Completely sick of the comment spammers. MT-Blacklist is great at what it does, but only works after a string has been blacklisted, so every morning brings a heap of new garbage, “flies buzzing around my eyes, blood on my saddle.” Is the only viable long-term solution comment registration? To get that, you have to move to MovableType 3.0.
The J-School has been looking forward to MT3 for a long time, hoping for new features that would make it easier to manage the 17 blogs and 260 authors (with ~50 new authors added per semester) we currently support. What we didn’t anticipate was the new licensing scheme that could not only become prohibitively expensive, but a logistical nightmare as we try to track and pay for licenses for each new author, semester to semester. diveintomark has an excellent piece on why the “free enough” approach MT takes isn’t enough. Even if there’s a free version, tie yourself to a corporation and you’re subject to all their whims, prat falls, and unfortunate licensing decisions. Unless SixApart responds soon to my query on custom licensing, we’ll either be moving on to WordPress, a homebrew PHP/MySQL solution, or all of our blogs will be integrated into whatever CMS I choose for the rest of the J-School site this summer.
The licensing issue doesn’t apply to birdhouse — SixApart still offers a free version for non-commercial purposes. Disappointingly, MT3 offers almost no new features beyond comment registration. That’s okay – I’ve seen software revved to major numbers for minor changes plenty of times, and I wanted some real solution to the comment spam problem. So I ran the upgrade tonight. A few technical misfires (apparently not uncommon) — finally succeeded by installing the full version rather than the upgrade and then running the database upgrade script. Signed up for TypeKey, and received a token to drop into the new and improved back-end. Added the new DynamicComments directive to mt.cfg. But wait — after integrating the new comment registration tag into my templates, things fell apart. Not only were existing comments hidden from view, but when users clicked on the “Sign up to comment” link, they were told that birdhouse was not registered with TypeKey (it was). Screw it. Backpedal. Restore the original MT directory; fortunately it still worked, even though the upgrade script had modified some database structures.
MT3 is almost certainly a no-go for the J-School, and I’m increasingly skeptical about using it for birdhouse. There seems to be an MT –> WordPress exodus afoot, and I’ll probably join it. Lots of content out there on migration strategies.