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.