Movable Type and Commenting Woes

Many moons ago, I heard about this new thing called a “weblog”. A new site had popped up called Blogger, and it was the coolest thing evar. It had a hip startup mentality, and it was going to, like, totally change the world. I immediately signed up and used it for a couple years. Keep in mind, I’m talking turn of the century timeframe here, so blogging software options were extremely limited (basically just Blogger and whatever homegrown stuff you could cobble together). I used Blogger for a couple years, until their explosive growth lead to slow load times and unreliable FTP service (a few years after that, they got bought out by Google, and their stability problems suddenly vanished. Incidentally, the founder of Blogger went on to found a couple other businesses, including something called Twitter. Good for him.). At the time, options were still limited, but a new startup seemed promising. It was called Movable Type, and it was fully featured (certainly an upgrade from Blogger’s original functionality) and free. I jumped at the software and have been, more or less, pretty comfortable with it since then.

It’s been over a decade, and in that time, Movable Type has treated me rather well, despite the emergence of a rather popular competitor in the Open Source WordPress. In fact, WordPress has pretty well eaten Movable Type’s market, to the point where they’re currently retreating up market, catering to enterprise clients like Huffington Post. For a while, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Indeed, they even released an open source version of Movable Type. However, about a year ago, they shifted focus dramatically. Open Source options were set to expire and the individual blogger license was set to go away, replaced by a ridiculously overpriced option (effectively leaving amateurs like myself out in the cold).

My problem? The Google login for comments seems to have stopped working for some reason. No obvious fixes have presented themselves. I’ve upgraded Movable Type to the latest Open Source version available, but that has not resolved the issue (in fact, it actually broke things further, though I figured out that issue pretty quickly, leaving me back where I started). This makes me want to jump ship and hit up WordPress. But then, I’m 14 years into this and maintain two blogs with over 3000 entries, copious meta-data (as bad as the categories are here on my generalist blog, my beer blog has a pretty comprehensive categorization scheme), and nearly as many comments. I’m sure many folks have it much worse, but it still seems daunting.

Simply migrating to WordPress would be rather difficult (hell, just transferring my current data into a local version of MT running on my Ubuntu box was a huge pain in the arse). It’s certainly possible, but even in the best case, I’m likely to lose any SEO benefits I’ve accrued throughout the years, not to mention the hassle of actually getting the data to load (I can pretty much guarantee that various timeouts and permissions will have to be overridden in order for all that data to be transferred). There are ways around this, but it would be a huge hassle. My best case would probably be to commission a hired gun to make the transfer go smoothly, but I’m sure that’s still going to be a painful transition.

All of this is to say that comments aren’t working quite right these days. In particular, the Google login seems to be failing for some reason. WordPress and Yahoo (and other options) seem to work fine, but Google is clearly the option used by the majority of commenters here. Anonymous commenting hasn’t been an option for a long time (the last time I enabled anonymous commenting, even with a captcha, I received about 5000 spam comments in just a few hours). I tried enabling User Registration (where you could actually register an account here at Kaedrin), but for some reason, the email confirmation isn’t working properly. I will probably take a swing at this over the next few weeks, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. My days of hacking all this blogging software stuff are long gone, and I’m not really into the hassle so much these days. Maybe I’ll figure it out. Or maybe a long overdue transition to WordPress is in the cards. We’ll see where it goes, but for now, just note that the Google login for commenting isn’t working so well. Sorry for any inconvenience. Personally, I blame spammers. Those assholes made commenting and trackbacks a total nightmare to deal with. Stay with me here, I’ll figure something out eventually. In the meantime, feel free to email me at tallman_at_kaedrin.com (see, I even need to remove the @ symbol from my email, least I get bombarded with spam) if you want to comment on anything (or use a WordPress login, which seems to work fine).

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