Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

More avatars

I’ve upgraded to OpenID Comments for MT 1.6.1, the latest version of the Movable Type plugin which adds support for OpenID and sign-ins through LiveJournal. The biggest change is that the plugin will now parse a FOAF file found at the OpenID server and retrieve an avatar should one be provided in it, which means that comments posted with OpenID will now have avatars. They haven’t in the past because OpenID does not send email addresses, which are needed for Gravatar which provides the existing avatars.

I am considering re-organising the comment form to emphasise that I would prefer people (especially regular commenters) to use either TypeKey or OpenID. By doing so, I can ‘trust’ individual commenters which means that any comments they make will bypass the spam filters. Though the spam filters work well, and do favour regular commenters, it’s possible for some comments to not get through if the comment comes from an IP address on an IP blacklist or mentions things like mortgages or medicines lots of times. This means I have to manually approve them, which usually only happens once a day and less if I’m busy – trusted commenters can essentially say what they like and it’ll be posted immediately.

I will keep TypeKey as a separate option because it supports gravatars (I think OpenID Comments has an issue with pulling FOAF documents through TypeKey, possibly because it uses relative instead of absolute paths) and because it allows email addresses to be sent, which in turn means that commenters can subscribe to recieve notification of any new comments posted by email. I know that quite a few TypeKey commenters use this, though I will look into alternatives – MT-Notifier may support something that I can leverage.


  1. Don’t suppose you’ve found a way for the OpenID avatars and gravatars to share the same space? Otherwise the comments are going to end up with a checker board down the side.

  2. Actually I have, through gratuitous use of the MTIfEmpty plugin and lots of <MTElse> tags. The logic goes something like this:

    • If an email address is provided, display a Gravatar.
    • If not, and there’s an OpenID avatar, display that.
    • If neither, display nothing.

    If you like my actual code I’d be more than willing to provide it.

  3. So am I trusted or what?

  4. I see. Thank you.

  5. could you do a case statement rather than nested if’s?
    To be honest I’ve no idea how i’m registered as I did it a long time ago and it automatically remembers who I am so I don’t have to worry about it.

  6. Erm, not in MT’s tag structure. The code is essentially this:
    <MTIfNotEmpty var=”CommentEmail”>
    <!– Display gravatar –>
    <MTIfNotEmpty var=”CommentAuthorPictureURL”>
    <!– Display OpenID image –>

  7. I tried to comment on the relevent post from December, but apparently comments aren’t allowed on it any more – perhaps you should remove the form?
    Anyway, Places is no longer in Firefox 2: