Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dear TypePad (Part 2)


Dear Loyal Readers:

No, I've not returned to full-time bloging, but I am dropping by to provide an update.

After my last post about this TypePad TrackBack ping issue I got a response from Anil Dash at TypePad. I have responded.
Dear Anil:

Thanks for your response to my post "Dear TypePad".

I am pleased to see that someone who knows a lot about TypePad has taken an interest.

However, please allow me to express some concerns I have.

You indicate that because most TypePad users haven't reported a problem
means there's not a big problem. Okay, I can see that. Assuming most
users send and receive a lot of TrackBacks.

Let me ask you this: Have you tried what I reported? Have you tried
sending a TrackBack via a third party form? I'm assuming you have,
since you a proud of your testing ("we've done a *lot* of testing").
I'm certain you've tried to send a TrackBack both via a TypePad site
and via a 3rd party form. Haven't you?

You realize that if you say "no" then my point of not doing adequate
testing is quite valid. You can do a lot of testing that's not
sufficient. And that's what I'm concerned about.

So, when you sent a TrackBack to my site, what happened? I don't recall getting a TrackBack notice that you sent one.

Which tells me that either you're experiencing the same problems I'm
talking about, or it hasn't occurred to you to actually check it out.

Which is it?

And, should you decide to actually try what I'm talking about, I'll
gladly set you up an author account on my little blog, although I
suspect you have that ability. The fact no one has persued it indicates
to me this problem isn't considered major.

Well, I consider it major. And some of my readers consider it major.

I submitted my ticket a week and a half ago.
Support Ticket: 084866
Subject: Unable to send TrackBack with 3rd party form
Category: Bug
Status: We're Working On It
This weekend, I asked for a status update.

You're partially right when you say the problem isn't testing. The
problem is inadquate testing. I believe you when you say there has been
a lot. I just think there's not enough of the right kind.

Again, thanks for the response. I certainly look forward to this issue
being resolved by TypePad before I resolve it with my own solution.

Your friend ... and your paying customer,


Thanks for getting in touch again. I've tested the functionality
you've mentioned on a number of other TypePad blogs, and since I
haven't written anything about your site, sending a TrackBack to your
site *would* be a spurious TrackBack, which isn't a very useful test
if you're worried about false positives.

At any rate, I've been working with the people who run the third-party
TrackBack services to make sure we can get appropriate verification
that their pings are legit, and then we'll be enabling pinging from
all users on those services again.

One interesting thing worth noting here is that you're frustrated by
not being able to take advantage of a use of TrackBack that was
totally unanticipated when TrackBack was created... it's primarily
designed to let someone know that a link has been created, but in some
cases people are using these services to send a ping even if they
haven't made a link to your posts. We'll be doing more tests on that
scenario in the future as well.

Thanks for being patient, and I'll be in touch when we've gotten this resolved.


Oh, I'm NOT interested in TrackBacks that do not link the post to which the ping is sent.

This entire issue is over legitimate TrackBacks.

While I certainly appreciate and look forward to eliminating spurious
TrackBacks, I am not at all happy with legitimate TrackBacks being

My issue is when a blogger whose post links to my post is prevented from sending a TrackBack ping.

I really don't care about and am not asking for letting improper TrackBacks through.

The fact that you think I want to allow improper TrackBacks makes me think you don't understand the issue.

Or that I don't understand TrackBacks.

Do me a favor would you? Back in August, I wrote a post about TrackBacks here:

How's my understanding? If not too good, could you suggest a source that I may have overlooked to correct my misunderstanding?

Thanks again,



It appears that Bruce of Conservative Cat fame has dubbed the TypePad TrackBack ping issue as "Basil's Bug."

Gosh, Bruce! I'm not quite sure what to say. I'd be in favor of someone else's name on it. Perhaps the genius at TypePad that came up with this ill-concieved/ill-implemented idea. But, I guess I should say thanks and take you up on the offer for help.


  1. Pong Prevention and the Mysteries of Movable Type Spam

    We are all familiar with the concept of pongs, though we may not be familiar with the term. A pong is a duplicate trackback ping. It's very easy to create these things in today's environment. When you are publishing an...

  2. Yeah, my feet stink. You's guys be gots a prollem wit' dat? ;)

    What's this gotta do with trackbacks? Hell if I know. I'm bored and sleepy.

    Carry on! :)

  3. I thought the human convention was to name things after the discoverer, like the Strait of Magellan or Avogadro's Number. Bruce said that he got in trouble once for calling a particular fluid on a blue dress "Matt Drudge's Sperm Stain", but it looked to me like that was a special case.

  4. Its scientific name is

    buggus basilica

    (Hey, those Road Runner cartoons were educational)

  5. A Letter to Typepad

    Dear Typepad,
    I am quite pissed because of your service. Four reasons:

  6. This is the response that I received regarding trackbacks from Typepad. Thought you might be interested.

    Hi Zeke,

    We've made some backend modifications to the way that TrackBacks are handled to help reduce the amount of spam that users receive to their blogs.

    In order for a TrackBack to go through successfully, a link to the Post that the TrackBack is being sent to also has to be included in the Post from the other blog. If a TrackBack is sent without the link included in the body of the Post, the TrackBack will fail. This was put in place to ensure that pings are being received from legitimate sources, and not spammers.

    So, I would suggest confirming with whomever is attempting to send a TrackBack to your blog that they've included a link in the Post as well. In this case, the TrackBack should go through.

    Please let us know if you have questions.



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