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Democracy and the BOFH, Jonkey, and S92A preparations

Written By: - Date published: 5:59 pm, March 4th, 2009 - 53 comments
Categories: admin, democratic participation, flip-flop, humour, scoundrels - Tags:

Sysop

Sysop

Reply is a feature that accidentally got turned on last week when I had a adware/malware outbreak through a security hole (those buggers are smart and fast). I did complete reinstall with updated software. Somewhere during the upgrade, the reply feature was turned on.

Now I’ve been occupied by moving house for the first time in 10 years, so I left it running after some initial compliments for the new feature. I like soaking up compliments – especially when undeserved.

However there appears to be some dissent in the comments, and I’m no longer receiving the compliments that I have come to expect. So I’ll do a Jonkey* and go with the focus groups. I have no idea what most of the issue is about (like the usual Jonkey) because I haven’t had much time to comment or write posts recently.

IrishBill has suggested a sort of a vote. As your benign BOFH, I think this would be quite amusing especially with a few twists on the usual democratic patterns to follow the medium and recent best governance practices**. For those using the comments section, and who feel passionate about the use of replies or not replies, then do this :-

  • Put a short comment in this post either for or against retaining reply comments.
  • If for then specify the depth that replies can be left. The default was 3 but I bumped it to 5 when I wanted to leave a reply and it was 4 deep already.
  • Explain in a few paragraphs why you think it should be or not be changed. We’ll weight the vote on based on coherence, focus and humour.
  • Do not try to spoof the voting with multiple identities or boilerplate repetitive commenets, because if I detect it then I’ll take some arbitrary action depending on the current BOFH psuedo random number generator state – ie how much coffee I have been drinking.

On a completely separate note, and being the eternal pessimist about the parties for the code of conduct on S92A of the new copyright act getting a coherent and workable code of conduct. To date I haven’t heard anything on progress so I’m just going to assume that they are unable to compromise a workable agreement. Since I don’t want to get shutdown because John Key’s handlers think that they have a copyright on his image (as they have tried before), I’ve just purchased the offshore space to host The Standard if there is not a code of conduct that I can work with.

I’ll probably change the site from the local NZ network to the overseas site mid-march for a bit of a hurry up to the idiots holding the agreement up. This will allow me to test the backup site and help extend our incredible (and expensive) data deficit on the Southern Cross cables*** by pumping the whole site to the much cheaper (to me) overseas site.

Lynn

* Some commentators have started to use the phrase Jonkey (pronounced like Donkey)  to describe a complete ‘policy’ about face done with extreme PR face saving after a trial proposal has been floated…. Apart from the PR part, I think that is what I’m doing as well.

** As defined by those paragons of democracy, the NACT government, who seem to think that select committee scrutiny is an optional extra

*** In accordance with the FTTH initiative from this daft government that will attempt to do the same thing on a wider scale.

53 comments on “Democracy and the BOFH, Jonkey, and S92A preparations ”

  1. I was for reply at first but I’ve gone off it after trying to follow some of the longer threads recently. Sometimes, it makes conversations more cogent, but often it makes them more confusing.

    I think the fact that we’re the only NZ blog with it counts against using it. Commentors aren’t used to it, adding to the confusion.

    Maybe we could leave it just with a depth of 2, then you could still get that quick witty reply but it wouldn’t break up the main flow of the thread.

    [lprent: Public Address also has Reply]

    • Billy 1.1

      Steve, I didn’t pick you as a sensible centrist.

    • MikeG 1.2

      PA has a Reply button, but your comment just goes at the end of the thread.

      My vote is Against – it is easier just to go to the end of the thread to get the new comments.

  2. Billy 2

    Billy: One vote against.

    It makes my head hurt. You can address a comment upthread by simply referring to the comment you are addressing in your comment.

    And what was with this, Lyn. I seemed to experience time travel.

    [lprent: Who are you talking to? Lyn seldom reads this site, she has better things to do. However I do read it frequently.]

