Forcing the issue with CommentLuv

The new version of CommentLuv has been going since September 1st and has been written about on:

  1. My Forum
  2. The plugin page on my blog
  3. The CommentLuv site
  4. The wordpress codex
  5. The WordPress MU Site
  6. Every registered member
  7. Through visiting every site I get notified about in Google Alerts that is using the old version.
  8. Running a massive contest encouraging people to upgrade to the latest version

The old version is responsible for about 50,000 unnecessary hits to my server every day from automated spam bots that post direct to the wordpress comment post file, sometimes the server would fold from a busy spam day (it once had 1 million spam hits in a few hours!) so I had to find another way to let the people know that their version needs updating (just in case they didn’t see any of the above places).

Not to mention all the people complaining that their latest post wasn’t shown on some blogs, this is down to Feedburner not passing back fresh feeds to scripts unless they have cache enabled. The new version does this but the old one doesn’t. (feedburners fault, not mine!)

So, I put in a small message to be sent back instead of the last blog post if it was requested in the first 10 minutes of each hour;

CommentLuv needs updating on this site. Please download the latest version and install it on your site. This message will apear during the first 10 minutes of each hour. This remote script will cease returning posts in 7 days.

Is that so bad?

The alternative is just delete the remote scripts and everyone using the old version will be left with nothing happening instead.

What do you think? should I keep with the message or just delete the remote scripts so nothing gets sent back to the people that don’t upgrade or view their plugins page?

I’ve only seen one site complain but it was an un-ranked, 0.4 average comments per post site written anonymously who posted to their site instead of contacting me direct via the squillion ways possible (my email, forum, site, phone, skype, yahoo, gmail……) but, ever the conscientious coder, I don’t want to offend anyone by daring to ask them to upgrade a plugin because their old one can affect the performance of my server and subsequently, the 100-200K last blog posts that get sent back to the users who DID upgrade. :-/

If you see the message above when someone comments, it means the blog being commented on needs to upgrade the plugin for the good of everyone who uses the proper version (in fact, for the good of the whole universe!) I have a support ticket function open at CommentLuv so if anyone needs help updating or even if you want to shout at me, you just need to click… (surely that is more efficient and quicker than writing a whole post about it?)

26 thoughts on “Forcing the issue with CommentLuv

  1. John

    Hi Andy –

    I have used other plugins that didn’t have notifcation built in. The creators have had different solutions. Some leave it to you to check. Others have a mailing list that is optional for sign up. some have you activate the plugin by submitting your email address so they could notify you of updates. I think it’s the way you decided to notify users. Not what they’re accustomed to. But what’s done is done. You’re past that problem now except for the back splash.

    I don’t have a problem with updating plugins manually or semi auto update. I often visit the sites that my plugins come from to see if something new is in the works and the versions of WP they work on. I just take it for granted if I want to use the plugin I need to accept what goes with it.

    A lot of people seem to be angry these days. I think that is part of that negativity you’re seeing. Mostly displaced aggression from a multitude of problems people are dealing with and they express them at you. It must be an accumulation of problems they have and your little message triggers a irrational response.

    I hope some of the people that write these negative posts go back and read their posts and reflect if their response was appropriate and fair. If nothing else I hope their ranting was therapeutic. After all it’s a free plugin.

    We are all learning so don’t take the comments too personal. You’re doing good work and progressing. I use to be bothered when I was criticized or bluntly corrected but that sort of stuff doesn’t bother me any more and I don’t focus on it. I take it for what it’s worth, consider the source and I’m done with it. No hard feelings.

    Keep up the good work. No complaints or negative blog posts from me today:)

    John´s last blog post..Why Buy A Domain Name When Using Blogger Or

  2. Dan

    I think thats completley fair – I did actually see it come up on one persons blog, hopefully they will now realise :)

    Surely the latest version would also show up as a new download on the plugins section of wordpress? Thats how I knew when to update mine last!

    Dan´s last blog post..How CommentLuv Can Help Find Hackers

  3. Andy Bailey

    wow, big comment makes me feel better! I guess I can understand how someone feels about their blog, I feel it for my plugin.

    I have the plugin at the codex so WP should provide a message about it being updated on the plugins screen.

    maybe the zen way would be to just turn the scripts off, if nothing gets a last blog post then the blog owner might click the link to the plugins homepage to complain and then see it has been updated..

    thanks for your counsel :)

  4. witchypoo

    I think those who are unhappy should be offered a full refund of their money. Haven’t they heard of gratitude?
    On your own site, today and yesterday, when I looked at the drop down box, It doesn’t show the number of posts I have commented on.
    Do you reset it when you get up in the morning, Andy?

    witchypoo´s last blog post..Skinny Bitch Gets Dumped

  5. Andy Bailey

    witchypoo: hehe, gratitude is not needed. just a little common sense is all..
    I can’t open your site from my pc, it’s been like that for a week but I thought it was my ISP because I can view it from a different connection (thanks neighbouroonie!)
    it’s not showing on here because I changed a figure while I was testing. oops! I’ll get on it now. so solly!

