The Irregular Site Status Report

It’s time once again for Dave’s vaguely-incoherent ramblings on recent updates to the site, and for you to provide your feedback. “Read more” and “Post a comment,” preferably in that order.

Here’s the latest stuff that’s happened that you may (or may not) notice…



  • On the front page, you’ll now see the latest headlines from the really cool Sci-Fi Storm news site. Hey, they put us on their front page; it seemed only fair.
  • Article comments now appear in a vaguely-threaded fashion, instead of in strict “order in which they were posted” order. There’s some neat indentation too, where comments that are replies to previous comments are indented a little bit, so it looks kinda like Slashdot or K5. Is this good or bad? (Someday, there’ll be enough comments on any given article that I’ll have to implement some sort of “nested” view that presents just a synopsis, and make comment view modes user-selectable, but we’re not there yet…)
  • I know there haven’t been many new stories of late – hey, it’s summer, everyone’s working hard and there’s not quite as much news to pick from anyway. As always, if you see something juicy out there, use the “story idea” link that’s on every page. You don’t even have to be logged in for that.
  • Which brings up another tangent: I’ve been trying to decide for the longest time whether to allow anonymous users to post comments. I’ve been against it because I want to try to build a sense of community, which is hard to do without some sense of individual identity, but there’s not much community here anyway (the most popular stories ever posted only got 15 or so comments).


So there’s the rant.


“The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Discuss.”

9 replies on “The Irregular Site Status Report”

  1. choochus says:

    No ‘nonymous
    If you have something important enough to say, I don’t see anything wrong with logging in first. I fear that allowing anonymous posting will just introduce a bunch of crap into the comments.

    As you say, there isn’t much posting now, so no big deal, but when there’s a lot more traffic anonymous posts would get ugly.. Next you know you’ll need a moderation system, yadda yadda…

  2. starbreeze says:

    No anon
    I’m gonna hafta go ahead and agree with the first poster… no anonymous. Although since I don’t accept cookies on my laptop, sometimes when I log in I get this weird error saying I’m already logged in, but I can’t post because I’m not logged in. In which case, anonymous might be convenient. Mixed feelings, I suppose. Abuse of it would be my main concern.

    • Alexius says:

      Re: No anon

      I’m gonna hafta go ahead and agree with the first poster…

      Thanks Ms. Lumberg.

      Actually, I’ll Cast My Lot With The Local Elf And Say That If you Don’t Feel Like Making Up An Account, Even A Bogus One, You Obviously Don’t Care Enough about What you have To Say, And Thus We Probably won’t Either.

      • Dave says:

        Re: No anon

        Actually, I’ll Cast My Lot With The Local Elf And Say That If you Don’t Feel Like Making Up An Account, Even A Bogus One, You Obviously Don’t Care Enough about What you have To Say, And Thus We Probably won’t Either.

        Hopefully, though, bogus accounts should be kinda difficult to create – your initial password is emailed to whatever address you provide.

        Which reminds me, at some point I oughta go through and purge all the accounts that haven’t been used in six months or more…

    • Dave says:

      Cookies

      I’m gonna hafta go ahead and agree with the first poster… no anonymous. Although since I don’t accept cookies on my laptop, sometimes when I log in I get this weird error saying I’m already logged in, but I can’t post because I’m not logged in.

      Can I say that’s a “feature” and still have plausible deniability? :-)

      If something like that happens, the safest/best thing to do is to log out and then login again.

      It shouldn’t happen, but I suppose since it does, I’ll need to go eyeball the code some more.

      If your browser lets you selectively accept cookies (i.e. accept cookies from specific domains, deny them for others), mine are safe. I place two cookies: B42_LOGIN has your user name (“Dave” for example), and B42_AKEY has a crypt() hash of your username, password, and some secret ingredients. No other cookies should be set by anything in the “bureau42.com” domain (‘cept maybe for some of the subsites that I sleazed in because I’m too cheap to get multiple Web hosting accounts – metadave.net, my online journal, redirects to http://www.bureau42.com/metadave/, for example).

      • Dave says:

        Re: Cookies
        Hm. Okay, the threading code has a bug. This message is a test message to help me debug it properly. Please ignore me. :)

        • Dave says:

          Re: Cookies

          Hm. Okay, the threading code has a bug. This message is a test message to help me debug it properly. Please ignore me. :)

          Okay, fixed. Articles didn’t work for about two minutes. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

      • starbreeze says:

        Re: Cookies

        If your browser lets you selectively accept cookies (i.e. accept cookies from specific domains, deny them for others), mine are safe.

        Actually, what I ended up doing was turning off cookie block, and then ie will prompt me for cookies because of my security level. I then accept them, and go to my cookie list in the proxy software and tell it to always accept bureau42 cookies. Then I turned cookie blocking back on.

        Yes, I’m paranoid. I prefer ie because of functionality with css and such, but it’s so lacking in some security I try to lock it down.

        • Dave says:

          Re: Cookies

          Actually, what I ended up doing was turning off cookie block, and then ie will prompt me for cookies because of my security level. I then accept them, and go to my cookie list in the proxy software and tell it to always accept bureau42 cookies. Then I turned cookie blocking back on.

          Okay, is everyone else out there taking notes? :-)

          Yes, I’m paranoid. I prefer ie because of functionality with css and such, but it’s so lacking in some security I try to lock it down.

          I certainly can’t complain about that… Heck, I stopped using Windows altogether because of things like that.

          Though it’d be nice to get rid of cookies and go to server-side session-tracking, a lot of useful functionality goes away that way (worst example: you’d have to login every time you visit instead of every couple of months). Heck, for that to work reliably, I’d still have to leave at least one cookie on the client.

          Besides, there are so many more interesting things to work on than that (like the caching system I’m almost done with – this site doesn’t have enough load to really NEED one, but someday, darnit…)

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