Is It Time to Update the Blog Software?

In the last three weeks the blog has been under escalating attack by comment spammers. I'm killing it as fast as I can, but it's taking its toll. Meanwhile, because the blog is so large, the rebuilds are timing out routinely. I've employed a number of tricks to deal with this, but they take time too, and at some point they will stop working. It's starting to feel like it's time to update or to change software or close comments (which I would hate to do).

MT 3.1x has problems with legacy plugins. At least five of the non-essential but cute ones I use won't work with it. I have also read that some users have trouble with the MT-Blacklist function in 3.1. That would just make comment spam matters worse.

So I could go to WordPress, where I suppose I belong, but the conversion seems far from trivial. I want links to the blog to keep working, for one thing.

The problem is that between work and our massive home remodeling project hitting a critical period I don't really have infinite time to devote to this.

Advice welcome.

(Incidentally, I could be off line much of today, as I'll be in Tallahassee for a 2-day meeting of the Florida Supreme Court's committee on privacy and court records. In all probability you will see the spam mount up, unless I can get into Tallahassee's digital canopy.)

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9 Responses to Is It Time to Update the Blog Software?

  1. http://pedantry.fistfulofeuros.net/

    Check out the comments at Pedantry.
    Scott uses MT and has a nice trick to keep the spammers away.

  2. endit says:

    Professor Froomkin, I’m a lowly ug in CS, but would love to do something of utility to the blogging community. I’m not sure about this problem; I’m also in lit. and a Derrida convert. It’s problematic to establish the determinancy of any text (check out our Constitution, these days), and that seems to beg an important question with respect to programmatically confronting the spam issue. I’m inclined to doubt anyone who claims that it can ever be resolved without a corresponding loss of “useful” information.
    Although I’m unsure about this particular problem, if you happen to have a wish-list of things which might be accomplished be a reasonably proficient programmer with respect to blogging software, I’d love to hear it. We all must join the revolution, where we may best assist.

  3. I know nothing about the technology involved or available here, but as someone who spends about a half hour a day deleting posts from my own blog for online poker and various marital aids, I beg you to keep us informed if you find something that works.

  4. Don’t believe anyone who tells you converting to WP from MT is trivial. I’m sure there is something out there that will (e.g.) fix links for you, but although actually moving blogs was far easier than I had expected, I did end up with linkage issues to past posts. Of course, many of the past posts were suffering from link-rot anyway.

    BUT, more importantly, moving to WP alone will absolutely not solve your spam problem. I’m using a Capcha-like system on my WP blog and have gone from 100 attempts during one 24-hour period to weeks without worrying about it. I had a similar plug-in when I was using MT and it was equally successful. Checking to make sure that posters are human isn’t a sure thing, but it sure seems to work for me.

  5. the link problem can be managed though, WP formats archives fairly well, though i don’t know if it will do wha tyou do with the title….. but it might. anyway, what you can do is get a mod_rewrite guru to map say your 50 most popular to their new address, and then enable the wp search feature for the rest…

  6. fiat lux says:

    I’ve had problems on my own blog, but MT-Blacklist does a pretty good job of fighting the spam down. I’m pretty aggresive in my blacklisting, which does make a difference.

  7. Michael says:

    I have MT-Blacklist running – with almost 3000 lines! — but they keep coming. And the blog is now big enough that it times out on the MT-blacklist rebuilds…which is a key part of my problem.

    I suspect that if I killed the “did you happen to see these” it might solve the problem, but I’d miss it.

  8. For a strategy for preserving your old links, see this old post of mine to some mailing list.

    http://www.mail-archive.com/mozilla-documentation@mozilla.org/msg01923.html

    In short: when you export your MT blog, also export it using a template that outputs the articles’ current URIs to a list. When you import into WordPress, your imported entries are going to be sequentially numbered in the database. You can then create a map of the old post URIs to the new ones and paste them as a list of redirects into your webserver config file.

    As for MT comment spam, I’ve been deleting the spam with MT-Blacklist with the “Rebuild pages after deleting” box *unchecked*. Then I do an MT “Rebuild All Files”. It never times out for me this way. The 2.x-era MT-Blacklist plugin seems to delete a comment, rebuild an entry, delete a comment, rebuild an entry, etc with awful overhead, instead of doing all the rebuilding at once.

  9. I recieved tons of comment-spam from the same source.
    I searched for the probable sender with the help of whois software.
    I threatened them this way and within a day I know have an answer that they are going to remove me from their database.
    There is also this Google form for spam report.

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