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About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

Email Suw

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

Find out how a large pharma company uses dark blogs (behind the firewall) to gather and disseminate competitive intelligence material.


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Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Why it’s been quiet

Posted by Kevin Anderson

No, Suw and I have not been lazy bloggers, as a matter of fact, we’ve been itching to blog. A lot of you have mentioned to us in e-mails how slow Strange has been and time outs you’ve had when trying to post comments. Corante has been getting pummeled with spam (still is), and Movable Type doesn’t really handle spam or lots of comments very well. Lots of MT sites are struggling with this issue. The Corante tech team has been working hard to sort this out. An MT upgrade ‘borked the server’ and we’ve been down. But we’re back.

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3 Responses to “Why it’s been quiet”

  1. Timothy Appnel Says:

    It’s true that many MT powered site have been hit hard by these problems due to the nature of CGI. These issues are all addressable and proven to take a lot of the sting out of spamming. You won’t eliminate spam, but your MT system will be much happier.

    The magic trifecta is setting up MT-Akismet[1,2], MTAutoBan[3] and (if possible) FastCGI. The latter maybe too much for some since it requires some technical chops and most hosting providers don’t support FastCGI on shared hosting accounts. The first two should be doable by anyone though. You will need them both. MT-Akismet alone is helpful, but doesn’t help deal with floods. MT-Akismet is a spam filter plugin which automatically submits all comments (and trackbacks) received to Akismet[4], a distributed spam filtering service, to be rated ham or spam. MTAutoBan can be periodically run and will write out a .htaccess file blocking the IP addresses of junk once it goes over a certain threshold like 3 junked
    comments in the past x days. AutoBan is really helpful because it
    blocks most spam floods without starting up MT. Usually the cost of starting up so
    many instances of MT during a comment flood is what buries a server. What’s nice is that AutoBan will eventually release an IP address from being blocked. The built-in MT IP Blocking (which is deprecated and hidden by default) keeps an IP address block indefinitely.

    Another helpful step is to periodically shutting down comments and trackbacks on older entries reduces the likelihood of spam and attack. Many spammers use search engines to find their targets. If you or your ISP is comfortable setting up a script in cron, I have one called mt-closure that I use on my sites.

    Hope that helps.

    [1] http://akismet.com/development/ (look half way down)
    [2] DISCLOSURE: I’m the author of MT-Akismet.
    [3] http://blog.thought-mesh.net/solidwallofcode/mt_projects/autoban.php
    [4] http://akismet.com/

  2. Suw Says:

    Timothy, your suggestions are all really good ones, and I’ve no doubt Kevin will be taking a look at your suggested extra reading, given that he has to battle MT on a daily basis!

    Unfortunately, we don’t administer Strange Attractor - Hylton and Reeve over at Corante do that, and we’ve been very much in their hands. It looks as if they have managed to get things under control, though, and all appears to be back up and working again!

  3. Hylton Says:

    Yah, thanks much Timothy. We seem to finally be on top of this. It’s been a real drag - for us, for our contributors, for their readers - but this cocktail you describe is what we’ve now got in place, as well as a few other plugins suggested by Kevin, and we’re crossing fingers they’ll do the trick.