grasshopper on a sunflower representing garden pests

Real gardens can be infected with parasites, diseases and other pests. Malicious programs such as bots and viruses attack web properties.

Another way that websites act like a garden is that they are an ecosystem vulnerable to parasites. Bots and viruses are similar to the microorganisms that may be present in a garden. Some of them are good like the bumble bee and the ladybug, or the Google web crawlers. Others are bad like leaf blight or a virus that crashes your computer. There are also troll on the internet, and in a garden there are gnomes — who may or may not be online.

Bots

Bots

An internet bot is an application designed to perform a repetitive task. But it needs a host website in order to survive. In this way web robots are like the parasites in an organic, sustainable garden. You want some types of bots, such as the ones that come with your website, instant messaging or social media algorithms. Others like email harvesters, links to spam or spambots are icky and bad, like moldy, squishy leaves.

Viruses

tobacco plant in bloom with cloudy blue sky prominently in background

Plants can get viruses. The first virus ever discovered was a plant virus called Tobacco Mosaic Virus. In 1898 Dutch botanist Martinus Beijerinck was the first person to classify the symptoms of Tobacco Mosaic as a virus.1 A computer virus is a type of parasitic software that inserts it’s own code, then replicates itself to modify another computer program. It does not have the molecular machinery to replicate without a host.

Trolls

Troll

Trolls are often spambots that have been programmed to comment over and over. Their messages may be garbled with strange words a real person would never use unless maybe they spoke a foreign language. Other trolls are humans but they choose to use the comments section on blogs and social media to spread negative energy. They are probably the kind of person who would steal a lawn ornament or an Amazon package.

It is becoming obvious that websites are a lot like gardens or miniature ecosystems. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a sustainable, organic website and blog that future generations can look forward to?

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References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11570281

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