Never try to change anything using WordPress.com

A few weeks ago I learned of a cool little statistics package that you can install on your WordPress blog that does a really good job of managing your stats. So I installed it here on this blog to see what people are searching for, reading and generally interested in and tied it an API key from WordPress.com account that I have used for my Akismet (anti-spam) plugin.

A few days later I realized that the WordPress.com account I have been using for Akismet was tied to my old business profile name, Everah, and not my newer, more open identity of RobertGonzalez. So I decided to change the API key I am using for Akismet and Stats to the API key for my personal account rather than my business account. And that, my friends, is wherein my biggest pain in the butt for the last two weeks has resided.

It started with the fact that there is really not a clear set of instructions for changing your Stats API key. Unlike Akismet, where you can go to Plugins -> Akistmet Configuration from inside your admin panel and change your API key, Stats requires that you deactivate it as a plugin first, then reactivate it then go through all the rigmarole of setting it all back up again. After finding the instructions to do that – thanks to Google and a lot of pissed of WordPress.com Stats users – I deactivated the plugin and reactivated it again, setting it up this time with my personal API key. Which, in my case didn’t, seem work.

So after playing around with this forever I decided that it was time to submit a help ticket to the WordPress crew. The context of the ticket was pretty simple, I wanted to swap API keys between my personal and business accounts on their end, which in my opinion, would have been the easiest thing to do. Their support response, looking back on it now, were actually pretty good, except they did not answer my questions and actually led to more questions on top of the ones I had. When you get to the end of it all you will see that their initial suggestion (or second one) is in fact what I ended up doing. But it was a nightmare going through all of this.

The following is the transcript of all of our conversations (skip this and continue on the other side of it):

from: Anthony – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 7:15 AM
subject    [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Hi,
You cannot move API keys around. If you wish for us to transfer a blog to a different account, we can do that: http://support.wordpress.com/moving-a-blog/#transferring-your-blog-to-another-user-or-account

Best,
Anthony
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 10:05 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

What I really want is to use the API key and history from the “everah” account only have it under the “robertgonzalez” account. My self hosted blog has a pretty decent Akismet history from the API key associated with the everah account and I just installed the stats plugin. I really want to not have my self hosted blog associated with the “everah” account at all and would prefer to have everything run from the “robertgonzalez” API key.

Should I just abandon the history I have with the everah account and start all over with the robertgonzalez account?

from: Anthony – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 10:51 AM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Hi,
I can add the robertgonzalez account to the self-hosted blog’s access list from this end – so that it can access the blog stats. If this is what you would like, please verify the blog URL.

Best,
Anthony
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 7:38 PM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Does that mean if I switch the Akismet and WordPress.com Stats API key then the data that has been collected so far would transfer as well? What I really would like is to not lose the Akismet stats I have collected under the everah account. Both everah and robertgonzalez have the same email and same URL for the blog address (http://www.robert-gonzalez.com) which is my self-hosted blog.

from: Nick – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 6:33 AM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Hi,
The stats aren’t stored with the account, they are stored with the blog. So giving another user access doesn’t do anything to the stats.

Nick
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 7:20 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

I tried that, switching the API key from the everah API key to the robertgonzalez API key and my stat count dropped from thousands down to 8 for akismet. Both accounts have my self hosted blog url registered to it. That is why I thought that switching was going to cause stat trouble.

So if I change the API key then theoretically nothing should change as long as the blog is registered to the account?

Robert

from: Nick – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 7:45 AM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Correct. You mention Akismet, but Akismet isn’t blog stats, it’s for blocking spam on your blog.


Nick
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 8:56 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Right, by my akismet numbers changed too when I changed the API key which led me to believe that the API key was holding the stats, not the blog URL. Also, when I switched the API keys my stats basically vanished and I was told that I didn’t have access to the stats. I am guessing that had something to do with me being logged in to WordPress.com under everah while trying to hook into the robertgonzalez api key.

Really I just want everything to roll into one account: robertgonzalez. But I have history with the everah account that I want to make sure I don’t lose. If I need to massage the stats and akismet stuff though I guess I can.

Also, when are the developers of the stats plugin going to offer the ability to change the API key like Akisment does? Right now you either have to change the API key in akismet or, short of that, edit the wordpress_api_key config value to change it for stats.

from: Sheri – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 4:42 PM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Hi,
Akismet should work the same even if the numbers are different because it’s collective. Are you saying that spam is getting blocked differently if you switch the API key?

