Replacement for his royal highness….

Ya’ know, this has gone too far. Now he wants us to call him; “Your royal highness”! Impeachment is too good for him and if we let the democrats in this forum in charge of it, well you know how that goes, it will take forever.

I propose we just look for a replacement, and I have just the puppets in mind that will fill the bill nicely. They once stared on a segment of MTV and now they say they are ready to come out of retirement! Isn’t that great?... [Read More]


Half a Million Spammers

Pumpkin spice SPAMEarlier today, on the last day of 2019, blocked the 500,000th attempt to pollute the site with spam comments or to register new user accounts in order to make spam postings.  As of this post, the total spam blocked has already climbed to 500,254.

The site opened to the public on December 10th, 2017, and thus has been in operation for 752 days.  There have, then, been an average of 665 attempts to spam the site per day over that period.  The vast majority of these have been caught by a plug-in we run, Stop Spammers, which checks the IP address and E-mail address of users attempting to register an account against a number of blacklists of known spammers, and also enforces correct use of the HTTP protocol which some high-volume spam robots violate in order to hit more targets per second.  In addition, thousands of other suspicious attempts to access the site have been flagged and rejected manually—these do not appear in the totals above.... [Read More]


Experimental Feature: Extracts in Post Archives

I have just made a change in the configuration of extract generation when posts are displayed in what WordPress calls an “archive”.  This includes posts displayed when you select:

  • All posts by a member
  • Posts from a specified month and year
  • Posts in a category
  • Posts with a given tag

Previously, these showed the full text of the selected posts, regardless of their length, unlike posts shown on the home page or in search results, where only the excerpt was shown if the post was longer than two paragraphs and you could read the balance by clicking a “Read More” link.... [Read More]


Private: WordPress Color Palette Question

The other day, my computer mouse was acting a little wonky. I tried to select the menu option for my unread notifications and somehow ended up on a page with color palettes.

Now, when I go to create a new post, the page is rendered in this weird, brown color palette.... [Read More]


Draining the agricultural swamp

Employees from two Department of Agriculture research agencies stood and turned their backs to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at an all-hands meeting Thursday to silently protest a decision to relocate the agencies halfway across the country.

Perdue announced earlier Thursday morning that the Economic Research Service, which provides research and statistical analysis for lawmakers, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which allocates federal research funding, will be relocated to Kansas City from Washington, DC, the final announcement in a process that began last year.
Swamp dwellers are unhappy.   They are going to have to go to flyover country if they want to keep their jobs.   This will make it more difficult to work the system, and make it more difficult to collude with their pals in the activist community.
This is exactly the sort of remedy that I have been hoping for.
But outside observers, current employees and members of Congress have pushed back against the plan since it was first announced last year.
Kevin Hunt, acting vice president of the ERS Union, condemned the move as “cold-hearted” and that it “highlights his disregard for the rights and well-being of employees.”
The relocation plan has drawn opposition from House Democrats, who included language in their budget banning USDA from using funds allocated by Congress to relocate either agency outside the capital. A group of Democratic senators have also introduced legislation that would bar USDA from moving the research agencies.


Experimental Feature: Liking a Post Requests Comment Notifications

Since comment notifications were added to on 2018-02-20, the rule has been that when a new comment is added to a post on the site (I refer here to main site posts, not items posted in groups, which are handled entirely differently), notifications are sent to the author of the post and to all other members who have commented on the post so far (excluding, of course, the author of the new comment).  On 2018-06-10 this was revised slightly by allowing comments which contain just the text “follow” or “c4c” (an old-time bulletin board system abbreviation of “comment for comments”) to request notifications without actually appearing in the comments for the post or the “Recent Comments” box in the sidebar.

I have just revised this code so that in addition to the post author and other commenters, users who have “Liked” the post will also be notified of new comments.  It is common for posts to have a large number of likes but only a few comments, and thus for new comments to be largely invisible unless a user happens to see them in the “Recent Comments” box.  It seems to me that people who have liked a post will probably be interested in any comments it engenders, and that sending notifications to these people will increase engagement with the post and possibly stimulate additional comments.... [Read More]


Administration: WordPress Updated to Version 5.2

At 14:13 UTC on 2019-05-09 the version of WordPress upon which the site runs was updated to the newly released version 5.2.  Before installing the update on the production site, I performed a series of tests running the new version on the test site, which I brought up with a mirror of the running configuration on the production site with the version 5.2 update kit including all of our local modifications applied.  Details of this testing process was posted on the 2019-05-08 entry in the Updates group.  (Access to the test site is restricted to my IP address range and the site is only up when required for testing major updates such as this; it is not intended for user access.)

WordPress: Worthless, and also free... [Read More]


Knowledge Base: Including Images in Group Posts and Comments

The “Groups” facility in is based upon the Group feature of BuddyPress, which is a plug-in (or more precisely, bolt-on) to WordPress which was intended to turn what was originally blogging software into a crude kind of social network, with emphasis on “crude”.  BuddyPress can best be thought of as a kludge hanging in a bag crookedly nailed to the side of the hack which is WordPress.  Much of the work expended in software development since the launch of Ratburger has been in fixing outright flaws and limitations of BuddyPress.  Raw BuddyPress is something to behold: group posts and comments, once posted, cannot be edited or deleted, except by an administrator, and there is near complete opacity about what is going on, with notifications completely haphazard.

The whole Groups facility is a hack.  The way a discussion group add-on to WordPress should work is self-evident to anybody who gives it a few minutes’ thought: each group should be its own little site, with its own posts and comments, but with notifications confined to members.  Posts could be promoted from groups to public pages by administrators.  All of the composition, editing, and administration functions should be identical for the main site and groups.... [Read More]


Rethinking Things

I hope people enjoy this site and get to mix with the great people that are here. This is a different place and does not follow the “dinner party” concept. I want to get across that there will be many types of posts. Some will be “extra hot” with robust discussions and others will be “mild”. The “extra hot” will cause heartburn for some people and might be good to be avoided. For others they love the “burning sensation”. When writing your posts on controversial topics, please add “Mild”, “Medium”, or “Extra Hot” so people can grasp what type of discussion might occur. Some topics are by their very nature naturally hot. B

The other way to think of this place is like sports. Some sports are non-contact like tennis and golf where others are physical like football and rugby. It would seem strange to complain about “Someone touched me!” in football. Or to think tackling someone in golf is appropriate. This is analogous to different types of discussions here. Try to respect the author’s intent on what type of “sport” they are “playing”. This is not a “dinner party”. ... [Read More]


There was a strange occurrence on the site.

Someone with the avatar name, “So I was bangen’ this Supreme Court Clerk from BKK, Thailand when all of a sudden…” was on the site. Clearly this someone was wanting to spam the site therefore I marked the account as such. I will also delete the group this person made.