Back to previous post: Thanksgiving

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Robert Holdstock, 1948-2009

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

November 29, 2009

Latin obscenities meet comment-order preferences
Posted by Teresa at 10:10 AM *

Debra Doyle has pointed me at a piece by Mary Beard in her weblog, A Don’s Life, at TLS. It’s titled Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo: what was Catullus on about?, and as Doyle says, it’s

A truly marvelous blog entry and comment thread, in which a discussion of the difficulties of translating certain Latin obscenities in Catullus becomes entangled with a discussion of the relative merits of oldest-first versus newest-first comment posting order.
True.

We do like that sort of thing.

===

In my anything-but-humble opinion, oldest-first is the way to go. It means you have to at least scan past the rest of the thread, and ideally read it, before posting comments of your own.

Can I state that as a general rule? I think I can:

  • The natural action after reading an entry should be one that ensnares the reader in the site’s ongoing conversation.
  • It should always be easier to read the existing comments in a thread before posting comments of one’s own.
  • Forums should be configured so that it’s easier to read and respond to an existing discussion than to start a new one.
  • The default organization and presentation of comments should be full text, in chronological order, with as few page breaks as possible, in order to encourage a coherent and integrated general discussion.
  • Threaded headers-only comment formats are appropriate for tech support forums devoted to providing specific answers to specific questions; viz., which printer driver is required for your combination of hardware and software. If any point can be said to have been established by last year’s appalling unpleasantness in LJ, it’s that collapsed threaded paginated comment formats are inimical to large-scale general discussions.
  • Reward and encourage commenters who engage with the discussion. The basic unit of engagement is coming back to see what the other commenters said in reply.
  • A commenter’s name and other information should be given at the beginning of a comment, not the end, to encourage readers to perceive the thread as a discussion taking place among identifiable human beings.
  • The most useful and accurate User Profile is an automatically generated list of the complete text of that person’s previous comments.
  • Give preference to the use of real-world identities.
I’ll leave the learned opinions on Latin translation to the real classicists here. I did appreciate one rule of Mary Beard’s which strikes me as being applicable under all circumstances:
First rule for undergraduates: always check where the quote actually comes from!
Comments on Latin obscenities meet comment-order preferences:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 11:49 AM:

That was an ... interesting ... set of comments. (And the bilingual edition of Catullus that I just got translates that line as 'up yours both, and sucks to the pair of you'.)

#2 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 12:22 PM:

Sometimes threaded comments result in formatting oddities.

I'm not entirely satisfied with either threaded or unthreaded--when I come back to a threaded comment page, I have to jump all over the page to find the new posts... but when I'm reading responses on an unthreaded page, I have to jump back and forth to discover, or recall, what the new posts are responding to. On balance I prefer the latter, but I wish there was an easy way to combine the best of both formats.

#3 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 12:39 PM:

This sounds as though it also relates to the eternal argument about top-posting vs. bottom-posting on e-mail. I used to have a funny example of a top-posted exchange that reads very weirdly top-to-bottom, but I'm not sure where it is now.

#4 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 12:40 PM:

That certainly seems to describe the way ML comments are structured. And I believe it has the desired effect.

P J, that's a namby-pamby translation. The ones I've seen were more direct threats of sexual assault.

#5 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 12:52 PM:

This suggestion:

  • Give preference to the use of real-world identities.
is, in my experience, highly dependent on the forum in question.

Specifically, it has been an ongoing issue in Ubuntu when it comes to the inclusion of people who aren't white men with names from Western Europe. In essence, such a policy either forces people to out themselves as women or non-Europeans, or penalizes them for not using their real name.

Now, it may be that in a particular forum the benefit of real-world identities (e.g.) outweigh the costs, but in any forum where certain groups identifiable by name have a history of being excluded, the costs of a preference for real world identities will be high.

Also note that I, as a male with a real name that sets off only the "boringly wasp" signal, would not be the best qualified to judge whether in a particular forum requiring real names would impose a burden on people with names unlike mine.

#6 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Daniel, 4: Thank you, that's very well put.

As I have said often enough to suspect I might possibly have a bee in my bonnet, I'm pseudonymous on the Internet because I don't wish Google to mix my professional life with my social life. Pseudonymity is not the same as anonymity, and neither one is the same as sockpuppetry. Moreover, I have spent time in an atmosphere where known [FITBs] were fired on paper-thin pretexts. Pseudonymity should always be an option.

#7 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:13 PM:

I do my own on-the-fly rethreading with linear comments. I start at the bottom of the page and work up, bouncing from reply to comment up the page and then back down again when I see something else interesting while I'm scanning or a different reply to a previous comment; the upper limit is usually the top of the page or my most recent comment in the thread. I may miss something, but often someone else makes an interesting reply later on that leads me back up the page to whatever I missed.

#8 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:18 PM:

Lee @ 2:

You mean this one?

Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
> Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
> > Yes.
> > > Is top-posting bad?

Sadly, I've just had to get used to top-posting and quoting of entire emails, because that's how Outlook and *spit* Notes do it. It does make it a real pain to try to read an email exchange that was just forwarded to you to do something about.

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Daniel, as I explained the principle once at Boing Boing, given an argument between two users who are equal in all other ways, I'll give a little more latitude to the one who's using a known and established name, because they have more at stake.

I didn't say it had to be their full legal name, just a real-world identity that's worth something to them and is known to others.

This argument has come up a lot in discussions of SF convention policies about names on badges. Many of us perceive a big distinction between someone who's using a long-established fannish name -- Taral, Ctein, Aahz, Bjo, Rusty, Fuzzy Pink -- and attendees who want to use throwaway nonce names on their badges. A person who's unknown to the other convention members, likes it that way, and wants to use "Death of Smurfs" on his badge instead of his real name, is not accountable for his actions in the same way that Ctein is.

#10 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:24 PM:

Daniel Martin @ 4 comments about ...
Give preference to the use of real-world identities.

Indeed - 'Fuk Ing' is a perfectly reasonable name, real-world identity, although it's certainly disconcerting and inappropriate to many western eyes. Similarly, I'd be surprised to find somebody (in a western forum) arguing that "John Tudor" was clearly and inherently an unreasonable, non-real-world name...

I'd argue myself that:

The most useful and accurate User Profile is an automatically generated list of the complete text of that person’s previous comments.

is far more to the point -- provide a link between the identity in use, and their behaviour over time. Who cares what the identity tag in question actually is, as long as there's consistent behaviour associated to that representation.

For that matter, we've seen this pattern repeated on Making Light many times -- a poster appears, says something dubious, and is reacted to in various ways, from "Oh, that's somebody we haven't seen in ages, they're notoriously touchy on this subject, but okay" to "Look, astroturf!".

The biggest problems seem to arise when it's possible to behave poorly with no linkage of identifier to the poor behaviour (which can happen as easily under the tag "John Hancock" as it can under "Master of Disaster"). In that case, we're running headlong into the problem of the value of an identity tag, such as it is.

If you look at online searches, there are plenty of common real names with exceedingly poor value as identity tags -- "John Smith" is a fine example of an identity tag that's functionally anonymous for online to real-world mapping[0]. I can't fault somebody for wanting a more unique identifier, whatever that may be -- or perhaps even several identifiers, depending on the context[1] ... provided that there is a pattern of consistent behaviour associated with whatever that identifier happens to be, over time.

[0] ... and I'd hope that nobody here's going to claim that it's a good idea to start going deeper into the identification morass, and, say, expect people to provide their SSN, phone number and address...
[1] Perhaps Johnny would rather have a different identity tag for asking questions about being a gay teenager than the one he uses for posting to his church youth group site.. [2]
[2] If for no other reason than to remind him of which context he's posting in ...

#11 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:33 PM:

On real names: T did say "give preference", not "require". The almost-equivalent, of having a preferred, consistent use-name within an individual set of conversations, seems quite reasonable. Changing names with changing whims or emotional states is a bad idea if the goal is to build conversation. If you just want a slag-fest, well, Catullus 18 to you.

And T, I agree about comment order, if there is a way to mark conversation so that one can easily get to where one stopped reading previously. ML does a half-assed job on this; it's easy to get to the place where one last commented, or where one last started reading in a thread, but not easy to get to where one finished reading. It requires extra marking steps to do that. The advantages of loco ordo saeculorum (which you proclaim) make this a minor problem relative to the advantages, but if I haven't come here for several days it makes it very difficult to move back into (e.g.) the Open Thread.

#12 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:33 PM:

Daniel Martin #4/TexAnne #5: As someone who uses his real name here (and a paper-thin not-exactly-pseudonymous handle elsewhere), I'm not altogether unhappy about the preference for real names. While I recognise that pseudonymity provides certain kinds of protections for women and for ethnic/religious minorities who might not want (for any of a number of reasons) to draw attention to their identities online, I feel it also provides cover for behaviours that people would not exhibit were they present in their proper persons and obliged to be responsible for their words. We're not yet (not where I'm sitting, anyway) in a state in which we have to watch our tongues for fear of Big Brother, but we should be able to express disagreement without resorting to some of the dumber approaches I've seen taken online (inevitably by people hiding behind the mask of an assumed name).

#13 ::: Peter Hentges ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Since I don't know if he reads and comments here or not, and without wanting to take away from Teresa's general point, I'll note that Ctein is his full, legal name.

#14 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:42 PM:

Looking at two examples right here in this thread -- I don't know what xeger's meatspace name is, but xeger has a very clear identity in my head, to which attaches past posting history and a picture of a personality. Consistent use of an identity builds credibility and something of value to lose, even if it's not linked to a legal name.

I do know what Xopher's meatspace name is (or at least what he's said on a number of occasions it is), and how Xopher is derived from it, but even before I knew what his meatspace name was, he was real to me in the sense of having personal credibility invested in that handle, and thus something real to lose.

There have been a couple of times when I've considered posting as an anonymouse, simply because I don't want my name Googlably linked to past or present employers. Were I to do so, I would make sure I was posting from an IP address that the mods could readily link to me, so that there is at least at mod-level that credibility check that it's not just a drive-by.

#15 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:44 PM:

I try to get both Xopher and my real name on my name badge at cons, because while more people know me by Xopher, a bunch of people also know me by my real name (the association between my business-self and blog-commenting self didn't occur to me, and it's probably too late, but right now (jobhunting) I'm inclined to be careful).

This leads to some interesting things. People with only legal names on their badges walk right up to me and say "Hi, Xopher!" and start talking, and I have no idea who they are (this is particularly embarrassing when I have met them before, as happened with TexAnne in Montreal).

I guess every approach has its drawbacks.

#16 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:58 PM:

I have quibbles on the last point, too. I think the "noone knows if you're a dog" thing was one of the great things about the early internet, and I don't really like it how more and more websites, applications etc. make it the norm to connect almost everything you do online to some kind of central online profile or handle. Yes, anonymity has led to a lot of ugliness, but ugly stuff can be removed from a place if that's wanted, and the increasing connections between everything we do online and everything else we do online and in real life creates a situation where you almost have to polish everything you say or do like a press release.

Julia Jones @13, well, I used to get Xopher and xeger mixed up when I was newer here than now.

#17 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:03 PM:

This reminds me of one of those oddities about the posting order on this blog that always bugs me.

In the initial entry to the forum, the post flows into the discussion of the post as it started, and this seems natural and correct to me.

However, once I hit preview (hey, I just did!) I end up with that same order below my post, which is not the natural order. Now that I'm reviewing my post, I can only see my own post along with the first post, which leaves my post disconnected from its place in the discussion. To look at what I'm replying to, I need to press end, then maybe scroll up a bit, then press home to get back to my own post, which seems to be an awkward action.

Once I'm at this preview screen, it seems more natural to view the comments in reverse order, such that the most recent post (potentially that to which I am replying) is directly below the post I am typing.

Of course, that also can be confusing because the comments are then in a different order on different views of the same thread, so there isn't really a perfect solution, it's just something that niggles at me when I'm posting.

#18 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:13 PM:

Raphael @15: the confusion between xeger and Xopher is an easy one for people who look at the general shape of the word (I now think twice about using such a name pair in a book after several discussions about this on rasfc). But it would be as much of a problem with legal names that have that type of similarity.

#19 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:20 PM:

#16
The comments only look like they're out of order because preview is at the top of the page, replacing the view of the post itself.

#20 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:21 PM:

I had slippage between when I started writing my last post and when it got posted (and problems which made this one appear a few minutes later yet). The nature of asynchronous conversation is very different from synchronous! Anyone know of people who have really studied it?

The question of comment order, as I think of it, is a question of what is going to be privileged in the asynchronous discussion. It's little surprise that the folks in charge here prefer that narrative has a privileged status. In other places, newness has privilege -- to some extent, this is related to the function of the place and the expectation of thread-length. On a blog like Mary Beard's, what's the average or expected thread length? I have no idea, but I would guess that it's significantly shorter than the average length here. In a short thread, with comments separated by significant time, it's easy to see why newness might be privileged. Here, that doesn't work as well.

#21 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:24 PM:

Note that there are two separate "business identity" issues.

One is where you're working, or might wish to apply to, somewhere where The Manglement scan the web to make sure their employees are The Right Sort Of Person, complete with The Right Opinions. Finding a less... rigid... employer isn't always an option for people in that situation.

The other one is where you being publicly linked with your employer might cause them embarrassment. My past and present employers don't actually care what I get up to online[*], as long as I don't say who I work for and thus "bring $EMPLOYER into disrepute". Which is why if I were to talk about a topic from direct personal experience as $EMPLOYEE, I would go anonymous. But with a linkable IP, so the mods could check I'm not a drive-by.

[*the security vetting process for the current one involved me having to give them a contact at my publisher so they could check I was telling the truth on my CV, and they didn't feel it necessary to terminate my employment when they found out exactly what sort of romance novels I write.]

