Or, “Why oh why don’t people make raw data accessible?”
The Akismet people have made some statistics available on how many spam messages their WordPress plugin has trapped. They use a Flash applet to display their graph, which I hope means that the graph is being updated (instead of merely implying horrible software design). Here’s a screen shot from a moment ago:
This graph shows a few features of interest. First, there’s a big jump — of apparently several hundred thousand — legitimate messages in mid-May. I wonder if this actually represents a new spamming technique. Second, both “ham” and spam show periodicity. Running this time series through a Fourier transform might yield intriguing results.
Sadly, the Akismet folks aren’t providing actual numbers to go along with the pretty pictures, and extracting them from a graph like this doesn’t sound like my idea of a fun Wednesday afternoon.
I’d also be curious to see what the ratio of spams caught to Akismet plugins installed looks like as a function of time.