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27 May 2005

I have removed the comment function from this blog. Hopefully it will only be temporary. The reason is comment spam.

Although I actually see very little comment spam thanks to MT Blacklist, my comment script still gets hit hard by the spammers, who are then denied by MT Blacklist. Unfortunately, all those hits to the comment script put quite a strain on the server. That’s why my host disabled my comment script several times in the past.

A few days ago when my host disabled it again, I asked them to re-enable it, as usual. When they did, it was hit again so quickly and so hard that it crashed the server repeatedly. My host banned the comment script.

I changed the filename and put the script back online for a short time, but the problem would definitely be back as soon as the spammers caught on to the new filename. So I have removed the comment function in order to avoid getting booted by my host (which is, for the most part, a very good host).

The source of the problem is twofold. The main source, of course, is the spammers. But they’re not going away, and there’s nothing I can do about it. The other source is Movable Type’s poor design. The comment script is written in such a way that it takes up way too many server resources. I can do something about that.

If I want to keep the comment function, the only solution I see is to switch from Movable Type to some other blogware. I’ve been toying with the idea for a while, because I’d like to get away from the hassle of static pages and go dynamic. Serendipity and Textpattern are most appealing to me. Both are powerful PHP-based blogging platforms. (Yes, I know about WordPress; I’m not very interested.) Although both can import my Movable Type entries, I’m not sure if either can import all my comments. That’s a big deal to me; I want to keep all these comments. So I’m not sure what to do yet. I would really appreciate suggestions (by e-mail) from anyone who has experience with this.

I don’t like having to disable comments. I really enjoy getting feedback on what I write here. But this is the way it’s going to have to be for a few weeks, probably.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

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