#22 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:29 PM:

I like reading and commenting in places that minimize the amount of clicking and/or changing things I have to do. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has the best read-more link I've yet seen-- it expands the post but you can still scroll to the next one, instead of going to the permanent comments-included page. Livejournal's threaded comments are okay as long as I can click 'expand' and get as much as possible out of them, instead of having them hidden.

I prefer pseudonymity to anonymity and real-name disclosure; it gives the most options. It does lead to multiple-community disconnects-- of the pseudonyms Teresa lists, I think I've heard of one of them. Those names are near anonymity in the context of me. On another hand, the Livejournal icon stickers at Wiscon are incredibly helpful sometimes.

I now know enough people online that started in the real world-- Alphans, mostly-- that I no longer get a me-ping when I see 'Diatryma' in print. I've gone back and forth between Dia and my real name (they may still be connected here somehow) but it's not always appropriate or best to use my real name, and I'd rather have a continuous identity.

#23 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:31 PM:

Teresa: that's fine but it's related to the primary challenge you face in Boing-boing moderation, preventing normal people from undergoing this transformation.

If that - preventing drive-by or longer-term trolling from disrupting a conversation - is your primary goal, then the cost/benefit analysis may work out to a preference for real names, but not a requirement. As I said, it's a decision subject to a cost/benefit analysis that is forum-dependent. A different kind of discussion forum with different goals could reasonably reach the near opposite decision, and discourage anyone from divulging personal details or real names.

In the case I cited, Ubuntu's reason for existence is not the fora. Their reason for existence is their "bug #1". It is more important for them to attract more people - and a diversity of people - to the OS than it is to get the benefits in conversation that one gets with being able to track peoples' posts back to a real world identity. Therefore, I'd argue that they should make a different choice about the preferences for real names.

#24 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:33 PM:

Julia 17: (I now think twice about using such a name pair in a book after several discussions about this on rasfc).

I recently tried to read a story where the two characters were identified as Mark and Mike. I had to give up. Which one of them was which was too hard to keep track of.

#25 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:34 PM:

I'll note that in many respects my real name is as good as a pseudonym. There are three people with my name at my employer, and for a long time the top Google hit for my name was the Amazon page for the book "Daniel Martin". I have to go to great lengths sometimes to be explicit as to which Daniel Martin I am.

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:47 PM:

Whereas we, of course, know you're the Daniel Martin who is Ricky Martin's cuter brother!

#27 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:57 PM:

I just checked and, when not logged into google, my page doesn't show up until the third page of Google hits when searching for "Daniel Martin", despite my consistent habit of linking to it whenever I post a blog comment here or elsewhere. I do however find wonderful things such as this civil-war era ballad:

My name is Daniel Martin,
I'se borned in Arkansas;
I fled from those base rebels
Who fear not God or law.

I remember when I could search for my name on altavista and use that to find people who'd linked to my pages; oh well.

#28 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 03:21 PM:

Regarding preferences for nested comments rather than a flowing discussion, I've often wondered whether exposure to newsgroups (at least with a threaded newsreader) prior to more linear discussion environments affects which one prefers. I've always preferred linear comment order, but my first experience of online discussions was on a BBS that used linear ordering. From what I've heard people say here, my guess is that a lot of you are in a similar situation.

#29 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Jules @26: Re: nested comments, I find that I'm having a fair amount of trouble making sense of Google Wave due to its nonlinear structure. Or maybe I just have not managed to wrap my brain around its paradigm. But to speak to the core topic, I definitely agree that oldest-first is more readable.

#30 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 04:31 PM:

On pseudonyms: I'm trying to start a career in a field where online communication and gadgets like Twitter are becoming incredibly popular (libraries), in a subfield which values a certain degree of conformity and conservatism (small town public libraries). It seemed only prudent to me to separate my real-world, professional online self from the rest of my online activity, especially since I've been using the same pseud online since I was fifteen. I have no problem associating most of my online communities with one another, but if I'm putting my blog on my resume, does the hiring committee really need to know about the Livejournal where I post fanfiction and whine about my day, or the blog where I post about paganism? (I cross-post enough information between profiles that I'm sure someone paying attention could tell I'm the same person, but I figure if they're reading that much of what I'm writing they either won't care or I wouldn't want to work for them anyway.)

#31 ::: Anonymous Coward ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 04:59 PM:

A namesake of mine is a managing director at Goldman Sachs. I plan to blame all my Making Light postings on him if any prospective employer ever asks me.

#32 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 05:55 PM:

All I have to say is that 'Anonymous Coward' strikes me as a PERFECT name for a Managing Director anywhere, but especially Goldman Sachs!

#33 ::: truth is life ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 05:58 PM:

I have a pseudonym as the first place where I joined an Internet community (as it were) was Slashdot, which is after all a place which somewhat discourages 'real' names. Afterwards, I decided it would be more useful to have a unified online identity and allow people who are interested to find me wherever I'm hiding, rather than having different nyms for different sites, and so it went. Because of that, it functions much more like a 'real' name, as I would not want this identity to be sullied somewhere else and that damaging my identity at places I more frequently visit and comment at. However, I have released enough personal information at certain places for it (I believe) to be associated with at most 10-20 people if you did a little digging, so it's not very anonymous.

#34 ::: truth is life ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 06:06 PM:

@6: Eh, what's a FITB (Google is just giving me legal stuff)?

@11: There's a rather useful Greasemonkey script on the front page about that. It marks all the previously-read posts with a grey background. It only works on Firefox, though.

(oh yeah, and in regards to my last post, my email has my real name in it anyways)

#35 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 06:09 PM:

KeithS, #8: No, the one I had was longer and much sillier, and included confusion between the wife of one of the correspondents and a new boat.

Tom, #11: My standard procedure for finding my way back to where I stopped is to start at the bottom of the Recent Comments list, click on that, then scroll up until I start seeing things I've read before (or until I hit my last comment, if I posted one at the previous end of the thread). Then go to the next comment up on a thread I haven't checked yet; lather, rinse, repeat until all active threads have been checked. That may take some scrolling on a busy thread, especially if I've been out for a few days, but it doesn't seem especially onerous to me; YMMV, as always.

Jules, #28: Very likely. My first major online experience was Usenet, and I still miss certain aspects of it -- comment threading is one, but also the way that new comments on a topic which had been inactive for a while would automatically show up at the top of your page and start threading again from there. LJ gets the threading right, but once the top-post is no longer on your front page (exact timing depends on how many journals you read and how frequently they post), you don't see new comments unless you page back down to it. ML's numbered-comments reference scheme and Recent Comments sidebar are as good an equivalent as I think can be had in a linear-posting environment.

#36 ::: truth is life ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 06:11 PM:

And finally--I could swear I had posted more than 3 comments here using this pseudonym. Does changing the email address you use affect the listing script? (Actually, am testing right now)

#37 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 06:31 PM:

I prefer threaded, courtesy of Usenet. But as linear formats go, I find the Making Light version to be good.

And while I prefer threaded, I much prefer a good usenet newsreader to LiveJournal, and even a good linear format to LiveJournal. I like being able to scroll through the unread comments using the spacebar.

Top-posting is, naturally, an abomination before the Lord.

#38 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 06:46 PM:

truth is life: Fill In The Blank. And yes, as I understand it, the "view all by" is organized by email address.

#39 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:11 PM:

TIL #36: Yup, it does. If you're changing your E-mail address long-term, the local tactic for chaining them together is as follows: In the current open thread, post a message with each address, each containing a link to your most recent comment "from" the other address, with a brief explanation to the effect of "changing E-mail addresses".

#40 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:14 PM:

Truth and Lee (34 and 35) -- Thank you for supporting my point that it's more work than just reading the thread. I tend to follow the method you use, Lee. No, it's not onerous. It's just not the easiest thing to do here. Making some things easier to do than others gives them privilege. The already-read Particles, for example, are grayed-out (and this is done without me doing any work, or running another script), on a given computer that I use (it doesn't remain true when I change computers, and I can understand why so I'm not looking for an explanation of that, it's just a sidenote). The already-read portions of a thread don't. What we're looking at here is a set of reading protocols similar to what Delany talks about in one of the essays in The Jewel Hinged Jaw. Different people use different protocols, and the same person uses different protocols in different situations. I have discovered a remarkable proof of the sentience of the Internet based on this, but the posting box is too small to contain it. This can be difficult to explain, of course, as it's working to explain water to a fish -- we're in the middle of talking here using the protocols, after all.

#41 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Ah, David Harmon, thank you for that local tactic on eddress change! I hadn't known it, and it may come in handy sometime.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Is this where I tell newcomers about Making Light's Portrait Exhibition? I rather like the one I unearthed for TexAnne while still respecting her wish for anonymity.

#43 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:26 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 40:

You just beat me to it; I just refreshed this thread to make sure I'd seen everything before posting that desired threading behavior depends not only on individual preference but also on the nature of the current conversation.

Still another point is that it should be possible to change the method of viewing a subthread without affecting the view of comments outside that thread (e.g., LJ's habit of hiding comments outside the subthread is sometimes the right thing to do, and sometimes the most evil behavior in the universe). One thing I will insist on is that having a simple hierarchical model of threading is insufficient: a given comment can be part of more than one subthread at a time. A comment thread isn't an outline, and we are using a medium based on hypertext links, after all.

#44 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:35 PM:

I use my real name in part because I suck at maintaining pseudonymity. Even so, I've stumbled over a namesake who's written books about ecological diversity (which I'm interested but not expert in), and another who's doing an occasional webcomic. I don't ego-Google anymore, it's too depressing.... ;-)

#45 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:46 PM:

Why not thread comments:

Historically, forums that have developed into venues for extraordinary conversation have had a strong tendency to be linear rather than threaded.

Threaded comments imply, falsely, that each comment is posted in response to some other specific comment, and that it relates to that comment in ways it doesn't relate to other comments in other sub-threads.

Threading plus collapsible headers makes it impossible to scan the messages and get an overall sense of what's been happening, or go back and find a comment you've belatedly realize you want to reply to. It also keeps you from seeing that a sub-thread has digressed from the subject of its header.

Threading plus collapsible headers in a system that doesn't automatically show you all new messages means that conversations divide and subdivide, losing participants as they go. It's a net loss of intelligence and vril. Late illuminations, good jokes, and promising digressions are lost to the rest of the participants, and bad behavior is made invisible to them. Conversations that tend to lapse and grow cold do so more quickly. Overheated conversations can't cool down because the antagonists are confined to a tiny virtual space together, like warring cats tossed into a phonebooth.

You can never be sure that the person you're talking to has seen all of the other messages in a multipart threaded discussion.

You lose those transcendent moments when someone pulls all the threads of a conversation together.

#46 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 08:09 PM:

Part of me wants to say, "hey, we have computers here; we can display things in something more dynamic than one long scroll." Another part of me wonders whether people can actually handle the complexity. Certainly I think that anything that requires users to tag somehow all the responses to which they are replying is doomed because people wither won't do it or will make enough mistakes to queer the thing.

The one thing that would be a huge help is being able to scroll the old responses separately from the response area. One can fake that by opening two copies of the page in separate windows, of course.

#47 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 08:11 PM:

Tom #41: No problem!

Posting structures: I originally liked threading, but trying to follow comments on the Cheezburger Network (inter alia) brought me around to Teresa's position, that they encourage wild tangents and break up the discussion. (I paraphrase an old BB comment of hers.)

I also don't like top-quoting -- even back on USENET, it produced huge staircases of old, repeated comments that I had to scroll through to see what might be new. (Now I have a newsreader ("pan") which can mute quoted text entirely, but that's a mixed blessing too.) The one case where it's reasonable is when you're replying to an excerpt, and then you really need to trim ruthlessly. (Especially headers!)

But for blog comments or other web forums, the only situation where I'd want newest-first, is in "fix-it" type forums, where the latest reply can summarize the problem status and provide new status or solutions.

The difference is structural -- USENET is fundamentally a stream of individual messages which can go anywhere, freely forking and interweaving, whereas a web forum's discussion grows by accretion, and it all stays on the same page. It's like comparing party conversation to discussion over a table.

#48 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 08:38 PM:

Heh -- and while I was writing, Teresa spoke for herself, at much higher resolution.

#49 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 09:16 PM:

C. Wingate #46: Part of the problem there is that any "more dynamic" structure would (1) be essentially artificial, and (2) would get hit hard by the Law of Unintended Consequences.

What's actually happening in an online discussion, is that messages are arriving at a relevant "address", each in response to those messages that have previously been posted. For USENET, there's also the issue of message travel time -- much shorter these days, but "order-of-operations" is still naturally weak. But for a web-forum, there is a central "clock" -- the board itself -- and anything which obscures that (such as threads) is hiding socially-relevant information.

Threads also multiply that central "address", which for an online conversation, is the most important thing the messages have in common. Yes, subject lines can be secondary addresses, as in USENET or mailing lists -- but subject lines represent topics, and a web forum generally has its topic right up front.

On some boards, such as the XKCD forums, members can spawn new top-level threads -- but of course, that splits up the discussions, and inhibits recombinations such as we get here. Indeed, I don't find XKCD's plethora of topic-sorted threads terribly appealing -- I rarely venture beyond the comic-of-the-day thread, that being the "natural topic" for which I visit that board.

All that said, there's one bit of "weak threading" I'd still like to see on ML -- a "reply to" button that merely automates the leaders we use (such as "C. Wingate #46:"), using Javascript to paste them into the comment box. (Naturally, they could then be edited as desired.)

#50 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:24 PM:

Personally, I find threaded comments when they're not all immediately visible maddening. I'm a completist, and I'm going to read everything that's already been written before I post my comment, unless there's a strong reason not to.

On LiveJournal, when a post has been heavily commented on in multiple threads I keep having to click "expand" to see everything that's been written.

