Scott Hardie | January 9, 2005
Does anybody have trouble logging in or logging out? (Maybe that's a dumb question, because you can't read this page unless you're logged in.) Visiting a friend last night, I was unable to log out as him so that I could surf the site as myself; the link simply didn't work.

As I say to people from time to time, if I know about a glitch on this site, I do my best to fix it promptly. That means that if there's a persistent glitch, it's probably because I don't know it's there. E just helped me find one yesterday. Are there more? Please bring it to my attention if you notice a bug on the site. Thanks.

Erik Bates | January 9, 2005
[hidden by request]

E. M. | January 23, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 23, 2005
I think I have a solution for you, Ed. I'll get back to you shortly. Well, that is, on the first issue. I can't really do much to help you remember stuff. :-)

Amy Austin | January 24, 2005
Me neither! ;>

Scott Hardie | January 24, 2005
Ok, Ed, you're all set. In your TC Options (link) you can opt to "Split Current Discussions." That will group together at the top of the page all of the discussions in which you have already written something, leaving at the bottom of the page all of the new discussions in which you have not yet participated. (By "page" I'm referring to the Current Discussions (link) page, which every regular author should be using. It's specifically built to let you customize your TC experience like this.)

While I was fiddling with the TC Options anyway, I took care of an oversight, something that was supposed to be published back on November 1st when this version of the site launched: The ability to "subscribe" or unsubscribe to each zone of TC independently. For instance, if you want to steer clear of the political discussions, you can uncheck the "Show Society Zone" checkbox in your TC Options, which will make the Current Discussions page show comments only from the other three zones. Again, you have to be using the customizeable Current Discussions page to get the benefit of this. It's something that I should have coded three months ago.

Also, you can now reset your "I've Read Everything" timestamp if you happen to click the link accidentally, which I myself have done at least once out of sheer habit. There are two links in your TC Options for controlling this.

Amy Austin | January 24, 2005
Pretty cool, Scott... and fast, too!

Certainly not trying to be difficult here -- if it's too much bother, it isn't that important! -- but I had the thought that perhaps the "I've read everything" could also be split between the two sections as well? That way, you can clear out all your entered discussions while leaving the other ones up as reminders, if you choose, and your current discussions page doesn't have to grow exponentially? Just a thought to add to the benefit of this very useful new feature.

Scott Hardie | January 24, 2005
Good idea, Amy, and easy to program. It has been added. The ideal solution would be some kind of independent "I Am Done With This" link at the bottom of each discussion that would clear it without eliminating the others, but that would require a database table so big that I don't even want to fathom it.

Anyway, I also restored an old option, "Skip to Last Comment," to the controls. It's self-explanatory.

And I really am done for the night, so no more suggestions until tomorrow. :-)

Scott Hardie | January 24, 2005
P.S. All of these adjustments to the site mean the chance that something has gone wrong. If you spot a glitch, please let me know. Thanks.

Amy Austin | January 24, 2005
Hahaha -- wow, Scott... again, way fast, and I totally didn't expect you to do that tonight (or possibly at all!), but I am glad that it was a simple thing for you to do!

I had the same thought about each discussion, but without knowing the complexities of *any* of these things (however, suspecting that this would have indeed been a bit more complicated!), I decided to keep that thought to myself. I'm glad you had the same and addressed it, though -- satisfies my curiosity!

Anyway, thanks for the speedy and convenient delivery... you da' man, and I just wish I knew all that you do about this sort of thing!!!

Amy Austin | January 24, 2005
Oh, yeah, and on a not completely different subject... I did spot a *very* minor glitch in the user details page: in the box fields at the top (you know, height/weight and all that jazz?), if you enter anything with quotation marks, the marks will disappear if you re-visit the page to edit anything. I don't really know if it shows up when you leave without doing anything -- I just happened to notice and fix it before leaving. But I think that I've seen the inches be missing from someone else's before... if I'm not mistaken.

Again, a totally minor thing -- I just thought you might like to know about it.

Amy Austin | January 24, 2005
Anyway, I also restored an old option, "Skip to Last Comment," to the controls. It's self-explanatory.

Finally... a way to make the "Gay Marriage" and "Go Yankees!" threads a *little* more bearable -- YAY!!!

This is awesome, Scott!

E. M. | January 24, 2005
[hidden by request]

E. M. | January 24, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 24, 2005
Ed: Good call. I was thinking about it when I woke up this morning: I had gone to all the trouble of creating the alternate timestamp and giving you the ability to set it with the link and reset it in your control panel... and then I had forgotten to make the page actually use it. :-) So now it should be fixed. There was another glitch that when you reset to one month ago, it didn't provide a link to "# discussions have been updated" in the upper right by your photo, but that's fixed now too.

