movabletype, you broke my heart!

Dear MovableType,

The ‘herders recently dropped $100 on getting the latest version of you (and I paid another $40 to get my own higher education version to use on CHLT), and now we’re starting to think that what we have now is actually worse than what we had before.

Your comment function doesn’t seem to work right. The TypeKey authentication system, which ought to be easy peasy, is confusing and apparently buggy. You encourage people to download and install MT-Blacklist, but when it doesn’t work (and trust me, there are lots of problems), you respond to questions with “We don’t support 3rd-party plugins.” Note that this particular plug-in is only available on your site. Why would you tell people to download and install something from your site and then refuse to help them when it doesn’t work?

If I were just starting out blogging, I’d be dropping you like a hot potato right now and asking for my money back (and perhaps going with Expression Engine or WordPress) because your software looks like it sucks: it’s not working right, the instructions are inadequate, and your customer support abdicates responsibility. Back when you were free, I was understanding, but we paid money for you. What happened? I have hundreds of blog entries stored in MT format, so I’m hesitant to switching to something else.

However, I’m not completely opposed to the idea, either. So are you gonna help us out or what?

Sincerely,

GHW


P.S. Here’s the email I received in response to my query about errors in MT functions:

From: Movable Type Support
Date: 03 Dec 2004, 09:59:17 PM
Subject: Response to Movable Type support ticket ‘problems when commenting’
Movable Type Customer Support has responded to your ticket
‘problems when commenting’. This email notification has been
automatically sent by Movable Type Customer Support.
DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL. Instead, please click the link below
to view and respond to your ticket.
Hi, George. We are unable to provide support for MT
Blacklist errors since it is a third-party plugin. Please
post for assistance at the MT Blacklist forum:
http://www.jayallen.org/comment_spam/forums/index.php?
You may also be able to seek a solution through our
community forum:
http://www.movabletype.org/support/
Regards,
Shelley

Here’s what Jay Allen has to say about this same error (note that this is only one of many errors I’m encountering):

“Use of uninitialized value in concatenation (.) or string at /some/path/to/extlib/File/Spec/Unix.pm line 78”
Many people are reporting the “error” above. In fact, this a superfluous perl warning. It should affect absolutely nothing, and is in fact a bug (probably in MT) related to finding the plugin template files. Essentially MT tries several places to find the template files and if it doesn’t find them, the warning from that attempt is written out to the browser. Eventually though, the MT-Blacklist templates are found as evidenced by the fact that you have a full working page in front of you.
You should completely ignore this warning. I will attempt to suppress it in the next version.

You say it’s Jay Allen’s fault; he says it’s your fault. Have we paid $140 for the honor of getting the runaround?

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22 thoughts on “movabletype, you broke my heart!

  1. Looks like your TypeKey enabled comment went through without requiring moderation, Jason. I’m trying it out, too.

  2. It seems that once you leave a subsequent TypeKey enabled comment, it pushes the previous TypeKey enabled comment off of the page.

  3. Or maybe not. But Jason had left a message, and now it is gone, although it’s still listed in the comment moderation queue (in the admin interface) as “Approved.”

  4. How sad to hear. I’ve been happy so far [knock, knock] with their TypePad system, but I think I’ve only been able to use TypeKey to successfully post a comment once (unless it works this time, but nothing changed here after I signed in to it).

  5. WordPress has a feature which authomatically imports MT-archives. You might want to take a look at that?

  6. Just to clarify, my first comment is “approved” and is visible through the admin interface (you didn’t accidentally delete it), but it’s just not showing up here?

  7. BG: Good point, but I’d rather not lose all the old web addresses for my 700+ entries because other people have linked to many of them. If I switch over to a new application, then all those links will be broken. (Unless someone knows of a way to avoid that.)
    J: Yes, that’s exactly what’s happened. Your comment is in the database as “approved,” but is not displayed on my blog.

  8. Plus, WordPress, as I understand it, does not support multiple blogs with multiple authors…
    As to the comment – weird. I guess I’ll open another ticket. Let’s compile a list of problems.

  9. Ok, and now Jason’s comment is back (the first one in the thread) after disappearing for awhile.
    There’s a ghost in the machine!

  10. I’d have to go back into my own archives to check, but I seem to recall that in my MT-to-EE conversion, I had a multi-stage process that allowed me not to have broken archive links. I know that first I converted the Berkley DB to MySQL within MT, and then exported the MySQL database, and imported in EE. I think there was some minor rejiggering that also had to be done to get internal links to work — and I can’t remember whether I used the Liz Lawley method (search her archives for MySQL and you can find her musings about what she had to do to change her entry naming conventions within MT) or if I changed things manually.
    Bottom line: it was a massive pain, but in the end, for me, it was totally worth it. Good luck!

  11. A friend just linked to this post at The Daily Whim on problems MT is having with comment spam. I only read the first half, but it seems like something that you’d be interested in, given this post. A commenter to my friend’s post added this link to a method of stopping comment spam. Don’t know if either of these is actually helpful to you, but hope one of them at least helps.

  12. And then there’s this:

    So there will soon be a new version of MT and a new version of MT-Blacklist that will hopefully put the kibosh on these spamming bastards. Thereís also other things going on elsewhere behind the scenes with the intention of addressing this issue at the server level.

    Latest news from the makers of MT. We’ll stay tuned.
    But frankly, the issue for me/us is larger than this. The fresh install of the new MT over on CHLT acts a bit funny, regardless of spam. And when Jason upgraded the Wordherders’ backend to the lastest version of MT, he followed the instructions provided, only to find out later from customer support that there were significant things he still had to do, which were not included in their upgrade instructions. Not having done these things resulted in some wonky behavior. Not cool.

  13. I’m still having trouble figuring out how to make the TypeKey commenting function work. I went to the sign-in place, signed in, but I’m not sure if I’ve followed the right procedure to *stay* signed in….

  14. You know, it was pretty darn easy to import my MT posts into WordPress…
    I’ve never looked back, except to nod in satisfaction at my choice.

  15. Herd Upgrade Update

    As you may have surmised from some recent posts, the upgrade ran into several minor but very inconvenient bugs, mostly having to do with comment spam and the commenting system. Though G.’s post probably adequately sums up my occasional feelings…

  16. 1) Another weird bug: sometimes the date shows up on my entries, and sometimes it does not. I don’t remember this ever happening in the older version of MT.
    2) As I try to comment on my own blog right now, TypeKey won’t let me, saying “You must submit a real email address.” Huh? My email address is part of my TypeKey profile. What’s not real about it?
    Although Jason has been getting feedback from MT support, I have yet to hear word one from them (aside from their “It’s Jay Allen’s problem, never mind that fact that he works for us” response) after bringing to their attention all the problems I’ve been having.
    Keep this in mind, potential consumer, as you consider whether or not to purchase MovableType for yourself.

  17. Hmmm…. I’ve upgraded a bunch of installations (including several multi-author blogs), and had dozens of students do their own MT3 installs, all without the problems you describe.
    The biggest flaw in MT3 right now that I can see is the lack of decent documentation, which I know they’re scrambling to address.
    I did try WordPress, but had a couple of issues with it. First, it didn’t provide an export option, so I was concerned about getting data back out of it if I needed to. Second, at the time I looked at it, you could only manage multiple blogs by re-installing WordPress in each blog directory–there was no way to do global management of multiple blogs.
    I’m troubled by the poor customer support, though. :/

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