I've read 100 page threads on discussion boards at 20 posts/page before I replied, or even didn't reply. I agree with the previous posted who noted on a single page view like ML has it's very difficult to keep track of how far you read if you need to do it in multiple sittings. On most forums I can remember "I was on page 13" and go back to there, and many of them will bold the unread pages for me.

I hope at this point it is clear that I'm in favor of oldest-first in all venues.

#51 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:34 PM:

TNH # 45:
"Threaded comments imply, falsely, that each comment is posted in response to some other specific comment, and that it relates to that comment in ways it doesn't relate to other comments in other sub-threads."

On the other hand, unthreaded comments obscure the connection between a post and its inspiration. Most comments are responsive, and making it difficult to trace up a comment thread obscures discussion.

I agree with you about collapsing threads and non-notification, which is why I curse the fact that newsgroups have failed--presenting threaded conversation was a *solved problem* two decades ago and all of the web-based solutions are, generally, like the proverbial reinvention of the wheel by people who can't even agree on how many sides it should have.

David Harmon @ 49:
"But for a web-forum, there is a central 'clock' -- the board itself -- and anything which obscures that (such as threads) is hiding socially relevant information."

Which is why a comment-reading interface should allow both threaded and chronological sorting. You know, like that cutting-edge technology of the early 1990s, trn.

(Of course, even the "central clock" doesn't remove the "you posted while I was writing a comment" syndrome, nor the "I didn't read every single comment before commenting" syndrome.)

#52 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:38 PM:

Oh, and the Catullus in the referenced article reminds me of a Roseanne Barr joke: "Some people say I'm not *feminine* enough. Well, they can all suck my dick."

#53 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:46 PM:

Jules @ 28: My first exposure to comment paradigms was on livejournal, and I've definitely had somewhat of a learning curve for non-threaded versions. I see advantages to both, but I tend to be less confused by threaded discussion-- up until the threads start needing to be expanded, at which point I'm afraid I usually stop reading them. Possibly this is due to laziness on my part, though.

At this point, my identity is probably easier to find through my screen name, as my real name recently changed (marriage) and my maiden name primarily brought up pages of genealogical data. Either one of these brings up several other people, while until recently I was the main "thanate" out there. (And so far as I've seen, the others are all male and (I believe) Thai, rather than my bastardized feminine Greek.)

#54 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:48 PM:

I've always just used my real name on my con badge, because I didn't see the point of doing otherwise, until DragonCon this year. I'd made plans to meet up with people I'd only known online as "hhertzof", so I figured it might be a good idea to have that on my badge. And then I realized, that I knew enough people online, that I should probably make that a regular practice.

As for oldest first, I agree. LJ's collapsed comments are very annoying, but what I really find annoying is that Google Reader still can't parse the correct order for Making Light comments. (Not that I think this is a Making Light problem - I'm inclined to blame Google Reader).

Getting used to top posted emails was a major struggle for me, but I retaliate by replying to each section individually beneath the relevant paragraph. And GMail's practice of collapsing quoted text can go away any time now.

#55 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:50 PM:

I prefer the single-stream, oldest-first form. It reminds me of the BBS days, which I am (just) old enough to remember.

It also helps with courtesy, in that you don't try to wrench the conversation around to something that took place 100 comments ago. (Unless you are a ML god who has something really cool to contribute. I am not a god.) This is particularly telling for me, because it took years for me to learn how to have a normal conversation after growing up in a large family where you had to interrupt if you wanted to be heard.

Incidentally, I had a little problem with that this last Thanksgiving. I just can't do the interruptions like I need to... :D

#56 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:51 PM:

Teresa, #45: Threaded comments imply, falsely, that each comment is posted in response to some other specific comment, and that it relates to that comment in ways it doesn't relate to other comments in other sub-threads.

Not to mention thread drift. That was an ongoing issue in most of the groups I frequented on Usenet -- by the time a topic had been active for a week, there would be 7 or 8 different sub-discussions going on under that header, most of them completely unrelated to the initial topic! Some groups developed conventions to address this; in others, you just dealt as best you could. And even the best conventions weren't always applied as promptly as they should have been.

#57 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 11:01 PM:

I don't like the idea of threading comments when it comes to this site, because threading fragments discussion and ML is all about everyone hearing everyone else. For other sites or fora, threading works. At least I think it must; I don't visit those sites nearly so much.

Usenet rules emphasized quoted material up top for two reasons I can recall: one being that the poster would be moved to trim the quoted stuff to just those bits needed to give context to the new material, and the other that bandwidth and storage costs. The latter is not so much as important a consideration as it used to be, but the behaviour it encouraged goes beyond monetary. It made things easier to read. It made discussions and arguments easier to follow.

So far as 'real names' goes, pericat is as real a name as any others I have. It's not the name my mama gave me, or the one on my driver's license, but like TexAnne, it's also not the name I work my day job under and that last matters to me. If that's ever an issue for anyone, I do hope they'd let me know.

#58 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 11:12 PM:

A Catullus posted from the bottom up would be an anullus.

#59 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:04 AM:

Raphael @ 15 - I understand. I don't get their personalities mixed up, but I do occasionally misspeak when talking *about* conversations on ML in meatspace, as I also often do with Real Names with close similarities.

Jules @ 28 - In my case, I didn't play on the BBS boards and my first real experience with communities outside of email groups (which have their own rules) was probably Slashdot. I don't like "traditional" fora, and many of the earlier ones were linear. Slashdot has threaded headers and that has always meant I feel like I'm missing a large portion of the conversation. It's a volume thing - here, there are too many comments for a threaded conversation to balance properly, and I like the fact that people can reply to the general theme without having to reply to any specific comment. On livejournal, I like the threaded commentary because it makes following those (usually shorter) conversations much easier. But I have found that I only like places where the default for threading is 'expanded', because otherwise, I lose interest.

On pseudonyms:
Mine here is linked to a meatspace pseudonym, and since there aren't all that many of us who chose this particular variant of Cecila, it's pretty easy to trace back to me as a RL person. However, I've done my best *not* to have the reverse be true, because SCA is still something of a black mark in medieval academia. While I can't totally hide my involvement nor want to, I do want to downplay it. It does make my $COMPANY happier (in the "what they don't know won't make the monitors/lawyers cry" sense. "I am a real estate agent" should officially be followed with about a page of disclaimers). I like having a bit of separation between the two, because in RL I must be more restrained. All of my fields tend to frown on the atypical/unorthodox/controversial and with the separation online I can actually afford to speak an opinion without really worrying that a client/colleague is going to do anything other than stumble bodily over it *and* manage to connect Sisuile with the RL person without having a good idea of who I am when not working.

#60 ::: Susan Kitchens ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:01 AM:

[Confession: I skipped to the end to comment without reading everything else, tho I did see the comment by TNH re: why no threaded comments]

Just thinking about redesigning a website. Excellent suggestions. I'll add this to my personal "A Pattern Language" (of website template structure) for entries plus comment threads. Especially that bit about commenter's name displayed before the comment.

#61 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:06 AM:

I post pseudonymously for reasons simliar to those of Jenavira. I'm junior faculty at a big research university, and I want to insulate my personal online life from my professional online presence. My undergrad students, in particular, don't need to hear my opinions about politics or culture or literature. I have strong opinions about all of these subjects, but my opinions about (for example) Cheney's war crimes are not germane to the TCA cycle or the structure of DNA, which are the sorts of things that I teach about and in which I have professional expertise; for students to even be aware of those opinions would be, at best, a distraction. That is why most of my personal online presence is attributable to a giant malevolent fictitious hedgehog.

Bonus joke from an M.D. friend in England:
Q: What's the diff' between a hedgehog and a Range Rover full of barristers?
A: The hedgehog has its pricks on the outside.

#62 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 04:13 AM:

Couldn't agree with you more, Teresa @#45. I always found threaded comment trees a pain to navigate. This is not a technology deficit, it is implicit in the structure of threading.

#63 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 04:29 AM:

Teresa, I also find myself in complete agreement with your comment re: Mary Beard. Everyone should check their sources, not just undergraduates. I am perpetually infuriated by sources being quoted in a way that bears little resemblance to the original meaning. I frequently see misquotations or false attribution of opinions to Adam Smith, Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin, Adolf Hitler, Garrett Hardin, Stephen Hawking, and Albert Einstein. Personally, I would be shamed if it turned out that I had misrepresented someone, even unintentionally. This seems not to be a common emotion amongst mainstream opinion writers.

#64 ::: Douglas ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 08:24 AM:

Chris, 63: Speaking of attribution, I was just reading this, and you might appreciate the story. (Physics, quote sufficiently mis-attributed to Feynman as to confuse the original author.)

#65 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 08:28 AM:

Ravelry has an interesting way of dealing with comments, one which I haven't seen anywhere else.

Comments on a particular forum topic are in chronological order, oldest first.

However, if a comment was posted in response to another comment, there's a link which opens up the comment which was replied to directly above the newer comment. If that one was a reply, you can keep tracking back, until you've got a particular chain of replies all in one place.

Furthermore, if people replied to a comment, the original comment shows the number of replies made--and if you click on it, you get a preview of all the replies. The latter is a fairly recent feature which Ravelers seem to love a lot. I suspect that if people are actually paying attention to it that it might help cut down on dogpiling. (That is a big if, of course.)

I think this gets the best of both worlds - if there's a particular subthread I want to follow, I can do it easily; if I just want to read the whole thread as it evolved, I can do that just as easily.

I don't think I've ever seen anything *quite* like it. Being able to track replies backward is not uncommon, but tracking forward was new to me.

#66 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:22 AM:

I propose the following order for comments:

a) Those posted by Cory Doctorow; b) those made in reply to a troll; c) those containing five or more hyperlinks; d) astroturf; e) others; f) those in terza rima; g) clever ones; h) those invoking Godwin's Law; i) those breaching the blog's comment rules.

#67 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:31 AM:

More seriously: while a person commenting under her real name has the weight of her established reputation standing as collateral to her words, I am not sure that this should lead her to trust her any further. While we can take her willingness associate herself publicly with her words as proof of her conviction, we can equally take it as a reminder that she has weighed those words with the effect they may have on her reputation and prospects - not necessarily a benefit.

#68 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:33 AM:

If I were writing Mary Beard's blog, my next comment on the issue of comment order (regarding top-to-bottom posting) would be to reference CIL 9.2438, an inscription from Saepinum which gives a reply from the Praetorian Prefects to a letter (quoted below it) from an imperial secretary which in turn had forwarded a letter (quoted below that) from his subordinate. I don't know if links to Google Books work very well, but you may be able to see a translation here.

Presumably the decision was made that the latest reply was the important one, although it doesn't make sense without the other letters which had therefore to be quoted. But it is not an easy text to read, and probably wasn't at the time.

Mind you, I suspect the content (basically, "Stop causing trouble!") was secondary to the rhetorical effect of having a big slab of stone set up in the marketplace by imperial officials.

As people have pointed out, this isn't a problem caused by technology as such. I suppose it has to do with the extent to which it feels important to quote the exact words used by your correspondent: official letters tend to quote, personal letters tend to paraphrase.

#69 ::: David Manheim ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:39 AM:

On pseudonyms and traceability, I personally think that while a complete list of postings is an effective way of identifying a person, the real issue is that one should use a single pseudonym across multiple sites; if you don't want to use your name, at least pick one identifiable name to use.

#70 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:47 AM:

the real issue is that one should use a single pseudonym across multiple sites; if you don't want to use your name, at least pick one identifiable name to use

Why, though? I mean, if I express my (scandalous!) political views, say, here, might I have a legitimate desire not to want those associated with my contributions to the Lego fandom? And for neither to be associated with my position in London's fetish scene? I don't think the case has been made for a duty to establish a consistent persona across diverse fora.

This is separate from the issue of having multiple conflicting personas within a particular community, which seems more obviously pernicious.

#71 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 10:07 AM:

I propose the following order for comments:

a) Those posted by Cory Doctorow; b) those made in reply to a troll; c) those containing five or more hyperlinks; d) astroturf; e) others; f) those in terza rima; g) clever ones; h) those invoking Godwin's Law; i) those breaching the blog's comment rules.

Surely you also need to include:

those belonging to the moderator;
those not included in the present classification;
those which, from a distance, resemble puns...

#72 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 10:11 AM:

Since I tend to go online at around the same hour most mornings (Arizona time) and spend a while on other sites before coming here, I can find where I left off on something like a long Open Thread by getting into the "last 1000 comments" and clicking down a few times -- usually twice will do it, and I'm back to around noon of the previous day, Making Light time. Works for me!

No pseudonym here, despite my distinctive first name, since I don't tend to say anything all that controversial. It's also nice to recognize old friends who come as themselves.

#73 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 10:22 AM:

Because someone has to start the drift from Teresa'a original topic, I'll note that the balladic Daniel Martin is absolutely correct about the unpleasantness of winter weather in my hometown, having followed the link in the living Daniel Martin's comment @27.

I am always amazed by people who contend that pseudonym = anonymity. Perhaps it's been exposure to groups like fandom and the SCA, or reading 18th century political history (lots and lots of pseudonyms used in newspaper essays), but it has been apparent to me for a very long time that any established pseudonym becomes an identity, often far more quickly than you might expect.

#74 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 10:35 AM:

continuing ajay @71--

those which parody William Carlos Williams

those from newcomers which appear on Jim Macdonald's emergency medicine and seatbelt threads, many weeks or months after the original posts

those which cause regular visitors to fight the urge to reply, too hastily, in anger

#75 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:02 AM:

The way I see it, posting under your real name is fine, but has the problem and the advantage that consequences of your online words and actions can follow you into realspace. The extent to which that's good or bad comes down to your beliefs about what kind of consequences are appropriate for what kind of speech.

Require linking every comment to a traceable human identity, and you will inevitably decrease the range of opinions and ideas and details about their lives that posters are willing to express. Again, that may be good or bad overall, but I think it's more a bad than a good effect, especially in environments where we seem to do okay at resisting the worst of the trolls and spammers.

