Several bloggers on the Commons contacted us to let us know that they received a flurry of spam comment moderation notifications yesterday, July 8th. WordPress, the platform we use for the Commons, sends such messages to blog owners when it receives spam or spam-like comments; rather than publishing them directly to the site, it puts them in a queue and notifies blog owners that those comments need to be approved (or trashed) manually. We take spam very seriously here at the Commons, so we wanted to take a moment to explain what happened, since this was in fact an isolated site-wide incident with a clearly discernable cause.
July 8 was a scheduled IT maintenance day at the CUNY Graduate Center, which hosts the Commons. Due to that maintenance, the server on which the Commons sits was taken off-line for service. Rather than have the Commons be inaccessible all day, we decided to switch over to our backup server, which is hosted at Baruch College. Though most elements of that process (the syncing of information, the switching over and back) worked perfectly, we did run into one problem that resulted in the problem described above.
We’re very sorry for the inconvenience that this caused. The problem is resolved now that we’re back to our normal server, so bloggers shouldn’t receive any additional messages (if you do, please let us know).
One small silver lining in this episode was that spam comments never reached the site unless they were approved manually by our members. Still we are sorry for any annoyance, confusion, and inconvenience that this might have caused.
Thanks, as always, for using the Commons for your work and please don’t hesitate to get in touch to give us your feedback.