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Techtalk

Two years of Mollom satisfaction

Davy started a meme: show off how well Mollom has been performing on your site over the past weeks, months or even years. I picked it up at Wim’s place. Here is the lowdown for my own blog.

2 years of Mollom satisfaction

To be more exact: Mollom was activated 703 days ago. Until now, 1,355 submissions were accepted and 23,999 rejected. Yesterday, Mollom blocked 12 spam attempts and accepted 0 ham messages. So far, Mollom blocked 13 spam attempts and 0 ham messages today.

Quite impressive.  The least I can say is that Mollom took away a big nag of mine. The gap in Q1 of 2009 was due to a critical bug which needed fixing in my code.  I ran Mollom in developer mode which means no real life statistics were recoreded during that particular timeframe. Apart from that, Mollom has been protecting my WordPress blog for the past 2 years and held on to it’s own.

Of course, you’re all probably eager to know whether I’m still maintaining the plugin. Yes, I am. Over the past few months, I’ve been working off and on to get a new version a the plugin ready. It will be a total rebuild with lots of improvements. I’m covering what’s to come and my own developer experience in depth in a future blog post.

So stay tuned!

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Techtalk

WP Mollom 0.7.3

Another month, a new release. I just tagged WP Mollom 0.7.3. It’s got the shortest changelog up to date, but the translations that are included make up for that.

  • fixed: multiple moderation would incorrectly state ‘moderation failed’ due to incorrect set boolean.
  • added: german (de_DE) translation
  • added: italian (it_IT) translation

Many thanks go out to Alexander Langer and Gianni Diurno for sending me their translations. With only 88 strings, translating the plugin doesn’t take that much time. So, If you could spare the time and you know your way around POEdit (or you’re willing to learn), just go out there and make this plugin easier to use for non-english speaking users of WordPress!

Of course, if you don’t use the plugin already: you can get it right here!

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Internet

WP Mollom 0.7.2

I just released version 0.7.2 of WP Mollom. Here’s the changelist

  • fixed: closing a gap that allowed bypassing checkContent through spoofing $_POST[‘mollom_sessionid’]
  • fixed: if mb_convert_encoding() is not available, the CAPTCHA would generate a PHP error. Now falls back to htmlentities().
  • improved: the check_trackback_content and check_comment_content are totally rewritten to make them more secure.
  • added: user roles capabilities. You can now exempt roles from a check by Mollom
  • added: simplified chinese translation

So, for the most part, this release is about security related under-the-hood changes. Another great adition is the use of user roles. With previous releases, you didn’t have to pass the Mollom check if you were logged in. Which was a bit of a security issue in it’s own. This release allows you to exempt certain user roles from Mollom scrutiny.

Finally, I owe a big thank you to Donald for the great work he did translating the interface into simplified chinese and his numerous suggestions. Thank you!! I would like to encourage others to translate the plugin! German, French and/or Spanish, if you know them, now is the time to put them to use!

So, go grab it from WordPress Extend or upgrade your installation through the famous one-step intaller in your Dashboard!

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Techtalk

WP Mollom 0.7.1

I just released WP Mollom 0.7.1. Here’s the changelog:

  • fixed: all plugin panels are now shown in the new WP 2.7 administration interface menu
  • fixed: non-western character sets are now handled properly in the captcha form
  • fixed: handles threaded comments properly
  • fixed: multiple records in the manage module not correctly processed
  • improved: extra – non standard – fields added to the comment form don’t get dropped
  • improved: revamped the administration panel
  • improved: various smaller code improvements
  • added: the plugin is now compatible with the new plugin uninstall features in WordPress 2.7
  • added: the ‘quality’ of ‘spaminess’ of a comment is now logged and shown as an extra indicator

Wishing all the best in 2009!

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Techtalk

WordPress 2.7

Yes. WordPress 2.7 is out. Your favorite blogging tool has gotten a serious overhaul: a totally new administration panel, loads of bugfixes and lots of new features.

The plugin API has been extended: you should now use a seperate file to store all uninstallation logic instead of relying on the deactivate callback, options should be registered with WP (mandatory in near future versions) and the submenu structure onto which you can hook your own settings is revamped.

If you haven’t already noticed, WP Mollom 0.7.0 has some minor issues with 2.7. Most notably, The management panel disappears. Between boxing my stuff, frantic phonecalls and spending countless hours commuting through Flanders, I’m trying to get the plugin up to speed.

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Techtalk

Translation support: help needed

Translating WordPress has always been very easy through gettext and tools like poedit. The availability of a whole range of languages and dialects that can be used to replace the standard English messages in WordPress is one of the factors that has contributed to the success of the CMS.

Of course, this support for translation is also available for plugins and themes. Since language shouldn’t be a barrier, I’ve been building support for translations into WP Mollom over the past weeks. The idea is that one can download a translation libary (a .mo file with all the translated strings in his language) and install it without a hussle.