#76 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:12 AM:

Chris Lawson @ 63: All sense of shame is surgically excised before one is allowed to pontificate in public.

#77 ::: Adolph Darth Mussolini Hitler Bin Laden ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:12 AM:

I'm in favor of allowing anonymity as well.

#78 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:41 AM:

Shame on you, Steve C.

#79 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:50 AM:

#74: Those that from a long way off look like salwar kameez.

#80 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:52 AM:

fidelio: Yeah, the more energy you put into posting under your pseudonym, the more commitment you've made--which suggests but doesn't guarantee that you will be unwilling to ditch it entirely in exchange for, say, starting a *really fun and brutal* flamewar or something. True names work the same way in most places. Even if you never show your face at a crypto conference, if you publish crypto papers, you'll acquire a reputation based on the quality and nature of your work. And if you start publishing a lot of crap, this will cost you in terms of reputation, even if there is no chance at all of it costing you in any other way--even if you're an independently wealthy hobbyist immune to any kind of hassling.

#81 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:05 PM:

#79:
those that identify obscure stories from vague descriptions getting half the details wrong

those containing classical references

#82 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:18 PM:

@71/79: your comments would be filed under "having just broken the blog pitcher". But they don't account for the fact that, like all comment-writers, we judge others on their works while expecting to be judged only on our imagined plans and feelings.

#83 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:26 PM:

-those that cannot be classified under any heading, including this one

#84 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:28 PM:

One element of Teresa's post that most commenting system still overlook is "the most useful and accurate User Profile is an automatically generated list of the complete text of that person’s previous comments".

This is very true, and should be enhanced. It would be useful, for example, to have a "word cloud", so that most-used terms are highlighted. Or the same sort of analysis could be done on the posts to which the user replied, so we can deduce what he's most interested in. Or even to direct replies to his comments, in systems where such links are explicit.

This would tell us about the user in a way that boring "my interests" boxes will never be able to do, and as a side-effect, it might even drive down usage of certain hateful words (do you really want your word-cloud to put a huge "faggot" on your profile page?)

#85 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:53 PM:

those which may have been written by a dog
those which were written by a dog, but are indistinguishable from human

#86 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:55 PM:

Giacomo @ 84: Word clouds based on people's comments would be great!

#87 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:02 PM:

Follow up to 86: I found Wordle, which autogenerates clouds from provided text. Unfortunately, pointed at my "view all by" page, it gave me a word cloud with a big fat "PM" and "NOVEMBER" in the middle, with a lot words pulled from post titles featured nearly as prominently.

#88 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:21 PM:

Teresa, #45: ...against threaded comments...

Would matters perhaps be improved by allowing comments to respond to multiple comments? In technical language, go from a tree form to a directed acyclic graph?

#89 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:28 PM:

Those that were posted to the wrong thread.

#90 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Breaded comments sound good, especially with butter.

#91 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:37 PM:

One not yet mentioned advantage/disadvantage (Mostly the latter) of the threaded comments at LJ is the e-mail notification process, which only notifies you of replies to your particular thread.

On the one hand, I usually *don't* want my inbox flooded with all 65 or 685 comments to someone else's lj entry, and if I keep getting comments from a thread (or two or three...) I'm partcipating in, it encourages me to go back and check the other threads for other interesting stuff still happening, and lines of conversaton I missed.

OTOH, it more often adds to that same splintering of conversation, where exactly one thread is still ongoing, so only the people who originally participated have any idea that it's a happening place; which steadily narrows the field of replies and readers alike further and further.

Although to me, the worst sin of the threaded comment version is the writer who feels they need to reply personally to every single initial comment on their LJ, and thus ends up replying to multiple nearly identical words of encouragement/congratulations/condolences with nearly identical words of thanks. (In one case, I'm SURE the Original poster copies and pastes. It was entertaining seeing not only an identical comment (Barring an occasional extra last line) pop up with the exact same typo ten times over.

#92 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 02:32 PM:

Those that daunt the lurkers.

#93 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 02:42 PM:

Ths tht r mssng thr vwls.

#94 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 02:48 PM:

Those that are drive-bys, but nonetheless prompt useful conversation

those mentioning needlework

#95 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 02:57 PM:

Lenora Rose @91: the LJ thing with replying with thanks to every comment is part of the LJ culture, and I think is driven by that self-same threading system -- it is not possible to do a general thanks guaranteed to be seen by everyone reading the thread, and thus there is a strong social pressure to thank each individual commentator, lest one be seen to be rudely ignoring someone.

I sometimes deal with it by adding an ETA to the original post, or by putting up a new post, but it's rare that I get comments from people just passing through that single post.

#96 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 03:09 PM:

--Those comments which are double-posted

--Those comments which apologize for double-posting

#97 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 03:17 PM:

Personally I prefer threaded and uncollapsible (or at least uncollapsed.) It means: comments are connected to their antecedent, but also viewable in context of the rest of the screen; digressions can be skimmed more easily since they occupy a particular geographical chunk of screen terrain, but if the digression digresses back to the central topic or another of interest, that can be noticed while skimming.

Usenet sometimes functioned in this fashion - well, it varied by user preference, but if you had a good newsreader you could get threads to display like that. Alas, no more.

The ML discussion style is ideal for those with the time and energy to keep checking back and keep track of their place in the thing. That's sometimes me, and sometimes not (hence why I am one of the irregulars.)

Almost all of the threaded formats I see these days suffer from the collapsed default state - not a feature, IMO. Threads that display uncollapsed by default give a better picture.

#98 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 03:50 PM:

I have the feeling a catalgue of these will be useful, and while the game will doubtless continue late into the night week, better to start now than wait until there are too many to keep track of.

To start with:

a) Those posted by Cory Doctorow; b) those made in reply to a troll; c) those containing five or more hyperlinks; d) astroturf; e) others; f) those in terza rima; g) clever ones; h) those invoking Godwin's Law; i) those breaching the blog's comment rules. SeanH @66

followed by:

those belonging to the moderator;
those not included in the present classification;
those which, from a distance, resemble puns...
ajay @71

those which parody William Carlos Williams

those from newcomers which appear on Jim Macdonald's emergency medicine and seatbelt threads, many weeks or months after the original posts

those which cause regular visitors to fight the urge to reply, too hastily, in anger fidelio @74

Those that from a long way off look like salwar kameez. Jon Meltzer @79

those that identify obscure stories from vague descriptions getting half the details wrong

those containing classical references Carrie S @81

those that cannot be classified under any heading, including this one Xopher @83

those which may have been written by a dog
those which were written by a dog, but are indistinguishable from human heresiarch @85

Those that were posted to the wrong thread. Lila @89

Those that daunt the lurkers. Debbie @92

Ths tht r mssng thr vwls. KeithS @93

Those that are drive-bys, but nonetheless prompt useful conversation

those mentioning needlework Carrie S @94

Those comments which are double-posted

Those comments which apologize for double-posting joann @96


#99 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 04:09 PM:

to #70 ::: SeanH and #73 ::: fidelio, with a nod to Teresa in the seed-post.

Off the web, people have multiple identies and multiple names, so I have no problem with multiple identies on-line -- as long as that person keeps to the same, known identity in the on-line community (or communities) they inhabit. It is no different than parents assigning a given name to a new baby, only to immediately shorten it into a nickname before they get the kid home from the hospital. Or assigning pet names to friends and family members. Or getting the cold shoulder until the other party learns you are someone's child/parent/relative/friend/etc.

The same goes with titles and any professional licensure. Just because someone is a doctor or registered whatever, doesn't mean they use it everywhere in every situation. Off-line life is as fluid and context dependent as on-line life.

Besides, there no way to tell if a "real life sounding" name is the legal given name of the poster. The nom de plume has a long, honored tradition. Ditto for the nom de guerre.

The key here is consistency about an individual's identity within a recognized group and consistency within a grouping of similiar/linked-to on-line communities. (*)

I would agree with Teresa's rule: Give preference to the use of real-world identities if there were more live-and-let-live attitudes toward people with not-one-of-us attitudes. It's easy to do a web search on a name and pull up embarassing information about a person. More and more employers are doing this as part of the hiring process. Some are even asking for web handles now. On-line name searches can be used to descriminate, too, only it's not trackable. The people doing the hiring don't have to ask the no-no questions of age, marital status, religious identity, race, political affiliations and other things banned by EOE legislation in the US. They can find it out with a few clicks of a mouse and a little screen time.

Plus there is the issue of financial and identity security. The nom de web acts like a basic lock on your front door. It's keeps the honest people honest. The dishonest people (and the people with grudges and a well developed sense of revenge) are something else entirely.

---
(*) The written rules about handling trolls, sock puppets, spammers, and other on-line critters, creatures, and crevasses for moderators (and non-moderators) are no different than the unwritten rules of living in a small town (rural or otherwise) or a very tight-knit community in a large town (metropolis or otherwise).

In my opinion, the web is both a medium-sized, economically diverse town and a bunch of small, warring, insular communities strung along a road system at the same time. The same off-line rules apply to on-line life whether we want them to or not.

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Those that contain puns.

#101 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Those that are missing their vowels, spaces, and rot-13'd. In that order. (Of which, I think I've seen one.)

Those that may be paradoxically self referential.

Those that violate causality.

#102 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 04:40 PM:

Those in a private language that looks exactly like English but use oblately different meanings.

Those containing the secrets of the future in cleverly worded allusions.

Those that distract from the discussion at hand.

#103 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Those that contain puns in more than one language.

Those that are both distractive from and germane to the subject at hand.

Those that contain in-jokes.

Those that reference dinosaurs, sodomy, Jim Macdonald and Mike Ford at the same time.

#104 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 05:21 PM:

P sts th t h v b n s nt by PS nd th v w ls c m l s n tr ns t.


o a a e ee e U a e o e a e oo e i a i

Cadbury.

#105 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 05:30 PM:

Posts that definitely needed a fixed-width font. but didn't get one

3:O(>

Posts that smell strongly of fish.
Posts offering chocolate, backrubs or both simultaneously.
Posts not containing 10% or more (by weight) of recycled electrons
Posts containing Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.
Posts made by badgers or other mustelidae
Posts so far over the top that they are down the other side and three valleys into the next county.

Cadbury

#106 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 05:42 PM:

Really dislike the normal on-line forum setup, such as this one here. It extinguishes conversations fairly rapidly (by not reminding me they're going on) ("recent comments" sometimes helps a bit, if I go to the front page, but not very much), and puts a terribly high premium on obsessive refreshing (because that's the only way to see comments early enough to get a response in, before they roll over the event horizon). I like online discussion largely for the ways it differs from in-person discussion, and the key ones of those to me are that it's NOT terribly time-bound and it's NOT linear.

#107 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 05:45 PM:

David Dyer-Bennet @ 106... It extinguishes conversations fairly rapidly

It does?

#108 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:04 PM:

those that end in fnord

those that appear to end in fnord but do not fnord

those that do not appear to end in fnord but actually do

#109 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:12 PM:

Tom Whitmore @11 said: I agree about comment order, if there is a way to mark conversation so that one can easily get to where one stopped reading previously. ML does a half-assed job on this; it's easy to get to the place where one last commented, or where one last started reading in a thread, but not easy to get to where one finished reading. It requires extra marking steps to do that. The advantages of loco ordo saeculorum (which you proclaim) make this a minor problem relative to the advantages, but if I haven't come here for several days it makes it very difficult to move back into (e.g.) the Open Thread.

Lee @35 said: My standard procedure for finding my way back to where I stopped is to start at the bottom of the Recent Comments list, click on that, then scroll up until I start seeing things I've read before (or until I hit my last comment, if I posted one at the previous end of the thread). Then go to the next comment up on a thread I haven't checked yet; lather, rinse, repeat until all active threads have been checked. That may take some scrolling on a busy thread, especially if I've been out for a few days, but it doesn't seem especially onerous to me; YMMV, as always.

As I read down a thread here on ML, I click every 'date/time' link I pass, turning them a different color (as my personal browser settings decree), because now they are 'followed' links. When I get to the bottom or a stopping point, I click the current tab (which, since I've clicked each date/time link, is the specific URL for the last comment I read) and drag it into my bookmark folder for 'current comments'. If I wish to check threads I'm active in for new comments, I hit that bookmark and see if there's anything below. If I want to look for activity on threads I'm not actively following in this manner, I click the 'recent comments' link and look for non-greyed-out links, meaning i haven't read 'em.

Requires some obsessively OCD clicking while I read, but, um, that's not a problem for me. YMMV. :->

My all-activity-by Wordle for this site (once I find-and-replaced out false commons from the message headers like months, years, post titles, etc), amusingly has several rot-13'ed common English words appearing quite large. I didn't realize I used that much rot-13!

#110 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:28 PM:

The full text of the essay to which this game has been a reference, for anyone who has not yet encountered it, is here - 'The Analytical Language of John Wilkins', by Jorge Luis Borges. I strongly recommend reading everything Borges has ever written, but especially Fictions and Labyrinths.

The Bibliographic Institute of Brussels exerts chaos too: it has divided the universe into 1000 subdivisions, from which number 262 is the pope; number 282, the Roman Catholic Church; 263, the Day of the Lord; 268 Sunday schools; 298, mormonism; and number 294, brahmanism, buddhism, shintoism and taoism. It doesn't reject heterogene subdivisions as, for example, 179: "Cruelty towards animals. Animals protection. Duel and suicide seen through moral values. Various vices and disadvantages. Advantages and various qualities."

#111 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:30 PM:

David Dyer-Bennet @ 106 ...
Really dislike the normal on-line forum setup, such as this one here. It extinguishes conversations fairly rapidly (by not reminding me they're going on)

Those that involve requiring others to think and behave the same way...

Those insisting that others may not think and behave the same way...

Those being confused at requiring or not requiring others to think and behave the same way...

Those containing entirely too much misdirected snark...

