18 April 2007

WordPress Upgrade and Makeover

Posted under: at 14:35

For more than 1 year I’ve been using a terribly outdated version of WordPress. I was reluctant to upgrade to the latest version because I was under impression it would be too much of a work. I created and maintained several WordPress plugins, and from the amount of feedback I get there, it appears that all of my plugins don’t work in any later version of WordPress.

Yesterday I decided to take the plunge. I have to do that sooner or later anyways. Nobody has a slightest idea of what bugs and security hole lurk in this piece of unmaintained software.

To my surprise and delight, however, almost all of my plugins work with this latest version of WordPress without a single modification. The biggest culprit would be TinyMCE (it is the WYSIWYG engine of WordPress). Disable it and all problems with plugin compatibility are simply gone. The only my plugin that doesn’t work is my bayesian comment spam filter. I didn’t expect it to work anyway, it touches too much of WordPress core to be useful in another version of WordPress. For spam filtering, from now I’ll just use the WordPress’ built in Akismet.

To tell the truth, WordPress core is not, shall we say, a pretty sight. I would be very happy to avoid exposing myself with too much code in WordPress core. For this reason, I’ve been contemplating to write my own blog engine. With current state of affairs, writing a specialized blog engine should be very easy. On the other hand, if my experience is any indication, that kind of optimistic statement would just become another famous last words. For the time being, I’ll just have to settle on this little upgrade.

Now, on to the changes!

The biggest (and probably the most desired) change would be the new comment karma system. In every comment, there should be a thumb up and a thumb down button. You will be able to moderate a comment up and down using either button. Each comment will be assigned a karma to it, defaults to zero. Every time it receives a thumb up, its karma will be increased by one, and vice versa.

You will be able to filter out comments with low karma by setting the ‘karma threshold’ just above the comment section. For example by setting the karma threshold to +1, only comments with karma +1 or above will be shown. This, of course, does not apply to my own comments :). My comments cannot be moderated and will always be shown regardless of current threshold.

Hopefully this will solve the problem with a post that have too many junk and/or trollish comments that I don’t have enough time to react to. Readers should be able to self regulate when necessary, even if I’m on ‘extended leave’. In the future I might show the users with most or least karma (my money is on Rendy for this one) to further deter inappropriate comments.

I don’t know if this is enough to improve the situation, but we shall see. The plugin used is Alex Bailey’s Comment Karma with a few modifications.

Other changes are minor. I replaced IP to country plugin with one with GeoIP backend (not released yet). This is much easier to update, hopefully this will minimize the situation where my location is detected far too far to the southeast then actually it is.

I cleaned up my blogroll, hopefully removed all those dead links.

At first, I’d very much like to add OpenID commenting here. But after trying quite a few plugins out there, none really satisfy my liking. I’m hoping to add this feature in near future.

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