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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Site Additions

I have a cold. I'm all hyped up on sudafed so this post'll be a bit ramblin' and I'll probably cringe when I look back at it after the sudafed's worn off. It's been a long time since I last had a cold and I'd forgotten just how annoying they can be. This particular cold has the particularly annoying feature that without any notice whatsoever, my eyes completely tear up and blind me. As a result, I decided not to drive to work today, thereby saving the lives of many of my co-commuters. They should be eternally grateful.

The blindness from tears was just frequent enough that I couldn't do any serious work from home either. So, instead, I hacked at this blog's template. The first thing I did was to finally update the blog links to include the Post-Judd Alliance, of which we're very proud and flattered to even be thought to be included in such a list of blogosphere luminaries. In the process of doing so, I discovered (I think?) that "Susan's Husband" is the same person as "Annoying Old Guy (aog)" at Thought Mesh. (Yes, I am sometimes embarrassingly slow on the uptake). Now I'm so confused that I'm wondering just who is Susan anyway (other than Susan's Husband's Wife's Husband's Wife's Husband) and just how old aog is anyway. He's got kids, so he can't be any older than me, and I'm not old. Am I? AM I?!?!?

Next, I noticed from David's Secret Blog that it's possible to subscribe to the comment stream of a blog or individual post so I added that feature as well. If you click on the subscribe to comments link, your browser (if it's reasonably modern) will probably add some sort of "feed" bookmark for you (at least that's what Firefox does). Nonetheless, I heartily recommend using bloglines instead. If you do use bloglines, then right click on the link, select "Copy Link Location" (or equivalent), and then paste it into the bloglines subscription form and then you'll be notified when any new comments come in for this blog. You can also do this on a post-by-post basis also, by clicking on the subscription link just above the comments on the post's individual page. We have low comment frequency here so I'd recommend just one subscription to all comments for this blog.

This ability to subscribe to comment feeds is very important to me. The problem this solves is that I tend to forget what posts across the various blogs I read that I'm currently commenting on. It's not that I'm commenting on all that many posts at a given time, but I just space it out. Ya know, with work and all kinds of annoying real life distractions. With the ability to subscribe to comment feeds, I won't have to do any work to keep track of it anymore. I'll be automatically reminded. A second advantage is I can feel more comfortable to take time and think about responses to comments and posts on other blogs without having to rush. Rushing often causes me to write something stupid. The reason I rush is that comment threads seem to die after a couple of days so I'm in a hurry to have my say before that happens. It happens partly, I think, because people move on to new posts, but partly because it's hard for everybody to keep track of everything . This will help. I think it has the potential to raise the level of discourse and extend discussions to new heights.

All of the Post-Judd Alliance except Thought Mesh and The Daily Duck have this capability (at the post level, anyway). Thought Mesh isn't using blogger and might not be able to add this capability easily. The Daily Duck is using blogger so I hope they add it soon, especially since there's four of them posting and they are relatively prolific.

Note that there is a substantial delay between when a comment is posted and when bloglines picks it up. This delay seems to be on the order of several hours so this method is mostly useful for the more extended, less frenetic comment threads.

The last addition to this site's template is the Recent Comments column, the idea again coming from David's Secret Blog. I'm not sure how useful it is, but I figure it's worth a try.

In closing, I'll note that we've just had our 10,000th page view since I installed the statcounter. Unfortunately, I can't remember when I installed it so I have no idea what rate of readership that implies,
especially since probably 9,000 of those views are Howard and I checking the formatting of our posts. It's admittedly rather feeble no matter how you look at it since Instapundit probably gets that many views every few minutes. Nonetheless, it's always fun to pass a round number, so I'm celebrating. A round of sudafed for everybody in the room on me! Let's Party!


Susan's Husband said...

Susan is also "She Who Is Perfect in All Ways". I originally used Blogger to comment on weblogs for her family (my in-laws), all of whom remember me better as this name than my actual name. They got in to weblogging because of the weblog I write about Susan's kids (as the in-laws think of them).

I have been designing a comment feed plugin for MovableType for almost a year now, but things keep getting in the way. This summer, hopefully.

Oroborous said...

On behalf of everyone at the Duck, thank you for thinking of us as "luminaries" and "relatively prolific".

Now if we could just add "consistently"...

Ali said...

I simplify by calling him Susan's AOG.

I use Netvibes as my feed reader - just added Great Guys - but for some reason David's blog is permanently stuck on the 21st March entry.

Bret said...

Susan's aog wrote: "Susan is also "She Who Is Perfect in All Ways"."

Oh, I thought that "She Who Is Perfect in All Ways" was Peter's wife. Are you both married to the same person? Sounds kinky. Maybe this Post-Judd alliance thang is a bit more intimate than I initially realized.

You could just move over to blogger, you know, and then you wouldn't have to create your own plugin.

Bret said...


Did you try unsubscribing and resubscribing to David's blog? Sometimes the feed link changes, in which case it might help.

Susan's Husband said...

No, I have never considered moving to Blogger. Writing one's own plugins is both a feature and a bug and I have done quite a few things with those plugins that are completely impossible on Blogger (such as, dealing with junk comments WITHOUT THE TURING FORSAKEN CAPTCHA'S!). I also have the cool auto-linking words (so if you type "ToE" in a comment, it auto links to "Think of England", for example). I have the Textile formatting, to which I am completely addicted. I have the neat yearly archive pages. On another weblog, I have it set up so that I can feature a link to a post by simply putting a specific tag on the post. I have precise control over what HTML tags are allowed in comments (e.g., I can allow BLOCKQUOTE). I'd have to give all that up on Blogger.

Also, my planned comment plugin will be quite a bit more powerful than what Blogger provides.

Bret said...

Ah! I didn't realize how much you had invested in your setup. In that case I'll be looking forward to when you have your comments feed plugin working.