#112 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:38 PM:

Comments that apologise for their own existence.
Comments that do so in a patently insincere manner.

Comments that seem unsure of their own existence.
Comments that do so in a patently insincere manner.

Comments that apologise for their owner's lack of qualification to comment upon the subject matter of the post.
Comments that do so in a patently insincere manner.

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Those where Serge brings up concepts for Skiffy Channel movies never quite as weird as what the Skiffy Channel actually puts out.

#114 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:43 PM:

comments that challenge the sincerity of other comments
those that do so in a patently insincere manner

#115 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:56 PM:

fidelio @ 98:

those which catalogue ongoing word games

#116 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Hmm, after laboriously editing out the "posted on... at..." bits, my Wordle is kind of interesting. My most common words are "one", "think", "people", "just" and "like". The only other ML username which shows up is Xopher.

#117 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 06:57 PM:

those that raise meta-issues based on previous comments in the thread

those that raise meta-issues with no reference to any previous comment

those that raise meta-meta-issues with previous meta-issues

those that contain recipes for chocolate desserts

those that contain links to things shiny

#118 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 07:12 PM:

LJ can be forced into linear comment behaviour by appending ?view=flat to the URL.

I wish that ML had an option for adding an anchor tag to a previous comment on the same page in some automagic fashion. It's very annoying to have to search or scroll to find out what "In reply to Foo at #23" is talking about.

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 07:20 PM:

Those where people are reminded of anniversaries, of births or other.

#120 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 07:50 PM:

Normally I re-enter a thread by way of the "recent comments" list, clicking on the last comment for each active thread (thus marking it as "seen"), then paging up to the prior comment marked as "seen". (Visible by the color of the dateline link.)

If I need to stop reading midway, or if I've refreshed the page (and gotten more comments thereby), I'll just click on the dateline for the last comment I read. When I come back, that provides enough of a hint, as I skip past any spuriously-"seen" comments from prior sessions.

#121 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 07:55 PM:

The only other ML username which shows up is Xopher.

Bah-hah-hah, I invade your very wordcloud! Today the wordclouds, tomorrow the world!!!

Seriously, that's interesting. I'll have to try this when I get home.

#122 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 07:58 PM:

those comments
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast.

#123 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 08:03 PM:

(I know, I know, fidelio got there first. However, I couldn't resist the urge to make a comment that was both a #74 and a #117. Now we find out whether our card catalog explodes in a puff of logic like a computer that has been argued with by Captain Kirk...)

#124 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 08:19 PM:

Hmm. I just did my own comment Wordle. I edited out the "Posted to..." lines, but not comment-reference leads, so Xopher appears in the cloud. (So does "Bruce", but that surely conflates at least two frequent correspondents.)

#125 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:18 PM:

Expanding on #98:

Those that contain puns.
Serge @100

Those that are missing their vowels, spaces, and rot-13'd. In that order. (Of which, I think I've seen one.)

Those that may be paradoxically self referential.

Those that violate causality. eric @101

Those in a private language that looks exactly like English but use oblately different meanings.

Those containing the secrets of the future in cleverly worded allusions.

Those that distract from the discussion at hand. Tom Whitmore @102

Those that contain puns in more than one language.

Those that are both distractive from and germane to the subject at hand.

Those that contain in-jokes.

Those that reference dinosaurs, sodomy, Jim Macdonald and Mike Ford at the same time. Fragano Ledgister @103

P sts th t h v b n s nt by PS nd th v w ls c m l s n tr ns t.

o a a e ee e U a e o e a e oo e i a i
Cadbury Moose @104

Posts that definitely needed a fixed-width font. but didn't get one

3:O(>

Posts that smell strongly of fish.
Posts offering chocolate, backrubs or both simultaneously.
Posts not containing 10% or more (by weight) of recycled electrons
Posts containing Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.
Posts made by badgers or other mustelidae
Posts so far over the top that they are down the other side and three valleys into the next county.
Cadbury Moose @105

those that end in fnord

those that appear to end in fnord but do not fnord

those that do not appear to end in fnord but actually do Xopher @108

Those that involve requiring others to think and behave the same way...

Those insisting that others may not think and behave the same way...

Those being confused at requiring or not requiring others to think and behave the same way...

Those containing entirely too much misdirected snark... xeger @111

Comments that apologise for their own existence.
Comments that do so in a patently insincere manner.

Comments that seem unsure of their own existence.
Comments that do so in a patently insincere manner.

Comments that apologise for their owner's lack of qualification to comment upon the subject matter of the post.
Comments that do so in a patently insincere manner. Sam Kelly @112

Those where Serge brings up concepts for Skiffy Channel movies never quite as weird as what the Skiffy Channel actually puts out. Serge @113

comments that challenge the sincerity of other comments
those that do so in a patently insincere manner Xopher @114

those which catalogue ongoing word games

those that raise meta-issues based on previous comments in the thread

those that raise meta-issues with no reference to any previous comment

those that raise meta-meta-issues with previous meta-issues

those that contain recipes for chocolate desserts

those that contain links to things shiny Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @117

Those where people are reminded of anniversaries, of births or other. Serge @119

those comments
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast. A.J. Luxton @122

Thanks for that link, SeanH @110!

#126 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:33 PM:

A.J. Luxton @113

It doesn't seem to have done so; at least, I was able to add it to the list. We'll see what the long-term effects are...

#127 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:44 PM:

those that unravel sockpuppetry and turn the leftovers into huggable Cthulhu dolls

those that reference Lovecraft or things Lovecraftian, especially where the comment appears in no earthly colour

those that request information by noting "AKICIML" or "AKICITF"

those that suggest or require the inclusion of various IANA... designators

those where people claim to have seen the Skiffy Channel movies that Serge said he made up

those by infrequent commenters who aren't sure they've gotten the hang of it but want to play along anyway :)

those providing feedback on recipes given in the comments of non-food-related posts

those providing feedback on recipes given in the comments of food-related posts

those that reference pie

#128 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:47 PM:

Those[0] that are endlessly[1] and inventively[2] footnoted, sometimes recursively[0]

[0] Like this.
[1] Only endless if you forget to put in a break
[2] Ooops... no break... [3]
[3] Okay, maybe that's not inventive, but it -is- geeky...

#129 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:54 PM:

Re: one of the original topics, I like unthreaded comments with oldest first. Most threading styles remind me of being party to a dozen conversations at once and not knowing where to focus my attention...and by the time I figure it out, anything I want to add is no longer pertinent. (Or so it seems.)

On the other hand, A.J. Luxton @ 97 describes a system that sounds the way comments on Daily Kos look, and those are comfortable for the reasons mentioned in said comment.

#130 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:55 PM:

Those that are in a list imitative of one, supposedly from a Chinese encyclopedia, mentioned in a Borges essay.

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:23 PM:

Syd @ 127... those where people claim to have seen the Skiffy Channel movies that Serge said he made up

Drat! I was sure nobody had seen the Skiffy Channel's movie where Robin Hood, after leaving the Holy Land, is attacked by mummies.

#132 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:25 PM:

Xeger #128:

Those that pedantically correct prior comments in the thread¹

¹ by abusing footnote rules ²
² to achieve recursion ¹

;-)

#133 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:56 PM:

˙spɹɐʍʞɔɐq puɐ uʍop ǝpısdn ǝɹɐ ʇɐɥʇ ǝsoɥʇ

#134 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:00 AM:

Because online lists can be more interesting, I'd add the category, "Those containing jokes the reader doesn't get."

#135 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:02 AM:

Debbie @92:

Please do not daunt the lurkers.

Thank you.

#136 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:17 AM:

Serge @ 131: Is that the one where, when Robin and his Merry Men get to Venice, they're attacked by the Creature from the Black Lagoon?

#137 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:23 AM:

Syd @ 136... And a megashark. Then, while crossing the Alps, they run into a revived mammoth.

#138 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:32 AM:

Serge @ 137: Luckily, France never conducted nuclear testing on its own soil, or the journey to Paris might have been disrupted by...THEM!

#139 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:36 AM:

I use my real name here because there are a few people here that I know from SF fandom (both in fanzines and in meatspace*) 25–35 years ago, and nobody thought of using pseudonyms back then except Taral, Ctein, Bjo, et al. On forums where people complain about work I use a handle. On forums for subculture type interests that are often misunderstood I use a different handle.

One thing I miss from the Usenet days that hasn't been mentioned yet is the killfile. You could divert posts from particular trolls to the bit bucket and never have to read their posts again. Not that I've ever needed that at Making Light—not for more than 24 hours anyway.

I never use the last 1000 comments link. I usually read here daily, so I search each thread for the first occurrence of today's date and scroll back to the last post I remember reading.

* You know who you are.

#140 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:39 AM:

Syd @ 138... Not in Paris, but Robin does run into THEM! in Nantes.

#141 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:59 AM:

Serge @ 140: Oh. I guess I was hoping that Robin & Co. would have thought to arrange for a Panthera Leo as protection there.

What, you've never heard of the Nantes Lion?

#142 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 01:30 AM:

Comments in verse, divided into:
- Sonnets, which vary in meter and form,
- Villanelles (though sadly less of the time),
- Both classic and modern forms of haiku,
- Limericks, cleaner than is often the norm,
- Ballads, ballades, and others that rhyme

- As well as poetry
  Freer in form and structure
  As required by the Muse

#143 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 01:53 AM:

Those that are attempts to classify things, including Xopher's "those that cannot be classified under any heading, including this one".

#144 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 02:40 AM:

- those from infrequent commentors who attempt to play along, but who are probably duplicating content upthread by a regular.

(my pseudonym is a very shallow pseudo indeed, linking as it does back to my blog upon which my real name is used on every page. I think of it more as a consistent online identity that's more easily googleable than my real name.)

#145 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 03:21 AM:

Cat@118: It's possible to hyperlink back to the comment to which you're replying; that makes the scrolling much easier. I've noticed others doing this, and I try to do it myself, although it is a bit of effort and I understand why others don't.

In terms of keeping my place, I use the "new back threads" page; when I reach the end of a session I click on the top three links. In my browser/OS combo that changes their color, since they're now links that have been followed. Next time I come here I go to the page and then scroll down till I see a block of three differently-colored links.

(When I start reading the thread again I usually start by re-reading what was previously the last post, for the sake of continuity.)

The system Naomi Parkhurst describes in #65 for Ravelry sounds terrific, and I would adore it if we could have something similar. To be sure, my first experience with online communication was Usenet, so I'm attached to the idea of threading. (I couldn't agree more with Kevin Maroney's comments about Usenet vs. web boards.)

#146 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 04:22 AM:

David @145: What I wish Making Light had, and I don't think would be that difficult to implement in an absolute sense (though integrating it into the rest of the code might be tricky) is a comment processing things that simply turns anything that's an "@" followed by a number into a hyperlink to the corresponding comment. And, if it's doing that, it could add a line under the linked-to comment saying "Replies at" and linking to the follow-up comments.

#147 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 04:25 AM:

Also, I'd like to point out the similarities of that cross-linking of references idea to how Don Knuth's "literate programming" documentation sections work; they have automatically-reflexive textual links to other documentation sections from other pieces of the program that either use or are used by the piece documented by the section at hand. In some ways, it's a rather similar problem of looking at an intricately-interconnected web of text that's too big to take in all at once.

#148 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:52 AM:

Brooks Moses @ 147...

Don Knott's 'literate programming'?
("No, Serge. Don Knuth.")
Oh.
Nevermind.

#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:53 AM:

Those where Serge channels Roseanne Roseannadanna.

#150 ::: Ingvar ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:57 AM:

TNH @ #45:

Having started with "linear comments", in my tender youth, I then stumbled on KOM, using a threaded paradigm (and, to boot, a record of what you have and have not read, to make it easier returning to a thread of conversation later).

This, I found, was good for "interacting with the conversation", but slightly hard when, as when I interact with ML, I do this in incremental batches rather than a continous integration of the conversation with my brain.

This was, admittedly, slightly bettered with LysKOM, where there is the possibility of adding multiple "this is a comment to" references to another textual entry in the conversation.

However, in "archive format" (as the ML comments page most closely resemble), a single page with everything in a given conversational cloud in strict chronological order, from oldest to newest, is possibly close to the best thing.

Eric Sadoyama @ #29:

I think non-linear conversation is something one can train oneself to deal with. Cf. my comments about LysKOM above.

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 09:14 AM:

Those where we do the 6 degrees of separation.

#152 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 09:41 AM:

Continuing from #98 and #125:

those that unravel sockpuppetry and turn the leftovers into huggable Cthulhu dolls

those that reference Lovecraft or things Lovecraftian, especially where the comment appears in no earthly colour

those that request information by noting "AKICIML" or "AKICITF"

those that suggest or require the inclusion of various IANA... designators

those where people claim to have seen the Skiffy Channel movies that Serge said he made up

those by infrequent commenters who aren't sure they've gotten the hang of it but want to play along anyway :)

those providing feedback on recipes given in the comments of non-food-related posts

those providing feedback on recipes given in the comments of food-related posts

those that reference pie Syd @127

Those[0] that are endlessly[1] and inventively[2] footnoted, sometimes recursively[0]

[0] Like this.
[1] Only endless if you forget to put in a break
[2] Ooops... no break... [3]
[3] Okay, maybe that's not inventive, but it -is- geeky... xeger @128

Those that are in a list imitative of one, supposedly from a Chinese encyclopedia, mentioned in a Borges essay. Jon Meltzer @130

Those that pedantically correct prior comments in the thread¹

¹ by abusing footnote rules ²
² to achieve recursion ¹ David Harmon @132

˙spɹɐʍʞɔɐq puɐ uʍop ǝpısdn ǝɹɐ ʇɐɥʇ ǝsoɥʇ Cally Soukup @133

Those containing jokes the reader doesn't get.
Diatryma @134

Comments in verse, divided into:
- Sonnets, which vary in meter and form,
- Villanelles (though sadly less of the time),
- Both classic and modern forms of haiku,
- Limericks, cleaner than is often the norm,
- Ballads, ballades, and others that rhyme

- As well as poetry
Freer in form and structure
As required by the Muse abi @142

Those that are attempts to classify things, including Xopher's "those that cannot be classified under any heading, including this one".
shadowsong @143

- those from infrequent commentors who attempt to play along, but who are probably duplicating content upthread by a regular. Wirelizard @144

Those where Serge channels Roseanne Roseannadanna. Serge @149

Those where we do the 6 degrees of separation. Serge @151

My apologies to anyone I've misspelled or miscapitalized.

