A few folks noticed that a few posts here had gotten their punctuation fudged: all my lovely curly quotes and accented letters and such had been turned into junk characters. I rechecked the character encoding on my MySQL database, rebuilt the database, rechecked the database: everything was just as it should be. Still: junk characters appearing where they’re not supposed to be.
This was only happening with new posts, not when old posts were rebuilt from the database (as when someone posts a comment on an existing post). Which was even weirder, because it indicated there was a problem only in the creation of a post, and not in anything that happened after the post was created.
What fixed the problem, weirdly enough, is turning off pinging of Technorati with each new post. Technorati is undergoing major site maintenance today and isn’t accepting pings — my activity log says, “Ping ‘http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping’ failed: HTTP error: 500 read timeout.”
The Movable Type system was timing out as it was creating new posts, a process that usually ends with pinging Technorati. The posts got created, but somewhere in that timing-out process, the database coughed or something, and the funky junk-characters thing was happening.
Completely bizarre and unexpected, but there we are.
Hopefully this really did solve the problem, and the junk characters won’t return.