For some time I’ve been noticing a peculiar bug in my server logs, a curious variable added to every url, on both blogdex and overstated:


At first this struck me as a programmatic glitch or tag for some spider. But it dawned on me a few days ago that this could be a sort of cryptic message touting the fabulous words of the Jackson 5. Abc is not only as easy as 123, it is god darned equal to it! Of course I assumed it to be Anil, but it struck no such chord.

It’s actually an ingenious way of marking your way around the internet, throwing an arbitrary variable onto the end of every url. Most servers will parse the unused signifier and discard it, but it will exist eternally, archived for antiquity in server logs. Call it modern-day graf for the web.

So I charge: reveal yourself mysterious tagger! Bring forth your wisdom in the act of web graffiti! Show your identity!

Update: Some of the other bombs left by visitors recently: cameron=noremac_backwards, anilisvisitingyou=true, youandme=cantyouse

4 thoughts on “abc=123

  1. Weird. I’m sure I’m not responsible but is it a coincidence that I mentioned that very Jackson 5 song in my latest post of January 25? I think not! -grin

    Is this the “semantic web” at work??

  2. Well that would be me 🙂 However, it’s for a completely prosaic reason. I’ve set up a script that checks to see the websites I read regularly have been updated. Unfortunately somewhere between my server and the outside world is annoying proxy server that doesn’t respond to any no-cache headers and the only way I can get it to retrieve current info is to append a query string to make it think I’m downloading a dynamic page. Hence the abc=123 which was the first thing that came into my head at the time.

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