Archive for Solutions

System upgrade… and a Userthemes error

Hello onMason users!

It’s been a while, I know, but I come with good news! The onMason site has been upgraded to a newer version of WordPress-MU. Things should be running faster and more smoothly now.

Unfortunately, with every upgrade, there’s the chance of an unexpected error coming from the system. Please keep an eye out for us and report any errors you encounter via the comments on this post or by filing a support ticket.

We’ve only encountered one error thus far: Userthemes, which allows users who have requested the ability to edit their themes to do so, seems to have reacted oddly with the latest upgrade. It may list an excessive number of themes copied to your account and it may not give you access to the edit page in UserThemes. We are aware of this difficulty and working quickly to resolve it.

Thanks for your patience and understanding,

-Aram Zucker-Scharff

Upgrades and Improvements

Hello onMason users,

We’ve spend the time over the break thinking up new ways to improve onMason and considering how to make the platform better than ever.

We know that there has been some confusion with system downtime last semester and we have reviewed the problems and we do not anticipate them happening again. However, we are constantly testing and reviewing and we hope soon to take measures to make onMason even faster. In addition, we’re talking with ITU and DoIT to create a monitoring system for the site as well as insure that your support questions will always make their way to us.

If you’d like to help support onMason, don’t forget to tell folks about the platform, how you use it, and its importance. Pass along the info to DoIT, your department, your professors or your friends so that we can all work together to make onMason better.

As you may have noticed, some of our functionality is still down after the last update, we’re working on getting everything back in tip-top shape, but in case we don’t know, don’t forget to report all errors that you encounter. Keep an eye on this blog, we’ll be creating a page to document known issues and solutions soon.

Stay tuned to this blog to hear about more upgrades and further progress.

– The onMason Team

Media Uploads Not Working, How to Upload Anyway

Due to onMason’s switch to a new server, our file upload system is not working. If you are intrested in posting a video or audio file, you can upload them to and use the embed functionality to place code in your post that will display your media.

Here’s how to get your media online during our temporary outage for the media library:
–Go to the URL
–Click Add Files
–Click Create a Drop
–Allow the file to upload
–Roll over the area with the file name on the site.
–Click the arrow.
–Select the embed option
–Copy the code
–Paste the code into your post (but make sure the post is in HTML mode).

Anti-Spam Powers Increased

Users may have noticed the significant increase in spam comments on onMason blogs over the past few days. This issue has been brought to our attention and we have taken steps to solve the solution.

As of today, non-users and users alike will face a significant barrier to spam comments or trackbacks. onMason now has a four step solution to blocking spammers.

Our core system is TypePad Anti-Spam, a plug-in based on WordPress’s Akismet anti-spam system but with a greater compatibility with MU. This system allows a networked ability to catch spam. Posts on any blog with the plugin active and marked as spam will be marked as spam in the future for any blog deploying the plugin. This is a significant advantage over the default system.

We will be filtering Trackback spam using the Simple Trackback Validation Plugin. Follow the link to see just how the Trackback Validation works. Essentially this system will check to make sure trackbacks are linked from a legitimate site and are actually tracking back to you.

The Simple Spam Filter will be checking all comments for certain patterns and an excess of links and blocking any comment that falls into those patterns (as documented on the linked site).

The Anti-Spam Image plugin generates a CAPTCHA that all non-users are required to fill, in order to prevent bots from massively spamming the onMason network.

Thanks also to which distributes many of these plugins together in one package.

It should be noted that if you are using an advanced commenting system such as DISQUS or BackType (both of which are available from your plugin tab), some of these precautions may be bypassed and you will instead be reliant on the anti-spam systems that those services require.

Note: Though all these systems should work as expected, there may be errors. Please tell us if you encounter any problems.