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]


TOTD 2018-04-14: Whence Ratburger?

This is a question of history.  I did some digging into the beginning of the site without particular success, other than revealing that Ratburger launched last December.   What prompted the rise of Ratburger?

Why the name in particular?  Please tell me there is a German co-worker named Herr or Frau Ratburger…... [Read More]


Ratburger: The Next Hundred

One of the principles of Ratburger.org since its inception is Radical Transparency—everything about the site, from its source code, updates, and access statistics—shall be accessible to anybody who is interested.  There are a few statistics which, due to the design of WordPress, are not generally accessible, which may be of interest.  Excluding administrators and accounts they use for testing various features on the site, we now have 77 members, the vast majority of whom are active and regularly visit the site, comment, and post.  Since the site went live (in stealth mode) on 2017-12-10, there have been 506 posts and 5,589 comments on them.  The software that runs the site, publicly disclosed on GitHub for anybody interested in setting  up a competing site, or one appealing to a different audience, has had 86 publicly-posted builds since Git management began on 2017-12-18.

With today’s release of browser-pull dynamic updates of notifications, I consider the site “feature complete” as I envisioned it at the launch last December.  With all of the local modifications, as documented in the Updates Group (available for anybody to read), it provides a discussion forum, interest groups, podcasts (we don’t produce them, but provide links to those to which our members regularly listen), private messages, a weekly free conference call, and on-line chat.  And all of this is completely free and devoid of advertisements and other intrusive distractions.... [Read More]


User Interface Changes: 2018-02-11

HeaddeskI have made a number of changes to the Ratburger user interface today.  As always, complete technical details may be found on the Updates group.  This post is intended to be more user-oriented and accessible to a general audience.  There have been no dramatic changes, but several adjustments which are intended to improve the user experience.

Editing Posts... [Read More]


WordPress Update Installed

I have just installed the WordPress update to version 4.9.2.  This update contains security, bug fixes, and support for a new audio format.  There should be no user-visible changes.

WordPress is, along with BuddyPress, the software foundation upon which Ratburger.org is built.  Ratburger has a number of features which require changes in the WordPress core code, so I have integrated these changes into the new release.  It’s always possible, of course, that I may have fat-fingered something, so if you notice anything which seems amiss (the update was installed at 22:20 UTC on 2018-01-17), please note in a comment or in the Bug Reports group.  I will leave this post at the top of the main page for around twelve hours.... [Read More]


I Know, You’d Never Even Think: Ratburger’s Got the Podcast Links

Here at Ratburger, the foremost site for civil discussion on the Internet, unencumbered by  adverts, pop-ups, glacial page loading times, and censors, we don’t (yet) have our own podcasts.  But we listen to them, from time to time.  And now, you can find all of your favourite podcasts right here, without frequenting legacy sites.

There’s a new drop-down on the Activity item on the main menu, “Podcasts”.  It displays a page (or pages, depending upon how many are shown), with links to the most recent two episodes of podcasts followed by Ratburger members.  When you click on the link, you’ll be taken to the site which hosts the podcast; each site may have its own interface to play, download, or otherwise consume its content.  Once you click, it’s on them, not on the rat on a bun.... [Read More]


Knowledge Base: Drop Caps

Would you like your posts to use drop caps as in  beautifully typeset documents of yore?  Yes you can, as long as you’re posting at Ratburger.org!  To use a drop cap in your post (it’s available only for main posts on the site, not comments or messages and comments in groups, which are informal conversations), simply wrap [dropcap] and [/dropcap] shortcodes around the first word of the paragraph you wish rendered with a drop cap.

This is best if used sparingly.  Use a drop cap at the start of your post and after breaks between main sections of long posts.  They indicate to the reader they’re moving from one part of the text to another.... [Read More]


Ratburger.org Code Base Repository Now On-line

The GitHub repository for the Ratburger Code Base is now on-line and accessible to anybody.  The code base is a live mirror of the software and documents which run the site, less its content (the posts, comments, uploaded images, etc.)  Here is the README file for the repository.

Ratburger.org is an online community where a wide variety of topics are discussed in a civil manner among an international membership whose only common denominator is their distaste for the sewer that so many Internet fora and comment sections have become.... [Read More]


Knowledge Base: Including Mathematics in Posts

Ratburger.org supports MathJax, which permits including beautifully typeset mathematics in posts and comments (but not, at present, in group posts or comments).  For example, here is Einstein’s gravitational field equation:

\(\displaystyle R_{\mu\nu} – \frac{1}{2}g_{\mu\nu}R + \Lambda g_{\mu\nu}= \frac{8\pi G}{c^4}T_{\mu\nu}\)... [Read More]



You may have noticed a new item in the main menu at the top of the page: “Chat”.

This will take you to RatChat, Ratburger’s integrated chat system, implemented using CometChat.  When you click the link, you’ll be taken to a chat page already logged in to the “Ratburger” chat group, which is for general discussion among members of the site.  Other groups may be added for general topics or special events, but with the current paucity of members, it doesn’t make sense to further subdivide the number of people participating in chat.... [Read More]


Some Prehistory

My thought a few weeks ago was to start an online Conservative community. Why? The reason was I saw a need that was not being met properly. I wanted a simple, stable, and secure site.

I talked to a few friends. One friend, Stu in Tokyo, told me about his woodworking community. I thought I would use that model and use the same forum software package. Before I started I wanted to run the idea by John Walker.... [Read More]