August 22, 2007

My Kingdom for a Working Comments System

AS LOYAL RANT READERS KNOW -- all too well, I am afraid -- The Rant's technological capabilities are a bit limited. Let us compare The Rant to a car and you'll see what I mean. The engine might run flawlessly, and its horses might plow through any and all obstacles placed before it, but there's no denying the body is a little rusted, and has chipped paint, and a huge scratch some wretched little hellion dug into the side of it with his skate key.

Perhaps the most obvious outward sign of wear and tear is The Rant's comment system. Like a smashed passenger-side mirror, it is not essential to the machine's overall operation, but it leaves people who see it wondering why the hell the owner doesn't get it fixed.

My friends, I can assure you I have no idea how to fix it; the programming skills required to do so are far beyond me. But its present state is not my fault. The comment spammers -- God damn them! -- forced my hosting provider to impose some strange technical requirements that would supposedly allow me to have comments whilst keeping the spammers at bay. But I can't figure them out and so I must go without.

This state of affairs has not gone unnoticed. Loyal Rant Reader Matt (REDACTED) recently wrote me an e-mail to complain about the situation. By the way, Mr (REDACTED) has an interesting blog of his own -- for instance, you know that guy who rants about free money* on late-night infomercials? No, not Jim Cramer -- this guy. Anyway, it turns out That Guy Who Screams About the Free Money has had some Strange Cosmic Role in Mr (REDACTED's) long-running relationship with his girlfriend.

But anyway. As I was saying, Mr (REDACTED) recently wrote me an e-mail to complain about the lack of comments on The Rant. He writes:

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FROM: Matthew (REDACTED)
TO: Ben Kepple
RE: The techonological disgrace that continues to be your Web site

Ben, if you are going to continue to put a "comments" link on your
blog entry - every blog entry - then you have a legal obligation to
make sure that that comments link works! I am sick and tired of not
being able to leave a witty comment on your latest witty post!

Your loyal reader,

Matt

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Well, Matt, if you have any ideas as to how to reprogram my Movable Type comments scripts to make the comments work again, I'd love to hear them -- because I'll need step-by-step directions. I would, however, take issue with your statement that I have a "legal obligation" to provide comments.

I have consulted with my legal team and they have assured me that, although my continued failure to fix them could be considered "arbitrary and capricious" in certain jurisdictions, I can't be held liable for this state of affairs, except in southern Illinois. And under The Rant's articles of incorporation, I don't have to take Illlinois seriously until they beat Michigan in football. So until the Fighting Zooks measure up, I think I'm safe.

While I certainly think getting the comments working again would be a net good for the site, I have to admit that I have found minor advantages in not having them. These advantages are spelled out in a naughty and profane educational video from collegehumor.com, viz. and to wit:

So, in summary, if I can restore the comments, I will -- even if there might be something to the relative peace and quiet of a comments-free blog.

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* Oh, and last time I checked, "free money" is only "free" when it is voluntarily lent out at zero percent interest. This would seem to preclude the idea that money is "free" when the Government redistributes it.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 22, 2007 07:40 PM | TrackBack
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