Trackbacks Temporarily Truncated


Constraints surround us. One of the constraints we have running a popular and well-received weblog is the fact that our CPU cycles and especially our bandwidth are finite commodities on the server. Earlier this year we upgraded the server hardware (with the aid of readers here and at the After the Bar Closes Forum who donated to the TalkOrigins Archive Foundation), which gave us a lot more CPU cycles to play with than we had before. However, just like other popular web sites, there are people who want to profit off of our popularity on the cheap: spammers. They seek to subvert comments and trackbacks for the purpose of advertising their tawdry and/or fraudulent products and services.

A couple of weeks ago, we made the decision to pull the plug on the trackback facility. We were getting upwards of 200 simultaneous connections on the server, the vast majority of those hitting the trackback script, and the overwhelming majority of those were spammers trying to register thousands upon thousands of fake trackbacks. In the interest of keeping up with real users, trackbacks had to go.

We hope to be able to restore trackback functionality soon. Movable Type has released version 4.0 of their weblog software, and there are improvements in the way spam comments and trackbacks are handled. PT will be upgrading soon. We may be using a default template for a while, but we hope to minimize the disruption to posting and commenting.


They seek to subvert comments and trackbacks for the purpose of advertising their tawdry and/or fraudulent products and services.

Now now, that’s no way to talk about the people who come over here from UD.

Does this have any relation to the occasional picture show getting posted over on the Antievolution BB?

I guess we don’t always have Paris; she seems to have been deleted already.


I hear Paris had an appendectomy. There was nothing wrong with it, she just thought it made her look fat.

Not having the faintest idea what a “trackback” is, I can assure you they won’t be missed :)

Trackbacks are things that show up at the bottom of some threads (or used to), with a link to another website, and a short excerpt of what it says there.

Note on the main page where it says “Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 16, 2007 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)” - this thread has no trackbacks at the moment (and presumably can’t, if they’re turned off), but it does have 4 comments (well, more than that after I post this).


This is why I like Technorati’s little “trackback”-esque feature. Just throwing something random out there from a lurker.

Spammers have basically broken the trackback API.

From reading the MovableType developer lists, it appears that Six Apart studying ways to improve/replace the API to defeat spammers.

Trackbacks used to be a great fun feature for figuring out where most of your traffic was coming from. I remember b2evolution’s developers heaving a great big sigh as they tried to figure out the best way to deal with the ever-increasing flood of people just throwing in fake trackback information to spamvertised sites. It’s one of many tricks to not just spam, but to try to get these sites up in the ratings by having everything point to them.

There were some discussions with Google at some point, and Google will not trace through links with the extra attribute, rel=”nofollow” since a few years back now.

Though that cut down the site ratings puffery, it sure didn’t stop the scripts from proceeding… still making trackbacks effectively ruined.

I think there are some schemes to allow trackbacks that are a little safer, e.g trackbacks that are only allowed in trade for a trackback. That at least gets rid of the non-blogs, but I’m sure a spammer will hire a black hat to figure out how to confuse those.

Scum, the lot of them. That’s the kind of conscience that would look at a continental breakfast buffet and make off with as much stuff as they could because “there’s no sign saying I can’t”.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on August 16, 2007 10:30 AM.

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