Speaking of good customer service

I'll start with backstory, even though it's not really relevant:

The other morning when I came downstairs, I found the screen on the outside my living room window was hanging half open, as if someone had pulled one side of it out away from the window. There was no other sign of intrusion; I suspect it was just the wind. I pulled the screen closed and made sure the windows were securely closed.

But then it occurred to me that my backups are on a hard drive that I keep next to my laptop, and that in the unlikely event of someone breaking into my house and stealing my computer stuff, they would most likely get the backups as well as the laptop. Also, various friends have had computer problems recently, and I figured it was time to do a backup that I could keep offsite. So I backed up my hard drive onto a small portable hard drive and left the backup in a filing cabinet at work. Won't help if California sinks into the ocean, or if Moffett Field gets hit by a nuke, but at least it's not actually in my house.

Emboldened by the success of that backup, I noticed tonight that I hadn't backed up any databases in a while. One of my few complaints about Pair, my web host, is that they don't provide a backup service. So I went and backed up Mary Anne's journal database, and a couple of other databases, and then I got to my MT journal. And I started the backup running, and it seemed to be taking a long time, and I looked at the file it was generating, and what's normally about a 5MB file was up to 150MB and counting.

So I stopped it running, and thought for a second, and realized where the problem lay:

Movable Type has a pretty good comment-spam filter. And over the past two months, it had automatically marked over 30,000 comments as junk. (An average of 15-20 an hour.) But it hadn't deleted any of them.

I have it set up to auto-delete after a certain number of days, but it had never actually worked. So I checked the MT documentation, but that didn't provide a useful answer. So--bear in mind that this is after 10:00 p.m. on a Wednesday--I posted a comment to that documentation page, asking them to clarify when/how the auto-deletion system was activated. I also noted that it wasn't working for me, but that I would probably post a support request for help with that, so really all I was asking for was an update to the docs.

At 10:57 p.m., I received a note from a Movable Type staff person, who had fixed the documentation. Furthermore, the fix to the docs said (more or less) "There's a known issue with this system; you have to go to such-and-such part of the blog interface to get the system to work." So I went to that part of the interface, and lo! the system worked. So I didn't have to file a support ticket after all.

I felt a little embarrassed that I hadn't checked their support system for help with this. But mostly I felt astonished that they've got someone on staff who's willing to fix their documentation at 11 p.m., less than an hour after some random member of the public files a suggestion for improvement.

I'm really impressed. The MT people have been mostly quite good to me all along, but this goes beyond anything I could've expected. Nice work!

Perhaps this will get me to finally follow up with them about the "internal server errors" that still come up sometimes when people post comments here. They were very willing to help out with that when I last talked with them; I just dropped the ball on responding to their last email about it.

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