Amy: To give you a sense of it, having the independent timestamp for each discussion would require a table with a number of fields equal to the number of discussions (now 1330) times the number of users (now 368). That's huge. And the Current Discussions page would have to hit that huge table for every discussion it displayed, to see whether you had already finished with it or not. It's not really that much longer, maybe 10-15 seconds, but again, that's one giant table, and I don't want to deal with it.

The quotation-marks-being-removed-from-height glitch is one that I don't know how to beat; it's an issue with HTML. The form needs that information within quotation marks, like value="1", so if you have quotation marks within it like value=" 5'6" " the form gets confused and thinks the first quotation marks are part of the form and ignores everything thereafter. Enter value="Nat "King" Cole" and you'll get only "Nat " displayed. I don't know if it's possible to beat this; the only method I know would be to get rid of the quotation marks, which would prevent the form from displaying more than one word (since it would then think the space is the end of the value). I don't know if this is interesting to anybody else, but I felt like explaining it. :-) Incidentally, this why the search results sometimes behave differently: If you search without quotation marks, it will fill in your phrase in the form in case you want to modify it and search again. But if you search with quotation marks, the form is blank; I specifically programmed it not to display anything in that case because of this stupid quotation-marks-in-form-fields issue with HTML.

Anyway, y'all are welcome. Glad you appreciate it.

Erik Bates | January 24, 2005
[hidden by request]

Erik Bates | January 24, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 25, 2005
Single quotes won't work because they're typed in by a user, and I only wish I could control what all y'all typed. I could replace quotation marks with a pair of single quotes, though. That would work. Thanks Erik.

That glitch you mentioned is a nasty one, in terms of what I'll have to code to fix it. When you haven't "read everything" for a while, It could make every page really slow to generate instead of just Current Discussions. I think I can come up with a shortcut solution; give me a while.

Denise Sawicki | January 25, 2005
Not an actual problem, but just something I thought was a little odd - when I have extended navigation turned on, the delimiters between the links in the navigation bars sometimes change from dots to question marks. For instance when I am on the current goos page they are dots, but on the previous goos page they are question marks. This could be because I'm using Firefox.

Scott Hardie | January 28, 2005
I could see your browser not being compatible with the charset I'm using, but not on a page-by-page basis. I changed them all to ordinary hyphens; that should solve it.

E. M. | March 5, 2005
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | March 5, 2005
Scott, I know that you're just re-starting these notifiers and probably expecting that some bugs need to be worked out. I wanted to ask you about this as well, with an additional question:

If you've already entered a guess for the expiring goo, will you still get the notification? If so, can it be coded to only send notification if you haven't yet entered a guess (and if there actually is an expiring goo)??? Forgive me if these are dumb questions, and this *is* what the notifiers are already supposed to be doing, but in case you aren't currently aware of it, I am getting the blank goo notifiers as well. Thanks for your support!

Scott Hardie | March 5, 2005
Shit. You're actually getting blank notifiers and/or notifiers when you're not supposed to get them? This is precisely why I put off coding the email system for as long as I could, because if I screwed something up, it would mean this kind of junk in my users' inboxes. I'll have it fixed pronto.

Scott Hardie | March 5, 2005
It's fixed now. Do please keep on bringing these items to my attention; I want to fix whatever is broken. (I wasn't receiving the messages because I'm not an active player of the game, so I didn't know.) Thanks for mentioning this.

Amy Austin | March 5, 2005
Thanks, Scott!

Well, I don't know if the notifiers would have come if a guess was made on a goo that was really expiring or not, since the only ones that came were "goo () is about to expire..." I'm sorry for not pointing it out sooner, since E (and maybe not just he?) was apparently much more irritated than I was about it. I just figured I'd wait the first week out. But I'm really glad you've worked it out, and I know he will be, too! Thanks again!!!

E. M. | March 6, 2005
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | March 25, 2005
Anyone else here unable to see today's goo???

Aaron Fischer | March 25, 2005
Maybe Scott is still uploading it?

Amy Austin | March 25, 2005
As long as I'm not alone... ;-)

Aaron Fischer | March 25, 2005
Oh well, guess I'll check back later.

Scott Hardie | March 25, 2005
I could have sworn I uploaded the file, but apparently I forgot. It's there now. Sorry.

Anna Gregoline | March 25, 2005
Wow, Goo Slaves.

