Get Back Trackback

I turned off the trackback feature of this site this morning. Awaking once again to a mailbox full of blog related spam I decided today was the day to stop at least this one kind of spam.

There are two kinds of blog related spam, comment and trackback. Comment spam is a pain, but two factors make it tolerable so far. The first is that comment spam is usually held by the system before being published, so I can simply remove it before it is seen by anyone. Jay Allen’s MT Blacklist plugin is the second reason comment spam is tolerable. The plugin blocks a lot of spam without my ever seeing it, and also provides a nice facility for cleaning up what slips through.

Trackback spam is much worse for one simple reason. There is no method available for isolating trackback spam as there is for comment spam, so it all flows straight into my site, where it is visible, sometimes for hours, till I can clean it up. No more; I’ve turned off the ability to do a trackback to my postings.

I’ve not made this decision lightly; though I’ve only received a few trackback pings, in some ways they meant more than comments, plus I thought it was cool how they worked. In the end, though, it’s become too much hassle to manage trackbacks, and the rewards aren’t worth it, so for now, no more trackbacks to this site.

For the time being, comments will remain open. I’ve received many more direct comments than trackbacks, and the tools for managing comments, and hence comment spam, work well enough for now. I’m still a fan of the idea of trackback links, so if/when trackbacks become more resistant to spam I’ll likely turn them on again.

2 thoughts on “Get Back Trackback”

  1. Sigh.

    Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.

    Turns out I haven’t disabled trackbacks.

    Why? Well, first, turning off trackbacks via the MT admin page only turns them off for newly created postings. It does absolutely nothing to protect me against trackbacks on my 1000 prior postings.

    Second, there is a bug in the templates such that if trackback is turned off my posts no longer validate (due to a missing div).


    This isn’t the end of this saga …

  2. Anil got back to me, and advised I re-read the MT spam guide at:

    One thing I found in there was that I could simply remove the mt-tb.cgi script (I did it via a chmod 000 mt-tb.cgi) and that effectively turns off trackback for all posts. It also allows me to keep trackbacks enabled via the control panel, which means I don’t generate non-compliant pages.

    The only sad thing is that other than the mt-tb.cgi trick, I didn’t pick up any new tricks from the guide. I’m going to look again; I think I’m still missing something obvious.

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