Autiblogger is a free blogging community for people on the autistic spectrum. Since its initial beta release last August, many new features, themes, and plugins have been added. We have moved from a very unreliable shared server to an excellent dedicated server thanks to donations from the community and lots of help from my family. Thanks everybody 🙂
A couple of new measures have been taken to fight the continuous annoyance of splogs (spam blogs). Splogs are fake blogs that are created for the purpose of either displaying ads or creating search engine traffic and search engine ranking for another website to which the splog points. At one point, Autiblogger was getting about 30 new splogs per day!
I installed an anti-splog script to block users from signing-up if thier IP address is blacklisted at spamhaus.org. That helped quite a bit, dropping the number of splogs per day to around three. Finally, I gave in and added an image captcha (challenge response test to verify that a user is human) to the sign-up page. I was really trying to avoid that due to accessibility issues, but it was hard to keep up with even a few splogs per day. I added a link to the sign-up page for users to contact me if they could not view the captcha image. At this time, splogs are down to just one every few days.
With the splog problem under control, I was finally able to add some new features and update some old ones. Today I added a flickr post bar plugin which adds thumbnails of the most recent photos from a user’s flickr account to the post-writing page, making it very easy to insert a flickr image into a blog post. I also added a LiveJournal cross-posting plugin which automatically copies new posts to a specified LiveJournal. Editing and deleting cross-posted entries causes the same changes to be made on the LiveJournal.
Other changes include an update to the Friends List feature which fixes a few bugs and an update to the admin bar that appears at the top of a user’s site when they are logged in, providing easy access to their blog administration. Unlogged users will see a link to Autiblogger and a ‘Get a Blog’ link. A Random Blog link was also added. Click on it and guess what…
Why Autiblogger 1.2.1? I was almost going to call it Autiblogger 2.0, but the changes didn’t seem large enough to warrant a whole new version number. 1.2.1 is also the current stable version of WordPress MU, which is the excellent open source application that powers Autiblogger.