Home > The Lighter Side > Always When You’re Not Ready for It

Always When You’re Not Ready for It

February 22nd, 2007
When I left home this morning, I knew it might rain tonight, so I wanted to keep the bulk of my backpack down. So I decided not to take my digital camera with me, figuring that there would not be anything worth photographing, anyway. Soon after leaving home, traffic on a one-lane avenue was stalled. I was annoyed until I got around the bend in the road and saw what the problem was--and then I wished I had brought my camera. A truck carrying large boxes of toilet paper had lost a case. Ever see a road teepeed? Now I have. At the point of impact, the asphalt was half-carpeted in white. Better yet, it happened just as the road sloped down a hill, so rolls of toilet paper leaving long, white trails behind them streaked the road all the way to the bottom. All this as the truck's two occupants scrambled to pick everything up. I gotta start bringing my camera with me wherever I go. Or at least get a cheap second camera that'll fit into a pocket. Addendum: By the way, 1300 days of nonstop blogging today.

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  1. Paul
    February 23rd, 2007 at 06:31 | #1

    Congrats on the nonstop blogging. I set out with that as a goal and haven’t even come close in a little over a year!

    One question- does Moveable Type let you pre-write and “publish” entries with future dates? WordPress does and I use it from time to time, but it kind of feels like cheating. They don’t appear on the site until the designated day/time. :)

    And don’t you have a camera in your cellphone? Sheesh, in Japan, the world’s leader in those kinds of gadgets? Or do you (gasp) not have a cellphone?

    Shocked… shocked, I am.

  2. Jeff Stewart
    February 23rd, 2007 at 08:27 | #2

    Just a little off-topic-

    I recall an earlier post you did that noted that your blog doesn’t get many comments. I can think of a few reasons why that might be.

    One is because you moderate comments coming in, with a turnover of at least a day or two, if ever. People don’t get the satisfaction of seeing what they wrote appear on the page.

    And worse, they don’t get the satisfaction of seeing any replies, because even if their comment is eventually posted, it’ll take another day or two for the reply to appear.

    That effectively kills any discussion on your blog. By the time comments appear, the debate is cold and people have forgotten about it and moved on to other things.

    I wondered why you didn’t just use a “Are you human? Write the letters in the box”-style spam checker, like most blogs and websites these days.

    But that leads to the other reason, which is worse.
    I tried posting a comment under the Al Franken post the other day. Nothing offensive, contrary or anything, just adding my two cents on why I like Franken and think he could win.

    You didn’t post it, though you posted 3 or 4 comments in posts above that one. Every once in a while I’ll see something get through, but this isn’t the first time this has happened. You seem to pick and choose what comments you post a lot.

    So speaking as someone who has tried and failed to comment on your blog a number of times, I can attest to the fact that contrary to your claim that you welcome all comments, you’re actually extremely picky about who’s permitted to comment, and you censor a good deal of what comes through.

    Reading the comments I do see, it seems like the ones you post are either by people you already know, or at least by people who are generally reverential about what you’ve wrote. When you do post an opposing viewpoint, a full rebuttal appears underneath at the same time, making them extensions of your original post. I’ve never seen any criticism of your posts appear standalone.

    You don’t seem to be very tolerant of people who have
    even mild differences of opinion from you. That really tarnishes my respect for your own opinions actually.

    It’s pretty annoying that they don’t come up after I’ve taken the time to write them. I can stop trying, of course.

    But here’s a suggestion to save other visitors from wasting their own time- why don’t you just eliminate the comment feature from your blog altogether, or at least be honest with your readers about how much you censor them?

    Not to embarrass you in front of your readers, of course…in all likelihood they’ll never see this.

  3. Luis
    February 23rd, 2007 at 11:57 | #3

    Jeff:…you moderate comments coming in, with a turnover of at least a day or two, if ever. People don’t get the satisfaction of seeing what they wrote appear on the page.Unfortunately, that is a by-product of spam. You will undoubtedly also have read on my blog that one or two thousand spam get pushed into the comment software every day. Were I not to moderate, you would be responding immediately… to piles of spam. I’m not the only one who moderates, a lot of people do. I know it probably costs me commenters, but it is preferable to the alternative.

    Turnover is a little faster than you imply, however. While a wait of two days has probably happened in the past, it is extraordinarily rare. A wait of one day may occur as an occasional oversight, but does not happen too often. It only seems that long, however, because I live in Asia, on a different clock than you. By the time I wake up to approve comments, you are asleep. Either that, or I left for work just before you commented, and did not get the chance to check the comments until after you had gone to bed.