#153 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 10:51 AM:

Comments which summarize previous comments.

#154 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 10:56 AM:

Comments apologizing for misspelling or miscapitalizing other commenters' names

Comments insisting that others give up unconventional capitalization schemes

Comments refusing to give up an unconventional capitalization scheme

#155 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:02 AM:

Comments hitting the nail on the head

Comments hitting the nail on the head, but only after other commenters have already driven it into the wall

Comments apologizing for not reading the comment thread before writing a comment that hit the nail on the head, but only after other commenters have already driven it into the wall


Comments containing foolish misteaks

Comments apologizing for foolish mistakes, dammit

Comments comforting others for having made comments containing foolish mistakes

Comments turning the screw on other commenters for having made foolish mistakes

Comments turning the screw, but only after other commenters have already twisted it into the wall

#156 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:20 AM:

Comments hitting the screw on the head.

#157 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:23 AM:

Comments turning the nail around, wondering why its head is on the wrong end, and concluding it's for the other side of the fence

Comments from the other side of the fence

#158 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:27 AM:

Comments made for the purpose of marking spam.

Comments responding to the spam-spotting with cleverness.

Comments in which spam was replaced by verse.

Comments in which the commenter forgot to change their spam-spotting header back to normal.

Comments apologizing for forgetting to change the spam-spotting header back to normal.

#159 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:29 AM:

Spam comments

Comments pointing out spam

Comments disputing that the indicated comment is spam

Comments sparked by associations with the username or content of the spam comments

Baffled comments trying to figure out the associations with the now-deleted spam content

#160 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:30 AM:

Comments in which spam-spotting spillover is especially spurious

#161 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:32 AM:

Comments making the same point as other, earlier comments (or has this one already been posted?)

#162 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:47 AM:

Comments made on postings which have not yet happened.

Cascades.

Comments attempting to unscrew the inscrutable.

Cadbury.

#163 ::: those which are largely or entirely contained in the name text - heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:51 PM:

.

#164 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 01:02 PM:

Those which comment upon the materialization of spam, but which get double-posted.

#165 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 01:03 PM:

Those that go squee.

Those that go squick.

(those that go squee squick, squee, squick)

#166 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 01:03 PM:

Comments which have nothing else to say, but are here just for the cookies.

#167 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 03:57 PM:

Ginger @ 166: Cookies? [/Cookie Monster voice]

(Which reminds me: is there someplace to get a widget that translates Latin? I have two, neither of which will do that. I've picked up some Latin over the years, but sometimes, that's not enough.)

#168 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 04:20 PM:

There's always www.tranexp.com, which is a general free translation site. Not very good, but it's something.

#169 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Building upon the solid and substantial base assembled previously in #98, #125, and #152:

Comments which summarize previous comments. Rob Rusick @153

Comments apologizing for misspelling or miscapitalizing other commenters' names

Comments insisting that others give up unconventional capitalization schemes

Comments refusing to give up an unconventional capitalization scheme Xopher @154

Comments hitting the nail on the head

Comments hitting the nail on the head, but only after other commenters have already driven it into the wall

Comments apologizing for not reading the comment thread before writing a comment that hit the nail on the head, but only after other commenters have already driven it into the wall


Comments containing foolish misteaks

Comments apologizing for foolish mistakes, dammit

Comments comforting others for having made comments containing foolish mistakes

Comments turning the screw on other commenters for having made foolish mistakes

Comments turning the screw, but only after other commenters have already twisted it into the wall Xopher @ 155

Comments hitting the screw on the head. David Harmon @156

Comments turning the nail around, wondering why its head is on the wrong end, and concluding it's for the other side of the fence

Comments from the other side of the fence Xopher @157

Comments made for the purpose of marking spam.

Comments responding to the spam-spotting with cleverness.

Comments in which spam was replaced by verse.

Comments in which the commenter forgot to change their spam-spotting header back to normal.

Comments apologizing for forgetting to change the spam-spotting header back to normal. Mary Aileen @158

Spam comments

Comments pointing out spam

Comments disputing that the indicated comment is spam

Comments sparked by associations with the username or content of the spam comments

Baffled comments trying to figure out the associations with the now-deleted spam content abi @159

Comments in which spam-spotting spillover is especially spurious Xopher @160

Comments making the same point as other, earlier comments (or has this one already been posted?) abi @161

Comments made on postings which have not yet happened.

Cascades.

Comments attempting to unscrew the inscrutable. Cadbury Moose @162

#163 ::: those which are largely or entirely contained in the name text - heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:51 PM: heresiarch, @163 redundance for the sake of consistent format

Those which comment upon the materialization of spam, but which get double-posted. joann @164

Those that go squee.

Those that go squick.

(those that go squee squick, squee, squick) eric @165

Comments which have nothing else to say, but are here just for the cookies. Ginger @166


Now I want cookies.


#170 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 05:30 PM:

FX: hands chocolate truffles to fidelio.

Comments bemoaning the non-availability of cookies.

Suggestion that the cookie shortage was caused by the underpants gnomes.

Reposting of the quantum laundry theorem.

Cadbury
(Lint is not a chocolate manufacturer.)

#172 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 06:54 PM:

Jacque #171:

Well, it certainly wasn't just for *me*!

#173 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:04 PM:

comments which accidentally invoke the wrath of OH MY GOD, NOOOOOOOO -- [carrier lost]

#174 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:24 PM:

Comments lauding the genius of previous posters

#175 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:27 PM:

Comments invoking timid, Piglet-like questions.

#176 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:37 PM:

Those where it is impossible to tell the signature from another comment, like one of Cadbury's above.

Cadbury. Again, dammmit!

#177 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:47 PM:

Jacque #171: OK, that is just unspeakably cute! And the image zooms to wallpaper size... though even the default image is clearly bigger than life-size!

#178 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 08:58 PM:

Comments which are implicitly either being dictated or being presented in the style of either an opera or a Shakespearean tragedy, since the writer claims to be dying; O I breathe my last; the poison is o'erbearing me; my last drops of blood trickle forth; Oh dread, it's up to my <*GLUMPH*>

#179 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 09:01 PM:

Jaque@171, and Bruce @173, I am compelled to offer this in reply to your comments.

#180 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 10:37 PM:

Comments criticizing another commenter's choice of words but labeling it a grammer (sic) error.

#181 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 10:41 PM:

Comments misspelling the name of the person you're replying to (mea culpa, Jacque!).

#182 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:04 PM:

Comments where I quote a line from a movie because it says so much better what I want to express.

#183 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 12:00 AM:

Comments in which a moderator becomes immoderate.

#184 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 12:19 AM:

Commmaaaaaaaaaaoooooooeeeen89999 HHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

#185 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 12:20 AM:

Commmaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssssssssssssss,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

#186 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 12:21 AM:

Er. Comments with feline assistance...

#187 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 01:13 AM:

those wherein the commenter exits (or exeunt) pursued by bears (or possibly not so pursued...)

#188 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 02:00 AM:

545. Those which delurk the lurker.

546. Those in which commenters flounce.

      a) Of those, comments which are the commenter's last (vy. rare).

547. Those participating in a pun cascade.

      a) Ineffectively.

      b) Redundantly.

      c) In such a way as to damage keyboards at some remove.

548. Those which are first.

549. Those which demand restitution for damaged keyboards.

550. Those containing cats.

#189 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 03:40 AM:

# 6.626068 × 10-34 m^2 kg s^-1. Those which might or might not contain a cat.

#190 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 04:56 AM:

THOSE THAT ARE IN ALL-CAPS, DELIBERATELY

THOSE THAT ARE IN ALL CAPS> ACCIDENTALLY

those that contain no capital letters whatsoever, for which it is impossible to ascertain whether there was a reason

Those that are too small for the margin.

--Dave "those that contain an internym or other stylistic variation on the poster's name" DeLaney

#191 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 05:30 AM:

Hey guess what? Another pseudo here. I wonder why...

0) Easily identifiable name. In "only one on the internet" identifiable. In "in North America, at least, more people with my last name related to me than not" identifiable.

1) my current workplace is amazing; they know how weird I am, and they swing with it. I have not been that lucky in the past, and should I take another job, I may not be that lucky in the future. I have some odd ideas, and have been known to publish them. I have some unusual hobbies with which I'm obsessed (nothing illegal, just weird), and there are employers who still think "all he thinks about is X. Therefore, it's more important than his job."

2) I work in IT, and Google-checking resumes is de rigeur. I want people who do that to find my interests in IT, not to be swamped by my hobbies (which, frankly, my online personae do. I'm a "work at work, play away" kind of person).

3) I have some unconventional ideas and opinions related to My Neighbour to the South, and particularly the War against Communism (when the Communists imploded, they found new ones, which they called something else. A few times now. But it's the same War. Oh look, there's one of those opinions). I also have to enter said Neighbour on a regular basis for work. When the TSA Google-checks me...neh?

4) My Real (first) Name is commonly, habitually shortened/misspelled, and I like the one I was born with, thanks. Fighting that battle online is something I choose not to do. I'm sure that Pat and Theresa will understand this one (and sorry, that will not happen again - making a point here. Because of this point, I care about getting people's names right, the way they choose to be known).

5) There are enough clues in my history here and elsewhere that one could link my alias to my name with a suitable amount of work. Don't even think it would be that hard (though it probably would be easier from a different starting point). But it's like the lock on my front door - I'm quite certain it won't stop the person who really wants to get in, but that's not who I'm trying to stop. It's the guy randomly turning handles, seeing what he comes up with.

5a) I would appreciate anyone here doing that work keeping it to herself, please.

5b) I have no issues with the enLightened having the connection; should one ask, I'd probably tell them. *In general*, however, the world is a nastier place. And I'm white, male, straight, and Christian, but still, I have reasonable worries about my past haunting my future. So that's *my* choice to give to *you*, not the random clicker on the 'tubes. And my choice is to allow others that same option, and fight when people try to take it away.

6) I choose the Victorian Novel tradition of Mr. W___ for my alias, if I can't get Mycroft for some reason (and, recently, even if I can). Stands for Watson (because I'm nowhere near tall enough, fat enough, or smart enough to be Mycroft Holmes). So, clearly a pseud. But had I signed up as Mycroft Jones, or Tim Andrews, or even Asif Mohamed, would anyone have known? And wherefore "real name identity preference" now?

I took two hours to build my first post to Making Light, because I had something I thought important to say, to people (some I knew through real names, some only through the opera tied to their Making Light persona) whose opinion I value - and I wanted it to be a good opinion. That's much bigger troll-retardant (to those that We want Here, from what I can see) than whether my driver's license says the same thing as my post header.

Oh, and I'm an old USENET hand (an old Monastery hand, in particular), and I miss:
- threading (even if it did sponsor thread disconnection and discourage inter-thread ties. But not as much as it seems in this discussion; although my experience is with the Monastery; effectively the same community of discourse we have here, but on USENET. So they dragged threads back together when important, kicking and screaming if necessary). Of course, threading on web forums is a disaster; the structure is invisible (from the point of view of one screenful) and tends to be forced either into great linearity, or expand links that never seem to actually fully expand, and certainly not in-thread).
- automatic flagging of where I stopped in each thread (even here, a "go to last read" feature has to be hacked. Good hacks, but we solved this problem in 1985). Lack of this is, I think, what kills threaded web forum communication; keeping track of one end-point is hard enough; keeping track of 20 in one comments page is a disaster. RSS helps - but not enough.
- KILLFILES. I don't read comments as a general rule, for the same reason I don't listen to talk radio; individuals can be smart, but People Are Stupid, and no better advertisement for that are news sites' comment boards, moderated or not. Judicious use of a killfile does not remove the need for moderation, but it does allow the person who is a knee-jerk dittohead with no thought of his own (and no willingness to listen, and maybe get one), or who just gets up my nose every time to "not exist", and not tempt me into (another) flamewar.

As others have said above, we solved all of this 20 years ago, with trn. We keep trying to resolve the problem in a new environment, and it fundamentally looks like the structure of this environment means there is no effective solution. I blame the environment for it, but live here nonetheless, because the people, real and pseudo, are worth it.

#192 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 05:37 AM:

David Goldfarb @145, and any others who may be interested --

Ravelry is run on Ruby on Rails. That whole blog describes Casey Forbes' (Ravelry's developer) efforts.

General comment: IANA programmer, but I'm wondering about the practicality of implementing some of the suggestions for other comment systems* into a blog. People seem to have encountered many of the other types of systems on fora, which are much more complex entities than blogs.

*not that I'm advocating for them -- I don't find ML's format obstructive.

#193 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 05:39 AM:

- those which cause late-night chortling loud enough to possibly wake one's roommates, and make them doubt one's sanity.

- those containing links which suddenly cause the loss of several hours. (cf any TVTropes link, many Wikipedia links, many links to previous ML posts.)

#194 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 07:40 AM:

551: Those containing cats who can type

551a: Those typed by cats...

551a*: ...coherently...

551a*-----: ...lasers optional.

#195 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 09:06 AM:

Thanks for the truffles, Cadbury Moose; you are the best moose in all the internets.

Continuing the compendium:

Comments bemoaning the non-availability of cookies.

Suggestion that the cookie shortage was caused by the underpants gnomes.

