This is so wrong

When I first decided to get into the blogsphere the software was still pretty raw and it was pretty hit and miss on whether things would actually work. Slowly but surely the industry began to mature and with it came some stability especially from a software perspective. A couple of years ago I finally decided that it was time for me to give up the manual HTML style of blog that I had been running since 1999 and move into the zeros (2000’s). After reviewing and playing with several different software packages I finally resolved that Movable Type was best suited to what I was going to do. I bought the software. Yes you read that right I actually bought the software. I am probably the only individual on the planet that actually spent money for a license of Movable Type for individual use. I figured that if the developers took the time to create and support the software I should do the same and at least monetarily support them.


After a lot of trials and tribulations I finally got everything installed. PERL is definitely not my forte so this was somewhat of a challenge. This was further complicated by the fact that my hosting provider was not willing to help nor did they really want me to install this on their server. After what I thought was a lengthy discussion they finally relented and allowed installation with the stipulation that I would be responsible for supporting this package and if there were any traffic or security issues the software would be removed. Kind of draconian attitude I thought but what was I to do?
I installed the software and began creating the templates and cascading style sheets necessary to run the blog. That too was more in depth and detailed than I anticipated but nonetheless I finished it. The Diary of a Diehard blog was born and quickly began to accumulate readers. This was going to be great I thought. But as the readership expanded so did my headaches. Not only was I accumulating readers, I was also accumulating SPAMMERS intent on driving my blog into the ground. It was not very long before I found myself spending more time deleting comments and trackbacks from SPAM sources than I was actually writing entries. I finally could not deal with it any longer and shut off the comment system until such time as I could find a solution to the SPAM issue. As Movable Type 3.x became available I again opened up the comments and just as quickly shut it off when I found that the SPAM generators were now much more automated and more than eager to give me something to do. I was getting email from readers wanting to comment but I just couldn’t deal with the SPAM. I tried a few things that slowed down the SPAM messages but it was still higher than my pain threshold for dealing with it.
When Movable Type introduced version 4.0 they announced that it had much better SPAM management capabilities. I quickly upgraded and moved my site and templates to the new system. Unfortunately the SPAM control capabilities were not part of the templates that I had created and the new template layout for version 4.0 is as painful as it is decentralized. I just didn’t have the time to rewrite my template files and all the existing 4.x templates I have found so far have been fixed width. I’ve come to enjoy the fluid layout I currently use and therefore didn’t want to adapt to a template that forced me into a fixed box. I was at a stand-off. Finally around the holidays I found some time to dissect the new templates and at least identify where the new comment section including the CAPTCHA routine was located. After several attempts and multiple tickets to my hosting company to upgrade their dated server components I was finally able to successfully deploy.
There was only one problem; while I configured the templates to use the CAPTCHA routine I totally forgot to enable it in the configuration file leaving my site to accept comments and trackbacks without the use of any SPAM management. The site was up like that for approximately 16 hours and in that time I received close to 600 bogus trackbacks and nearly 400 SPAM comments. I find it amazing how much bandwidth is wasted by these pond-scum sucking leeches who bombard a site with garbage. The problem is quickly reaching epidemic levels and something has to be done. Even on a bad day I know I will get less than 20 soliciting letters in my mailbox. Why should the Internet be any different? There must be a way for us to turn the battle back to these people who are intent on crippling the creative juices that bloggers exhibit. I don’t have an answer except to say that once I instituted the CAPTCHA routine and actually configured it to be available my life has gotten much better. I am now able to allow comments and not have to worry about being bombarded with offers for low cost drugs, pornography, or other mischievous products and services. Now all I have to do is find a similar solution for trackbacks.


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