Blog mechanics: Comment spam

I have to wonder how the comment system works on WordPress (or other blogs, probably, but this is where I am and this is where I can see stats). There is always a steady stream of spam comments from I don’t know where. The interesting part of it is that I know these comments are spam, even the ones that trouble themselves to compliment my blog theme (it’s the newest one WordPress posted, incidentally, and I kind of like it). How do I know? The comments appear on days and times when there have been no visitors whatsoever to this blog.*

What I don’t understand is how they can do that. How can someone (person or bot) submit a ‘comment’ to one of my posts without registering any kind of visit on my tracking stats?

Also, why is every single one of them submitted to one of my xkcd posts? (Even more obvious way I know they’re spam: they compliment me on a great article, when I have done nothing but hotlink and link to a single comic from xkcd.) But really, why?

* I wonder what Hofstadter would say about the self-reference. There are some interesting quirks to the way we determine the referent of a pointer like ‘this’ — a phrase like ‘this sentence,’ for example, could be referring to itself or to some other sentence under discussion. But we almost never have to think twice about which it is, when we see it. (‘It’ would certainly have similar issues.)

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