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Evidence for the WP-SpamShield Mess

Sadly, yesterday I allowed myself to be drawn into the WP-SpamShield developer’s “I said, you said” game and went around in circles for a few messages until the moderator yet again closed the thread, and again I got the warning. So what’s left there are opposing statements from an unhappy user and the developer of a plugin with a 4.9-star average rating, with the developer insisting they have “literally been dealing with [me] since November of last year” and “bent over backwards trying to help” while I refused their help and have been abusing and harassing them all this time. And instead of simply posting the evidence and letting it speak for itself, I allowed myself to be drawn into that sort of game until the thread was closed, like I said.

So let me just post the evidence here now, starting with the logs being referred to, which the developer claims included “many errors in [my] theme and other plugins”. This is straight from the log I sent to him last November, when he asked for it in the first reply to the support request. At the time, the problem only appeared when first loading a page on my site after opening the browser, or more specifically when the session cookie was not set, but the delay is the same as what 1.9.8.1 caused on every single page or operation, every single time. Removed file locations, but these four notices are all from my theme, as anything from any other plugins would have been impossible anyway, since WP-SpamShield was literally the only plugin even installed, not to mention active.

[25-Nov-2015 14:37:24 UTC] PHP Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the “Sidebar 1” sidebar. Defaulting to “sidebar-1”. Manually set the id to “sidebar-1” to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.)
[25-Nov-2015 14:37:48 UTC] PHP Notice: wp_list_cats is deprecated since version 2.1! Use wp_list_categories() instead.
[25-Nov-2015 14:37:48 UTC] PHP Notice: get_links_list is deprecated since version 2.1! Use wp_list_bookmarks() instead.
[25-Nov-2015 14:37:48 UTC] PHP Notice: get_categories was called with an argument that is deprecated since version 3.0!

If you check the times, you will clearly notice that 24-second delay in there, before loading one part of the code and another. On the other hand, below you see how it looks now, with WP-SpamShield removed and no delays anymore. Exact same notices, with some added information for the last one, the only real difference being the lack of a delay.

[19-May-2016 12:10:57 UTC] PHP Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the “Sidebar 1” sidebar. Defaulting to “sidebar-1”. Manually set the id to “sidebar-1” to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.)
[19-May-2016 12:10:57 UTC] PHP Notice: wp_list_cats is deprecated since version 2.1! Use wp_list_categories() instead.
[19-May-2016 12:10:57 UTC] PHP Notice: get_links_list is deprecated since version 2.1! Use wp_list_bookmarks() instead.
[19-May-2016 12:10:57 UTC] PHP Notice: get_categories was called with an argument that is deprecated since version 3.0! type => link is deprecated. Use taxonomy => link_category instead.

But what do you know, now that I looked I found an error log with the entry below. Only thing there, in fact. Again removed file location, but it said it was actually caused by WP-SpamShield, while I had 1.9.8.1 active. Must have happened when I checked a page that didn’t exist, as I recall noticing that it failed to display the normal message in case the page isn’t found and I ended up with a standard 404 page instead, so now I know why. Of course, now that works normally as well, with WP-SpamShield removed.

[17-May-2016 15:37:58 UTC] PHP Fatal error: Call to undefined function http_response_code()

But this is just a little thing, the more important matter being that they supposedly had to deal with me “literally” since last November and I have been abusive and harassed them all this time, right? Well, in that case I’d ask you to have a look at the end of the exchange from November and my first message from May. Masked e-mail addresses, just in case spam bots are smart enough to grab even from images, but that’s all there was, and I zoomed out that much in order to fit everything in one screenshot and not need to paste more than one together and give anyone any reason to assume I may have cut something out. I have the whole thing saved if anybody’s interested, starting from my support request on November 24 to this last message of mine on November 26, but in the image linked to above you have his last reply and my last reply from that initial exchange and then, like I said, the message I sent this month, after updating to 1.9.8 and noticing the issue appear when writing to the database, before 1.9.8.1 made it far, far worse. There was nothing in between and, seriously, if anybody sees me being abusive or harassing in there, or being “asked not to contact [them] multiple times”, please point it out to me.
Admittedly, since that wasn’t sent by e-mail, I don’t have the second support request sent, after his reply to that May 7 e-mail of mine. He insists I was abusive in that one and I definitely don’t recall anything of the sort. Asked for him to quote me if that was the case, which he did not, but I did already apologize regardless, in case my frustration at being talked down to and having what I say ignored did happen to grow to anger at some point as I was writing it.
However, what I do have is the next, and last, e-mail I sent, which resulted in me being completely banned for the site, supposedly because it constituted a bad case of harassment. So have a look at that as well and tell me which part of it could count as such, please. Again, masked the e-mail addresses for the same reason and also the links to the videos and one version number. Links would be dead now anyway, as I deleted the videos when it was clear there was no reason to have them there when they hadn’t been viewed even in the first place anyway, and call me paranoid but there are a few things I didn’t want to post so publicly. Everything else is right there though, and anyone can judge the facts.

And, of course, there’s also the issue of the problem appearing on other sites that use WP-SpamShield as well, which definitely rules out the claim that it’s something specific to my site. And to stick to facts, I just recorded another video of that happening on two sites that I found after searching for that little text users of WP-SpamShield can choose to have placed in the comments area if they wish to promote the plugin. Now I can’t know what version they use, but I can make a pretty good guess, considering the delay, which is in fact significantly longer than what I had been experiencing on my blog.

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