Also note that there is no way to look up Akismet stats on the wordpress.com system, so it really doesn’t matter which wordpress.com account you connect Akismet to from our point of view.

Sheri
Automattic | WordPress.com
http://support.wordpress.com/
http://en.forums.wordpress.com/

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 5:03 PM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

What I am saying is right now, under Akismet stats, using the API key from the “everah” account, I see this:
4,396 spams caught, 228 legitimate comments, and an overall accuracy rate of 99.805%.

When I change my API key in the akismet admin screen to the API key for the “robertgonzalez” account, that line becomse something like:
8 spams caught, 0 legitimate comments, and an overall accuracy rate of 100.00%.

That is why I asked about the API keys. Also, when I switched the API key in akismet, the wordpress.com stats plugin seemed to go haywire. Like it didn’t know who I was or something.

I just want to make sure that the few days of stat harvesting and the last few months of akismet data harvesting doesn’t get whacked with a single change to the API key.

from: Sheri – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 5:17 PM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

The data cannot be transferred between wordpress.com accounts. If you want to keep the same Akismet numbers showing in your blog, then you must use the first API key. If you want to change it, then it should not effect the future accuracy of the spam blocking, you will just see different numbers. It’s up to you if you whether to switch it or not.

When you change your API key for Akismet, it should not affect the stats. However, if you switch the API key for stats, make sure to select the “replace an existing blog” option in step 2.

Sheri
Automattic | WordPress.com
http://support.wordpress.com/
http://en.forums.wordpress.com/

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 9:39 PM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

How do you unregister a blog from wordpress.com? I just tried switching API keys and I think since http://www.robert-gonzalez.com is registered to my “everah” account I cannot associate it with my “robertgonzalez” account. I keep getting this error when I input my API key:

WordPress.com Stats
Error from last API Key attempt:

Missing API Key

The WordPress.com Stats Plugin is not working because it needs to be linked to a WordPress.com account.

Enter your WordPress.com API key to link this blog to your WordPress.com account. Be sure to use your own API key! Using any other key will lock you out of your stats. (Get your key here.)

This is after I enter the API key and hit the “Add new blog” button. What do I do now?

from: Nick – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 6:14 PM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

If you log into WordPress.com with the ‘everah’ account and then visit http://support.wordpress.com/contact/ to send us a request, we can change the owner of the WordPress.com stats for the domain. Make sure to let us know the domain name and the user you want to have access.


Nick
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 10:53 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

I can’t submit a contact to you using the link below because the only blog attached to that account is my self hosted blog and your ticket system will not accept messages from blogs that are not hosted on your site.

This is a monumental pain in the ass. I really wish you would fix this. Seriously, it shouldn’t be this freaking hard to make a simple change.

from: Nick – WordPress.com
to: robert@robert-gonzalez.com
date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 6:44 AM
subject [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

There may be a bug in our system them. Because it should let you message us about a blog connected to our system through WordPress.com stats. Is the form giving you an error?


Nick
Automattic | WordPress.com

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 9:40 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

Yes. Here are the steps I took:

1. Log in to WordPress.com using the account “everah”.
2. Go to http://support.wordpress.com/contact/
3. Fill out the form and leave the Blog URL field empty
4. Submit

Error: Let us know the URL of your blog.

I then select the only Blog URL that is on my account, http://www.robert-gonzalez.com and submit…

Error: We only provide support for WordPress.com blogs here. Please go to the WordPress.org Support Forum for further help.

from: Robert Gonzalez
to: support@wordpress.com
date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 9:45 AM
subject Re: [WordPress #252013]: General – That I really only need one. But I cannot merge th

You know, I was just reading the tips above the form and #3 says:
We only support WordPress blogs hosted here on WordPress.com. If your blog is running the self-hosted version of WordPress, you should seek support elsewhere.

So dude, what the hell? Am I stuck in the position I am in?

Ultimately what I needed to do was remove this blog’s URL from my business account, where it was primary, and move it to my personal account as the primary blog. But I had to have some way of doing that so I could request it through their system. So I had to get crafty, tricksy if you will, so I could circumvent the stupid trouble ticket form on their web site. Wanna know how I did it?

What I finally ended up doing was creating a new WordPress.com blog under my “everah” username so I could submit a help ticket to the crew. I then logged into that account and sent them a trouble ticket in which I told them to reference this long string of emails that we vollied to one another and asked that they just move this blog’s url from one account to the other. Which is what they suggested in the first place.

