I want to thank people for not e-mailing me questions about the recent periods of downtime and extra slow comment posting. Our server move and some backend adjustments have improved both page load performance and most specifically the time it takes for a comment to post.
After what seems like several years of use I’ve finally abandoned Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist plugin, opting instead to use the SpamLookup plugin included in Movable Type 3.2. Spam Lookup is a powerful tool that is as user friendly as your garden variety IRS tax form, which is to say not very. When it was released SpamLookup had no documentation whatsoever, which meant that unless you were gifted with clairvoyance or telepathy you were pretty much out of luck. On the documentation front things have improved a little with the inclusion of SpamLookup instructions in the MT Help Manual.
The last major problem I have with the plugin (though it’s really a design feature/flaw in MT 3.2) is that comment and trackback notification e-mails do not indicate what happens to a particular comment or trackback. In my book this is a major functionality flaw. Comments and trackbacks can get one of three statuses in MT 3.2 – published, moderated, or junk. The problem is that the e-mail notification you get from the system for each comment and trackback doesn’t tell you which of those three status the subject of the notification actually got. This means you have to go to up to 4 different screens (2 for comments and 2 for trackbacks) to check on the status of an individual comment or trackback.
Personally I want to know when comments or trackbacks have been marked as moderated or junk, just in case they don’t belong there. We get a lot of comments and trackbacks (nearly 100,000 comments and 20,000 trackbacks to date) so I’d like my blog software system to proactively alert me that my attention may be required.
If someone from Six Apart would like to explain how this lack of status in notifications is not a design flaw, I’m all ears. As it is, this is a case where someone will need to create a MT plugin to fill-in this very basic gap in the new and improved MT.
Since I’m now reduced to begging for the a piece of the functionality I previously had with MT-Blacklist, if you’re an enterprising MT plugin author who uses the DropCash (or similar) method of fundraising I’ll kick in the first $100 toward getting such a plugin developed. Otherwise I’ll buy the plugin when you release it…
Update: An while you’re at it you might look at the way Microsoft Resultant Set Of Policies tool allows you to test out the group policies. It would be very neat if Spam Lookup (or a plugin) whould allow you to test a comment or trackback against your current settings to see what the results would be. An option to “Despam” existing comments or trackback (which used to be in earlier versions of MT-Blacklist and SpamLookup would be nice to have as well..