    • Billy 2.1

      Fucked if I know, actually. I meant to talk to you.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        Oh! My name is Lynn, my partners name is Lyn (she dropped an ‘n’ somewhere)…. Just be glad that I don’t enforce case-sensitivity as a normal c++ programmer would.

        BTW: I also now live in Grey Lynn just to help add to peoples confusion…

  3. Tane 3

    Against in its entirety. Too confusing to follow, and as Billy says above it’s easy enough to address someone by their handle later down the thread and italicise their original comment.

    Also, people don’t seem to use ‘reply’ consistently, so discussions tend to fracture across different subthreads

    I have sympathy for Stevie P’s idea of allowing maybe two replies, but then I wonder why you’d bother. You can’t get much of a comment flow in two replies, and on the offchance you do it’s going to be artificially broken anyway.

  4. Quoth the Raven 4

    Take my vote as against the reply function for the reasons mentioned above – making the comments section too convoluted.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    I’m agin it. In all it’s forms. I reject it’s empty promises of ‘subthreads’.

    If someone wants a subthread why don’t they just follow the time honoured tradition of threadjacking.

    Only having a couple of replies available will lead to me gaming the system to get the last shot in.

    I could deal with that. As a Rawlsian liberal, I am compelled to vote from behind the ‘veil of ignorance’ and imagine that I had to operate in such a system as higherstandard. It would too unfair, so sadly, but with my intellectual honour intact, I must also reject this proposition.

  6. IrishBill 6

    I’m against it too. And also should “Jonkey” trigger the moderation trap in the same way “Klark” does? Or is that as silly as journalists pretending there is such a thing as objectivity.

  7. Akldnut 7

    Vote against – way too confusing for me. I prefer Billys option as well, being the uneducated PC novice that I am.

  8. gingercrush 8

    Voting against. As like all the other replies here. A Lyn and Lynn in Grey Lynn. How very Labour of you.

    • lprent 8.1

      I’m just a homeboy. Grew up in Newton, Ponsonby, Puhoi, and Mt Albert. Of course I escaped Auckland to go to uni at Waikato and Otago. But was irresistibly drawn back here because the traffic pretty much flows the other way when you work away from the centre.

      I think this is the first time I’ve lived in Grey Lynn, it has always been a place that I went around. A whole suburb named after me – hubris attacks.

  9. Graeme 9

    It seemed to work okay on Sir Humphrey’s when it was around, but now I do find it annoying, I often just want to read the new comments, and I prefer not having to read all the old ones to get there.

    • Graeme 9.1

      Just remembered why the Sir Humphrey’s nested comments worked well – it stored which one’s you’d read as (I assume) some sort of cookie. Comments that had existed last time you’d looked at a page were marked as new. Without that, I don’t think I’d have liked it.

  10. Daveski 10

    A qualified “I kind of like it”. For pedantic pricks like me, it allows for a mild diversion not to disrupt an otherwise coherent discussion.

    While I like it, from a usability perspective I would vote against for the very good reason that you have to scroll up and down to find new comments.

    I think someone should thank you for the effort and time you put into this. It takes a lot of time to manage any web site let along a blog like this and I’m sure this is most likely the only thing the bulk of the posters will ever agree with me.

  11. gingercrush 11

    On a related note. Since the upgrade, the recent comments and recent posts have shrunk. Any chance they could be increased like they use to be?

    • lprent 11.1

      It was a ‘feature’ of the updated K2 theme sidebars – limits to 15 on each. When I have the time, I’ll change them back. Problem was that the adware/malware intrusion happened a couple of days before we moved, and while I was packing up. So it didn’t get the usual amount of time for fine-tuning.

      At present I’m linking on a vodem at low speeds and with the little vaio Z So it is unlikely that there will be fixes before the new line goes in here and I can shift the home servers from the apartment, along with the desk etc. There are other things to unpack.

      Moving is a pain….

  12. Dean 12

    “I’m against it too. And also should “Jonkey’ trigger the moderation trap in the same way “Klark’ does? Or is that as silly as journalists pretending there is such a thing as objectivity.”

    You would really hope so wouldn’t you? Still, I’m not exactly holding my breath.

