Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Short and Long of It

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Will the new version of the site give me the ability to go back in time and slap my cursor away from the Post Reply button?

    That'd come in really handy.

    Heh... You don't know how many times I have longed retroactively for that feature. Also regarding an email I sent last night that I spent most of today formulating an apology for. Stupid SMTP should have filters for that kind of thing.

    __ Don't make me get out the Italian stereotype bingo card, 'kay?__

    How could you, what with your arms waving around like that and all...

    I would have replied to your insensitive slur sooner but it's Friday so I was busy voting in a new government.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol,

    Point out Matt so I don't sexually harass or otherwise harangue him at the Christmas party.

    He's the handsome one with a super lovely wife and adorable little children. Actually that doesn't really narrow it down with the CactusLads does it?

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Will the new version of the site give me the ability to go back in time and slap my cursor away from the Post Reply button?

    Consider the 'What was I thinking?!' comment a rite of passage. We've all done it. :)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Stupid SMTP should have filters for that kind of thing.

    gmail has a cancel feature that works for a short period of time. But the ability to unsend before the email has been POP'ed on the other end would be handy. OTOH hand, if SMTP had functionality like that, would it still be a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 691 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    Gmail has something like what you're looking for, but for drunken messages. Surely some adaptive text analysis could catch most of the conscious but regrettable ones too.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Brilliant!...

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Mail Goggles

    Enabled.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I'm not entirely sure what threading is

    Judging by what people are writing, I think threading can mean two different things.

    1. messages grouped by a category. Like your classic bulletin board or forum software. So here at PAS, there's one thread per blog post, but maybe people would like to be able to spawn lots of threads attached to each post.

    2. a way of displaying messages so that if you reply to a message, your reply sort of nested or indented under it.

    Advantage is that then it's very clear visually which original message someone is responding to, disadvantage is that the newest responses aren't necessarily at the bottom, but might be tucked up under an early message so that you skim past them. Old-school mail clients and newsreaders favour this kind of display, and make it work with bolding and outline/tree controls -- which don't (to my mind) translate very well to a web-browser interface. Anyway, this is what I usually understand "threading" to mean, but I think other people are thinking of bulletin board type approach.

    For PAS, I'm against both.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2977 posts Report Reply

  • Kong,

    The multithreadedness of PA debates gives it much more of a community feel. You feel like you walked into a chat room, which is full of intellectuals discussing a bunch of stuff that is generally, if loosely connected. On blogs with threads for each topic, there's no room for off-topic stuff, which seems to be where a lot of the action happens. They end up being very sterile a lot of the time.

    OTOH, if you're actually searching the forum for specific information, I think single thread stuff probably works better. Technical forums are always like that. But this isn't a technical forum. It's a general interest one, loosely organized around Russell's general interests.

    Since Jul 2009 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I would have replied to your insensitive slur sooner but it's Friday so I was busy voting in a new government.

    Ka-boom tissch!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Judging by what people are writing, I think threading can mean two different things.

    ...

    The multithreadedness of PA debates gives it much more of a community feel.

    There's a third for you :-)

    If I may mix my metaphors, the tradeoff is between locality of reference, and narrative flow. +1 for narrative.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Twitter and Facebook seem like apples and oranges to me - one's a community site, one's a blogging format. That said, when people used to ask me what Twitter was, I'd say "you know the little status bit on your Facebook page? Twitter is basically just that by itself."

    For quite some time I saw no point in it, but eventually I had an epiphany...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    I wouldn't want threading, but a parent link which gave you the post you was replying to might be useful (or would have been on the Thread that Wouldn't Die, but we don't often get to those lengths). Maybe a popup (ugh) like those horrible preview boxes that leap up when you roll over a link (Is it Snap.com?) only you have to click on the link rather than just roll over.

    On FB and Twitter - when I joined FB, I went in both feet, played games (scrabble, mostly), poked, sent gifts etc. Over time (1.5 years) it's dwindled to an occasional email notification. I ignore invitations to zombies, mafia, farming and other time wasters, and maintain it as an outpost for people to find me (LinkedIn and OldFriends are similar).

    Twitter, on the other hand, I resisted for a long time ("Who wants to know when Obama has breakfast, FFS?") but finally joined a few months ago.

    I have barely looked at my RSS feeds since. Most of the feeds I read have Twitter ids and I get the info in almost real-time. It can be a huge timesink, especially when you pick up 85 links and read your way through, but no more so than RSS. And the social aspect is fun ;-)

    Russ, one improvement could be to allow people to add their Twitter (or identi.ca) name to their profile, like we do with email and websites.

    Mines @nzlemming BTW

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    FletcherB: some automated edit buttons à la Wikipedia would also be in order.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Kong,

    Many mail systems allow you to 'recall' messages. But it's too late if the other person already read it, or is external to your system. It was a useful feature in one corporate environment I worked in, particularly when silly things happened like some poor innocent user forwarding the entire company a hoax virus alert (usually telling people to do something like delete their autoexec.bat file), thinking they were doing the right thing. But it was always funny when people used it just because they had clicked send without thinking. Then it merely confirmed that they were embarrassed about what they had just done.

    Since Jul 2009 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Russ, one improvement could be to allow people to add their Twitter (or identi.ca) name to their profile, like we do with email and websites.

    Good idea. We can add that field.

    I was also thinking of an automatically-populated list of all the websites people enter in their profiles.

    But here's something: I wouldn't be able to give it SEO love. A whole page of links to (mostly) low-traffic sites would pretty much nuke our Google ranking -- I think that's what has happened to The Standard, which last time I checked, didn't have a Google ranking.

    Everyone with a lower Google ranking than us would gain authority from an inbound link from us, but en masse, they'd harm us. So we'd use a "no follow" tag so Google didn't count the links.

    It's an interesting world.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Kong,

    Is that the fabled 'page rank leakage'?

    Since Jul 2009 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I say 'no!' to threaded conversations. They drive me bonkers in other places and I imagine they would here too.

    I'm the same. So that request is almost certainly going to fall afoul of my personal preferences ...

    I've seen one place where it worked really well: The old Sir Humphrey's site. The site had a cookie that would write "new" beside comments that weren't there the last time you looked. You could then search through the thread between new comments and wouldn't miss anything.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3012 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    A whole page of links to (mostly) low-traffic sites would pretty much nuke our Google ranking

    If true, that's really interesting. I had no idea that outbound links counted against one's pagerank. I thought nofollow was just to stop spam commenters from
    gaining any of your Google juice.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Kong,

    My understanding was that the true pagerank formula was one of Google's best kept secrets, for perfectly understandable competitive advantage reasons. Also if people don't know the exact system, they can't find the loopholes so easily.

    I'd guess that dropping pagerank for lots of outbound links to low pagerank sites would be an anti spamming technique. I know one person who eked out an existence spamming Google, and that was his speculation, that they detected automatically created sites from the massive outbound linkage to low rank stuff, which suggested some kind of circle jerk.

    That's if pagerank leakage is true. Possibly they detected his circle jerks much more directly, by actually forming a huge digraph of all the links out there. It's theoretically possible, and if anyone could do it that would be Google. In which case leakage is less of a concern. But avoiding leakage is possibly a bit like taking your vitamins - they might be doing nothing, but then again they might, and it's not hard to take them, just in case.

    Since Jul 2009 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    My understanding was that the true pagerank formula was one of Google's best kept secrets

    I believe this explains it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • Kong,

    Next pigeon I see, I'm gonna bribe with seeds to put in a good word for PA.

    Since Jul 2009 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    'finest European statutary' -lol!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Or we could add google-vitamins to every browser. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

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