Enough of this shit

So I finally decided to upgrade to MT3, but first I wanted to switch the database over from Berkeley to MySQL. I went to Elise’s Learning MT site, I googled up other instructions, and I followed the instructions on the MT site.

However, switching databases seems to have somehow switched off MT-Blacklist, which is a side effect that none of the instructions mentioned. Had I known it would fuck with my plugins, I might not have bothered. So to my delight, then, I came in this morning to find hundreds of new spam comments on this blog.

There’s nothing fun about coming in every morning and having to sweep out piles of shit from my Mail inbox (in the new-comment notification) and my blog comments.

There’s nothing fun about learning that a change I made to make the place run better actually makes it run worse.

And there’s definitely nothing fun about trying to decipher the MT instruction manual, especially when it’s so easy for one “fix” to break seventy-five other things on your site that were previously working just fine. MT is written for PHP coders, not for the average Joe. And that’s fine, but I thought that given enough time and initiative, I could master it. It was a challenge I wanted to take on, but it’s Clearly Bigger Than Me.

If it’s no longer fun, what’s the point?

So rather than upgrade to MT3 and try to keep up with new jargon, learn how to manage SQL databases, and master enough PHP to get under the hood of this thing, I might just give up.

I’m so disgusted by all of this that I’m considering just shuttering this place altogether. Turn off the lights, delete this blog entirely, and call it quits. Park the domain so that I can revive it in the future if I choose to, but otherwise… just let it die for now.

Or I might allow the spam to just pile up here, let the place stagnate for a while, and then eventually set myself back up with Blogger or TypePad–assuming I trust SixApart enough to make a product that I can understand, which I’m not sure I do. But I really think the current incarnation of this site is useless and dead.

The simple fact is, I can’t manage this place on MT 2.661 and Blacklist 1.x. That’s clear. And I doubt it’s worth the frustration to stick with MT and upgrade to 3.x, because as MT’s featureset grows, it will become all the more complex to install, manage, and upgrade, and it’s obvious to me that I don’t have the intellectual capacity to run MT.

Which I find frustrating. What I enjoy about MT is that it’s much more flexible and versatile than either TypePad or Blogger. I can do lots of things with MT that I simply can’t do with other things I’ve tried. Blogger’s added lots of features since I last used it, but it’s still not up to MT’s standards. Radio UserLand simply sucked. And as I said earlier, I’m not sure I trust SixApart’s TypePad to provide a tool that I can learn to use.

I don’t have the time or the inclination to learn another CMS like Ecto, especially if it’s as frustrating as MT. So fuck it, I might just call it quits for a while.

I know at least one person will say to me, Well, why not just forget about comments, since that’s what you’re frustrated about, and keep the blog going? But that’s only a small issue. The larger issue is, I tried to make MT work for my needs, and I failed. I tried to stretch myself and learn a new skillset, and I hit the wall going 750mph. I wanted to stay abreast of new Web technology. I taught myself HTML back in 1994, before most people even had Internet access at home. I’ve taught other people how to publish to the web, and I’ve seen the joy on their faces when they found a new outlet for their creativity.

Keeping up with this stuff was a point of pride; it mattered to me. Personal web publishing matters to me, because it gives people another voice.

“Empowering” someone with a proprietary tool like Blogger isn’t full empowerment, because what do they do if Google files bankruptcy and abandons Blogger? Or how do they fix a problem when TypePad isn’t responding correctly? Tools like MT give you more power, but unfortunately the learning curve is simply too steep for most users.

Hiring someone to do the dirty work for you isn’t really the answer, either. You shouldn’t have to be a guru to make this stuff work. Let me repeat that, because I think it’s important.

You shouldn’t have to be a guru to make this stuff work.

More power to my friends who make money by setting up blogs for other people. I don’t begrudge anyone the chance to make a living. I just don’t think it should be necessary. MT makes it feel necessary, and I just don’t see why it has to. Sometimes I think techies deliberately want stuff to seem complicated so they’ll keep open an artificial need for their skills. Sometimes I think it’s simpler than that: techies can write code but not English, so they can’t communicate to non-techies how to make stuff work. (I realize the answer is more complex than all of that, and I don’t mean to vilify anyone or to over-simplify.)

Perhaps I’m a dinosaur, and web publishing is simply following earlier models. Benjamin Franklin could operate a printing press, but I doubt the Times expects that Bill Keller can do so.

I guess I just feel left behind, and it frustrates me.

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