New broom

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I gave it a good try, but the whole thing of 2-3 posts a day just didn’t work out. People are too attached to their walled garden social networks. With a very few exceptions, I didn’t get comments. So, this site’s going back to being a place for things I’ve written. For the time being, I’m not going to bother with a comments system either.

Site maintenance

The anti-spam plugin I’d been using has been discontinued by its author, so I’ve switched to a different one that seems highly recommended. E-mail me (or send me a message via Twitter) if you notice any problems commenting, logging in, etc. I considered adding Google’s new CAPTCHA-less reCAPTCHA, but decided to hold off on that unless it proves absolutely necessary. The new plugin requires that JavaScript and cookies be enabled, but I believe that was already the case.

New site design

I’ve just deployed a brand new site design. The new theme is Hexa by Automattic. I think it’s a big improvement, given my new link-heavy content strategy™, but let me know if you notice any problems. I’m not wild about the hidden-ness of the menus and search (check out the hexagons top right), but I can probably fix that when I have some spare time.

Running a web site in 2014

I recently did some work on the back end of my web sites. I consolidated all the individual WordPress installs into a single multi-user one, cleaned up the database to free up disk space, and slimmed down the number of plugins. I’m taking advantage of Automattic’s Jetpack plugin to provide functionality that previously required a bunch of third party plugins, including: Markdown support (including in comments) “Like” buttons for social network sharing Mobile device support Push notifications when someone comments Comment login via social networks E-mail subscriptions It wasn’t long before I got some mild negative feedback: My changing the login system meant that some comments got flagged as spam which shouldn’t have been, so I had to go in and unflag them.

Well-kept gardens also die from activism

Over at lesswrong.com a posting titled Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism makes the case that “Good online communities die primarily by refusing to defend themselves”, and that moderators are necessary. That may be true, but it’s also the case that moderation can kill communities. Any community that really needs to question its moderators, that really seriously has abusive moderators, is probably not worth saving. But this is more accused than realized, so far as I can see.

Navel gazing

I rarely pay any attention to web stats for my personal site. I think the last time I checked was 2004. At that time, I was getting about 800 page views a day. I just checked again, and it’s now about 10× that, with a page-to-visitor ratio of about 1:2. It seems to have leaped up since I switched to WordPress, which suggests that either typo was more unreliable than I was aware of, or that WordPress is doing a better job of pinging aggregators, or quite likely both.