    Either way, you can thank spam.I wondered why you didn’t just use a “Are you human? Write the letters in the box”-style spam checker, like most blogs and websites these days.It’s called a “captcha,” and it’s possible, but has problems of its own–one of which is matching my outdated blog software. I am locked into an old version of Movable Type due to the specific spam filters I use. I am currently looking into switching to WordPress, which might solve many of the problems faced here, but it will take some effort and recently (past six months) I have had little free time, certainly not enough for a complete blog overhaul.But that leads to the other reason, which is worse. I tried posting a comment under the Al Franken post the other day. Nothing offensive, contrary or anything, just adding my two cents on why I like Franken and think he could win.You didn’t post it, though you posted 3 or 4 comments in posts above that one. Every once in a while I’ll see something get through, but this isn’t the first time this has happened. You seem to pick and choose what comments you post a lot.So speaking as someone who has tried and failed to comment on your blog a number of times, I can attest to the fact that contrary to your claim that you welcome all comments, you’re actually extremely picky about who’s permitted to comment, and you censor a good deal of what comes through. Don’t make accusations without knowing what you’re talking about. What likely happened is that you tried to post a link and did not read the comment posting instructions carefully enough. My spam filter has a bug wherein if I block posts with links (99% of which are spam, ergo…), any post which has even the letters “http://“ in it get blocked, and I do not get notified. Which is why I give the instructions for posting links. (In fact, I had to add the “http://“ in this comment in the moderation process to avoid tripping the filters myself!) If you did not include a link and still it was blocked, then I want to know about it–because that would signal another bug in my blog software. If this is the case, please let me know what you included in the comment that might have triggered the block-without-notification. I noticed that Paul had the exact same bug on his blog, for example–but I did not jump to conclusions and accuse him of censoring me (a pretty offensive accusation, I might note). I instead wrote him to ask what might have happened, assuming a breakdown in software, not bad intent.

    I searched my records just in case, and can confirm that I did not receive notification of your attempt to post to the Franken entry, nor are you in the blog records. I have you posting today, as well as twice under the MegaMac entry, and found a “JeffJRStewart” who posted to The Expat in July 2004, though that may have been someone else. But nothing for the Franken article.

    So what you did was run into a spam filter, not my “sensitivity”–else you would not be seeing this comment appearing, would you?

    For the record, I have made public every single comment which I have received so long as it does not violate that comment rules posted above the comment area. I do not censor for opinion.Reading the comments I do see, it seems like the ones you post are either by people you already know, or at least by people who are generally reverential about what you’ve wrote. When you do post an opposing viewpoint, a full rebuttal appears underneath at the same time, making them extensions of your original post. I’ve never seen any criticism of your posts appear standalone.Wait a minute… you’re accusing me of censoring opposing viewpoints because when they appear, I reply to them? That doesn’t make much sense. If someone appears on my blog and disagrees with me, you’re suggesting that it would be normal for me not to reply? Or that my responding to them immediately after I see them and approve them in moderation is somehow evidence that I censor ones that I do not like?Not to embarrass you in front of your readers, of course…in all likelihood they’ll never see this.Not to embarrass you in front of my readers, of course… but you should really not jump to conclusions based on sketchy evidence. Try asking first, then accusing later.

  4. Jeff Stewart
    February 23rd, 2007 at 19:06 | #4

    Actually , I have asked. You didn’t reply to that, either. I’m aware of your no-link policy. I checked what I wrote word for word in case there was something that might trigger spam. I’m also aware of your timetable for posting.

    I’ve been reading this blog for a few years now, so I wasn’t eager to jump to conclusions. I assumed that I was getting tripped by the spam filter the first few times, but after about ten it just got annoying.

    But what an irony that after all these tries, that was the first to get through

  5. Luis
    February 23rd, 2007 at 19:30 | #5

    Jeff: I’m a bit stymied as to why your posts/emails are not getting through. Which email address did you send to? I’ve checked my email and can’t find anything from you. If you post a comment with the address you sent to and a copy of the email, I won’t post it; if you include your address, we can start communicating by email.

    Or, if you want to email directly, I have an email address listed here:

    http://www.blogd.com/aboutme.html

    I just tested it and it’s working fine for me. If you still have the text of the Franken comment, please send it in the email, and I’ll post it.

    If there’s another glitch causing commenting problems, I want to know about it! This will also likely help prod me to spend the time necessary to switch to WordPress…

  6. Jeff Stewart
    February 23rd, 2007 at 19:52 | #6

    I’ll see if I can find it and send you an email. Sorry, I like your blog by the way :)

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