They did it. And of course, now stats work properly, but Akismet is now down to nothing again, so I ended up going back to API key from my business for that. But at least stats are working. And at least I was able to get this situation mostly resolved. But if there is one thing I would suggest you never do, it is try to change anything on your own blog and then ask for help from the WordPress.com crew to make it happen smoother.

Undecided about WordPress 2.7

I upgraded my installation of WordPress to 2.7 today at the behest of WordPress 2.6 and I am enjoying all of the newest little features of the app. I am not sure if WordPress felt it was in need of a face lift or if it just needed to feel the excitement of youth again, but this is a mid-life crisis I can see having a lasting consequence.

When you log in to the new admin panel the first thing you notice is the change of color and scenery. Gone are the beautiful contrasting blues and oranges with big lettered phrases and invitations. Gone is the horizontal navigation bar with all the easy to reach features of the dashboard.

Now what used to be a pretty interface is a nice monochromatic splash of what TV used to look like in the 50’s. Of course, this gray on gray action does offer a lot of whiz-bang, but looks very gray. Did I mention it is gray?

It’s all good though, because now I can move a box here or there that I did not want there or here before. And I also have these outrageous gray outlined icons in my admin lists as well, which makes the already prominent gray just a little more gray.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too picky, seeing as I only paid $0.00 for the entire application. But it would seem to me that if you are going to improve something that you would shoot to improve it. Yes, WP2.7 works very well, is pretty compact in terms of squashing everything into a single page and uses some cool, three year old Javascripts to make things flashy. But I am not sure that makes WP2.7 that much better than WP2.6.

So I am undecided for the time being. I am sure that I will come around to the newest version of WordPress. I did when WP2.0 came out. It took a while, but I did come around. I am just hoping that at some point the WP development team will decide to make admin themes a part of WordPress. If I was able to make my own admin theme or find one on the internet, well, then I would be utterly happy about this update.

Until then, I think I will go practice my Eeyore voice and ponder when the sun will be coming out again.

WordPress 2.6 is now officially released

WordPress 2.6 was officially released today. There are a ton of new additions, bug fixes and other coolnesses within this release so you might want to get a hold of the newest version and update your WordPress.

I already updated in case you were wondering. 😉

EDIT | Apparently there have been some folks having issues with the upgrade. Chris Brogran, famed Twitterer and blogger, reported that his upgrade didn’t take and he had to roll back his installation. Sounds like the WordPress team needs to spend a little time looking into this, huh?

Posting YouTube videos to WordPress in valid XHTML

I realized in my quest to build a new theme for my blog that as I did validation testing on the markup that it didn’t validate (against the XHTML 1 Strict DTD – because I am a little Geek OCD when it comes to my markup). After a bit of inspection I realized that it was the stupid YouTube code that I copied from their site that was throwing off my validation.

Apparently YouTube thinks that everyone that puts their code into a site writes their markup under the transitional DTD. How stupid is that? A la:

<object width="425" height="344">
<param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Rw8gE3lnpLQ&hl=en"></param>
<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Rw8gE3lnpLQ&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344"></embed>
</object>

Well I wasn’t about to be told that I cannot have valid XHTML in my code. After all, I took the time to make sure the core code was valid, why should I tolerate invalid markup injected into my code by YouTube or WordPress or anyone? Exactly.

My solution? Simple. Google.

And Google, being the friend to me that is always has been, helped me right from the go. It took me Valid XHTML to Embed a YouTube Video. After reading some of the goodness on this tutorial I read the comments. And lo and behold, I ran across another tidbit of goodness that all bloggers that are into valid XHTML output should look at.

The Valid XHTML YouTube embed code generator – Online tool is totally awesome. It is fast, clean and reliable. I have already used it twice and will more than likely be using for every video embed I post until I want (bad enough) to write a WordPress plugin. Until then, if you are at all interested in keeping your XHTML template standards compliant, hit this little converter up because it rocks.

And just so I can prove myself to not be a liar… remember that little YouTube generated code snippet above? This is how it comes out afterward:

<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" style="width:425px; height:344px;" data="http://www.youtube.com/v/Rw8gE3lnpLQ">
<param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Rw8gE3lnpLQ" />
</object>
<div style="font-size: 0.8em">
<a href="http://www.tools4noobs.com/online_tools/youtube_xhtml/">Get your own valid XHTML YouTube embed code</a>
</div>

Yeah, I thought it was great too. Enjoy.