Wed 18 Oct
Something’s up with my installation of Movable Type and/or the MySQL database powering it. Often, during the publishing process — after hitting Save or Rebuild — the application will fail in its attempt to get a response back from the server. What results is a message that says, “Internal Server Error.” Fun, right?
This was something I started to see a few months ago, about the same time that I upgraded, after much delay, to Movable Type version 3.3. (To be fair, I’m not entirely sure that the upgrade was the cause of the problem.)
At first, I thought I was only seeing it on the administrative end, when I was editing posts, creating new ones, or managing comments. Then I started to realize that users were seeing it, too, because I suddenly started to get multiple copies of comments, often published in quick succession. Obviously, people were — and in fact, all evidence indicates that they still are — submitting their comments, encountering this error, and then, thinking their remarks weren’t successfully published, submitting them again until some sort of confirmation indication appears.
Anyway, for all of this trouble that users are experiencing while trying to contribute remarks, I apologize. I’m also grateful for those who persevere, despite the unfriendly technical feedback, in posting their remarks. It means a lot to me that you don’t immediately append your comments with an angry denunciation of my inept publishing setup. Thanks, and keep commenting!
I’m trying to work with the nice folks at Dreamhost to resolve the situation now, but it may take some time because there’s no apparent cause for it in the MySQL setup. Also, it may take some time because when it comes to troubleshooting PERL, CGI, MySQL and Apache publishing, I’m useless. If anyone out there has come across a similar problem while using Movable Type, and you’ve hit upon a fix, please let me know. I’m very comfortable with the template aspect of the application, but I know diddly squat about the back-end.
Of course, this underscores the complex nature of Web applications today — and how low are our expectations for being able to manage them. If you’re running an application on your own server, the technical bar is high enough that this kind of difficulty requires more advanced know-how than someone like me possesses. And, I’ll be frank: I think it’s reasonable to expect that running a blogging application on my own server is something that I shouldn’t need major back-end knowledge to resolve.