Weird login redirect issue should be fixed

Some folks have complained that when clicking on the FtB logo above the comment forms at any blog where anonymous comments are allowed, they were being redirected to a presently-useless dashboard page and had to manually navigate back to the thread they wanted to post at. This isn’t the behaviour exhibited on blogs that require sign-in — the login links send you back to the post you were at, after logging in via the WordPress login form.

I’ve committed a change on the live site that should fix this, constructing the “log in” link added by the theme, identically to how the Graphene-stock link is constructed. As an added kindness, I’ve also changed the top “Account Dashboard” icon (the WordPress icon) to go to the blog’s dashboard, rather than the whole site’s, just in case you happen to be a subscriber / submitter / author. Regular users shouldn’t be affected, but I’m letting you know regardless.

I’ve tested these changes, but I’m not 100% sure I’ve covered all border cases. If there are issues, let me know here please.

How I feel about the latest round of “civility” calls

Something like this, actually.

Panel 1: evangelist beating atheist with a cross, while calling him names. Panel 2: atheist about to break the cross, evangelist crying 'Hey! Let's have a little RESPECT here!'

Only, imagine the cry in panel 2 coming from a third party supposedly on our side. And imagine the evangelist is an antifeminist attacking women and people trying to improve women’s lot in life.

Yeah. I don’t have a lot to say about this nonsense. I agree that we shouldn’t denigrate one another’s status as full human beings, but I damn well don’t think that fighting back against someone doing exactly that is “uncivil”. And I recognize that people can be hideous hatchet-men arguing for terrible things without ever uttering anything but the most flowery and “civil” of language.

I took Chris Clarke’s pledge though. And I’d gladly further take mythbri’s addendum:

I further pledge to do my best to help make this a place where your argument is challenged, but never your humanity or status as a person. I pledge to make this a safe space for people to be insulted about the quality of what they say and how they say it, but not their gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, class or mental/physical health state. I pledge to refuse to give ground to anyone for the sake of unity with those who might have one thing in common with me but don’t respect me as a full human being.

That’s MY pledge. Don’t expect your assholish, bigoted or damaging ideas to escape scrutiny and critical analysis. And don’t dare call me uncivil for banning and muttering “asshole” when an antifeminist who calls women cunts regularly comes along and bloviates about how terrible we all are for drawing lines in the sand about sexism.

Impostercide tweak

Hoping this ends the lamentations of people forgetting to sign in before posting a comment, and using an already-registered name. Impostercide should now do something like this:

Possible Imposter

You are attempting to post a comment with information (i.e. email address or login ID) belonging to a registered user. If you have an account on this site, please login to make your comment. Otherwise, please try again with different information. Copy and paste the comment below into another document before returning to the previous page or you may lose the comment.

Comment submitted:
Don’t mind me, testing Impostercide updates.

Let me know if this mangles anything else. It shouldn’t; it was a very simple tweak.

In case you’re forgetting why this is even necessary, here’s a reminder.
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Back from vacation. Need a vacation.

I’d been trying to maintain a post-a-day schedule for a few weeks now despite trying to suck the marrow out of a precious oasis of respite from a job that has, as late, challenged me to exceed what even I thought myself capable. I am back home now. My wife and I arrived home at 1:30am to a house with no food, short one bag.

While in Minneapolis, a mouse attacked our luggage and we decided to get new luggage rather than try to force one more trip out of the already haggard container which had to that point lasted almost ten years. All of the clothing was intact, though it all had to be washed; the bag was discarded. The bag we got to replace it attempted to take a diversion to Quebec and was apparently left in Chicago rather than following us all the way back to Halifax. We haven’t gotten it back yet. We’ve been told to call them for updates; the updates via the automated system presently say they’re “searching” for it. The number we were given to talk to a human landed at a voice mail box. Tomorrow, if our bags aren’t returned, we will be quite… put out.

And our car wouldn’t start today. Dead battery. Not just dead, DEAD dead. The money pit of a car had been sputtering during the summer and we’d suspected the alternator; the only piece of good news was that the battery had simply succumbed to the winter, and it wasn’t something more serious.

