Don't worry about it - it's nothing harmful at all.
It's a search engine spider - in this sense, a "spider" is just a piece of software whose task is to "crawl" the "web", clicking through links and recording informaton about the pages it finds.
With Yahoo, MSN, and Google, their "spiders" frequently crawl this site, so that they can keep a fairly up-to-date record of CR, and return the information it finds on their search results for when people search for related subjects.
Search engine traffic is the main way that people find this site - they type in search phrases about religious subjects, and in a large number of these, CR shows up, precisely because the search engines have spidered those individual pages and determined them to be of use in reference to the searchers' query.
Is it my imagination or has anyone else noticed the high number of Spiders visiting here lately. Seems like there's been almost a hundred every time I look. Maybe I, Brian has somehow made the site more visible/connected to the search engines?
Okay--I understand, we are never spiders. We are just online, and quick links simply provides a shortcut to see where everyone is who is logged in (and yes, that is where I see the spiders, also, but for some reason, I cannot always go to miscellaneous--it just doesn't work sometimes.) We don't show up at all when we are not logged in? (Except in the numbers out beside each board--the "number viewing"?)
Sorry--. As you have probably guessed, I am somewhat technicologically challenged. I just remember back in the days when I used to "chat" (gave it up--got too wierd for me), I learned that I could "see" who was "there" without them making themselves seen by everyone. This is why I ask.
This is really no big deal, except I hate it when I don't comprehend something that is obviously simple to everyone else. Got to get to the bottom of the spider thing...must understand, must understand....
I am not a techie, but my understanding is that spiders are used by search engines. If you are here, you are here, not a spider. If you go to a search engine, you are at the search engine, but the search engine uses spiders to look for what you are looking for. If I am incorrect, someone I hope will correct me, but this is my understanding.