Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Tue 28 Jun 2005

Comments and Haloscan

Category : mac and the internet

Kevin's suggestion for comments have had me address this again. What I apply here, if useful, eventually gets adopted in Habitatnews.

Whether or not most readers comment is, of course, another story. The Habitatnews newsletter which was (eventually) sent to more than 700 subscribers for some six years, eeked out about two comments a year. Usually an encourraging note from another worker in the field which was enough to keep me going just as I was ready to throw in the towel.

Likewise, Ria (WildSingapore) and Nick (Ecology Asia) who have continued doggedly for 4-5 years, understand that the lack of feedback is not a reflection of their excellence. Most adult readers would behave the same way at a seminar or in a classroom. On a blog at least, you are spared the unnerving expressionless looks!

Thus the absence of comments in this system when I started was not a concern. At that point, communicating with friends was important and the hope that my writing would improve; sadly it didn't. Spam plaguing the comment system of many users (not blogger though) in 2003 wasnt encouraging, and with Habitatnews, I could edit errors (spare feelings) and correct sloppy writing (sigh!) from email contributions. I could also spare readers from the unfortunate caustic reflex that seems to emanate from some individuals.

However, on a few occasions, additional comments and information have led to useful or interesting updates. Would the provision of comments encourage this? Surely the really interested individual will find me - and an upcoming post on the Atlas Moth will demonstrate this.

Still, its worth considering.

On this personal blog written essentially for friends, comments might allow some the option of being, not the blogger but the blog-commenter. A role that can even be collaborative.

At least it would eliminate the irony during blogging workshops when I explain the contribution of comments to blogs. See Crooked Timber about this. Yes, read the comments too.

So perhaps let me try with just this blog for starters.

Problem is, the blogging system I use is based on an HTML template with posts (text files) plugged in using php. Nice and compartmentalised, which allows me easy template editing. But the very popular comment system, Haloscan, cannot work. Kevin confirmed this so I can abandon this attempt.

So I tried a mannual insert into the individual post (a text file), and it seems to work (see end of post). But, like Kevin says, "It's not efficient."

I could keep the html handy with Sidenote and do a cut and paste each time. Or keep a text file template that I open with TextWrangler which I use for typing out each post. There is an "insert file contents" that I can use.

Keeps me wondering if some php script might be plugged into the journal.php file instead. A compromise would be to bring back the tagboard. Else, Wordpress beckons.

We'll see.

Perhaps I will finally placate the Comment Monkey this year.

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Posted at 1:45AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .