Flutterby™! : flutterby changes?

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

flutterby changes?

2007-09-12 14:47:17.797158+00 by Dan Lyke 19 comments

In the "Countrywide woes" thread, Eric yet again makes a case for threading in the Flutterby comments.

I know I've asked this before, but... maybe it's time to just switch Flutterby to Slashcode? Threaded comments. Moderation and filtering. Categorization. And a shared code base. Comments?

[ related topics: Law Archival ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-12 16:01:01.387484+00 by: meuon

I haven't looked at Slashcode in a while, but it used to be quite a pig.

White Eric is correct, one of the fun things about Flutterby is how comments can take new directions.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-12 16:05:02.250363+00 by: ebradway

"White Eric" says:

I guess meuon has been reading the Countrywide thread!

I really can't say if Slashcode would be better. Sure, it would add threaded comments and maybe the search function would work a little better...

Giving up the Flutterby code is kind of like Porsche moving to water-cooled engines. How much of the spirit of the site is embedded in the software? My bet is that it's less than you think. So my vote is to move!

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-12 16:37:26.481827+00 by: ziffle

I'd like to change the subject.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-12 16:46:47.858184+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think the main thing that's been keeping me from implementing threaded comments is a lack of recursion in the template language. Hmmm... Maybe I just need to solve that problem.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-12 18:58:25.239262+00 by: spc476

Am I correct to assume that the Flutterby code was written by you Dan? If so, I would hate to think you'd give up on it. It always saddens me when someone who has written their own CMS or blogging system gives up on it for a shrinkwrap version (you know, Moveable Type, Wordpress, Slashcode, etc.). Part of it seems like it's laziness on the part of that person for giving in, another part is that their site then feels like a bazillion other sites out there. And third, they become more vulnerable to exploits (the more popular the software package).

Sure, your own codebase may not have all the wizbang features of the other kids, but is it really necessary? And the bloat! My God! My own blog just under 16,000 lines of C code (9,000 of which are part of a library of code I use for other projects)—I recently checked the line count of Moveable Type, written in Perl, and limiting myself to just the Moveable Type codebase: 118,000 lines of code (for comparrison, MT version 2 is only 11,000). Other than comments and trackback (who uses that any more?) I can't think of a single thing MT does that my blogging engine doesn't.

#Comment Re: Threaded comments made: 2007-09-12 20:57:10.68917+00 by: m

As meuon paraphrased, and "White Eric" noted, comment drift is sometimes at least as interesting as the original topic.

But, overall comment traffic is fairly light, and is easy to track. Will there really be a big enough improvement to justify taking time away from Dan's cycling, cooking and woodworking?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-12 21:13:58.064935+00 by: ebradway

And that is the final determinant... The advantage of switching is that the software would evolve without Dan's involvement. The advantage of not switching is that, well, if it ain't broke...

I've been using canned tools more and more. My blog, As If Anyone Cares, goes so far as to just use Blogger. The "blandness" and "commonness" of Blogger doesn't impact my ability to write and it does seem to lead to more random comments from unknowns.

I can't see how it'd be worth Dan's time to work on the Flutterby code, unless he just "wanted to". So either switch or stick with it.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-12 23:16:41.4676+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Commentable CMS/"blog" code is just so frigging easy in PHP. As I upgrade my 4+ year old production colo server to a new system, I also end up finishing up "Widget" a very simple CMS and Blogging engine. GeekLabs.net is the 'under construction' version. I'm doing it because I learn something when I do these things myself, and they end up helping me do my paying work.

So the question is: What serves Dan's interests best?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-12 23:49:10.176513+00 by: crasch

As a user of flutterby, I think the UI is fine. I've never thought to myself, "You know what flutterby needs? Threaded comments". Same goes for moderation and categorization. I've not noticed many comments I would moderate, and I can usually find what I want via the search box.

Of course, I don't know how much work goes on behind the scenes. Easing the administrative burden on you would be the only reason I would change it.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-13 00:26:06.520912+00 by: Dan Lyke

If I have a few free cycles that I feel like spending in Flutterby code, I may slap in threaded comments. I do need to do a better search at some point, or perhaps just redirect that search box to Google with the appropriate other stuff shoved in it.

Too many things I wanna do.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-13 09:38:03.128635+00 by: DaveP

As another person with a home-rolled CMS, I'm interested to see what you come up with. I looked at SlashCode years ago, and got a headache reading the install directions. I'm sure it's improved, but I'm equally sure it's gotten even bigger.

Scoop was, last time I did a comparison, the most likely direction I'd have headed if I went with someone else's code. But I also chat with a WordPress developer periodically, and see features I want appearing over there. Like I said, I'm interested to see what you do.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-13 14:27:21.070603+00 by: ebradway

Threaded comments would be nice but so would tweaking the search a little. I think you may have recently changed the sort order of the output so it's chronological. but it's still hard to tell what's what in the results.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-13 20:48:42.574633+00 by: baylink

I personally explicitly don't like threaded commenting.

I used to be able to tell you why, and I'm not sure I can anymore, but mostly it's that it's difficult to see The New Stuff... since it's not all at the end anymore (where it belongs, damnit :-).

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-13 20:59:29.297789+00 by: Dan Lyke

I don't like threading because I think it encourages short quips rather than longer essay-ish writings. It's too easy to slap a "m3 t00" or "dork!" response on to something rather than thinking through a response enough to give a little context.

Of course this might not apply to us illustrious flutterbarbarians, but that's been my reasoning for not putting it in before.

I agree that the search sucks, it was built for one or two thousand entries with little content in the comments, not ten thousand with a lot of content in the comments.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-13 21:01:59.283983+00 by: spc476

I found Clusty to have much better search results for my blog than Google, so I pointed my search box to Clusty. Wasn't hard to do, and it saved me from writing my own search engine.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-14 12:00:41.879525+00 by: concept14

Sharing the code base would be one thing, but don't share the Slashdot user base. :-)

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-14 12:31:56.163242+00 by: Dan Lyke

Giggle. Yeah, heck, I metamod daily because it's always nice to have mod points, but I've let so many mod points expire because of lack of good comments that I'm wondering why, and recently I haven't even seen anything on the front page there worth pursuing.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-14 15:33:15.306724+00 by: ebradway

I haven't mod'd Slashdot in at least six years. Everytime I slide over there on a link, I'm blown away at the juvenile comments. Of course, they are brilliant compared to comments on YouTube! I think I've had Slashdot set on mod-level-5 for a while.

While I guess threads would be cool, there may be some better things that could be developed in a Blog system that made commenting easier - especially linking tools.

One thing that is nice about Flutterby is that the format encourages good comments. Blogger and Word Press both use essentially anonymous commenting and make linking in comments harder than linking in the post. So comments are relegated as less significant. Frequently, there are comments that are more significant than the original post. Maybe a simple mod'ing system that, once a comment is mod'd high enough, it pops out to become a blog post. Hmmm....

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-14 15:43:07.677751+00 by: ebradway

So another thought... How hard would it be to change the template so that "new" comments are displayed differently, like with a different colored background?

Another posibility - instead of actual threads, how about being able to "insert" a comment between two others? It breaks the LILO format but tied with the color change mentioned before, it would be easy to see where the discussion is happening.

One more thing: In comments, quoting and addressing comments is a little clunky. This goes back to the linking issue. On Flutterby, I do a fairly limited number of things:

  1. "speak" in unformatted text.
  2. "quote" with different format styles
  3. "link" by manually adding A HREF tags
  4. "address" by preceding the "speaking" with a name followed by a colon

There are a few other things we do less often - usually emphasize and insert pictures. But you know, threading might be less important than improving the experience of these four things (actually, only the last three).