    • lprent 12.1

      As you may have noticed I get annoyed by stupid misuse of peoples names. At present I don’t know of another word that expresses those ‘flexible’ traits that John Key has about policy.

      At present I’m finding jonkey amusing… Probably eventually I won’t unless it winds up in a dictionary.

  13. Felix 13

    1 vote in favour.

    It’s not an unusual system and those who can’t figure it out just need to catch up. Most of the problems I’ve noticed have been people hitting the wrong reply link – a rookie mistake and I really think they just need to stay in more.

    Having said that, I think if it were to be retained it would be good to have the “recent comments” displayed with their nested structure intact. I don’t know how do-able that is but I’m sure it would make discussions easier to follow.

    Depth? 5 seems good. 3 was ok. Meh, make it up as you go.

    • Rex Widerstrom 13.1

      Two votes in favour.

      Why should the technologically literate amongst us suffer because of the density of oiks* incapable of utilising a simple function?

      (Do I get an extra point for the double meaning of “density”?)

      If the depth gets too great then the problem is that comments start to read

      l
      i
      k
      e

      t
      h
      i
      s

      though. So there’d need to be some limit.

      And yes, there must be a plugin that flags comments unread since the last time one visited? After all, that’s been standard on basic “forum” software for yonks.

      * It’s been suggested that I more closely consider the position of others before criticising their demented sadomascochistic fantasies carefully thought out policies, so that’s what I’m doing, scumbags.

  14. Ianmac 14

    I guess I could do without the reply button. But it helps to give a name/time reference to your comment where it refers to a previous post.
    Gingercrush @7:45: “Voting against. As like all….”
    Agreed except for the confusing New Lyn stuff.

  15. Snail 15

    Having already said I like this facility I hereby feel inclined confirm this. I t would, for instance, allow me respond individually to the odd commenter in relation to their ‘pushed’ views. To mind is one, Peter Johns, who I recently searched for in regard to another of his intermittent inserts from the USA. Where he presently purports to be working.. Atlanta.. Carolina.. etc. His clients allegedly “loathe Obama”.

    Somewhat sad in light of a buddie on the wsj sending me a clip from the HuffPost today…

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama enjoys widespread backing from a frightened American public for his ambitious, front-loaded agenda, a new poll indicates.

    He is more popular than ever, Americans are hopeful about his leadership, and opposition Republicans are getting drubbed in public opinion, the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests.

    Figures being 2 Dems-to-1 Repugs.

    This is Huffpost, a blogger site, and with a track record up against msm, in particular the Washingtopn Post. Read rated, and weighted.

    Though I suspect unlikely to influence the bias of guys like PJ. But ‘reply’ enables me make a case for him to answer rather than his baldly taken assertions upon your bandwidth. And without distracting commentary on a thread etc..

    Yet in the end I’ll go along with whatever Lprent decides best workload practice.. a bag I’d rather not carry…

  16. the sprout 16

    not fond of the Reply function.

    it’s nice to have a comment close to one you’re addressing, which saves the need to quote, and it makes sense if you come to a thread late and want to trawl through what everyone’s said post hoc.

    but it makes it too hard to follow comments if you’re watching a thread closely as it developes. overall i’m agin it.

  17. vto 17

    Against.

    End up all over the place when you click on someone’s comment or have to try and go back and find something.

    It was I thought quite easy before. If you wanted to follow a thread within a thread you simply scroll down and, provided people address the person above that is being answered (which most all do), then it was just easy.

    No humour sorry, brain is deader than normal

  18. Joseph 18

    I like the reply-to function, keeps the discussion on target instead of disjointed, and trying to filter through multiple posts for a reply to ones own.

  19. r0b 19

    Against. Too easy to miss replies over time, so much easier to just keep reading the end of the page.

  20. r0b 20

    Let me revise that slightly.

    I think of the old structure, no replies, as “chronological view”, and the new structure, replies, as “thread view”. Both have advantages, if choosing only one then I definitely prefer chronological view.

