Tom Gilson

What I Do Not Realize Is In Fact…

Just for fun…

I get spam comments here. Most of them appear to be machine translations from some other language into English. One of them today began with this:

What i [sic] do not realize is in fact how you’re now not really much more smartly-appreciated than you may be now.

My first response to that was, Huh? Does this even mean anything?

My second response was my eager question, Could it be a compliment? Lots of spam comments butter up the blogger with words of appreciation like, “Your blog is as astounding!” Yes, “as astounding.” That’s a common first sentence in comment spam, in exactly that form.

I’m always on the lookout for an encouraging word, so I decided to take a closer look. I wanted to find whether this commenter was as enthralled with my blog as the ones who think it’s “as astounding.”

Alas, I was disappointed. Have you deciphered what it means yet? Here’s help for you.

Let’s start by setting aside any problem the sender might have had with not realizing something. The remainder of the sentence goes like this:

In fact you’re now not really much more smartly-appreciated than you may be now.

The emphasis clutters things up, so let’s remove it:

In fact you’re now not much more smartly-appreciated than you may be now.

Coming clear yet? It is for some readers. I’ll keep going. Since everything is “now,” we can eliminate the redundancy:

In fact you’re not much more smartly-appreciated than you may be.

Now it gets complicated again. In an odd construction of this sort, the word “may” could have several possible meanings. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided it’s probably indicating uncertainty over how much I am in fact being smartly-appreciated. (Readers who see it another way are welcome to explain and defend their position on this most important matter.)

If I’m right, then it’s a version of,

In fact you’re not much more smartly-appreciated than you are (however much that may be).

We’re getting close now: close enough to see that the comment says nothing at all.

I’m not quite sure what it would mean to be smartly-appreciated. Whatever it is, I am no more of it than I am. The sentence turns out to be necessarily true, regardless of what “smartly-appreciated” means. Thus it’s sadly devoid of any interesting information.

It’s lacking in interest, that is, except for the one remaining puzzle: how did the sender express it with such complexity while not realizing it?

I think that’s as astounding.


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