Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Site News May 2013

Big S blog

I was considering running off a summary of what was going on around the SeSco site after the first quarter of 2013, but as with my former company reports, I reckoned that was one to avoid, since that drops the publication date on April 1, and every comedian and his dog jumps on that coincidence with so many cheap shots that anything relevant gets trashed. So this note deferred to a ‘third’ instead of a ‘quarter’. Not that it mattered, since I was too busy through the start of April anyway.

Blog

The Blog (what you are reading now) is the easiest, since it has managed to amble along reasonably well since the start of 2013, and still does what is expected of it. This year, I decided to take up one of the suggestions from WordPress (which hosts the Blog) and try running 2013 as a PaD year, which mean a Post a Day. It’s a bit of discipline, and means that even if you don’t have something core to write about, then you go find something.

Most of the time there isn’t a problem, and if there’s nothing local, or of more general interest, then the news often has something to offer. Although there’s not much of photographic interest around my area (seriously dull unless you want pics of houses), most interesting historic stuff has been demolished and built on as it was old industry which is long gone, and it takes some digging to find something. So, the fact that the Blog (unlike the Wiki) is free to wander, means odd stuff might appear. Over the past few months I’ve come to find the local news can be good source, but also a distraction, as the danger of becoming locked into themes or crusades can creep up on you, and you suddenly find all your posts are drifting towards one subject. You can see this in sites that get hung up on things like wind power, local transport, or anything political – and lose their way from their original concept. Once you start on any of those, you can find that almost every post relates to that subject, and you don’t realise it until it has taken over. I have avoided such things deliberately, but even so have found that I accumulates over 600 news stories that I noted for reference, and might have used as post subjects.

So far, I have managed to keep up the Post a Day rate (and a little more), and hope the better weather, should it arrive, might provide a chance for a bit more photography – while we are still free to use cameras without a licence, overseer, and bodyguard.

Wiki

The Wiki has been subject to some extensive tidying during this period, with much redundant material cleaned out, and a substantial number of updates made to existing material. A Wiki page is never “finished”, and can expect to be revised or updated at any time, but a number of pages were started and never even made it to first draft. These have been brought up to date, and only a handful are left that need outstanding content inserted.

Most of the page errors and broken content have been found and fixed, although some of the maps may need to be checked. Changes to the operation of the map API mean that assumptions made in some settings result in no map appearing unless the map is zoomed out. These will be tracked down and corrected over time.

Somewhere between 200 and 300 pages were revised (no, I didn’t think it was worth the effort of counting) which means we no longer generate any errors on our server, which can only be a good thing. Once the last few pages have been fettled, a different method of watching for pages that merit a change will be used, and this should mean that we won’t see the same sort of backlog appear regarding changes, checks, or revisions.

Depending on what we find, or are pointed at, it’s likely that the Wiki will pass through the 1,000 page (or should that be article?) count soon, but there’s no hurry.

I also have a small clutch of modifications to be installed, as time permits, aimed at closing the door to spam commenters. The open nature of a wiki means they can abuse the privilege of being able to edit pages and make comments easily, and since the Captcha barrier was broken recently, the SeSco Wiki has had a public password added since it was deluged with such rubbish shortly after the Captcha breaking services went live. This, unfortunately, happened just days after a commenting option was added to the Wiki, and had just started to attract input from readers, but had to be shut down within days of the Captcha breakers becoming active, and the comments became repetitive nonsense.

Funny, one minute you think there isn’t much that needs doing. The next, feeling of overload seem to be looming.

Forum

Not much to say.

This is more of a problem than it is worth, and may be ditched – in part at least, since it forms part of the Wiki, and provides the Discussion Page element, which would be kept.

Activity is so low, I spend more time dealing with spambots or comment spammers  than  I do communing with any of the remaining members.

While everyone still seems to be visiting and reading, no-one is posting anything of note.

The idea of a Forum is discussion, and that is sadly lacking.

I’m advised by those who move in “social networking” circles that these have replaced Forums, some even say it has killed them.

If that really is the case, then things are not going to improve, ever, since I simply don’t do “social networking”, and won’t be.

New outlet

There’s also a new venture which promises to provide additional visibility for the site within the Scottish community, and see the Forum and its various hassles burn.

I’m not ready to publicise it at the moment, simply because it arrived unexpectedly. Without going into detail, I acquired a site that had been plagiarising my material – kind of stupid really, since it is all offered for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK: Scotland licence. But if you don’t acknowledge or credit the source, then you break the terms of that licences and I will hassle your host and ISP until you are taken off line.

I don’t know when I will get around to looking at this properly, as the updates and revisions to the Wiki are taking up most of my time, but I will be prodding it and customising it a little, just to see how it works, and post a link when I’m at least reasonably happy with it.

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May 1, 2013 - Posted by | Site News | , ,

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