Comments

This page discusses how comments are managed on this site.

What pages have comments

New comments are enabled for news items for 90 days.  Old comments will not be deleted.

How to Comment

Under the heading “Leave a Reply”, click in the box where it says “Start the Discussion”.  Or click on reply under a specific comment. Enter your comment then be sure to enter a name and your real email address. The email address is not published but must be provided. It is used for the notify feature and for the rare occasion that a moderator communicates with commenters. If you are not logged in, click the ReCaptcha box.

Moderation

If a comment does not immediately go online, that generally means that it has been held for moderation.  That means that I will get an email and I will have to manually approve the comment.  See the rules below for info on when moderation is required.

Comment Rules

  • Comments should be related to the subject of the post or to the previous comment. Unrelated comments will be deleted (unfortunately, this is sometimes a grey area, as is slander).
  • Your name should be unique – don’t use “anonymous”, “anon” or similar or any other name already used. If you bypass these requirements, your comment will be deleted.  Many blogs require 100% registration – the only thing I ask is that you identify yourself – is that so hard? Once a name is chosen, continue to use that. If you pretend to be two (or more) different people, your name may be edited and you risk being banned – it will also help you with repeated comments if you use the same name.
  • If you include 2 or more links, your comment will be automatically held for moderation – but if there are no other problems, it will likely get approved.
  • This blog does not support any cause or business. Comments that are a  blatant  promotion of a business will be treated as spam. 

Mandatory requirements

If you break one of these rules, you will be warned (if possible) and if the rule continues to be broken, you will be banned from the forum.

  1. Your Email must be real (that is, it must work and be valid) – if not your comment will be deleted and you will be banned from further comments.  If you email me (this means you would be using a valid email), and in future use a real email, I will likely “un-ban” you.
  2. Comments that include slander (or is it libel?), spam or hate messages will be deleted. Spam includes any attempts to sell products or services or soliciting votes in an election. Slander includes any personal attacks. For example, don’t call someone a liar or a racist. Most attempts at spam are automatically deleted – others will be manually deleted.  This is not a forum for back and forth criticism of individuals. Some of this is tolerated (it can be a grey area) but excessive personal criticism will result in deletion of the comment(s).

Rich Text Editor for comments

Available for Desktop users only, users can access a number of tools to enhance their text. Tools are represented by icons with their names visible as a tooltip (hover over to view).  In order they are:

Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikeout, Ordered list, Unordered list (bullets), Blockquote,  Link, Source Code, Spoiler.

With the exception of source code, each is implemented by first highlighting the text to be formatted then clicking the icon.  Source code allow comments to be written in html for those who are familiar with that.  Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikeout, Ordered List, Unordered  List are straightforward but here are explanations for the others:

  • Blockquote – makes text slightly enlarged, indented and with a black bar at left.  Used to highlight text as you might do in a quote.
  • Link – if you want to insert a link that is accessed by text, then this will do this for you.  Paste your link into the box provided.
  • Spoiler – allows text to be hidden until a covering text is clicked.  Type hidden text, highlight it, click spoiler then type covering text.

Comment Technical Rules and Features

  • Comments are limited to 2500 characters.   After 200 words, comments will include a read more tag to see the rest of the comment.
  • If you include more than one link in your comment, it will be held for moderation.
  • You may edit your comment for up to 3 hours. Once you have made your comment, hover your mouse over the comment and a settings icon appears at right – it has the tooltip “Manage comment”. Click that and choose the only option “edit”. You can then edit and save or cancel.  
  • If you do not wish to comment but would like to have a say, click one of the voting buttons under each comment to approve or not.
  • New comments are disabled after 90 days.

Comment Subscriptions

Because of abuse by a spammer, this feature has been disabled.

Problems

If you suddenly cannot get access to the site at all, chances are that you have been locked out. There are a number of reasons this can happen – blame it on an over-zealous anti-spammer/hacker program. If this happens, you can wait a couple of months to be automatically unblocked or contact me and I will unblock you.

Note that because spammers are aggressive, counter-measures must also be aggressive – so don’t be surprised if you occasionally get mistaken for a spammer – or if you are a spammer, that you got blocked.  So far, about 2.8 million spam comments have been blocked compared to 13,100 legitimate comments that were allowed.

Note that I actively monitor all comments (that’s 100%) – if you break the rules (e.g. use an invalid email address, go way off topic or abuse others) I will delete your comments.

ReCaptcha 

One of the tools used to stop spam on comments is the ReCaptcha service provided by Google.  Most users will see a checkbox that you check to continue.  If you are considered of moderate or poor reputation (perhaps just on one occasion), you’ll get a collection of images to match.  If you have a problem passing the test, be aware of the following;

  • Make sure your browser is up to date – old browsers will more likely have a problem.  Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc are all OK – just be sure to have the latest version, or at least a recent version.  If you are using Internet Explorer, be sure you are not using compatibility mode. It’s recommended that you do not use Internet Explorer – it’s fast going obsolete.
  • Do not disable cookies – if you have banned cookies or have recently cleared them, your “reputation” may be questioned. If you don’t know what cookies are, it’s 99.9% likely these are enabled.
  • Do not disable Javascript – it’s needed to function.  If you don’t know what this is, it’s 99.9% likely to be enabled.
  • Your email address is irrelevant to ReCaptcha
  • Your IP address (your computer electronic address) IS relevant – maybe someone else using your WiFi has a bad reputation.

Register and Login

If you prefer, you can register and then login for a better experience (no ReCaptcha for a start).  But self-registering is so prone to spammers that I ask that you email me your user name, password and I will register you.