Site update

If you follow our RSS feed, or look at the discussion group in chronological view, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been hit lately by a bunch of comment spam. Automated programs sign up as members to the site and post messages full of ads on older posts, hoping that search engines will find them and increase their page rank. (The more pages link to a site, the more important the search engines think that site is.)

We don’t yet have a great solution for this, but in an attempt to slow it down for now, we’ve done a couple of things. First, we’ve turned on a new attribute in all links on comments and discussion group messages so the search engines will ignore them.

They may still continue to do it, though, so for the moment, we’ve turned off membership. That means if you haven’t already registered on the site, then for now, you can’t – you need to contact me or Rita in E-mail and ask us to add you, and we’ll be happy to do that. This will stop the bots from joining as new members so they can post their ads. Hopefully, after a few weeks, they’ll give up and we’ll turn it back on – or have a better solution.

Sorry for any inconvenience, but we don’t want ads for little blue pills or online gambling tournaments stealing our site’s reputation!

Update: We think we have it licked for the moment, but it required turning off the pop-up comments window. The discussion group is still there, as are all the comments, but they won’t appear in a pop-up window for now. If you have any problems, let us know.