  6. Eric Maziade

    While I haven’t noticed this behavior, I do have to agree with the complainer’s argument.

    Having the warning message returned as a response ends up causing the message to be saved in your user’s blog’s posts.

    I don’t remember if the plugin can handle error messages and prevent adding to the post if something happens… I’m not certain it does.

    The auto-notification thing would be nice-to-have – a post to the mailing list would be sufficient for me.

    You should consider error-handling mechanism for your future versions.

    For example: if the commentluv server returns an error message, don’t add it to the post. An option could allow the plugin to email the error to the blog owner as well.

    I’ll check in my version of the plugin when I get a chance.

    Eric Maziade´s last blog post..Locate the Children Skill Challenge

  7. Andy Bailey

    jeff: I think you’re right. maybe just switching it off is the best way. ironically, I put in the message because I didn’t want to annoy people when it stops working!


    You should consider error-handling mechanism for your future versions.

    That’s what I did! the message is about upgrading to the future version which does have error handling. i can’t get people to use it though, because they hadn’t upgraded :-/

    I think I will just switch them off and prepare myself for the torrent of “why isn’t it working?” questions from those that find it easier to ask than to read the instructions page.

    All: I don’t want to sound too pissy but I put a lot of work on my server for clients and other things that have nothing to do with commentluv and it’s the worst feeling ever when a site is down in the middle of a presentation because someone else didn’t secure their site properly and hasn’t seen their plugins page for updates in over 6 months. REALLY WORST FEELING


    I have that covered now with a dedicated server I paid for personally just for CommentLuv but the old versions are using my fiddyp server which is shared with clients sites who pay real money for 99.9% uptime hosting.

    I’m not a corporation and I didn’t charge anybody anything, i’m not making it or updating it because it’s my job. it’s my passion and hobby only. I do, however, feel an obligation to help those people that need help and really enjoy it when I can be of assistance. If I didn’t like helping then I wouldn’t have released it as a plugin!

    but I don’t like being obliged to provide the same sort of backwards compatibility that a big software corporation does. I can’t do what I want with updating the program because my time is spent fire fighting a version that is months old! If it was making money then the first thing I would do (after another contest!) would be to pay a proffessional programmer to rewrite it all. it would need to make a LOT of money before that could happen though.

    look at intense debate, they still haven’t got a perfect wordpress plugin with all their qualified programmers and marketers and millions of investment.

    I just can’t wait for when all applications are accessed online, no need for a massive hard drive full of obsolete software and no need to install again when you move to a different pc or location because, some days, some really dark days it feels like commentluv is like a trampoline in my garden. really great fun, especially when you share it with the world… but ruined by a very few people that don’t use it properly and then blame you for gravity causing them injury.

    (yes simpsons fans, I mean a tramampoline!)

    ..hmmm, maybe I should have obeyed rule number 10
    “Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.”

    haha, sorry for ranting!

  8. witchypoo

    I hope you answer these emails with the question “Are you running the latest version of the plugin?”
    Saves a lot of frustration and back and forth.
    And? I hope JS-Kit finishes coding soon. I haven’t yet heard back from them.

    witchypoo´s last blog post..Skinny Bitch Gets Dumped

  9. Marco Luthe

    I think everyone should feel responsible to use the latest versions of their plugins, so I think sending back a message that says “This plugin version is obsolete – please inform the blog author to update!” or similar is absolutely OK – if that helps fighting spam and unnecessary traffic.

    If it doesn’t: just delete the old script – people will come by to ask why CommentLUV doesn’t work anymore… and then they will hopefully see what you had in mind. :-)

    Marco Luthe´s last blog post..MobiPedia – Wikipedia “To Go” (For Mobile Use)

  10. Andy Bailey

    eric: I’m calmer now, must have been a brain fart!

    witchypoo: I just finished an email convo with Lev of js-kit , sorted out a problem with commentluv urls being broken. did you use the ask a question link on their site?

    marco: I figured out a way to do it, redirect with 301 headers to a lesser server so they can carry on using the old versions but it doesn’t affect me current server

  11. Simon

    I have been staying away from commentluv, because I know about the spam problems. Now that I know the spam won’t take my site down I will do a rethink about whether I should install it.

    Simon´s last blog post..Home Finance Software

  12. Jon

    I think you’re doing remarkably well Andy! The odd rant is quite understandable, and overall you seem to be consistently coming up with sensible answers to the issues you’re faced with! A lot of large corporations don’t handle user-issues this well… give yourself a pat on the back! :)

    Cheers, Jon

    Jon´s last blog post..New Product – Recession Proof Salon Marketing