How-to: Multiuser blog for WordPress 2.0.x

Several people have asked me whether the multi-user setup mentioned in my previous blog posts will work for WordPress 2.0.x – and the short answer fortunately is Yes.

The even better news is that changes to WP2.0 makes it even easier to apply, and that a guy named Stephen Rider has taken the time to describe the setup, package it neatly and include a little readme file with instructions that are better than what I originally wrote so I’m not going to improve on it.

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Upgrading to wordpress v1.5

wordpress has finally been released in a new version 1.5, meaning that the old v1.3 pre-release installation needed a bit of an upgrade. In order to remember what I’ve done, and perhaps help someone else who needs to go through the same steps, here is a list of the changes I had to make to make it all work and some of the caveats I encountered.

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More blog comment spam

It’s amazing: I have been running this blog for a few months, and while there are a few visitors, I don’t think anyone has mertner.com/allan as their home page 🙂

The people who visit the site the most are… spammers! I have tried to keep up with these by implementing various increasingly aggressive anti-spam measures, and the latest one is that users now have to type in a random string of letters shown in a picture in order to comment on a post. Thanks to gudlyf for his authimage plugin!

This is really annoying: how many people actually visit the online poker or viagra-selling sites because of a comment posted in my blog? I guess that if it didn’t create at least a few hits, they wouldn’t do it – but it still boggles the mind. To put the issue in perspective, there are perhaps 20 “real” comments on this site that have been left over the past few months (thanks!). But the site also get between 5 and 50 spam-comments every day: a noise-to-signal ratio of 100:1 or so.

Until now, standard anti-spamming measures (keyword matching, etc) has worked reasonably well, but in the past few weeks, a new type of spam has arrived where this just doesn’t work. The new approach is for the spammer to leave an innocent message such as “Very nice site you have here: good work” – and then put a link to his viagra- or poker-selling home page as an IP address.

Sigh. I hope this new mechanism helps keep the comment area reasonably clean. The main problem is that it doesn’t work for the visually impaired or people using text-based browsers. Sorry – I don’t know what to do about that…

How to add a new user

Reminder to self… To add a new “user” to the site (i.e. another Mertner that wants a blog), the following needs to be done:

1. Create a symlink to the root folder named after the user,
2. Edit wp-includes/my-functions.php to add the username
3. Copy config-default.php to config-<username>.php and edit with a new table prefix
4. Go to the new base URL and configure [WordPress](http://wordpress.org) for the new user

That is it! 🙂

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Styling the site

A nice feature of [WordPress](http://www.wordpress.org) is that it doesn’t use a lot of tables to align page items but instead uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). With CSS, you can do everything you ever wanted to with tables, and more – if you know how.

I didn’t know how, I just knew Continue reading

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