Plugins Used

 By Shamus Feb 25, 2008 17 comments

Sometimes I get emails from people asking what plugins I use for various features on this blog. I thought I’d post a quick list here for anyone else who might be curious.

Akismet

Everyone should run this plugin. It catches well over 95% of my spam without requiring any action on my part. It should probably be your first anti-spam plugin. My only complaint is that it doesn’t like .info domains, so every time Fledge posts a comment I have to fish it out of the spam trap. If it weren’t for this, I don’t think the plugin would ever have a false positive. Still, it’s a real time saver.

Bad Behavior

You shouldn’t need this plugin until you have a serious spam problem, at which point it becomes indispensable. It has a few quirks that I’m not crazy about. If you’ve ever submitted a comment, gotten a 403 Forbidden error, and then refreshed to find your comment intact – this is Bad Behavior. The docs don’t explain how it works, so if you want to know you have to open the source and figure it out for yourself. (Which, I admit, I have not done.) Still, the plugin is very effective at repelling spam comments and other assorted trouble. If I take Bad Behavior down, my site gets crushed with spam traffic that borders on a DOS attack. The protection offered is easily worth the price of a few quirks.

Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam

I recently disabled this plugin when I realized that it’s largely redundant with Bad Behavior in place. This plugin is what displayed the CAPTCHA on the site, which I had set to always come up “d20″. When I disabled this plugin I went from getting zero spam a day to getting about four or five. A little annoying, but it’s worth it since people no longer have to type “d20″ every time they comment. Still, I loved this plugin, as it was part of the personality of this site for over a year. It’s nice to know I still have this one to fall back on if it ever gets to the point where Akismet and Bad Behavior can’t keep up.

Picture Tags

This is an unreleased plugin this I wrote myself. It lets me embed pictures without needing to clutter up my posts with a metric buttload of HTML. When I want to embed a picture, I just enter some text like this:

[image|ffx_sending2.jpg|center|One of my favorite scenes from Final Fantasy X.|?p=332|Final Fantasy X|300]

It’s a set of fields, seperated by vertcal bars: Image name, justification, caption text, URL to link to, mouseover text, and image width. Everything after the image name is optional. The code above results in:

Final Fantasy X
One of my favorite scenes from Final Fantasy X.

I’ve never released it because there are other, more robust plugins out there for doing this sort of thing. I just wanted to write one myself that does exactly what I need. It’s nice to know that I can make global changes to the images used in all the posts on my site by just changing the plugin.

Roll Comments

This is another homebrew plugin designed for this site. It produces the fun RPG dice beside each comment. I’ve never released it because it’s heavily integrated with my theme: You couldn’t just fire up this plugin on your own site and expect it to work.

Theme Switcher

This is what lets you switch between the white and themes via that little dropdown box in the upper-right corner of the site. By default the plugin is designed to list all available themes. I’ve modified it here to omit the “Default” theme. This site doesn’t work quite right under the default theme, but I need to keep that theme installed because the other themes depend on its files for things like search functionality.

Wavatars

My own plugin for making all those funny little faces you see in the comments.

(As a side note, I saw a great plugin over the weekend that generated avatars by cutting bits out of a larger image. So, you could upload a huge image of (say) New York and everyone’s icons would be little squares cut out from the image. It seems like a nice way to generate icons that will integrate nicely with your site theme. (I know wavatars clash badly with a lot of serious or formal themes.) I was going to pass along the link to everyone, but I managed to lose the URL. If anyone knows where to get it please drop a comment.)

WordPress Admin Bar

This one only affects me. When I’m logged in, there is a bar of links along the top of the site that will take me directly to the various admin pages. This lets me jump right to the comments queue and saves me a couple of clicks. While comment traffic has cooled over the past couple of months (I can’t remember the last time with hit 100 comments) I still have brisk traffic on the old DMotR posts as newcomers work their way through the archives. The only way to be sure I’m keeping up with the comments is to read them via the queue. Otherwise I’d be navigating all over the site in trying to keep up.

WP AJAX Edit Comments

This is the plugin that lets you edit your comments after you post. Probably the most popular and important plugin on the site. Man, I wish I’d known about this when DMotR was in full swing. This was a much-requested feature.

That’s it. Other plugins have come and gone over the years. My Useless Stats plugin was nice, but it broke when WordPress 2.0 came out and I never bothered to update it.

17Just 17 comments.


