Trackbacks were created by Movable Type originally, and they’re a great concept. Reference an article on another site, and get a reciprocal link to your article. It’s the very sort of hypertextual threading that makes the Internet such a wonderful resource.
Except when it’s abused.
As anyone with their own blog can attest, spam is a problem. Unscrupulous marketers for gambling, porn, penile enhancements and other crap post “comments” with links hawking their websites. I effectively shut that down by requiring all comments be either approved or submitted via a valid TypePad account. But trackbacks were another issue.
Up to now, trackbacks haven’t required approval. I could turn them on or off, and I can delete them, but there was no process for approving trackbacks. And so the spammers found a way to submit bogus trackbacks to their crappy sites.
But I’m hopeful that this problem will soon be resolved. Movable Type 3.2 is currently in beta testing, with a new feature that allows trackback approvals before they go “live” (and pollute my site). Time permitting, I’ll probably join the beta sometime next week, and send the spammers to hell, where they all belong.