A public service announcement

OK, we’ve back from Mexico for two weeks now, and to post our exploits here, I’ve had to resort to a few small repairs on this blog. I normally don’t like talking about my blog maintenance work – it’s a bunch of navel-gazing I say – but it’s important that people know.

I’ve bit the bullet and bought a copy of Movable Type 3.2. Did I upgrade because of 3.2’s new whizbang features? No. It’s because Movable Type 2.661 and my hodgepodge of anti-spam defences kept crashing my web host when the relentless tide of spam crashed onto my shore, and that tends to make one unpopular with the sysadmin. It was a fundamental flaw in v2.6 and MT-Blacklist, that SixApart had no financial incentive to fix.

In an open source product, this would never happen. Demand drives supply; if enough people used the product, development would be forked and bugs would be fixed. So why not WordPress? It’s still a diamond in the rough, but I’ve used it with incredible success on a corporate site. The problem is, it requires MySQL, and it would double the price of my hosting. In the end, Movable Type with its legacy support for BerkeleyDB (which is free) was the more cost-effective option.

Not that upgrading was pain-free. None of our custom templates converted, despite the fact I selected the option. So that had to be fixed manually.

Ask anyone with a blog, and they will say their #1 issue is comment and trackback spam. Despite this, it took SixApart four years to implement a spam filter that works right out of the box. And SpamLookup as it’s called, MT’s first, last, and only line of spam defence, is already showing its deficiencies. There is zero documentation on how to configure it; I had to rummage through the web to find instructions on how to convert your MT-Blacklist blacklist.txt into SpamLookup Word Filter patterns. I paid $81 Canadian for this?

So a big monkeyshines to those inconsiderate spammers out there, and a medium-sized monkeyshines to SixApart, for essentially extorting me to upgrade, because they are unwilling to support their existing userbase.