It was a lovely vacation with food, people, fun, happiness and love. It’s sometimes rough, I suppose, to switch back to home life mode and focus on the good things, ignoring the bad. Might take a few days. Bleh.

The 2012 Lousy Year In Review

Welcome to the End of the World after-show, where we look over the highlights of the year prior to the Mayan calendar’s running out. Of course, we’re all still around after the apocalypse because all the prayer averted Planet Nibiru at the last possible second, but we already had the after-show all planned out, so let’s do the highlights anyway. Highlights of, at least, my favorite blog posts from my favorite blog: Escher Girls err… mine!
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The bug report thread

Because we don’t seem to have a general purpose one, I’m making one right now, right here.

See the new theme? It’s a bit buggy. We want to hammer everything flat and put a coat of gloss before the rest of the network is subjected to it. What do you think?

The top menu and “chiclets” (social networking icons — Facebook and RSS) need some work yet, as do some CSS bits and bobs. Also want to get a Dashboard / Log In link up there somewhere. See anything that’s just plain not working as it should? Say so now.

Trolls are spoofing commentariat and authors (Update: countermeasures!)

Thanks to the spate of trolls (who are, in fact, members of our rationalist community!) spoofing our users, owing mostly to their levels of immaturity and the realization that they can type other people’s identities in the comment fields, a few blogs are turning on comment registration. I strongly advise that, even if your primary hangout is a blog that does not require registration, you should consider registering your username/email address anyway.

If you’ve already registered your account, and you need to edit your profile because the display name or email address are no longer valid, the top bar shows a “Howdy, username” link on the right. Hover over it, then click on Edit My Profile. You should also be able to get to it by clicking here — but that link might change depending on your user access level and future WordPress changes. The top bar should always be right.

I have no intention of turning on comment registration at my blog. I am instead working on making changes on the network (via a plugin or via editing the core of WordPress) to ensure that anonymous users cannot use a username or email address of a registered user. If you want to protect your name here, I strongly advise you register your account.

The registration process can use Facebook, Twitter or WordPress as authentication tokens, so you don’t necessarily have to build an account unique to Freethoughtblogs. Our software will rely on those sites’ auth APIs, and won’t ever see your login information. However, if you use these options, I strongly advise that you also log into your profile per the above instructions before making a comment, and set all the options appropriately. Otherwise your display name will show as “sc_{random characters}”, which is dead ugly.

Update: I’ve installed a plugin network-wide that protects login names and email addresses from being spoofed by anonymous users. It doesn’t protect the display name though — if your display name is something different from your login name, this won’t help you much. On blogs where registration is required, people shouldn’t notice a difference. And I’m sure asshats can still spoof people with a fair degree of fidelity to casual outside observers (I can think of two ways myself — there might be more), but this at least gives us an idea of when it’s happening.

Regardless, register your accounts.

I know where that January spike came from, and it had nothing to do with TAM

Shane Brady posted a quantitative analysis of web traffic for Skepchick and Freethought Blogs using Alexa’s daily reach statistics. While this data is certainly only a subset of the actual data — a sort of Nielsons ratings for the web — it’s probably pretty close to representative of the actual data we’ve collected via StatCounter. The traffic matches extremely closely to what we’ve seen ourselves on the Freethought Blogs end, though despite common misperceptions I have no access to Skepchick’s stats, not even through the hive mind uplink.

A screenshot Shane provides for Freethought Blogs’ (admittedly short) existence:

Shane says of this:

As you can see, FreethoughtBlogs is a relatively new blog network, so we don’t have the same history as with Skepchick.org. However, FreethoughtBlogs has substantially higher traffic than Skepchick.org and spikes might be harder to detect. That said, we can see some traffic increases that seem to correlate with some posts by Greta Christina that were heavily commented and cited. The trend for 2012, though, has primarily been flat. There was a slight increase during the days leading up to TAM2012, but nothing dramatic.

Emphasis mine.
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