Over the last few days there has been an increasing amount of spam annotations appearing. I’ve now added an extra question to the annotations form which will hopefully prevent automated spammers from successfully posting things. It’s a simple enough question that you shouldn’t have any problems with it!
You’ve no doubt noticed that many of the little pop-up descriptions of people, places, etc. in diary entries are lacking descriptive text. Which is a shame, especially for those who aren’t too familiar with the diary and Sam’s world. So I’ve put together a list of the most frequently-appearing topics that are currently lacking brief summaries.
I recently bought the 1668-9 volume of Sam’s diaries, in the usual HarperCollins / University of California Press edition of Latham & Matthews. Unfortunately, although it looks superficially identical, they recently seem to have changed the paper and printing and it looks much cheaper than all the previous volumes I’ve bought.
A little admin update… A few years ago, as a result of a database move, a lot of annotations were accidentally cut short across the site. It’s taken a while but most, or maybe even all, of these have now been restored to their full length.
I’m sorry to be writing this, but Keith Wright, who posted annotations on this site under the name Bradford, passed away unexpectedly on 13th October. Keith had been active here since the start of the diary and we’ll greatly miss his contributions.
A technical glitch, followed by my lack of attention, has prevented Pepys’ Twitters from appearing since Wednesday. Sorry about that. Rather than flood Twitter with the missing updates, here they all are, and things should continue as normal from the last one… (All times are UK time, and approximate.)
As I feared, spammers have found the form for flagging annotations and have begun submitting spam through it. These days spammers just send spam through any form they can find, whether it does them any good or not.
You’ll be pleased to read that the Recent Activity page is now back. Sorry it’s been away for so long, but my time is short at the moment.
An unfortunate side effect of the recent upgrade to Movable Type seems to be that suddenly more spam is getting through in annotations (and on the comments on my other sites). I’m not sure why this is at the moment, but I’ll keep my eye on it and delete them as soon as I can. The next (very imminent) update to the software promises a new method of stopping spam, and there are other things we could try, such as requiring people to log in before posting annotations.
If you see any spam that’s older than a day or two, please do let me know, otherwise assume that I’ll remove it when I’m next online. Thanks for your patience.
I’m sorry for the continued lack of the lists of recent annotations on the Recent Activity page. The database queries that were generating these were taking a few seconds each to run and I’ve been trying to cut back on my sites’ use of the database. I’ve had a quick attempt at making these more efficient but haven’t had any joy yet.
This weekend, probably Saturday afternoon or evening, UK time, I’ll be moving Pepys’ Diary to a new webserver. My hosting provider is gradually moving all websites to new machines and our time has come. The benefit will be that if the server crashes in future it should be back in action very quickly — it can currently take over an hour for the sites to reappear.
In order to avoid losing any annotations during this process I will, as usual, be removing all the annotation forms on the site before I make the move. Sorry for the slight inconvenience. I’ll post another message when everything is moved over.
I updated the Movable Type software this afternoon, which meant shutting off annotations for a short while. Everything should all be back to normal now. If you see notice anything not working quite right, do email me or post a message below. Thanks for your patience!
At some point this weekend, probably on Saturday afternoon, UK time, I’ll be upgrading the software that powers this (and other) sites. This will mean that first I’ll hide all the forms for posting annotations (so nothing is lost or broken in the switch-over) and then things might look a bit odd if I break something. Hopefully it won’t take too long and I’ll post here again when it’s all up and running.
All being well I’ll be making some changes to the site sometime this afternoon/evening (Friday, UK time). I’ll be temporarily switching off the ability to post annotations while I do this, and the site may look broken during this whole process. I’ll post another note when everything’s finished.
Although I hoped to make a lot of changes to the site today, I haven’t quite got everything ready. Rather than start now and stay up into the night I’m going to postpone the changes for the time being. Sorry for the false alarm! I’ll try and give some warning when I next have a chance to get this done, sometime in the next week or two.
Sometime this Sunday (21st) I’m going to be doing some major work on the site. I’ll be switching off the ability to add annotations while doing this. The site may well look broken for a little while too. I’ll post a message when everything’s up and running again. I thought it was time for a new lick of paint around here…
I’ve now finished updating the code that runs the encyclopedia section of the site. There are a few differences to the layout of pages, but the biggest reorganistion is invisible. It will now, at last, be easier for volunteer editors to manage individual encyclopedia pages. Stay tuned…!
Today I’m making a lot of structural changes to the encyclopedia section of the site, in preparation for allowing people to volunteer as editors for specific entries. So expect things to look broken from time to time until I post a message to say it should all be working again…