Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CAPTCHA Screening Added, For Anonymous Commenters, Is Not Optional

We're seeing reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about a new way Blogger is blocking comment spam.
I didn't enable CAPTCHAs, for commenting on my blog! Why are my readers having to solve one, before commenting?
It appears that Blogger has added a new CAPTCHA form, to the commenting process.

In Blogger Help: The word-verification option, we see the notation.
Note: Even if you don't have word verification turned on, anonymous commenters might be asked to enter some text. This helps protect your blog from abuse.
It appears that "might be asked" is the key detail, here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Daily Post Limit Is Not Likely To Be Raised

We see signs of optimism, occasionally, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
How do I convince Blogger to let me publish more than 50 posts / day, in my blog?
Blogger Support has repeatedly declined to make any change to the daily post limit.

"50 posts / day" is a soft limit. You are actually allowed to publish any volume of posts, that suits you. If you exceed the daily limit, which is thought to be near 50 posts / day, you will simply have to solve a CAPTCHA, for each post over the daily limit.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't Publish To A Custom Domain, Purely Because Of Unavailability Of The Perfect BlogSpot Name

Setting up a new blog can be frustrating - for those who have planned the subject of the blog so carefully, that only one blog name will satisfy.

We see the frustration, almost daily, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I contact the owner of "mydreamname.blogspot.com"?
or
The blog at "mydreamname.blogspot.com" isn't in use. Can Blogger issue it to me?
Neither of those questions will end well, for the would be owner who can think only of publishing to "mydreamname.blogspot.com".

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dynamic Templates Require A Full Blog Posts NewsFeed

We see periodic signs of confusion, about publishing a blog to a dynamic template, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
My blog seems to load - but it just sits there, spinning gears!
or
The dashboard Template wizard tells me that dynamic templates are not available, for my blog!!
These are two blog owners who are not aware of the requirements of the dynamic templates.

Most people know that private blogs cannot be published to a dynamic template - but not everybody realises that this is not an arbitrary or capricious restriction.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

R.I.P., SiteMeter

I've always been an advocate of redundancy, with essential components and features.

One essential feature of a website is the ability to remain aware of where your readers come from, and what they are reading, on your blog. Besides Blogger Stats, I've advocated both SiteMeter and StatCounter, in a complementary role to each other.

A while ago, SiteMeter decided to add video advertisements to their blog / website agent, that tracks the clicks.

An Expanding Reader Community May Make Your Blog Vulnerable To A Content Warning

Occasionally, we see a report in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, that reflects on the reader audience - not necessarily only the blog content.
Why is my blog behind a Content Warning?
Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable.
Occasionally, a quick eyeballing of the blog in question may turn up some dodgy content, which may be suggested, in the forum, as problematic.

This story may not end immediately.
But, I've had that picture gallery, for years! Why did I just get the Content Warning?
Here, the blog owner is not considering changing standards - or the possibility that the blog, becoming more popular, may be adding readers who don't appreciate a photo gallery started years ago.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Logging In To Following, Using The Google "One account" Login

Long ago, Blogger Following (aka Google Friend Connect) was part of a non Google community of social networks.

If you wanted to Follow a blog, you had to login to the Followers gadget, but separately from your login session with Blogger. This let you login to Blogger to maintain your blog, and to Follow other blogs, using any desired Blogger or Google account that you wished.

You do not have to Follow other peoples blogs, using the same Blogger or Google account that you use to maintain your blog - nor do you have to logout from your Blogger account that you are using to publish to your blog, so you can Follow somebody else's blog. This lets you separate blog ownership identity from blog Following and surfing activity.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blogger Does Not Support ".htaccess" Based Redirection

If you rename a non Blogger hosted website - and you retain ownership of the previous domain (or re publish a website within the same domain), you can redirect traffic from the old URL to the new URL, for some websites, using the ".htaccess" control file.

Some Blogger blog owners, used to setting up ".htaccess" based redirection for non Blogger websites, have renamed their blog - either from one BlogSpot URL to another, or maybe from a custom domain URL to another URL. Finding the links in the blog now broken, they wonder.
How do I setup .htaccess for the old URL?
This is an option that Blogger does not provide.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Mysterious Disappearing Reading List

One long known mystery, reported from time to time in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, involves the dashboard Reading List, and panic from disappearing entries.
Where are the blogs, in my Reading List?
Some Blogger blog owners and readers can spend days setting up their Reading List complement - and see their work vanish, in seconds.

One of the reasons why this problem has not been solved is that it is not reported in consistently high volume, and has no obvious pattern. Another is that many people who use the Reading List - as opposed to a third party NewsFeed Reader - are not of the highest in technological skill level, and do not have the patience to provide coherent and relevant details about the problem.

From my observation of forum problem reports, I suspect that there are at least 3 different problems, which cause this intermittent symptom. It's likely that each problem is caused in part by the people, who depend upon the Reading List to follow blogs published by them, and by other people. Some people also publish their own blogs, while others only read blogs, using their own Reading List.

If You Must Moderate Comments Passively, Moderate Frequently

Not all Blogger blog owners understand that they must take responsibility for the comments that are posted on their blog.

We see signs of naivete, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
Why do I get so many spam comments, against my blog?
and
Why was my blog deleted? I always remove spam comments!
These blog owners do not understand that spam comments need to be removed promptly, marked as spam - not removed when convenient, or maybe just deleted.

Some blog owners let people comment anonymously, because it encourages communication, and brings them more readers - and moderate after comments are published, because it's more convenient for them, and again, encourages communication. They do not realise that the easier that you make it for people to publish comments, the more spammers will appreciate the open policy.