Two Questions For Our Readers

I have a question for the regular readers of this site, all three of you. Actually BW averages between 2000 and 4000 unique visits a day, with anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 page views. Why? I have no clue. But I do know that the majority is coming from search engines (Google) and not from regular readers. This is a question for those regular readers.

Right now there are 39 subscribers to email headlines, and I know more read this site regularly but do not subscribe to the email edition. Likewise, there are 258 subscribers to the RSS feed, but I know many people do not use RSS to read this site.

I have been kicking around the idea (for some time now, maybe six months) to stop double posting our stories here and at Blogcritics. At the end of the week I would create a master post with all of our Blogcritics posts (you would also see RSS headlines on the BW home page). I would also be setting the RSS feed to full content again.

Why would I want to do this? There are a number of reasons, let me explain.

First and foremost, there is the grammar and spelling. At Blogcritics, an editor always looks over all posts, even those from us editors. When it hits BW, it is quite raw. This is bad.

Second there is the annoyance of having to post an article twice. This pain is self explanatory. Why post twice when I can post once. And not to stress the above point too much, it ends up as a much better piece on Blogcritics.

I could think of more reasons, but I am lazy and you get the point. So what do you think of only seeing "bloggy" posts on Breaking Windows?

On to question number two. Matt (Eagle Eye Nazi Spaz Comment Killer) and I are getting tired of the fluctuating amount of SPAM comments we get. I will be upgrading MT soon which allows for not only TypeKey comments, but Trusted Commenters as well. Regardless, I am pretty much set on turning off non-TypeKey comments. But not entirely, and here is why:

This would kill a lot of legit comments for sure. It would kill most comments from non-regular search engine readers. But in time people who wanted to comment would register for TypeKey. This would also cut the comment spam down to nothing.

Not having to go through hundreds upon hundreds (yes, that many) SPAM comments on a daily basis seems worth the lack of anonymous comments.

I could also find a image verification plug-in for MT. But I really don't want to add any plugins. So I am still up in the air about cutting off comments. So your input would help.

Your input on both topics would help. So, please comment away.

Comments (8)


First, I don't read blogcritics. I do read breaking windows, mainly because I subscribed to it when I first setup netnewswire and it seemed interesting enough. I thought at first that you were going to say that you weren't posting to BC anymore to focus on BW. Guess I was wrong. :)

Second, I'm not sure how much weight you want to give my opinion. I'm a pretty casual reader to this site, if it wasn't for the RSS feed I wouldn't read it at all. That said, I do enjoy your game reviews and some of the dvd reviews. I bought the new SMB based on your review and the recommendation of a friend, rather than rent it first.

So, my opinion is that you should drop the BC posts to concentrate on BW. Your articles really aren't as bad as you make them out to be. I'm pretty tough on bad grammar (well, compared to most the internet I'm tough ;) and this site doesn't annoy me in the least. If you want the editing that BC provides maybe you should edit each other's posts?

Finally, on the comment thing. I think it'd be a huge mistake for you to disable non-typekey comments. You may not like the idea of plugins, but for me personally a captcha or something similar is about as far as I'm willing to go to comment on a blog anymore. I read no fewer than 20 blogs and the idea of signing in just to leave a comment leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In the end though, it's your decision. Requiring typekey will lose legitimate comments, including mine. On the other hand, if you really are dealing with hundreds of spam comments per day it may be a worthwhile tradeoff.

If you're looking for ideas for combating the spam, however, there are some great ideas over or Tim Bray's blog. You can find them here:

Specifically, look at Eric Dobbs comments. There was another idea which I didn't see in that list but I thought I saw there or somewhere else, was to make it look like the comment made it through but really is awaiting moderation.

Finally, one idea I thought was pretty clever was someone who included a field that said, "What is this blog about? (Hint: it's about lisp)". Anyone who either left that field out or put the wrong info in got dropped before the blog owner ever saw the spam.

Of course, implementation of these ideas are left to you to do. My own blog uses pybloxosm, the closest I've gotten to MT is as a reader/commenter. :)

So what do you think of only seeing "bloggy" posts on Breaking Windows?

I prefer the double-posting reviews. I'd probably not read them if they weren't right here on BW.

I am pretty much set on turning off non-TypeKey comments.

I say go ahead. Not only will it kill the spam, but it'll at the same time kill comments from stupid people, too. See the iPod thread or that weird money thread, for example.

Something I forgot to mention in my original post (though I have added it) is this: I would be changing the RSS feed back to full posts instead of the truncated content you currently see in the BW RSS feed.

I will also change the setting to include the entire post in the emails, as the email is piggy-backed from the RSS feed.

Also, AFAIK, "Trusted Commenters" in MT 3.2 are a way around people having to sign up for TypeKey, though I really don't see what the problem with signing up for TypeKey is. Seeing as one TypeKey allows you to post to all Movable Type and Type Pad based sites.

I will be upgrading to 3.2 shortly, and turning on "Trusted Commenters" as well as TypeKey comments. This will kill the spam. Oddly enough, we do get enjoyment out of the "stupid people" comments LKM (yea we are sick aren't we) but if it means getting rid of the spammers, it is worth the sacrifice.

I am not pushing you to read Blogcritics, although I would be lying if I said I did not want you to. I get the feeling that if you see a link to something we write on the site, in an email, or in the RSS feed, you will click on it. It will just go to a fully edited piece on Blogcritics, and not to the raw cut on BW.

