Is anybody out there? revisited

Ángel Ortega

Off with his head, July 2021

A year and a half ago I took a depressing look to this site's access log and I think it's time to do it again.

This is the raw number of requests on a random day:

angel@belfegor:~$ wc -l /var/log/nginx/triptico-access.log.1
4652 /var/log/nginx/triptico-access.log.1

Impressive; more or less 2x connections that my previous analysis. But, of course, this request log is full of lies.

I'm about to use a different approach this time, though; instead of gradually filtering out the motherfucking bots and the rest of useless crap one by one, I'm going to only keep connections that are provably made by real persons. How? By using the naïve method of just counting how many times the style.css file is requested as a result of downloading and parsing any of the HTML files served from here. Every browser following the specs will request this file everytime, even if the alleged user visits more than one page in the same session. Yes, I know that with this method I'm discarding text-mode browsers and other oddities that ignore style sheets, but I can swear that the count of these beasts is exactly zero.

So here it goes:

angel@belfegor:~$ < /var/log/nginx/triptico-access.log.1 grep /style.css|wc -l

Wow! That is a change. So there were an impressive 46 different visits to my site on 06/Jul/2021. Does this make me an essential part of the Internet? Probably not.

But wait; am I really sure that bots do not download CSS files? Mmmm.

angel@belfegor:~$ < /var/log/nginx/triptico-access.log.1 grep /style.css|grep -v bot|wc -l

At least one scumbag, named petalbot, does.

So while I meditate about the fact that almost 99% of my web traffic is consumed by bots, you can listen to a beautiful song by Frankie Goes To Hollywood aptly named Is Anybody Out There that is not about

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