In which JiveUrinal is asymmetrically f’ed up

LiveJournal really confuses me sometimes. I read and comment on people’s journals using my [info] OpenID account. My actual blog gets syndicated there by the [info]brianenigma_rss pseudo-account. It seems that LiveJournal, even though it is acting like an RSS reader, allows people to comment on its local copies of RSS articles. This morning, Kim pointed out to me that people have been responding to my posts on LiveJournal and I have had no clue that this has been occurring because nobody really “owns” brianenigma_rss so “you have new comments” notification emails do not get sent. That’s a bit annoying, but I guess I can deal with it.

So I want to respond to some of these comments. But it turns out that when I go to do this, I am told that OpenID users are not authorized to reply to RSS entries and am prevented from doing so. Does this seem messed up to anyone else, or is it just me? My OpenID blog feeds LiveJournal content and I am able to use OpenID to reply to the journal entries of LiveJournal users, but am unable to use OpenID to reply to my own blog’s RSS entries on LJ?

So anyway, this all came up because I tried to respond to TheBruce’s comment. And because I can’t respond to it within LJ, I guess I’ll just have to post it:

Thanks for the heads-up! I tracked down a copy if IE7 on someone’s machine at work today and fixed the CSS and image glitch. I guess that’s why I stopped being a professional web developer 8-ish years ago. Well, that and the dot-bomb.

For future reference, I rarely check comments on LiveJornal’s RSS copy of my blog posts. I only saw this (and a previous comment from Krystyn) today because Kim pointed them out to me. I’m not sure how many others I may have missed. Truth be told, I’m actually a little confused as to why LJ even lets folks write responses to RSS. The “(n comments)” image is a link that takes you to the blog’s actual comment page. Maybe I should tweak my template to make that a little less ambiguous.

4 thoughts on “In which JiveUrinal is asymmetrically f’ed up”

  1. hehe gotcha. Well what you could do is once your post is made on LJ, track the entry manually (if you go to LJ, are you logged in as anything, even? If not, then forget this idea). I’m not sure if OpenID supports it, if only because OpenID isn’t a paid account (though I can’t remember who they allow to use the ‘track’ feature and when); so then if there are replies to the entry, you’d get email notification.

    I dunno. I think OpenID was a quickfix LJ made to offer more support for newer services, and its support still just in its infancy. Perhaps suggest the issue you’re having should be fixed in their next update. I don’t see why it should be a huge issue unless they want your money :P. Technically, I don’t see there being a difference between a syndicated entry and an account entry, so I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be possible. But, not being an LJ developer, I’m talking out of my ass, and they likely have a reason 😛
    Anyway, suggest it. see what they say. If you even care to, that is. 🙂

  2. “Well what you could do is once your post is made on LJ, track the entry manually…”

    The problem there is that I have to remember to go over to LJ when it’s posted. The RSS is available immediately, but it takes several hours for it to trickle over to LJ. By the time that happens, my brain is likely in some other space and has forgotten. I think that I can track it, though. I think. At least, I know I can get comment-reply notifications when I write a comment on somebody’s blog entry and then someone responds to that. I think that “watch this topic for any responses and email me” is about the same. I remember them rolling that out, but I’ve never used it.

    I think OpenID was a quickfix LJ made…

    Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! I think you hit the nail right on the head. LJ being an OpenID server is actually supposed to be be fairly robust (using your LJ account to log in elsewhere.) LJ as an OpenID consumer (using your account elsewhere to log into LJ) still needs a lot of work. The more I think about it, the more I think that the no-OpenID and no-anonymous replies to an RSS entry is a systemic problem for which there is no good solution. I can see why they are enforcing the restriction–to prevent spam. OpenID simply lets you trace back a single-sign-on account to a URL, but doesn’t provide much more security or authoritativeness than that. There’s not even a verification email. It just provides proof that “this person here has access to change content at that URL over there.” I could set up an OpenID server with a bunch of dummy users at,, etc. I could then automate a bunch of spammy comment posting for those users. A regular LJ user would see such comments on their journal and delete them as spam. Because the RSS feed “journals” aren’t really owned by anyone, nobody (but the probably already overloaded support staff) can delete them. The only way I see around this is to disallow any commenting on RSS entries or to use some kind of “crowdsourcing” to let users flag things as spam, and if enough people flag an item, delete it (or put it in a queue for a support person to review and delete.)

    At any rate, I tweaked my RSS template a bit in an attempt to make the comment link more apparent, which may help subvert the problem altogether.

  3. you could look into setting up a script that would auto-post to Livejournal when you post here… so rather than using an RSS, you’d actually have a LJ account, complete with email, so when someone replies, you get notified. You don’t have to use LJ, it would just be the script.
    It must be possible because there is software that auto-posts to numerous blogger sites… so setting something up to post a new RSS entry as LJ entry should be relatively simple.

    Even if it’s a matter of manually creating a script that logs in via http request (save the login cookie) then posts the standard entry form :). Though I’m sure there’s an API that would automate that too.

  4. Yep, I actually had such a script (and continue to have one for MySpace and for Facebook) and specifically turned it off. The way WordPress is set up, these plugins get run in a chain as soon as you post. If any one fails (e.g. the other server is down or overwhelmed), then the whole post kinda-sorta-fails. It gets saved to WordPress, obviously, but some or all of the remote blogs don’t get updated (depending on how early in the chain it fails) and the WordPress XML RPC mechanism that I use for posting from a desktop app reports a general failure without a more specific error message, so I have to manually figure out what happened. Because of this annoyance (LJ was down frequently, or at least not serving back responses in a timely fashion), because of LJ politics and drama, and because I felt I had outgrown LJ (or, at least, their direction didn’t seem to jive with mine anymore), I cut LJ out of the cross-posting and went with the more robust RSS mechanism. (LJ’s support of OpenID commenting was just an extra bonus.) I just didn’t realize at the time that LJ allows comments on RSS syndicated posts.

    I’m actually considering pulling the MySpace cross-poster, too. That seems to be down frequently, as well. The problem there is that most of my LJ friends are savvy enough to understand RSS (or, at the very least, can subscribe to the brianenigma_rss “user” with no difficulty.) Most of my MySpace friends are old highschool friends and/or infrequent web users and pretty much consider MySpace to be “the internet” much like people considered AOL to be “the internet” back in the day. That’s where they “post their web pages” and the MySpace messaging system is their “email.” Similarly, MySpace is also their blog for posting and aggregateor for reading other (MySpace) blogs. And, of course, MySpace doesn’t support open protocols like RSS. So pulling the LJ cross-posting has a decent workaround, but pulling the MySpace cross-poster really does disconnect me from a lot of people.

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