After seeing porn spam, among other things, I got to thinking again about the reasons for having open referral logs. I think the main reason is so people can see how others are getting here. I began to ponder this question, which was, “What purpose does this serve?”
Referral log spam is nothing new. It’s just seeing a comeback. I think complaining about it to hosting providers is probably going to prove fruitless. Writing about it gives you something funny to discuss and a feeling of not being alone, but I can probably come up with more savory topics to discuss.
It turns out that my gut instincts were right. The lesson of spam is pretty simple: when openness hits the open road, it’s going to start looking scuzzy after a few days. If you have low barriers to entry and leave things open, you leave yourself open to abuse. Sometimes, it’s important to allow openness and deal with the abuse [comments], but when openness truly adds no value to the experience, it’s simply an ideal that ends up inviting problems.