Friendly Trackbacking

One of the inconveniences of Trackback is that it lengthens the process of blogging somewhat; first one blogs a permalink, then must follow up by entering one or more ping URL’s. This especially applies for those of us who are not able or willing to use MT bookmarklets. Trackback-enabled bloggers can help ease the process with these two minor template changes:

1. Add the ping URL to your main blog index, just like the “ping” link in the entry footer below. This way, a blogger linking to your entries need not go into the trackback window to see the ping URL. Here’s the pertinent MovableType template code, to place inside <MTEntries>:

<a href="<$MTEntryTrackbackLink$>">ping!</a>

2. For the benefit of those who are blogging right after viewing your received pings, also put a permalink to the blog entry in the trackback window. Movabletype’s default Trackback template already does that, so it shouldn’t be too much trouble.

(IMPORTANT: Always remember to add the entry anchor to your permalinks if you are using monthly or yearly or category-based archives! That way, following permalinks from blog posts and trackback windows will jump straight to the entry, rather than start from the top of the page.)

An anchored MT-template permalink should look like this, more or less:

<a href="<$MTEntryLink$>#<$MTEntryID pad="1"$>">permalink.</a>

(Update: Those of you who don’t use individual archives will need to apply this MT hack (as of 2.2.1) to get the hash marks of your anchor links to display in your Trackback pings. Otherwise, only a link to your archive file will come up, without an anchor. Thank you, Mr. Ringnalda.)


  1. Raffy says:

    I still don’t understand the use of pings and trackbacking. What exactly does this mean for the layman surfing through your site?

  2. Richard says:

    Hey Paulo! You stole “self-imposed exile” from me!

    Raffy: Yeah, I tried to explain it at a blogger meet last night. Tried 3 times. Not to explain it so that he’d understand it, though. So that I’d understand it.

    What it means, though, is that instead of referring to your post in someone else’s comment system (y’know, the “Hey Paulo, see my post about this”), you send merely the link and an excerpt of your post to their trackback area. So, effectively, you can have a conversation using weblog posts, instead of comments. Weird concept, and will probably take a while to really catch on (esp. when/if it can be used with other weblogging systems).

    Coming soon: threaded trackbacks. Mmm, tasty.

  3. Paulo says:

    Rich – I didn’t mean it! The words just popped out! :D

  4. Raffy says:

    Hmm…so what you’re saying Richard, is that not only are we being effectively lazy by not even typing comments in response to a post anymore, but we can, in fact, recycle our entries for posterity?

    OH the possiblities! After several years of blogging we probably won’t even have to BLOG anymore. We can just refer to our old entries! It’s a hurrah for couch potatoes everywhere!


  5. Vix says:

    Self-imposed exile? You post more often than I do!!! LOL