Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

It’s karma… or something

WizardThe past month or two has been a time of irritation, as various events have conspired to ensure that little or nothing has been done in SeSco.


In fact, everything has suffered:
The Forum is all but inactive, and has (I can tell you from the logs) become a place of lurkers, with much visiting to look, but few bringing anything to be seen.
The Wiki is very inactive with regard to new work, and it’s fortunate that there remains some dedicated contributors, or it would have ground to halt.
The Blog has been left to shiver in the corner, almost completely ignored  – reason being problems with the first two, rather than being forgotten.


Briefly, the Forum came under attack by comment spammers, using humans to bypass the captcha that usually keeps automated span out. This necessitated the development and installation of a new system to keep them out. It now works fine, but caused access problems for all when a bug kept resetting the Forum settings.
This was not helped when a server move by our host went terribly wrong as a coding error in their software gradually took out their arrays of storage disks – and was not helped when it dragged into a second week when the hardware engineers forgot to apply the patch to fix it after they restarted the system. And I though I was the only one stupid enough to do that sort of thing. Needless to say, we lost hosting for a further week as a result.
At the same time, the Wiki began to do some odd things, as a support site which used to provide some code to check browsers decided it was no longer needed – breaking our mapping. As this is all DIY open source with little support, I had to create a kludge to get it working. Seems ok, but I have noticed that one or two items began to behave oddly since August 1, so need to take time to look at them.
The Wiki was/is subject to the same comment spam attack as the Forum. For some reason not publicised, a couple of blocklisting services that used to help keep this out disappeared, so the rubbish suddenly started to flood in. It took a while to work out what had happened, and clear out the rubbish. For the moment, a universal public editing password has been applied to the Wiki, which effectively stop any non-interested party from accessing it.
Unfortunately, this cannot protect the new “Add a Comment” feature we had just added (it used a different security system, not as effective), and this had to be removed a few weeks after it was installed. It was attracting comments, so it would be nice if a way could be found to re-activate it.
The Blog was last down the line, and had become very slow to use for some reason. As it was time-consuming to use, I just left it, and tried to keep my hand in by writing more in the Forum. Partly successful only, as the discipline is stricter, and the writing style can become cumbersome depending on the subject.
However, various upgrades seem to have the Blog posting running better now, so it can be resurrected.


I had intended to start September by posting an entry to the effect that I would be concentrating on the Blog rather than the Forum. The main reason being simply one of ‘Number of Eyes’ on a post. Forum and Blog logs show that a Forum posting may be read by as few as two or three members whose eyes are caught by the title, whereas the Blog can rack up hundred of views on the first day, and still be getting dozens per day later if the subject is topical.
As if to mark this decision with a ‘seal of approval’, fate brought to life an old post about bilingual road signs, as a nationalist in denial spotted an earlier  one on the subject – and made the mistake of accusing apolitical little me (who laughs at all political parties with equal contempt) of playing the ‘nationalist’ card in my post.
In his eyes that may be true, but I can tell you the intent was to mock the council, councillors, and politics behind the signs, as they were being used as pawns by the councillors, and not being introduced to be helpful to visitors and drivers. That was my intent – and no-one can tell me what my intent is when I make a post.
The may interpret it some other way from my intent, but that does not change my intent, and it most certainly does not give them the right to tell me to change it, so that it can no longer be interpreted by them as they see fit.
The Blog is my ball, AND my field.
If you don’t like it, then go somewhere else.
Because I am most certainly not changing to suit you.
(And that was the reason for ‘karma’ since there had not been a single response to the Blog for weeks, yet when I was pondering whether or not it was right to elevate to be the primary item for a period, lo and behold, a provocative comment was lodged. What more divine guidance from on high could I have asked for? 🙂 )

Forum and Wiki

I need to spend time with the Forum (the spam comment blocker is due another revision, and is seeking testers, so I may take part in this – although if there is a bug, then we will be screwed again, but it will be worth it as the latest mod included a tweak to send these spammers to another honey pot.)
I hope there might be some more activity on the member’s side, perhaps as the nights get longer and they are sitting with nothing else to do.
The Wiki needs more time, first to identify what is misbehaving, then to try to work out why.
Fixing is more difficult, as the problem may lie with a contributed recipe for some add-on. If I work out how to fix it, then there is a new version, my work gets lost, so I need to be careful.
As noted above, our new comment system for the Wiki went live just before the comment spammers started their new campaign, and it had to be de-activated almost as soon as it proved itself useful, so a way of securing it against this sort of spam would be nice to find, but is a lesser priority.


The Blog will probably see a rise in activity, while the Forum sees less.
As I can devote more time to this in the coming weeks, I will try to post meaningful updates here, but there may be quiet spells when little appears to be happening. That probably means something it keeping me away, and I will be back as soon as I can.


Weird – Never seen that happen before. If the layout of the sentences and lack of paras above seem odd, then I’m afraid it’s not my doing.

I have restored the titles and sections, but the whole post lost its formatting completely after I hit the ‘Publish’ button.


September 3, 2012 - Posted by | Site News | , ,

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