Rules for commenters

I didn’t think I’d have to do this, but recent battles on the comments pages of a couple of posts have forced me to spell out the rules of engagement if you want to comment on this blog:

  1. Be civil. Your mother doesn’t accept that kind of language from you and I shouldn’t have to either.
  2. Stay on topic. This shouldn’t be a problem but I’m  saying it just in case.
  3. This blog is about ideas and discussion. I welcome opposing points of view but calling religions evil and people liars is a good way to get banned. If you have an opposing viewpoint, you should be able to discuss it civilly without resorting  to namecalling. (Also see #1).
  4. I use Akismet, so your commercial spam messages about male enlargers and pyramid schemes will get filtered by a machine.
  5. I reserve the right to ban any commenter for violating any of these rules. I also reserve the right to close comments at any time. Currently I do that manually but I might move to doing it automatically based on the age of the post in the future.
  6. If you don’t like these rules but want to engage with me anyway, get your own blog and comment there, under your own name. Taking responsibility for one’s words and opinions in one’s own space is, in my opinion, a great way to engage on the Internet.

I’m going to build a document that refers to these points and link it into the commenting form as well.

Redirecting away from lost comments

I thought I had linked to Urban Giraffe’s great Redirection WordPress plug-in, but there was a glitch between Ubiquity and Delicious and the link didn’t get saved. Ah well. The point is that Redirection makes it dead simple to do two things: track 404s (dead links) that users hit on your site, and create redirects so that people coming to that link get served valid content.

I’ve been going through the process of reviewing the 404s for the first few days, and have found three general types of 404:

  1. Old Manila stories that were part of my old site structure but didn’t get published in the same way on WordPress. This is easy to fix, because WordPress lets you edit the “pretty URL” for these pages directly.
  2. Attack URLs. These tend to look like /inc​/cmses​/aedatingCMS.php?dir[inc]=http:​/​/​/test.txt?? and represent bots trying to exploit known software vulnerabilities. I generally am ignoring these right now.
  3. Permalinks to comments.

This third one is the sad part. Somewhere along the way, whether when I turned off comments on my Manila site or at some other point, all the old comments on my posts were lost. So there’s nowhere for me to redirect: the content’s gone. Comments ranging from the banal to the friendly, from Dave Sifry of Technorati pre-announcing link voting to the late Anita Rowland reminding me to follow up on a post on universal remotes.

I’m now going through the sad task of removing those links one at a time on this site. I guess entropy is alive and well.

But the point is that Redirection is a great WP plugin.