There is a new bug in WordPress.com town.
You race home and rush to your computer to see if anyone has left you a comment on your blog only to find a bunch of Anonymous folks have left comments on your WordPress.com blog.
Before you hit that SPAM button, this is not comment spam. It is a trackback. It’s something nice! Someone has written about your post! Normally, WordPress would capture the link and text of that post and it show the title of the article and an excerpt of the article around the link to your post. The new anonymous bug brings it up empty. Because the trackback doesn’t feature the name of the article, it’s blank. WordPress interprets it as “anonymous” and automatically labels it such.
If this is happening on your WordPress.com blog, use the Feedback button on your WordPress Administration Panels to let them know. If it isn’t happening, let them know that too, but make sure you have some trackbacks that are not labeled as anonymous, so they can use that information to compare.
To tell the difference between a comment and a trackback, look for
[...] brackets and dots at the beginning and end of the comment. Those are trackback indicators. If your particular WordPress Theme separates trackbacks from comments, then you would see these listed under trackbacks when viewing your blog.
How to Fix Your Anonymous Trackbacks
While WordPress developers are fixing the overall problem, here is how to fix it on your WordPress.com blog.
On your Comments panel, click on the link to the anonymous trackback to open the incoming post in a new window or tab. Then click EDIT in the links at the bottom of the comment on the Comment panel.
Find the name of the article or the name of the block and copy and paste or simply type it in the Name textarea of the form. You don’t have to bother with the email address, so skip that.
Go back to the trackback post and find where the link to your post is and highlight some text around the link, enough to help people understand what is being written and encourage them to visit the blog to find out what they wrote about your post. It can be a little or a lot, depending upon how much of a teaser you want to give. I recommend only including the “good parts”. ;-)
In the comment textarea of the form, type in the brackets and periods
[...] at the beginning, then paste in the copied text, and end with another set of brackets and periods to help identify this as a trackback comment.
Then go down to the bottom section and click the Edit Comment button to apply the changes and save it. You will be returned to the Comment Panel.
Hopefully they will have this fixed very soon, but at least we can find a work around until then.
Another WordPress.com Bug – The Publish Bug
I don’t know if they have a name for another bug that is plaguing WordPress.com blogs in the past few days, but I call it “The Publish Bug”. After writing a post, you hit Publish, and instead of clearing the screen and returning you to either a blank Write Post panel or the Manage Posts panel, it reloads the article and sits there.
My first assumption was that I hit the Save And Continue Editing button and not the Publish button. But sometimes the Publish button is gone, and sometimes it’s there, and so I’m not sure if I hit Publish or not. To find out if you did, open up the Post Status box on the right side panel and look to see if the post is marked Published or Draft. If it is marked Draft, you didn’t hit Publish. If it is, welcome to the other new bug.
To make sure you Published the post, hit SAVE and watch the screen. You can also open a new tab and view your blog to see if the post has posted, but since I deal with a lot of future posts, that doesn’t help me much. If the screen blinks and reloads and you see your post again, and the Post Status is marked Published, then assume it is saved and this is the bug, and click Write Post, or Comments, or whatever panel you want to visit next on your WordPress.com blog and move on with your work.
If the post status still says Draft, really watch where you click and make sure you click the Publish button. You can also click the radio button for Published to change the status of your post to Published. Be sure and hit Publish or Save afterwards to ensure the change is applied.
I’m sure that all these annoyances and bugs will be cleared up soon. This is just part of the fun and adventure that comes with blogging on state-of-the-art, edge-of-the-sword, alpha/beta testing blogging software. hee hee. Sigh.
Updated News: It appears that the Anonymous Comment Bug and the Publish Bug may have been fixed. I’ve gotten a bunch of trackbacks and no anonymous ones, so that looks good. I’ve had only one Publish Bug show up in the past 48 hours, so that looks like it might also have been put to rest.
Thank you to all the bug hunters and killers, and to the whole WordPress testing and development team for staying on top of these for all 250,000 plus WordPress.com bloggers and the millions of WordPress users around the world. You all deserve metals, but you’ll have to settle for virtual hugs. HUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGG-squeeze-smooosh!
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network