Reposting of the quantum laundry theorem. Cadbury Moose @170 (check original post for instructions on differentiating pocket flurb from Swiss chocolate manufacturer.)


comments which accidentally invoke the wrath of OH MY GOD, NOOOOOOOO -- [carrier lost] Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) @173


Comments lauding the genius of previous posters TexAnne @174


Comments invoking timid, Piglet-like questions. TexAnne @175


Those where it is impossible to tell the signature from another comment, like one of Cadbury's above.

Cadbury. Again, dammmit! Tom Whitmore @176


Comments which are implicitly either being dictated or being presented in the style of either an opera or a Shakespearean tragedy, since the writer claims to be dying; O I breathe my last; the poison is o'erbearing me; my last drops of blood trickle forth; Oh dread, it's up to my Joel Polowin @178


Comments criticizing another commenter's choice of words but labeling it a grammer (sic) error. Allen Beatty @180


Comments misspelling the name of the person you're replying to Spiny Norman @181


Comments where I quote a line from a movie because it says so much better what I want to express. Serge @182


Comments in which a moderator becomes immoderate. eric @183


Commmaaaaaaaaaaoooooooeeeen89999 HHHHHHHHHHHHHH. xeger @184


Commmaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssssssssssssss,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, xeger @185


Er. Comments with feline assistance... xeger @186


those wherein the commenter exits (or exeunt) pursued by bears (or possibly not so pursued...) Syd @187


545. Those which delurk the lurker.

546. Those in which commenters flounce.

a) Of those, comments which are the commenter's last (vy. rare).

547. Those participating in a pun cascade.

a) Ineffectively.

b) Redundantly.

c) In such a way as to damage keyboards at some remove.

548. Those which are first.

549. Those which demand restitution for damaged keyboards.

550. Those containing cats. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @188 (seriously, you've counted these?)


# 6.626068 × 10-34 m^2 kg s^-1. Those which might or might not contain a cat. Spiny Norman @189


THOSE THAT ARE IN ALL-CAPS, DELIBERATELY

THOSE THAT ARE IN ALL CAPS> ACCIDENTALLY

those that contain no capital letters whatsoever, for which it is impossible to ascertain whether there was a reason

Those that are too small for the margin.

--Dave "those that contain an internym or other stylistic variation on the poster's name" DeLaney David DeLaney @190


- those which cause late-night chortling loud enough to possibly wake one's roommates, and make them doubt one's sanity.

- those containing links which suddenly cause the loss of several hours. (cf any TVTropes link, many Wikipedia links, many links to previous ML posts.) Wirelizard @193


551: Those containing cats who can type

551a: Those typed by cats...

551a*: ...coherently...

551a*-----: ...lasers optional. Antonia T. Tiger @194

Previous agglomerations are at comments 98, 125, 152, and 169.

#196 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 09:50 AM:

Comments in which I refer to or post a link to "Girl Genius".

#197 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 10:03 AM:

Those in which someone links to xkcd.

Those in which someone links to this xkcd.

#198 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 03:49 PM:

Do we have any comments linking to Rule 34" ?

#199 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 04:16 PM:

Those which offer links labeled NSFW

Those which offer links that are not labeled NSFW, but should be

#200 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 04:31 PM:

Those which offer links to news articles hidden behind signup pages.

Those that sing the praises of certain brews.

Those that sing the praises of pouring certain brews straight back into the horse.

Posts with Coffee & Cats warnings.

Posts with coffee beans that have passed through cats warnings.

Those that point to Cute Overload.

#201 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 04:45 PM:

Comments which refer to the previous commenter with a snide nickname.

Comments containting the phrase "fuck them if they can't take a joke."

Comments containing the phrase "politically correct."

Comentarios escritos en castellano por razones multiculturales.

Comments decrying comments written in Spanish for multicultural reasons.

Comments condemning President Obama for sending Serge to Afghanistan only till July 2011.

Comments praising President Obama for sending Serge to Afghanistan only till July 2011.

Comments explaining that it's a surge, and not Serge.

#202 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 04:51 PM:

Those comments which contain links that are not only nsfw, but cause people to run around looking for mind bleach.

Those comment threads started by people questioning the closure and deletion of the link that cause a run on mind bleach.

Those comments that start an in joke.


#203 ::: dajt ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 04:55 PM:

Incomprehensible comments from regular lurkers (who've been forced out of lurking for the occasion).

I might also add that names which may appear to be anonymous may not be. I assume that anyone can get from my name (above) to a photo of me and useful information like what color vehicle we have, and I post accordingly.

Not that this should be considered a challenge to anyone. :-)

#204 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 05:34 PM:

Comments whose syntax Yoda style is.

Comments more severely syntax corrupted is whose.

Or apparently remarks about word salad some product of disorder schizophrenic consisting of Vril-ya comments and other incorporating space lizards neurological the or mental or.

#205 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 05:54 PM:

Those from people who can't remember if things have been mentioned, but want to make sure they get on the list.

Those posted just to say "me too"

Those containing rabbits or other minority pets (ie, not cats or dogs).

Those inquiring about the title of a book the poster read at least ten years ago with a blue cover that might have been in the section of the library with authors that start with B.

#206 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 07:04 PM:

Those identifying that book as Across the Sea of Suns by Greg Benford (correctly or incorrectly).

Those asking for more information.

#207 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 07:47 PM:

Those which make one wonder whether the author did that on purpose.

Those containing no rhymes.

Those which are not self-referential.

#208 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Cadbury Moose @ 200:
Those that sing the praises of pouring certain brews straight back into the horse.

"As long as there are horses, there'll be Millers."

#209 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 12:12 AM:

Did I miss the mention of posts with/about hamsters?

#210 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 02:56 PM:

Spiny Norman @179: Well, then!

and @181: Not to worry. It's an old tradition with a long history.

#211 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 04:53 AM:

It's beautiful.

#212 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 01:54 PM:

In response to Spiny Norman at 179 (tho I wrote it long ago and it first appeared here on open thread 30)

(To the tune of the theme song from the "Little Lulu" cartoons)

Lurking in the ocean
Rampaging through the street
Stealing all our spirts
Eating human meat
How can an Ancient One as evil as you
Raise such a ruckus and a hullabaloo?

Mighty Cthulhu, mighty Cthulhu, with tentacles on your chin
Always in and out of trouble, but mostly always in
Research at Miskatonic on a book that you write
Can make people catatonic for the rest of their life

That is not dead which can eternal lie
And with strange eons even death may die
Though you're lonesome and hungry, lying in the deep
We are thankful that you're usually asleep

Your're usually quite quiet in your city near the pole
Except when you're devouring our soul.
Though I pity any fool who would take your name in vain
mighty Cthulhu, we fear you-loo just the same!

#213 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 02:42 PM:

Xopher at 157: Does anyone else think it strange that the head of a nail is the back end, but the head of an arrow is the pointy end?

#214 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 03:11 PM:

Does anyone else think it strange that the head of a nail is the back end, but the head of an arrow is the pointy end?

Not since I noticed that as soon as you walk in the front door of a church, you're at the back.

#215 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 03:13 AM:

749. Those containing very long non-breaking strings, thus being responsible for pushing the page width sufficiently to necessitate horizontal scrolling.

750. Those ordinarily governed by cat. no. 749 but not obviously in the present case, being that another comment on the same page has used an even longer non-breaking string.


Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @188 (seriously, you've counted these?)

Gads no. I pulled some numbers out of my never-you-mind, because then I could do the lettered subcatagory schtick. Besides, I like the idea that these contributions do not represent a exhaustive compendium but rather excerpts from random pages in some much larger work whose entries number in the tens of thousands or more.

#216 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:58 PM:

Erik @212, that's some lovely wordcrafting.

#217 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 03:59 PM:

Erik @ 213

Not really, I think it derives from the head of a screw or rivet, it's the end that is uppermost when it comes out of the machine.

#218 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Comments that resurrect a nearly dead thread

#219 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 06:57 PM:

Comments that complain that there's nothing nearly dead about a two day idle thread...

#220 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 07:10 PM:

Comments that reference Monty Python about things that aren't dead yet.

Comments that mention Generalissimo Francisco Franco (still dead).

Comments that are boojums.

#221 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 07:24 PM:

You see, there's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.

#222 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 07:45 PM:

Comments that reference The Princess Bride.

Comments saying that comments that reference The Princess Bride don't actually exist.

Comments Of Unusual Size.

#223 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 08:11 PM:

Comments about the Highlander sequel.

Comments by TexAnne forcefully denying the existence of the Highlander sequel.

#224 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 09:44 PM:

Comments containing snarks (a superset of comments containing misdirected snark ;) )

#225 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 11:20 PM:

Re., #223, Comments forcibly denying the existence of the Highlander sequel.

#226 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:33 AM:

Comments correcting the grammar and/pr spelling of another comment.

Comments noting that no comment correcting the grammar and/pr spelling of another comment is ever free of grammatical and/or spelling errors*.

Comments noting that this correction/error introduction cycle can continue ad infinitum.

-----
* Spiny Norman @225: You have an extraneous cpmma† after "Re."
† intentional misspelling to meet the statutory error minimum

#227 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:26 AM:

commenters gloss Catullus's glossal comments.

#228 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:51 AM:

Comments by people who, while English isn't their native language, aren't sure they weren't right about which word to use, and who say so thru convolutedly structured sentences.

#229 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 09:56 AM:

Commetns indicating that mornig person nto caffeine present no.

#230 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Comments which are posted long after the thread has become moribund, and which contain spelling and/or grammar errors which will never be commented upon.

Comments which, on being transliterated into Hebrew are numerically odd.

Comments which, had they been spelled correctly, on being transliterated into Hebrew would be numerically odd.

#231 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:42 PM:

Comments which are just odd

#232 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:57 PM:

Comments which, on being transliterated into Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics, exactly match the stick-figure poses of an xkcd cartoon.

Comments referencing an xkcd cartoon that happens to spell out "Making Light" in Middle Egyptian.

#233 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 09:35 PM:

Continuing on from earlier compendia at 98, 125, 152, 169 and 195:

Comments in which I refer to or post a link to "Girl Genius". Serge @196

Those in which someone links to xkcd.

Those in which someone links to this xkcd. Carre S. @197

Those which offer links labeled NSFW

Those which offer links that are not labeled NSFW, but should be OtterB @199

Those which offer links to news articles hidden behind signup pages.

Those that sing the praises of certain brews.

Those that sing the praises of pouring certain brews straight back into the horse.

Posts with Coffee & Cats warnings.

Posts with coffee beans that have passed through cats warnings.

Those that point to Cute Overload. Cadbury Moose @200

Comments which refer to the previous commenter with a snide nickname.

Comments containting the phrase "fuck them if they can't take a joke."

Comments containing the phrase "politically correct."

Comentarios escritos en castellano por razones multiculturales.

Comments decrying comments written in Spanish for multicultural reasons.

Comments condemning President Obama for sending Serge to Afghanistan only till July 2011.

Comments praising President Obama for sending Serge to Afghanistan only till July 2011.

Comments explaining that it's a surge, and not Serge. Fragano Ledgister @201

Those comments which contain links that are not only nsfw, but cause people to run around looking for mind bleach.

Those comment threads started by people questioning the closure and deletion of the link that cause a run on mind bleach.

Those comments that start an in joke. eric @202

Incomprehensible comments from regular lurkers (who've been forced out of lurking for the occasion). dajt @203

Comments whose syntax Yoda style is.

Comments more severely syntax corrupted is whose.

Or apparently remarks about word salad some product of disorder schizophrenic consisting of Vril-ya comments and other incorporating space lizards neurological the or mental or. Xopher @204

Those from people who can't remember if things have been mentioned, but want to make sure they get on the list.

Those posted just to say "me too"

Those containing rabbits or other minority pets (ie, not cats or dogs).

Those inquiring about the title of a book the poster read at least ten years ago with a blue cover that might have been in the section of the library with authors that start with B. Hilary Hertzoff @205

Those identifying that book as Across the Sea of Suns by Greg Benford (correctly or incorrectly).

Those asking for more information. Tom Whitmore @206

Those which make one wonder whether the author did that on purpose.

Those containing no rhymes.

Those which are not self-referential. Kevin Reid @207

749. Those containing very long non-breaking strings, thus being responsible for pushing the page width sufficiently to necessitate horizontal scrolling.

750. Those ordinarily governed by cat. no. 749 but not obviously in the present case, being that another comment on the same page has used an even longer non-breaking string. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @215

Comments that resurrect a nearly dead thread eric @218

Comments that complain that there's nothing nearly dead about a two day idle thread... xeger @219

Comments that reference Monty Python about things that aren't dead yet.

Comments that mention Generalissimo Francisco Franco (still dead).

Comments that are boojums. Tom Whitmore @220

Comments that reference The Princess Bride.

Comments saying that comments that reference The Princess Bride don't actually exist.

Comments Of Unusual Size. Xopher @222

Comments about the Highlander sequel.

Comments by TexAnne forcefully denying the existence of the Highlander sequel. Serge @223

Comments containing snarks (a superset of comments containing misdirected snark) xeger @224

Comments forcibly denying the existence of the Highlander sequel. Spiny Norman @225

Comments correcting the grammar and/pr spelling of another comment.

Comments noting that no comment correcting the grammar and/pr spelling of another comment is ever free of grammatical and/or spelling errors.

Comments noting that this correction/error introduction cycle can continue ad infinitum. abi @226

commenters gloss Catullus's glossal comments. Erik Nelson @227

Comments by people who, while English isn't their native language, aren't sure they weren't right about which word to use, and who say so thru convolutedly structured sentences. Serge @228

Commetns indicating that mornig person nto caffeine present no. xeger @229

Comments which are posted long after the thread has become moribund, and which contain spelling and/or grammar errors which will never be commented upon.

Comments which, on being transliterated into Hebrew are numerically odd.

