Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Movable Type 3

566 words on

I am unfortunate enough to have suffered severe comment attacks in this site in the past days. Starting your day with removing dozens of comments promoting animal porn isn't fun. Particularly when your weblog software requires you to remove them one by one – each of them requiring at least three clicks. (Having a web browser that likes ruining your posts in the process if you're not careful doesn't help either.) Thus comments were unavailable for a while. Now I checked out the new version of Movable Type to see whether it can help me with this. Rather sooner that I had wished.

The merits of MT are out of question – getting people started with blogging quickly and without need for an expensive server that can do database stuff – and I didn't find it hard to get started myself. Unfortunately from there on the experience has been downhill. And particularly upgrades are a pain in the butt. There are special 'upgrade' versions available for download. But they tend to consist of a gazillion of files in as many subfolders. Now try uploading this via FTP in a way that doesn't destroy your existing installation, doesn't require a lot of time and doesn't require reading the manpage of some obscure command line utility. As I usually have more bandwidth than patience for such activities, I'd happily replace my old installation with a completely new one and be done with it – but that of course would require the actual software, and my data to be separated cleanly, which apparently it isn't.

I still managed to do the update and after getting Safari to cache the updated CSS – I was immediately annoyed: The updated administration interface is wider than the old one – for no good reason I might add. As such it doesn't fit into browser windows of my preferred size – handily moving the section displaying new comments out of sight. One more manifestation of the stupid trend in web design to put important information at the right of a page. As people just don't scroll horizontally, this ensures that the information in question is not seen.

Next, I activated comment moderation. I think it works, meaning that anyone who wants to comment will now be inconvenienced by the time I need to 'approve' of the comment before it appears on the site. Sorry for that, but I don't know any better. And then there's all that TypeKey junk around. I don't know what it's good for and I don't think I need it. It'd be easy for me to set up ways do indentify the handful of people who bother comment on a regular basis. I don't need a centralised service for that.

The help file babbles about me being able to 'approve' of commenters who can then comment without restrictions. In a few test comments I wasn't even able to approve of myself, so colour me confused. It seems like this brave new world of weblog management is just too difficult for me, with help file entries that I find somewhere between confusing, cryptic, self-contradictory and non-applicable. Joy.

To sum up, installing was a nuisance, the software roughly does what I hoped it'd do but it doesn't want me to exploit its full potential. And I don't think I care enough to investigate any further. I want to have a weblog, I don't want to manage it.

May 31, 2004, 0:11

Tagged as software.

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