Scott Hardie | March 27, 2005
Someone (who may volunteer to identify himself) emailed me asking whether the "broken image" in IE was the goo... as in, had I created a gooed image that was a white square with a tiny red "X" in the upper left corner? I'm evil, but I'm not that evil. :-)

Aaron Fischer | March 28, 2005
That's funny... I was also beginning to think that you were just going to use the broken image as well.... until the image popped up the next day.

Scott Hardie | March 28, 2005
Hmm, now you're tempting me. :-)

Good guess just now, Aaron, but not correct.

Amy Austin | March 28, 2005
I'm dying to know if I was even close.

Scott Hardie | March 28, 2005
(link)

Amy Austin | March 28, 2005
D'OH!!! That's the first time I've done that! DAMN IT! Thanks for the public humilation, Scott... ;-)

Scott Hardie | March 28, 2005
Don't thank me. ;-)

Does this influence your support for my proposal? (link)

Amy Austin | March 28, 2005
Nope... I still think it's part of the game -- I just fucked up this time. Won't happen again.

E. M. | April 8, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | April 9, 2005
Well, technically speaking, the goos aren't really published at midnight. I could set up a cron script that actually runs at 0:00 precisely and publishes a new goo, but I haven't. Instead, the first person to visit the site each day will trigger a script that checks the goos in the database: Any that have a publish date of "today" are altered so that they start appearing on the site, while any that have an expiration date of "today" are altered so that the answer is visible. In other words, it's all about "today": What goo expires today, what goo gets published today. That's independent of the clock time.

But instead of explaining all that, it's easier for me to say "a new goo appears each night at midnight." :-)

Besides it being easier in the code, the other thing I like about goos being revealed at midnight is that it diminishes the number of people who see it before I do, since I don't usually look at each new live goo until about 7:30am. If I have forgotten to upload the gooed image again, or there's some typo in the clue that could mislead the players because it looks like a keyword, I want to fix it asap before people see it. And the goos going live "at midnight" helps me keep down the number of people who see it.

But that's not to say that I'm opposed to establishing a time of day. It's all handled in the code anyway, so all I'd need to do is set that script to run on a cron instead of being triggered by a user. I'd prefer a morning time like 8am or something, just because it seems more appropriate than the odd evening hour, but I'm open to popular concensus.

My attitude is that, as long as you're checking the site once a day, it doesn't really matter when the goo goes live, because it's always brand-new the first time you see it. HSX introduces the new properties of the day each morning at 8am est, and I get tired of hitting the site at something like 7:37am and realizing I still have twenty minutes to go. I imagine that's why you're asking for a move to a few hours earlier, but it seems like no one time during waking hours is right, because there will always be people hitting the site in the minutes leading up to it and getting frustrated by the wait. Perhaps something overnight like 4am or 5am would be better? That way the frustration goes away because everybody is going to see it when they happen to see it (instead of sitting there waiting for the right minute to come), and I still get to diminish the number of players who see it before I do. :-)

This is totally unrelated, but I thought I'd mention that I have removed the comment form in TC discussions older than one month. There's a tendency to dredge up old discussions rather than begin new ones like we should – I'm as guilty of it as anybody – and I hope this stems that trend. If what you want to say truly does pertain to the old discussion, link to it.

E. M. | April 9, 2005
[hidden by request]


Want to participate? Please create an account a new account or log in.


Other Discussions Started by Scott Hardie

Scott's Pet Peeve #5847

It drives me crazy when movie reviews summarize the plot of the film. To give it a sentence or two is fine, especially if that's necessary to set up some point the critic is trying to make, but I have seen far too many reviews that give half of their length (or more) to telling us what happens in the film. Go »

Hero Inflation

Should a prisoner of war be called a hero when s/he was stupid or cowardly to become a POW in the first place? Go »

The Eleven American Nations

I read this article last fall (thanks Anna), and it continues to shape my thinking about politics in this country, so here's sharing it for discussion. Go »

Weblog Management by Leonard Shelby

TC experienced a weird hiccup today. All week, my web host has been moving to new servers, and they've been shuffling files, but they claimed no changes would be made. Go »

Another Month, Another Comic Strip Roundup

My favorite comics from February: Pickles Pooch Café Cornered Bound and Gagged Cleats 9 to 5 Red Meat Baldo Real Life Adventures Willy 'n Ethel PvP Boondocks Fusco Brothers Cathy Get Fuzzy Mike Luckovich Gary Varvel James Go »

G-

In recent days, there's been controversy over Google+ being further integrated into Gmail, in that people who know you on G+ can send a message to your email inbox. Go »