  1. corwin says:

    Thanks, Shamus! There are a couple in there I want to check out for my own site. I originally started using Akismet to handle my spam comments (catches 99% of them right now) based on things you had said about it.

  2. please oh mighty Akismet grant my humble comment safe passage

    hey Shamus are you at all interested in running an experiment? You may have seen me talk about WP_Folksonomy over at metaBLOG; here’s a link to the plugin

    http://scott.sherrillmix.com/blog/blogger/wp_folksonomy/

    and heres a link to why tagging in wordpress isnt a true folksonomy:

    http://www.metablog.us/content/taxonomy-versus-folksonomy/

    I think with your larger userbase that running a folksonomy here would be really interesting. I have it at haibane.info if you want to give it a spin, just view any post of mine there and yo will see the form for adding any tag you want (and ive fully opened mine up so you neednt even be logged in or registered to do so, but you can change the permissions on that for your own site).

  3. Snook says:

    I wondered why you removed the CAPTCHA… Personally I don’t mind writing the d20 all the time. Also, I envy you for being able to code little things for yourself, it’s nice to be able to just make whatever you like rather than having to search around for it.

    Next semester I get some coding classes, should be interesting.

  4. ChattyDm says:

    I’m really happy with the wavatars over on my site and so do the commenters. Thanks for creating and releasing it.

    I haven’t activated Akismet yet (I use Peter’s Captcha). I get a few Trackback spams and escpecialy fake ones that steal a part of my post and say ‘here’s what he has to say on the subject’ but I can delete them manually.,

    What makes me scratch my head is those nonsensical google search words (in bold) linked to a google search page using the fake word…. I get about 4-5 a week of those… What’s with that?

  5. Hanov3r says:

    Fledgling Otaku: I haven’t played M:tG since mid-6th edition (so, about 8 years)… and I still went “Hey! That’s City of Brass” when I saw your avatar.

    Dear God, I think it’s gotten into my DNA…

  6. ChattyDm says:

    Magic is a retrovirus… once in your genes, it stays! :)

  7. scragar says:

    I wrote myself a greasemonkey to put in d20 for me :P

    you image thing takes a lot of writing, but it’s nice to know it works for you.
    I wrote one for something that needed far less writing(the instant you typed: [img] it would replace it with a form containg an upload box and some options for comments and alignment(5 options, float left+right and left+centre+right alignments with display block), wasn’t exactly a plugin for anything though, just a general purpose javascript…)

  8. hanov3r – those were the days, when you could build a blue deck that would win in two turns, no matter what, where you could create an entire deck out of Walls, where you could play a deck full of nothing but Serra Angels and Vampires. MtG got kind of complicated after Legends, I think. It just became harder to do theme decks like we used to.

    I always loved the Arabian expansion artwork though. I have a complete set in a binder somewhere. I even named my (other) blog after it!

  9. Justin says:

    I also never minded typing in the CAPTCHA when commenting, given that it’s extremely easy to read the characters and is always ‘d20′ anyway. I’m surprised that anyone would mind typing an extra 3 characters! If it causes you annoyance when removed, I think you should put it back in.

  10. pffh says:

    Ah otaku those were the days, when fireball meant victory and black lotus was new and fresh. *nostalgia*

  11. ahh, black lotus! i have one, and a mox pearl. somewhere…

  12. The DM says:

    Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I’ve been wanting to put in a comment editor for a while, and was wondering what you used.

  13. Zerotime says:

    According to the old Bad Behaviour site, it’s some sort of heuristical thing that checks useragents and other (unknown) stuff against a list.

    I use Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam and Simple Trackback Validation on my blog – the first one works excellently, especially after I added some more fonts and tweaked the output code a little bit, and I assume the second one works as well, because the flood of trackback spam I was getting stopped at around the time I installed it, though that didn’t appear to be anything to do with the plugin.

  14. Kameron says:

    I’ve had a lot of success with WP-SpamFree, which uses JavaScript and cookies to weed out bots.

  15. Alexander says:

    Well, being protected from DoS attacks is good, but I’m still unable to read this site from 80% of ISPs I can use here in Russia. :(

    This is very sad, as I got used to Twenty Sided.

    Alexander.

  16. Shu says:

    is the edit comment plugin enabled?

  17. Alex says:

    There is any possibility that you release the function to generate the dice pictures given by a number. Because i am designing a theme for wordpress in my site about probabilities theory and i like the idea a lot (sorry for my poor english writing).

    Greeting from Argentina.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!