Movable Type Works to Block Blog Spam
By Matt Hicks
July 14, 2005
With a focus on adding administrative control and spam-fighting
features, the maker of Movable Type is updating the popular
Six Apart Ltd., which also runs the TypePad and Live Journal blogging
services, posted a beta release of Movable Type 3.2 late on Wednesday
and expects to introduce a general release by the end of the month,
company officials said.
With the new version, the startup company partly hopes to address the
increase in blogging among enterprise and organizational users, said
Anil Dash, vice president of Six Apart's professional network.
The company also is trying to thwart a rising menace—the rise of
spammers filling blog comment sections and stuffing trackbacks with
unwanted and irrelevant comments and links.
Six Apart's fine-tuning of administrative features may come none too
soon, as major software competitors are beginning to unfurl blog tools.
IBM earlier this week launched a preview of a blog-publishing tool and
detailed plans to add a blogging component to its upcoming Workplace
Designer 2.5 release. 
But Dash said that the upcoming Movable Type update puts the software
steps ahead of current and potential competitors when it comes to
providing features for IT and blog administrators.
"We're maybe halfway to where we'd like to be," he said of the
enterprise-focused features. "The next key phase is going to be
With Movable Type 3.2, Six Apart has added a centralized administration
view called System Overview, which administrators can use to track
activity across hundreds or thousands of blogs and manage feedback and
trackbacks across all the blogs, Dash said.
Administrators also can create specific blog templates and styles that
will be applied to new blogs.
In releases later this year, Six Apart plans to address integration, so
that Movable Type will work in conjunction with enterprise search,
directory services and portal software, Dash said.
On the spam-fighting front, Movable Type 3.2 includes a feedback-scoring
mechanism for comments and trackback links that works similarly to
e-mail spam filters like Spam Assassin, Dash said. 
Based on the scoring, comments and trackbacks that appear to be
irrelevant are sent into a junk folder, where bloggers can view them and
decide whether to adjust the filtering.
"This is a fundamental feature for people using blogs to reach an
outside audience," Dash said.
The new Movable Type release also simplifies the process for turning on
Six Apart's comment authentication service, called TypeKey.
One of Movable Type's top competitors, the widely used open-source blog
tool WordPress, already boasts a series of spam-fighting tools,
according to its lead developer, Matthew Mullenweg.
Mullenweg said in an e-mail interview that WordPress previously had
added features not only for moderating comments but for using blacklists
to block spam. Plug-ins also have added Bayesian filtering to comments,
"Since the release of 1.5, every WordPress blog is basically a black
hole for spammers, because nothing actually shows up on the site unless
the blogger manually approves it," Mullenweg said of the February
release. "At the same time, it doesn't slow down the conversation among
site regulars or frequent commenters."
 Read more here about IBM's plans to release enterprise blogging tools.
 Click here to read more about a previous Movable Type patch released
to address blog spam.
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