So, today I tested the whole translation support fairly thoroughly and, well, there’s this rub. If I install the plugin using the local MAMP installation on my iBook G4, all is fine. The plugin gets translated in Dutch nicely. But if I try to enable the translation on line, on this blog and the testblog running on this domain, it doesn’t budge. Everything in the on line WordPress setups get translated fine… except for the plugin. I’ve tried switching off all the plugins, veryfing and re-veryfing paths, code, translation files,… and I still don’t see what’s really causing this.

So, I would like some help and see if other people are experiencing the same problem. If you are in for a challenge and you use translation support, dowload the development version of the plugin and give it a go. Just drop the wp-mollom/ folder in the plugins/ folder and make sure you have translation support on your WordPress installation activated.

Drop me a line if you have suggestion! Thanks!

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Techtalk

Mollom 0.6.2, the Urgent One

Since a couple of weeks people using WP Mollom got hit by some spam. On friday, Bert took the problem to Twitter, which caught my attention. Of course, we want to get rid of all the spam and so I notified Dries.

Over the weekend, Dries did some research in the logfiles and noticed some disturbing patterns concerning feedback sent from WordPress blogs using the plugin. Most moderated messages got reported as ‘profanity’ rather then ‘spam’. That led, with the much appreciated help of Pascal, to the discovery of a nasty bug in the feedback functions of the plugin.

It seems that spam was reported as ‘profanity’ and ‘unwanted’ as ‘spam’. The feedback qualifiers got totally messed up in a conditional block… and accustomed with the code as I got, I probably read over it a thousand times without really noticing the error. Through sending the wrong qualifiers, the Mollom servers can not interpret correctly what is spam or not for your blog. This has, of couse, a serious impact on the performance of Mollom.

Given the nature and the severity of the error, I corrected it and put version 0.6.2 with *only* this bugfix up for release on WordPress Extend. So, if you’re running version 0.6.1 or lower, you should download the fixed version as soon as possible.

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Techtalk

Mollom 0.6.1

I just tagged version 0.6.1 of WP Mollom in the WordPress Extend repository. Which means in a few moments, you’ll be able to download the latest installment of my plugin.

So, what has changed? Well, this is a bugfix release which means no new features. Here’s the changelog:

  • Fixed: division by 0 error on line 317
  • Fixed: if ‘unsure’ but captcha was filled in correctly, HTML attributes in comment content would sometimes be eaten by kses
  • Improved: the mollom function got an overhaul to reflect the september 15 version of the Mollom API documentation
  • Changed: mollom statistics are now hooked in edit-comments.php instead of plugins.php
  • Added: _mollom_retrieve_server_list() function now handles all getServerList calls

Although almost all basic functions are up and running now, there’s still a long road ahead. Today, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished technically so far, but such things as usability, performance, flexibility,… still need more work. For instance, there’s still no WordPress MU version, i8n support is still missing, the backend needs more simplifying and much more.

But then again, if spam annoys you as much as the mosquitos in my room did me last night, then this is the plugin for you. Download the package, drop wp-mollom.php in your plugins folder, register with mollom.com to get your keys, just configure them in the plugin and you’re all packed with some serious spam stoppage power.

Happy blogging!

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Techtalk

Mollom out of beta

Congratulations are in order as the Mollom guys went out of beta over the weekend. Great! They did several upgrades to their service over the past weeks including improving their spam deterrents and the visual CAPTCHA.

When you settle with a free account, Mollom allows 100 legit comments to be posted on your blog a day. More then enough for most blogs. Powerusers should sign up for their Mollom Plus Service which allows 10,000 legit comments a day. Ideal for enterprise sites, businesses and community services.

You can find more information on their blog.

Over the past weeks, I turned my attention to several other priorities. But then again, I fixed several bugs in the plugin. A new version of the API documentation was released on the 15th of september. Maintainers of third party clients should turn their attention to section 9 of the API. Mollom now features an elaborate load balancing/fail over act.

Short of a few bugs, I’m trying to work out a better way of handling errors in the plugin. So a new version of the plugin is in the works and a release should be right around the corner.

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Internet Techtalk

WP Mollom 0.5.2

So, I wrapped up version 0.5.2 of WP Mollom today. This release is all about fixing several bugs.

  • fixed: passing $comment instead of the direct input from $_POST to the show_captcha() and check_captcha() functions.
  • improved: implemented wpdb->prepare() in vunerable queries
  • improved: mollom_activate() function now more robust
  • changed: mollom_author_ip() reflects changes in the API documentation. This is to catch up on the abuse of proxies by spammers. If your host uses a reverse proxy and you know the ip(‘s), just enter them in the dashboard. The plugin takes care of the rest.

I tried to make the plugin compatible with the WP OpenID plugin over the past weeks. But no dice. Stable version 2.1.9 of WP OpenID doesn’t deal with extra fields added to the HTTP POST by other plugins when a request is send to wp-comments-post.php. This causes WP Mollom’s CAPTCHA form and subsequent checks to malfunction.

The good news is that Will Norris of WP OpenID is aware of the problem. The development version does contain a fix for this problem and is actually compatible with WP Mollom. You can check out a copy from the DiSo Project’s Google Code repository if you really want OpenID and Mollom support on your site.

As always: refer to the documentation regarding all the in’s and out’s.