Saturday, November 03, 2012

2345 and counting

This is my 2,345th published blog post. I have to make that distinction because there were two more blog posts that I published, then removed (about which, more toward the end of this post). I only count the posts that are still available.

2,345 is, of course, an unimportant number, except I like the numeric pattern the sequence makes (and as I’ve said many times, I like number patterns). So, this seemed to be as good a place as any to stop and catch up on some bits and pieces about this blog.

Spam wars

I’ve written previously about my war with spam comments after I turned off word verification. About three weeks ago, I wrote about turning off email notification. I’ve since found out that sometimes I still get those emails about spam comments (though a few a day, not the dozens I was getting). Maybe there’s another setting somewhere I missed.

Anyway, I mention all this as much as I do to make clear I’m trying to fight off the spam as best I can. A spam comment did get through all the defences last month, but I was able to delete it pretty quickly. The war rages on.

Related to that, I’ve shut down the “Most Popular Posts” list on this blog. The posts that showed up as “popular” were, more often than not, there because spambots were targeting them. So, those posts weren’t necessarily the ones that people were actually reading, and that made the whole thing kind of pointless. It’s a pity, really, because I liked the idea of it.

Now with 47% more Googleness

I made up that statistic, but this blog is now even more tightly integrated with Google and Google+. For starters, my old Blogger Profile has been replaced by my Google Profile. That means all my posts are now signed with my name, not my original nickname. Also, the little flag lapel pin icon I’ve used since the beginning is gone—or, is it?

I created a page for the blog on Google+ and I made a custom header for it that uses that lapel pin photo as the page profile photo—I mean, why not? So, the image lives on… and it could pop up here again in the future. To get to the page, by the way, just click on that big “g+” icon on the right side of the blog (and if you’re on Google+, feel free to encircle the blog).

I did all that in part because Google is promising new (secret) Blogger features that will only be available to people who link their blogs to Google+. Even if that doesn’t happen, or just not any time soon, there are still some advantages. For example, I can directly share posts on Google+ as I publish them, and then people who don’t normally read the blog can see posts they might be interested in (as an aside, Facebook makes it harder for pages to be seen, even by people who “Like” your page). It also makes it easier for me to share content between and among my various outposts in the Google empire. I had 30 days to revert to the old Blogger Profile, but I almost certainly won’t.

Dealing with the past

I said at the start of this post that I deleted two published posts. The first one was because the YouTube video in it was censored for political reasons, and the second because I was pwned. I wouldn’t delete those posts if the same things happened today. [Update: Both deleted posts have been restored—follow the links to get to them]

For example, I know that some of the campaign videos I’ve been posting this year will one day be deleted from YouTube. So, I started taking screen shots of the way the video player looks now so that I can use that as an image of the deleted video later on (if I want to). That’s what I could have done with the first post I deleted, or I could simply have added an explanation to the post.

I also shouldn’t have deleted the second post, either. Now, I would simply add a link to the follow-up post, and maybe add a disclaimer/explanation at the top of the post. The fact that I wrote that post because I was deceived by deep cover parody was a valid thing to blog about in itself, but it’s no reason to delete the original—with proper notes, of course.

So, I will probably end up doing something along those lines and restore those two old posts. If I do, this post would become number 2347, but as I write this, and at the point I publish it, it’s 2345.

Speaking of old posts, I once had a rule that I could make whatever changes I wanted to a post up until I published a new one after it. After that point, I’d allow myself to correct nothing other than typos. Now, I do sometimes also make minor edits to old posts for the sake of clarity. It occurred to me that any author would make corrections and edits to books they published, so why shouldn’t I do that with posts? They’re not sacred texts, after all.

Far more common, though, is that I’ve been fixing the formatting of really old posts as I run across them. In 2006 and 2007 (and possibly later), I wrote my posts in Word, did the formatting (bold, italic, adding links) and then pasted them into Blogger’s “Compose” window. What I didn’t know way back then is that all of Microsoft’s XML tags were copied into the post as well.

This became a problem when I upgraded Blogger at some point, and suddenly those tags wrecked my layouts: They added many extra spaces between paragraphs, sometimes between words. So, I’ve been slowly fixing all those formatting problems by manually stripping out the XML tags.

And that’s everything about the past and behind the curtain of this blog, and more than enough meta for now. Back to troublemaking.

Update November 4: This morning I had 20 unnecessary email messages to "moderate" spam comments, a record since I supposedly "turned off" email notifications. All up, there were 226 spam comments held in the queue when I went to check (I cleared the queue last night). I also found that there are, as I suspected, TWO different places to set the email address for comment notifications; I'd turned off one, but not the other. I've done that now, so that should fix it…


Roger Owen Green said...

Yeesh - left a lengthy message, and got some damn Blogger error...

Roger Owen Green said...

Well, OK. Basically what I said was that I like your meta post. I don't delete stuff, unless I was wrong; broken links are just part of the internet.