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]

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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]

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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.

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Experimental Feature: Liking a Post Requests Comment Notifications

Since comment notifications were added to Ratburger.org 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]

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Administration: WordPress Updated to Version 5.2

At 14:13 UTC on 2019-05-09 the version of WordPress upon which the Ratburger.org 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 raw.ratburger.org 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 raw.ratburger.org 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]

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Knowledge Base: Including Images in Group Posts and Comments

The “Groups” facility in Ratburger.org 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]

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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]

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I reverted a post to draft.

The post I reverted to draft was called “A Quick Note”. I didn’t think it was fair to have it up because the person who it was about cannot respond to it. It was a site administration post and written by me. The policy here has been to be transparent about the actions taken therefore this post.

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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.

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Reviewing Principles

For those who are new, one of the first things I wrote on the site was a draft of principles. Here are the principles.

PRINCIPLES OF AGREEMENT

  1. This site is for entertainment. Posts need to add not subtract from the site. Fun is important.
  2. No attacking the person. Attacking words are okay. People get to openly disagree and have vigorous debates over ideas not personalities.
  3. Keep it clean. This site should be family and children friendly. (The web has plenty of places to express non-family thoughts.) This does not mean that we don’t handle in John Walker’s words “gnarly subjects” but we do it without the coarseness of most of the Internet.
  4. Keep it legit. Respect copyright toward images and text. Give attribution when needed.
  5. This is a conservative site. If you can’t respect those principles please find a site more conducive to your ideas.

I don’t want to bore you so I will just focus on Number One.... [Read More]

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Explanation on Read Only Members

I recently changed the status of a Member to a non-comment making level. I need to explain what that means.

  1. Comments and Posts cannot be made.
  2. Private posts cannot be seen.
  3. PMs can be sent to them and read. Replies can be made to the received messages but PM conversations cannot be originated from this member.
  4. Comments and Posts can be liked.

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On Simon, ST

At Ratburger we are transparent; we don’t do things in the dark. I posted something on a crash of a 737 in Ethiopia. In the crash about 150 people died. Simon decided to make comments that were off the wall on a thread about this tragedy. That goes against our principles here. Occasionally there is black humor but a continue stream is something that belongs better on another site.

Unless someone can convince me otherwise, Simon’s account will be changed so that he cannot comment for a set time period by this time tomorrow. Simon, up till that time you will be allowed to comment and write a defense if you wish.

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New: Video Theatre

The Ratburger Video Theatre is now open!  You can find direct links to the Theatre page from the Activity tab in the main menu at the top of the page or from the “Meta” widget in the sidebar at the right (or bottom of the page for narrow-screen devices such as mobile phones and tablets).  The Video Theatre page provides directly-embedded videos from an eclectic collection of YouTube channels which are frequently updated, so you’ll usually see something new every day.  The initial set of channels were selected from those to which I subscribe and reflect my own interests.  Please suggest worthy channels in the comments and I’ll add them.  Channels which are only infrequently updated aren’t suitable for the Video Theatre format, nor those with material unkeeping with the tone of the site (for example, those laced with obscenities).  At present, due to how the Theatre is implemented, only videos on YouTube can be shown; I have no way to determine the most recent video for channels hosted on other sites.

The Video Theatre is updated with the latest videos from the channels listed twice a day, at 08:00 and 20:00 UTC—the date and time of the last update is shown at the bottom right of the embedded page.  I may make the updates more frequent once I’m confident I’ve navigated around the submerged crags of YouTube’s data query API quota system, which is bewilderingly opaque.... [Read More]

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