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Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

Trackback Report

In my last post I tried sending a few trackbacks again. Not surprisingly, none worked. Just as I speculated, however, my link to another WordPress site resulted in a pingback. My post excerpt wasn’t posted, but the link back to my blog showed. The owner of the trackback-receiving blog has full control over the excerpt, so it’s possible he set his up not to show any excerpt at all.

(I looked at the source html for his site, and was disappointed, but not surprised, to see the link back to my site was tagged as “nofollow”. All that means is that Google won’t give me credit for the link when it evaluates my PageRank. I speculated on the potential for abuse in the trackback system previously, and apparently the “nofollow” tag is the answer. My WordPress blog automatically inserts the nofollow tag in all external links in the comment and the commenter’s supplied website, and I would have to load a plugin to stop it. In short, it seems I can’t rely on trackbacks to sprinkle links throughout the Web and therefore increase my PageRank. But trackbacks could pull people here, and if they like my blog they can link here themselves. Tough, but fair.)

I sent trackbacks to two of Web’s blogs. The Movable Type one, which he was able to use to send a trackback to me, does not display comments or trackbacks with his posts, so I can’t see if it worked. The Serendipity blog reported that my trackback failed when I try to click through the link, and on the blog itself reports no trackbacks for the subject posting.

I was trying to search the WordPress forums and noticed that a lot of the links that came up in the search resulted in server errors. I managed to read one post that seemed to describe my problem, and there was a reference to a bug report, which itself had a broken link to what I hoped would be a fix. As it turns out, the WordPress Codex is down, and with all the server errors at the support forums, they seem to be having problems, too. But it’s entirely possible that my not being able to send trackbacks is due to a know bug in WordPress, and not because I’m an idiot. I just have to what for WordPress to get back online.

Posted by Greg as My Website at 14:48 PST


Trackbacks Still A Problem

Still having problems figuring out how to use trackbacks. I’ve tried writing about articles on other people’s blogs and using the trackback URI they supply to send them a ping, but when I check later, my post doesn’t appear as a trackback or comment on their blog, so no one knows at the other end that I’ve written about their article. I was wondering whether my trackback comment was being held up for approval on the other end, but I guess there’s no way to tell.

Documentation on how to actually do a trackback in WordPress is very scarce. I can find documentation on how the system is supposed to work in the WordPress codex, but no “for dummies” instructions that says “ok, do this, then this, then… etc.” The best description I’ve found so far is at loadedreality, which is also a WordPress blog, but his example doesn’t look the same as in my normal Write Post screen. I’m trying to trackback him now, but since it is a WP blog I should also get an automatic pingback, so I won’t know whether my trackback attempt was successful. I also haven’t figured out whether a blog author’s requirement to leave a name and email to comment affects my trackback attempt or if the trackback just goes around that.

Web kindly answered my request to do the reverse to me – leave a trackback on my blog – so I could see what the other end might be seeing, but it didn’t help much because his successful trackback just went ahead and posted and I just got a notice that a trackback had been left. He’s also successfully commented on my blog before, and I hadn’t on the places I was trying to leave a trackback, and again, that’s another unknown that might be a factor.

Another annoyance that might be related is the the way that I get a pingback whenever I link to a previous post of my own, such as the last time I griped about trackbacks. At least I get to see how a pingback works from both ends, but I don’t want my new post to be listed as a comment on my old post. I haven’t figured out how to blacklist myself, and I don’t want to fool around with my settings until I see my trackbacks working.

If I ever figure out how to do this, I’ll have to write it up, complete with screenshots, which would be something that might attract some traffic, but I don’t know that anyone would see it. I just used my Google parser to search for “wordpress trackbacks” and my site didn’t show up – Google reported 1,290,000 results but only gave 553 in filtered, moderate safeSearch mode, and my website wasn’t in the listings. **Sigh**. My PageRank is still as low as it can get – a 0 out of 10.

Well, here we go again. I will either be successful or not when I push the “Publish” button.

Posted by Greg as My Website at 10:09 PST

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