For all of you who participate in the forums: I’m changing the permissions so that you will only be able to read messages if you are a registered user. Apologies in advance if this is an incovenience, but I am having some mysetrious server issues that I hope this will fix. Feel free to write me if this puzzles you. Registering as a forum user is still of course free.
Update: Sorry for any confusion: when I talking about the forum, I’m talking about the Comics Curmudgeon community forum, not the comments you can add to individual blog posts of mine. You don’t need to register to put comments on the main part of the site; you do have to register now to view the forum site.
Update 2: I’ve also updated my install of WordPress (the software that runs the blog part of this operation) from 1.5 to 2.0.2. This appears to have gone remarkably smoothly (much more so than the last big upgrade), but if anyone out there notices problems with the blog, please let me know. I’ve also installed a new, much more powerful comment-spam removal package, called Spam Karma, which for the most part allows me to dispense with the “see it before you say it” screen. If your post is suspected of being spam, you may be asked to prove that you’re a real person by entering a “catchpa” code — basically, you’ll be shown a series of numbers and letters and asked to enter them into a box. This shouldn’t happen too often, as Spam Karma learns over time, and it will figure out that you’re not a spambot in short order.
If you’re curious about the motivation for this flurry of late-night activity (warning: technical geekery aheady), my ISP just told me that either my blog or my forum software was apparently eating up a lot of PHP resources on the server. I took some steps to reduce the amount of work PHP had to do — that’s where the more effective spam-killing comes in, and the restriction of the forums site to registered users (since every time a non-registered user looked at the forums, PHP had to work to render everything). As a precaution, I also updated PHPBB and WordPress to the most recent and secure versions. I’m not sure if this actually has solved the problem. If anyone is experienced on why WordPress and/or PHPBB might suddenly be forking a lot of PHP processes, I’d love to hear it.
Update 3: OK, I’ve re-added the ability to “See It Before You Say It” because some people liked it. It’s no longer mandatory, however.