MUniversity of Minnesota

January 27, 2005

Odds and ends

I've made a couple of changes recently to UThink's installation of Movable Type that are worth a mention. First of all, we all know that spamming is a huge problem in the blogging world. You may be wondering why spammers write such ridiculous comments to your blog(s), especially considering none of your readers care about viagra, free cigarettes, or texas hold 'em. Spammers write these comments not because they want you or your readers to visit their site, that would just be an added bonus. They write these comments so their links get picked up by search engines, namely Google, and to improve the page rank for their sites. Obviously, when Google sees links in your comments it treats them as it would any normal link and alters the page rank for the site in question. If a comment spammer's site link can be found on a whole bunch of blogs it will improve that site's page rank in Google. That is, until last week.

Google and other search engines and blog software creators (including Movable Type) have come up with yet another way to combat comment spam. According to Google's own post on the topic:

From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel="nofollow") on hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn't a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted; it's just a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists.
In order to implement this, Movable Type has issued a plugin that will automatically alter any link in your comments to include the rel="nofollow" attribute. I have installed this plugin on UThink. So, in other words, you don't have to do a thing. Hopefully this will cut down on the amount of spam UThink blogs currently receive. I think we have already seen a difference.

Secondly, I've added a couple of new Templates to the template changer: "Minima Blue" (a popular Blogger template that I rewrote for MT) and "Flowery." Here are a couple of small screen shots:

Minima Blue TemplateFlowery Template

Feel free to check them out. To get to the Template Changer login to your blog and click "Templates" in the left hand menu. Then click the "Template Changer" button at the top of the screen. Remember, if you use the Template Changer it will completely rework your blog. So, if you've added any links to your Main Index it will delete these and start you from scratch. If you've added any links to your Main Index I recommend copying them before running the Template Changer so you can just paste them back into place.

And of course, if you'd like to design a template for the Template Changer please feel free to do so! I will be adding more in the near future.

Posted by snackeru at January 27, 2005 09:31 AM

I'm trying to adapt a Minima template for MT -- I can't get the code here. Can you email it to me?

Posted by: Leopold Stotch at April 6, 2005 10:03 PM

I'm trying to adapt a Minima template for MT -- I can't get the code here. Can you email it to me?

Posted by: Software at December 10, 2005 10:19 AM
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