We still will, as I have been doing lately, put raw posts here, works in progress, drafts, whatever you want to call them.

Zach - I don't think I have heard from you before, but I value your input, especially because you are an RSS user of BW.

You may not know, but I am the Gaming Editor at Blogcritics. I edit every piece that goes into the Gaming section (sans mine, as the editors get edited too) and often edit outside my section as well.

One could say that we could post, or re-post the edited work here at BW. This is too time consuming to even be considered.

But because of my position at Blogcritics, I would not just focus on posting to BW ;)

Matt is one of the high volume writers that Blogcritics has, contributing DVD and Gaming reviews, amoung other things.

Since you already use NNW, I would suggest checking out some of the RSS feeds that Blogcritics has. FeedBurner is used at BC just like at BW, so it is a snap to sub with any RSS reader, like NNW (which is what I use too).

You may think that I am trying to push you away from Breaking Windows, I am not. I am trying to streamline things and make the workload a lot less for both Matt and myself.

The spelling and grammar here might not be that bad, but I cringe at even my own unedited work here. Lets not get started on Matt's :P j/k

I am freakin' tired of trying to combat comments. I am using MT-Blacklist, something that wa a plugin by Jay Allan and now is built into MT. That doesn't really work that well. At least it does not work well without some intricate science, something I do not know about.

I also don't have time to, or even want to, look into ways to combat this crap. Turning them off fixes the problem, end of story.

Also, with Trusted Commenters, if your name and email match the one I have approved in the MT backend, it requires no TypeKey login on your part.

Currently ALL comments (but TypeKey) require moderation. That is the only way from the site overflowing with spam. This is a royal pain in the ass for Matt, as he usually gets to the comments before I do.

I do like the one added field, "what is the forth letter of the second word of this blog's title" etc. type stuff. That is a good idea. But it requires me to add a field to the form, and validate against it. I am not going to do that. Why? I make money working on other people's web sites, not my own.

It will be interesting to see if anyone else chimes in, I had a feeling I would hear from LKM right away. So thanks for your input, both of you.

So, why don't you read Blogcritics? Matt and I spend a lot of time writing for that site. Most of the time, if it were not for Blogcritics, we would not get the review materials to post our reviews.

Why not comment over there? BC does not require login for comments. Why? Because we have a full time comment editor at BC. Sadly, he does even more work than Matt does here.

In the end, I do not like putting unedited work here, unless it is labeled as such. As my writing has improved over the past three years, so have my standards. Being an editor, and editing others work has also clued me into how bad unedited writing is.

It is no secret that Matt and I would like to some day write for a major video game magazine/site, and I do not like mixing my writing with my blogging anymore. That is the distinction I guess I am trying to make here.

Sorry Ken but I've got to agree with the others here, i don't regularly read BC but i do read BW and i'd like to see your work here.

If you want to know why i don't regularly read BC it's because even though it's a good site, the bottom line is i could care less about 90% of the postings on there as i generally am only interested in reading your or Matt's work. Plus the BW comment system is a bit more personal then the BC one because it's direct to you.

If you're worried about the poor grammer and professional look of articles on BW then either take the time to edit them properly or wait for it to be edited at bc and then post the revision here. Don't just cram it all into a sunday link post.

Besides doesn't the whole concept of BLOGcritics imply that you are blogging you critiques?

Oh and ken the only way i've found in the MT 3.2 backend to enable trusted comments requires they have a TypeKey ID first and then you trust the Type Kay ID.

OK if that is the concept behind trusted comments then that is total bull shit. For starters, TypeKey comments are already trusted. What a waste of a new feature in 3.2 if that is the case. Even image verification and added fields are not the answer, as the spammers are injecting the spam to the CGI. And it doesn't matter how many times I rename it.

It is either TypeKey or tons of spam, if Trusted Comments works how you describe.

As I am sure Matt will agree, it is unfortunate that the name BLOGcritics has BLOG in it. We have positioned ourselves past blogging, but we cannot just give up the name and go with something new.

Here is the deal. If we post to BC first, which we will be doing in the future*, then have to remember to post here at BW, that is one more thing to forget to do. The article sits in the Pending queue for a couple hours. I get home in the afternoon/evening and need to do my Blogcritics editorial duties, and then re-post to Breaking Windiws.

I am trying to reduce the time I spend writing and editing, and posting, not make it longer. I took the job as Gaming Editor because I like to write (and lets be honest, the free shit is pretty damn cool too) but there are only so many hours in a day.

I guess I will wait and see how it goes, but I really hate doing things twice. Especially when there is a time delay between posting to Blogcritics and posting here. I just hate looking at the unedited stuff here. It looks bad.

And you know what, if all we did was post links to our stories on Sundays, as you say, you will still only be reading our stories, and not have to wade through the 90% of other crap you don't care about on Blogcritics.

* Even I do not know that date yet.


Ken, I typically only read BW. This is my way to catch up on what neat and goofy stuff you and Matt have to comment on. While I do not comment often, I would like to still be able to if I feel the need.

Hi Stephanie,

It is nice to hear from you! The spam has gotten too out of control, and TypeKey is the way to fix that. So if you want to comment, I would recommend signing up for TypeKey.

The TypeKey decision has pretty much been made. It just depends on when I upgrade to MT 3.2, which I might get to today yet.

Wow. Stephanie actually came back...

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