massDeleteManila: AppleScript for mass spam deletion

After the carpal tunnel moment earlier today, I decided to look on the bright side of spam. I updated my hoary old ManilaHandler AppleScript to add support for the Manila.message.delete method (and at the same time bundled the support script SOAPXMLRPCHandler into the body of the script). And I wrote a simple AppleScript, massDeleteManila, that takes a comma delimited list of message IDs and deletes them.

The UI isn’t elegant. You need to type or paste a comma delimited list into a dialog box. Plus no progress bar. But it works, and it is a lot faster than deleting spam through the web UI.

My suggested workflow for using this on your own Manila blog:

  1. Copy and paste the table for your discussion group topic listing page showing the spam messages into Excel.
  2. Copy just the message IDs and paste them into BBEdit (or another word processor).
  3. Search and replace: replace paragraphs with commas.
  4. Run the massDeleteManila script and paste the comma-delimited list of message IDs into the first dialog box.
  5. If you haven’t filled out your blog URL yet, type it in, along with your username and password.
  6. The script runs silently until all the messages have been deleted.

The massDeleteManila script is available for download. I provide it so that other Manila users, such as the Berkman bloggers, can benefit. Please use it carefully—there’s no easy way to undelete messages in Manila, and I cannot provide support if you accidentally delete important content. Note that you may need Tiger to run the script—I haven’t been able to test it under Panther.

Wrapping up the HVAC work

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the final phase of our major surgery on our house’s respiratory system. Having installed a fully functional two-zone cooling system, our contractor team will be installing hot-water coils in the blowers, adding a new gas-fired boiler, and removing the radiators and the oil-burning boiler from the house.

To prepare, I did one last bit of ceiling demolition in the workshop/mechanical room (which now hosts my workbench on one wall and the downstairs AC system on the other), and installed plywood panels over the cement wall of the basement for the new boiler. The Viessmann boiler is a wall-mounted unit, and it will sit on the same wall as the media wiring box on the opposite side of the room from the blower. Pictures forthcoming once the work is finished.

This, needless to say, was another major cause of arm pain. Nothing like swinging a crowbar (plus a hammer and chisel to mark the line in the plaster, plus the drill for the concrete anchors to secure the panels) to really get the forearms screaming.

Oy. ow. Spam hurts

I think that carpal tunnel may be rearing its ugly head here. I’m about two-thirds done deleting the comment spam and my arm is killing me.

The worst part is, I’m finding some previously unnoticed trackback spam too. The worst: a post from last year that had somehow accumulated 116 spam trackback pings.

Things that Manila needs to better manage comment and trackback spam:

  1. Email notification for Trackback pings
  2. “Delete All” on comment and trackback pages
  3. A way to delete multiple messages in the discussion group without opening them one by one

There are other things that could be improved, I’m sure, but I hurt too much to think about them right now.