    But an ideal world would have both – perhaps an option to toggle from one to the other? Or use the current reply / thread view structure but the bottom of each post has a chronological list of replies (with links back to those comments)?

    I’d also like a pony, and a big box of crayons, and world peace, thank you BOFH.

  21. SeaJay 21

    Just because: I’m gonna claim that I coined the term Jonkey last year – It came to me during the campaign by TV! and the Herald to oust Labour – as in ” pin the policy on the Jonkey’ and I think I started using it here on The Standard…..tee hee1, back in the day when the C.Raptdenier was bestriding the virtual hemisphere…

  22. Lew 22

    I demand equality in the indentation levels of all comments, regardless of what they are in reply!

    Why should some comments be hard-left while others are centre-left? They’re inherently equal and all should be equally left and have equal column-space. Did you notice that the leftmost comments have more column width than the centre-left comments?

    This so-called `reply function’ is nothing more than an attempt by the radical leftist pseudo-media to marginalise common-sense voices!

    L

    • Matthew Pilott 22.1

      Note my comment to the right of yours…

      Clearly a radical-Right movement… it’s just a slow shift, and you hardly even notice your slice of the pie getting smaller, the further right you go.

      I don’t mind reply – largely agree with r0b. The chronological discontinuity means I’m spending ever-more time here, scanning a thread for a hitherto missed comment, but I like being able to address comments directly.

      Here’s a thought – what if reply comments did not automatically display and were expandable with a wee ‘+’ symbol – so if you were desperate to reply directly to someone, you could do so, but your comment wouldn’t show up as part of the general ‘thread’, thus separating somewhat tangential relpies from the main cut’n’thrust of said thread.

      • Lew 22.1.1

        Clearly a radical-Right movement it’s just a slow shift, and you hardly even notice your slice of the pie getting smaller, the further right you go.

        Heh.

        Argh, I’m marginalising myself! Not acting in my own rational self-interest!

        L

        • Matthew Pilott 22.1.1.1

          Not acting in my own rational self-interest!

          That’s not possible – you can’t be human, Lew.

  23. Ari 23

    I’d like either reply to stay or some easier way to quote people. Writing out “blockquote” all the time gets annoying 🙂

    • lprent 23.1

      Well there is the technique that Anita used at Kiwipolitico. Selected text from a comment pops into your edit box

      • Ari 23.1.1

        That would be several types of awesome, assuming it’s compatible with what you’re running 🙂

      • Felix 23.1.2

        Please not that, anything but that.

        It’s so annoying if you like highlighting text for other reasons. An absolutely awful interference with the user’s browser.

  24. Julie 24

    AGAINST! Sorry lprent but I hatez it. Makes it much more difficult to follow conversations for me.

  25. sweeetdisorder 25

    Against.

    Too difficult to read in ‘real time’.

    Prefer a linear system.

    Bugger me as to what happened to my last post on this. For ll I know it has been attached to some other thread. Hoping this one gets through.

  26. Con 26

    Against, solely because it makes it harder to spot new comments appearing in the middle of a thread over time.

    For usable conversation threads, you need real forum software … Drupal or some such.

  27. Rex Widerstrom 27

    Lynn something else that seems to be a recent issue…

    I want to go back to an old post, so I click “older” till I find the index page with the post I want to read.

    Then I click on the post and read it (because I also want to read the comments). So far so good.

    Then I click the “back” button on my browser expecting to return to the index page with the old post on it and I get taken back instead to the current front page of the site.

    This is an issue because I want to keep going backwards to find another, even older, post.

    Not the way I’d expect it to behave… and what’s more there doesn’t seem to be any alternative navigation on the site itself other than links to the post before and after, and the Blog / About etc buttons on the top bar.

    • lprent 27.1

      I’ll have a look at it. But probably not for a few days. Have a problem sitting down for long periods of time because the back hurts when I use the laptop on the stylish but bloody uncomfortable chairs. and the office isn’t set up yet. Telecom is due though to put in a new line on saturday. So I should be back to normal mid next week after I get the ADSL moved and I can set up my office area again.

      Moving is a pain\

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