Skip navigation Bug: Anonymous Trackbacks and Comments

There is a new bug in 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 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 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 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.

WordPress Edit Post - Fixing the Anonymous Bug

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”. 😉

WordPress Edit Post - Fixing the Anonymous Bug by copying trackback text from original post

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.

WordPress Edit Post - Fixing the Anonymous Bug by pasting in original trackback text from the post

Hopefully they will have this fixed very soon, but at least we can find a work around until then.

Another Bug – The Publish Bug

I don’t know if they have a name for another bug that is plaguing 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.

WordPress Post Status boxMy 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 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 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

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network


  1. Alex Ezell
    Posted June 29, 2006 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks Lorelle. A fellow WordPress user and I were just battling the Trackback issue yesterday.

  2. Posted June 29, 2006 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Hey hey…that’s my blog!! Figured it was a bug cause it kept cropping up on other blogs as well.

  3. Posted June 29, 2006 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I was hoping you wouldn’t mind, since it was your trackback I was fixing at the time. 😉

    Now you’re FAMOUS!

  4. Posted July 2, 2006 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, I think I fixed the anonymous pingback bug.

    I’ll look into the publish bug. We recently changed how we do our redirects to accommodate those who block their sending referrers. We removed the requirement to enable sending referrers when accessing the admin awhile back, but there were still some places that depended on the sending referrer. This dependency would result in broken redirects when the referrer was not set. I fixed that and managed to break something else in the process. 🙂

  5. Posted July 2, 2006 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Don’t we all, Ryan.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on trackbacks to make sure that the anonymous stay away, just to be sure. And I’ll be very happy when future posts and the publish bugs are fixed. It’s made blogging here really tiresome, though the rest is too much FUN!

    Thanks as always for looking out for all of us. We started out as a small crowd and now you all are working overtime for hundreds of thousands of bloggers. Amazing isn’t it! Thanks!

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] The WordPress team is about to release the next version of WordPress- 2.0.4 and are making the call for bug hunters to test the new version. […]

  2. […] Lorelle on WordPress mentions a few “bugs” that she has noticed…Hopefully this problem, like many others, will be fixed relatively fast by the folks. I really think it is great that they have Lorelle watching over the developers shoulders. If you are having this problem as well, it is best to make it known that you are, so they can figure out what might be causing it easier than if only one or two people report it. […]

  3. […] WordPress is my favorite blogging platform, Now you can contribute in its development too, Help eradicate bugs from upcoming WordPress 2.0.4…Update: Lorelle Talks about some Bugs she found, Hopefully these bugs will be fixed […]

  4. […] Lorelle covers one of the most recent bugs that hit over the holiday weekend: Anonymous Trackbacks and Comments. I’ve seen a couple of the trackback ones myself on my test blog. […]

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