Comments which, had they been spelled correctly, on being transliterated into Hebrew would be numerically odd. Bruce Cohen(SpeakerToManagers)

Comments which are just odd Jules @231

Comments which, on being transliterated into Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics, exactly match the stick-figure poses of an xkcd cartoon.

Comments referencing an xkcd cartoon that happens to spell out "Making Light" in Middle Egyptian.
Xopher @232

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little--thanks for the explanation, which is totally and inspiringly in the spirit of what we seem to be doing here(I'm collecting myself, due to lack of inspiration).

xeger @198 and Carol Kimball @209--not yet, as far as I know, so go for it. Because asking doesn't count--the one rule I'm sticking to in anything I collect here is that the descriptions must be declarative in form.

#234 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 09:49 PM:

Comments linking to Rule 34.

Comments following instructions given in other comments.

#235 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:28 PM:

Comments where I link to "Making Light and Faces".

#236 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 01:20 AM:

Comments that fail to anticipate the Spanish Inquisition.

#237 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 01:23 AM:

Comments typed prior to the Singularity.

#238 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 04:37 AM:

Comments about how Death speaks LIKE THIS.

#239 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 07:39 AM:

Comments posted by the Judean People's Front.

#240 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 08:17 AM:

Comments by the Judean People's Front.

#241 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 08:18 AM:

Comments about how it could be worse - for example, it could be raining.

#242 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 08:42 AM:

Comments posted by the People's Front of Judæa.

#243 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 08:53 AM:

Comments where Serge's brain slipped a cog because he had originally wanted to mention the Popular People's Front of Judea, but didn't.

#244 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 10:16 AM:

Comments about how one seventh of your life will be spent on Mondays.

Comments about Mondays on other days of the week.

#245 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 10:59 AM:

Comments opining that sleet is even worse than rain.

#246 ::: Spiny Norman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 10:05 PM:

Comments of the sort that it seems one inevitably hears from you people.

#247 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 09:23 AM:

Comments pointing out that a previous comment, by addressing its audience as "You people", has limited its chances of being accorded respect.

#248 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 10:54 PM:

Comments made to keep a thread from dying out.

#249 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 12:36 AM:

Comments pointing out that this individual is already dead.

Comments that would like to run from the monster.

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 02:04 AM:

Comments where Serge links Ginger to Ginger Rogers or to Gilligan's Ginger.

#251 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 02:05 AM:

Comments where Serge links Ginger to Gary Larson's Ginger.

#252 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 10:02 AM:

Comments where observations about the benefits of ginger to digestion are made.

Comments where someone says they have a cat named Ginger.

Comments where recipes for ginger tea are offered.

Cooments linking to the recipe for Pygmy Mastodon and Jumbo Shrimp.

#253 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 10:13 AM:

Comments where recipes for ginger tea are offered.

Um, so is this where I say that very weak salabat with a bit of cherry syrup tastes great?

#254 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:10 AM:

Comments made just to keep one's place in the ongoing threadtasticity of Making Light.

#255 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 12:22 PM:

This is just to say: I want one of these.

#256 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 12:34 PM:

Comments which are containers for spam.

Comments marking the trashed remains of spam containers.

#257 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:34 PM:

Comments in which Ginger is drinking tea.

#258 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:42 PM:

Comments in which tea is being served with ginger biscuits.

#259 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Comments that make you go "hmmmmm".

#260 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:50 PM:

Comments that make you start humming.

Comments that give you ineradicable earworms.

Comments in which counter-earworms are suggested.

#261 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:53 PM:

Comments suggesting things that might be earworms if you had a better grounding in classical music/folk/Tuvan throat singing.

#262 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:59 PM:

Comments that cause you to muse upon the desirability of pedestrian musical tastes.

#263 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Comments where I could make puns but refrain from doing so.

#264 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 05:50 PM:

Serge @263

I believe the mathematical term for that is "The empty set".

#265 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 05:56 PM:

Comments where I go grumblegrumblegrumble because I know someone just made fun of me.

#267 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 06:20 PM:

Comments that bemoan the fact that the commenter entirely missed a fun thread until far, far too late.

Comments complaining that all the good comments are already taken.

Comments reusing an earlier comment anyway.

Comments that say FIRST POST!!!!1!, but aren't.

Comments that use '1' for an exclamation mark to be cute.

Comments that use 'ONE' for a '1' used for an exclamation mark to be cute.

Comments that link to the commenter's own work just to see who clicks through.

#268 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 06:34 PM:

Comments where people use third-person and /me because they know what IRC is.

/me stops now.

#269 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 06:54 PM:

772. Comments from people banned at BoingBoing who come here to continue the argument.

772a. Those that lead to further bannination.
772b. Those that lead to a new friend.

[I came back here from doing the dishes to enter that one! This is kind of like the forty Eskimo words for snow.]

Comments that reference the forty Eskimo words for snow.

Comments that point out that the Eskimos don't actually have many more words for snow than anybody else.

Comments that further branch into the strong and weak Sapir-Whorf hypotheses and become tl;dr in nature.

Comments that notice for the first time that Sapir-Whorf and Star Trek's Worf sound a lot alike!

Comments that are tl;dr in nature.

Comments asking what "tl;dr" means.

/me stops again

#270 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 06:58 PM:

Comments which make up new, fun words.

#271 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Comments composed using the wrong markup language.

[HTML or some subset thereof vs BBCode vs Markdown vs Plain Text Displayed Verbatim vs Something Only This Blog Uses etc etc etc. And all sorts of variations in auto-linking those-which-look-like-URLs-from-a-distance.]

#272 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 08:02 PM:

Comments posted on the backs of the Judean People.

Comments posted about the backwardness of the Judean People.

Backhanded comments about the Judean People.

#273 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 08:02 PM:

Comments wherein I learn something new (wait, that happens every day).

#274 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 08:09 PM:

Comments speculating on the linguistic theories of the Klingons.

Comments on linguistics in Klingon.

Comments including Klingon recipes for ginger tea.

#275 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 09:19 PM:

Comments where Ginger wears her Klingon t-shirt while drinking tea.

#276 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 09:24 PM:

275
T-shirt for Klingon, by Klingon, or with something written in Klingon?

(The spell-checker recognizes 'Klingon'. O-kay ....)

#277 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 09:36 PM:

P J Evans @276: It's got the Bird of Prey on the front, and a Klingon phrase on the back ("Death before dishonor").

#278 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 09:40 PM:

Cool!

(Have you ever noticed how much a mallard in glide mode looks like a Klingon ship?)

#279 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 10:34 PM:

(Have you ever noticed how much a mallard in glide mode looks like a Klingon ship?)

Have you ever noticed how much my dad looks like me?

#280 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 10:40 PM:

Ginger @ 264:

Mine says "Death before breakfast".

#281 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:24 PM:

PJ @ 278: Yep!

Xopher @279: Your dad looks nothing like me.

Bruce Cohen @ 280: Ah, the peacetime motto!

#282 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:24 PM:

Comments on the Eskimos' forty words for ginger tea, written in Klingon. On the backs of the Popular People's Judean Front.

#283 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:29 PM:

Comments on how Michael Roberts wins the internet. Again.

#284 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:32 PM:

(And since we're speaking of comment order, I find it interesting that Michael's comment appears here before Ginger's comment, yet the front page listing of comments has them in the opposite order.)

#285 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:33 PM:

Klingon Ginger Tea: First, kill the Gingerbeast....

#286 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:43 PM:

Comments about avian atavism

#287 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:53 PM:

Comments from time travelers.

#288 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:56 PM:

Comments on the Judean People's Popular Front being the reason for earlier comments being posted oddly.

Comments which wish out loud that the Romans really ought to go home.

Comments that had to scrub all the walls of the incorrect graffiti, and are consequently out after curfew and being chased by Romans.

Comments which ended up in the wrong storyline and are being chased by Klingons instead.

#289 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 11:59 PM:

That was a pretty weak Internet win, though. Maybe I should just settle for one top-level domain. Not even a big one; I'll just take .org - it's the coolest one anyway.

#290 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 12:04 AM:

Xopher @279: Your dad looks nothing like me.

Well, not now. But when he was alive...there was a resemblance. I'll say no more.

#291 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 09:17 AM:

#274 ::: Janet Croft: Comments speculating on the linguistic theories of the Klingons.


Comments regretting that Mike Ford was not able to participate in the current thread.

Comments professing surprise that some recently-expressed sentiment made its first appearance so late in a thread.

#293 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:40 PM:

Those which contain a link which is then particle'd, causing the original poster to state that she has achieved a life goal.

Those with inappropriate apostrophes.

#294 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:33 AM:

Amazed that
      Comments mentioning knitting, knits, or yarn
hasn't appeared.

Unless CarrieS @94's Comments "mentioning needlework" subsumes knitting needles.

#295 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:30 PM:

Epacris #294:

The Royal School of Needlework, which sounds moderately authoritative to me, limits their definition to "hand embroidery".

#296 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:34 PM:

Comments which query the applicability of a term.

Comments which provide a specific, authoritative definition in reply.

#297 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:36 PM:

Comments which pretend to originality, but really simply restate previous points.

Comments which attempt to create a generalized rule from specific examples.

#298 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2009, 08:05 PM:

Self-referential comments.
Non-self-referential comments.

...

Comments recapitulating Epimenides' Paradox.

#299 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 02:50 AM:

Xopher #157:
Comments turning the nail around, wondering why its head is on the wrong end, and concluding it's for the other side of the fence

Not comments but posts surely?

Hilary Hertzoff #205:
Those posted just to say "me too"

This.

#300 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 07:39 AM:

Comments that duplicate earlier comments only with a spam link added.

#301 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 08:12 AM:

Comments that wish other Fluorospherians, of whatever ilk, all the best at a holiday, of whatever variety.

#302 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 11:40 AM:

Commnts that lid th lttr "" or ar partially dismvowld in som othr fashion.

#303 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Comments which demonstrate unsteady control over th espace key.

Comments in which one of the
the words is accidentally duplicated.

#304 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 03:27 PM:

Comments which bring to bear a lifetime of study and research on a point which doesn't warrant consideration.

Comments of such erudition and profundity that they change the lives of all who read them.

Comments that explain current events by comparing them to the action in a Warner Bros. cartoon.

#305 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 03:28 PM:

Comments of such erudition and profundity that those whose lives might have been changed had they comprehended them are safe to continue wallowing in ignorance.

#306 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 04:07 PM:

Comments whose comparisons of current events to Warner Brothers cartoons are very enlightening.

Comments that leave readers crying out for brain-bleach.

#307 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Comments whose linked pictures of cute cute hamsters at play erase whatever painful image was seared on the mind's eye by the previous comment.

#308 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 06:17 PM:

Comments in which the hamster dance is invoked to undo all of the previous good work.

Comments which cause face cream to be applied to newly-washed hair.

Comments in which all problems can be solved with the aid of mainframe computers.

Comments in which this moose regrets not having a 1403 lineprinter available anymore
and thus the impossibility of Snoopy Calendar production.

Comments in which the phrase "Bah! Humbug." is employed.

#309 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Comments where I somehow already have an appropriate photo to link to on my own blog.

#310 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 06:51 PM:

Comments in which someone mentions a link but neglects to supply it.

#311 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 11:35 PM:

Comments whose intended interpretations depend on certain phrases being hyperlinks.

#312 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 12:22 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 269 ...
Comments that point out that the Eskimos don't actually have many more words for snow than anybody else.

Comments that point out the offensiveness of a particular archaic naming in many venues, and suggest a more palatable and current alternative (Inuit).

Comments regretting prior stepping into similar (or worse) embarrassment.

#313 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 07:14 PM:

Comments reviving dead threads.

768. Comments denying any offensive intent after other comments calling out offensiveness.
768 (a) Where poster is justified.
768 (b) Where poster is not justified.
768 (c) Where poster defies categorization.
768 (d) Where call-out for offensiveness is also called offensive and/or discriminatory.

769. Comments replying to category 768 (d) explaining, once more, that it just doesn't work that way.

Good Lord, somebody really could categorize comments this way, and no joke... "It looks like you're composing a category 786 (d) response to a comment by xeger. Would you like a template? (Note: response not recommended. Click here to see why.)"

#314 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 11:03 PM:

Comments in which all problems can be solved with the aid of muffins.

#315 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 06:22 AM:

Michael @313

That's almost enough to make me break out the Retief books to look up the code for Viewing With Alarm.

Hrm.

Comments in which moose start using HTML tags.

Comments pointing out that Muffin the Mule is not a sex offence.

#316 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 07:55 AM:

Comments where someone says he frequently seems to already have something à-propos to link to on his blog, but then finds himself feeling quite red-faced because the likes of Mary Aileen point out that his comment about such comments didn't include a link.

#317 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 08:24 PM:

Comments in which squirrel says, "But that trick never works!"

#318 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:04 PM:

Comments invoking or directed at "Fearless Leader"

Comments which are even funnier if you read the alt text.

Comments in which the poster is too lazy to create an example.

#319 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:07 PM:

Comments in which it is determined that the literal meaning, not the figurative meaning of a comment was the correct interpretation...

#320 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 12:04 AM:

comments where you notice the spelling (or typing) error a quarter-second after hitting 'post'

#321 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Comments in which it is determined that a trifecta is in play.

#322 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 01:43 PM:

Comments that would offer a marvelous proof of a theorem which is unfortunately more than 140 characters long.

#323 ::: Pendrift sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 10:36 AM:

cf @159 re: spam comment followed by comment pointing out spam.

#324 ::: Xopher sees more text-generator-written SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 01:23 PM:

I shall not like her. A lot.

#325 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2010, 10:29 PM:

Comments bemoaning the loss of a sample of text-generator-written spam.

Also, cross-posted, comments making me think about comment categorization again.

#326 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2010, 12:53 AM:

Comments offering to save spam for Michael, but off of Making Light, since leaving them on marks the thread for further spamming.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.