WordPress Upgraded to version 3.4

Categories: LIS Staff Interest Middlebury Community Interest WordPress

The Middlebury and MIIS blogging communities are now running on WordPress 3.4. This introduces three new features.

  • A theme customizer that lets you change your site’s settings and styles in one interface.
  • Automatic Twitter embeds. Paste the URL of a Tweet into one of your posts and it will automatically show up in the post, like the example below.
  • HTML Image Captions. When writing an image caption you can include some HTML tags like <b>, <i>, and <a> to add information to your caption.

Here’s a video that highlights these features.

There is more information available about WordPress 3.4 in their official blog and developer documentation.

New Plugin for WordPress: Show Thumbnails in the Posts List

Categories: LIS Staff Interest Middlebury Community Interest WordPress

If you use Featured Images for posts in your WordPress site, you can now enable a plugin for your site that will show these images to you on the All Posts page in the administration interface for your site. This can help you quickly identify posts in the list. The name of the plugin is “Midd Post Thumbnails”. Simply activate it on the Plugins administration page and your posts list will now look something like this.

Reduced comment spam in blogs

Categories: LIS Staff Interest Middlebury Community Interest spam WordPress

During the past few months we have been seeing an increased amount of comment spam coming into WordPress (sites.middlebury.edu) that follows a distinctive pattern: the comment text is useless, but unoffensive and contains no links itself, while the Comment Author Website field contains the URL of a commercial site. Because the comment text doesn’t contain any links, the comment doesn’t get picked up by WordPress’s existing spam filters and until now would be held for moderation.

Here is an example of this type of spam:

Comment Author: canada goose kensington parka
Comment Author Email: Lan….o@yahoo.com
Comment Author Website: http://www.canadagoosejakket…rk.eu

You made some respectable points there. I regarded on the web for the issue and found most individuals will go together with with your website.

The point of these spam comments is to use the Comment Author Website field to plaster the web with links back to the spammer’s site in order to make the site seem more popular to search engines.

WordPress’s built-in anti-spam tools ignore the Comment Author Website field and only look at links in the comment text. This used to be sufficient since it is unlikely that most readers will click on the comment-author’s name and follow through to their website. As well, adding links in the comment text allowed spammers better control in how to present the link so that it had the most impact on search engines. Because of the success in filtering of the comment text, spammers have now moved on to other techniques, just trying to get their links to exist anywhere on the page, even if they aren’t ideally positioned.

To combat this form of spam we have removed the Comment Author Website field from the comment form. There are few legitimate needs for this field and it was originally added to allow people to link back to their own blogs — a nice feature, but not necessary. By removing this “attractive nuisance” we can instantly mark as spam any comments that submit a value for the Comment Author Website even though this field is no longer shown in the form.

As of today, this type of comment spam will no longer even be held for moderation — it will be dropped into the “spam” category right away. In the first two hours since this change has been in place it has blocked 70 spam comments that would otherwise have required moderation by the target blogs’ administrators.