similar to two-factor authentication. But it all happens on Cloudflare’s servers.

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Facebook Post Optimization

Once in a while I get lucky and someone will ‘like’ or ‘share’ my site on Facebook. By default, the FB post can look crappy, unlikely to drive much if any traffic my way. FB makes guesses about the title and description, and crops an image from my post or page to fit the space allocated on the post – not exactly the best Facebook post optimization.

A crappy-looking Facebook post

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CloudFlare and Free Speech

CloudFlare, even more so than other tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, has the capability to fight subjective hatred and injustice. That is, to limit free speech in accordance with the highly subjective viewpoints of its executives. A huge amount of web traffic flows through CF. It would be trivial to silence any voices that proliferate truly despicable hate speech and/or offend the easily-offended sensibilities of the cry-baby left.

To CloudFlare’s great credit – unlike other, mostly ultra-left web corporations – they have proven remarkably reluctant to do so.

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CloudFlare Firewall Rules

CloudFlare announced the introduction of firewall rules on October 3, 2018. Surprisingly, five firewall rules are even provided on the free plan. By comparison the Pro plan provides 20 firewall rules. Unlike Page Rules, additional firewall rules can *not* be purchased. I get five, that’s it – but as we will see a single firewall rule can do a bunch of different stuff provided that the final action is the same. Pretty generous of CF, I think, seeing as I use only their free tier.

CloudFlare Firewall Rules

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