I can think of one or two half-hearted angles of attack, but nothing off the top of my head which couldn't readily be out-foxed by the very next wave of link-spammers. Indeed, any half-decent language models we do develop, are ripe for exploitation directly by the spammers. Given that very fundamental trait of language: its generative capacity, I am inclined to think that the spammers have the upper hand in this one. It's a bit like a war between viruses and anti-virus software, except in a world where a "legitimate" program is largely defined by the fact that it self-replicates and self-obfuscates. My initial suspicion is therefore that this is a genuinely hard - borderline impossible - problem. Mind you, that's exactly what makes it interesting... so I shall give it some more thought :-)
Justin Washtell University of Leeds
________________________________________ From: corpora-bounces at uib.no [corpora-bounces at uib.no] On Behalf Of Serge Sharoff [s.sharoff at leeds.ac.uk] Sent: 16 November 2010 09:12 To: corpora at uib.no Subject: [Corpora-List] Deviations in language models on the web
in doing webcrawls for linguistic purposes, I recently came across an approach to link spamming or SEO optimisation that involves taking sentences from a large range of texts (mostly out-of-copyright fiction), mixing the sentences randomly, injecting the name of a product (or other keywords) and creating thousands of webpages.
The intent is probably to fool search engines into thinking these are product reviews or descriptions, but the implication for linguistics is that we get polluted language models, in which mobile phones collocate with horse drawn carriages.
SEO-enhanced pages I came across in the past contained random word lists with keywords injected. It was possible to deal with such cases by n-gram filtering. However, this simple trick doesn't work any longer, as the sentences are to a very large extent entirely grammatical.
Any experience from others and suggestions on how to deal with this phenomenon.
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