Blog Matters

One — Some of the feedback we’ve received and, frankly, lamented over ourselves is about the frustration of having your blog comments take hours and sometimes days before they post. Especially now that we have immediacy on the comments after news stories, the technical policy on the blogs inhibits conversation. Obviously, that’s a bad thing. So I’ve been in contact with the corporate technical types trying to fix that problem on these blogs. I can’t guarantee it will happen, but I am optimistic.

This originated as a policy issue, but now that we have the rapid-fire on the stories, it seems to make no sense. Technically, however, there is a challenge. The stories and the blogs use different software. Those who speak out on the stories are registered users. Those registrations don’t translate to the blogs. So I’m trying to make it work with our Moveable Type blog program.

How it would work is that I would be able to mark some of you either as “authenticated” or “trusted.” So if you’ve been lurking for months and don’t comment, but one day get the urge, your comment won’t post right away. If we go with “trusted,” that means we trust that you won’t resort to profanity or some other taboo. If we generally like what you add to the conversations we start here, then we’ll mark you as “trusted.” Everyone else will be a case-by-case basis. I can only think of a couple of you that we’d not add to the “trusted” list.

The problem with just letting everything post is we get probably 10-25 spam comments for every legitimate one. I’d rather have you wait than go through dozens of spam to get to the good ones.

As for when this gets implemented, I’m hoping we can get this started this week. No promises, though.

Two — We have a notification feature on the right side of the screen that allows you to be notified when we post a new entry. More people are getting away from e-mail notification and going to RSS sites such as Bloglines or Netvibes (or maybe some other format I’m unaware of), but if you get the e-mails I have a question. Would you prefer a single notification daily, or would you like us to send you a note every time we post a new entry? Or, would you like me to send multiple notifications, but exclude some of the minor ones, such as the “On Notice” entries? Send me your thoughts in an e-mail at to weigh in, or leave a comment here and wait hours for it to post.

5 thoughts on “Blog Matters

  1. This is tangentially related in the discussion of RSS feeds, but many alternative email programs (Thunderbird and Evolution), along with browsers such as Firefox and Opera support reading RSS.

    I personally use Opera for my web browsing needs, and I can subscribe to RSS feeds and set them to update as often as five minutes. When new posts are found, it will show a popup notification. If I miss that notification, I can also click on the “Feeds” tab to quickly ascertain if any of the RSS feeds I’ve subscribed to have new posts.

  2. Hey Steve, Can you do me a favor? The story about the woman who didn’t care about her cat dying is starting to gain on your other story. People are writing mean-spirited blog entries about this woman, when it appears that she may be seriously suffering.

    Can you do something about this? This woman needs help getting her heat turned back on. There is a Warmline through PSE and I believe the Salvation Army also helps. Plus, you all have raised a lot of money through your bell-ringer fund. Can you see, Steve, that this woman gets help? And, report back?

  3. Hey Steven,

    Are the changes listed here in the original story still on track to happen? I know you guys are even shorter staffed now, but dang something needs to change and soon.

    Posts on the actual stories that happen immediately are completely out of control. Oh sure there is always the negative, pessimistic angry bad egg that posts to every story, but some of the stuff lately is downright disgusting and very abusively personal. I have noticed that some of the great posters with good exchanges of thoughts and ideas are drifting away and posting less and less. This is a real shame. I noticed that the comment section after one of the stories regarding the motorcyclist who died was actually shut down by you guys because it got so bad. I am more resigned now to the waiting of the posts on the “blog” side of things, because I know the delay means more on topic posts and less personal attacks.

    Please give us some hope that things are going to be getting better.

    Colleen Smidt

  4. Colleen,

    On the story comments, the one thing we are going to do is get more of trained in deleting individual comments or pulling down entire threads. Apparently it’s pretty easy and we have a process in place to make sure it isn’t done in haste.

    As for the “trusted” status on the blogs, it’s proving to be a technical mystery. Behind the software curtain it’s apparent that it’s supposed to be easy to do. However, we added something to our comments that may be interfering with making the program work. We still don’t know, but are still working on it.

    Thanks for asking.

  5. Thanks for getting back to me Steven. Does that mean the “Suggest Removal” button really works and will work better?

    It’s getting hairy out there, but I will keep hanging on in the hope of future improvements.

    Colleen Smidt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

(Not a trick question) What color is the pink house?