A few minor changes around the old blog.

One of the things I’ve been meaning to take care of is the lengthy amount of time it takes to post new comments here at SEB. Part of this is due to the rather heavy customization I’ve done on the site in terms of adding things like smilies and recent comment listings and the like. The amount of time between hitting submit and having the comment actually post was causing folks to press the button a couple of times resulting in multiple duplicates so it behooved me to try and cut some of the fat, as it were, and I managed to add a new thing in the process.

The first change that resulted in an immediate savings in rebuild time had to do with how I was using the MTMacros plugin for making smilies possible. Previously I was applying it to the looping tags that MT uses to construct the entries on the main page and the comments in the individual archive. This would mean it would call the plugin for every single comment on the page and some of these threads are pretty long. I changed things so that the whole are I want the macros applied to is within a MTMacro container tag which makes MT run the plugin once for the page regardless of any loops on the page. I read about this tip someplace else which I can’t recall at the moment and I remember wondering why I hadn’t thought of that before.

I also changed the recent comment listing on the sidebar to list just a name and the thread they commented on. I don’t know if that’ll make much difference, but it reduces some clutter. I’ll probably design a new sidebar for the individual archives which removes that part altogether and it doesn’t really serve any purpose on that page.

I’ve also gotten Oscar’s EZ Subscribe To Comments script installed so that folks can now subscribe to comment threads to make keeping up with them a lot easier. I’d been meaning to put something like this into place for a long time, but the previous solutions involved hacking the MT code somewhat, which I’m loathe to do. Oscar’s solution involves no hacking at all and works with Jay Allen’s MT Blacklist plugin to boot. On top of that it helps prevent duplicate comments by putting up a “Please wait…” message while it processes the submission. So if you’ve wanted a way to be notified when a thread you’ve been reading here at SEB gets a new comment you can opt-in at the bottom of the comment form.

There’s a few other tweaks I’m thinking of applying so if you notice anything else that’s changed around here, well, don’t be surprised.

13 thoughts on “A few minor changes around the old blog.

  1. Personally, I think you should get rid of the smileys altogether.  IMHO they don’t add much to the site and removing them might be a good way to cut down on cruft, even if you only have to call the plugin once.

    I’m actually of the opinion that the smileys here detract from the seriousness of the content.  Just my opinion, though.  I would prefer to see the smileys in just plain text so they don’t stand out as much as they do.  They simply scream at me to look at them, when I am browsing comments, rather than reading the comment itself.

  2. Cool site.  I’ve already spent the better part of an hour going through and checking things out.

    I’m going to link to you from my blog, if thats alright with you?

    the grotto

  3. I appreciate the feedback. I never really did explain why I put them in in the first place, which was to soften the tone a little. I want the blog to reflect my personality and while I certainly have a serious side to me I also like to have a little fun now and then. Not everything I write about is a topic of monumental importance (some would argue that very little of it is) and some of the visitors like using them so I thought it wouldn’t hurt.

    However, if enough folks think they’re pointless and would rather see them gone then I wouldn’t have a problem yanking them.

  4. I’ll apologise for the self-promoting nature of the post, but I’m hoping that some of the resources on one of my entries might be of some use, particularly part 3. It’s mostly aimed at stopping trackback pings from timing out but some of the advice applies to comments and posting entries too.

  5. Thanks for the links, Neil. Turns out you link to the site where I read the tip about changing how I apply MTMacros. I’m definitely going to look into a few of your suggestions.

  6. I don’t know if I’m happy, Les. I rather liked a couple of lines of a comment being viewable on the main page. It piqued my interest and besides it was fun trying to think of effective first words to entice others to view my comment. I assumed everybody had this mission in mind and I laughed at some of the feeble attempts, mostly mine. Now there’s no real incentive to click on the comment link unless it’s because of your piquant entry title, which is viewable already in this same main page. Plus, if all someone said was “I know, I love fudge too!” I knew I could safely go to the next comment for consideration and perhaps investigate this one later if I had the time or lacked the ability to discern important stuff to read. 
    Of course, I’ve been reading nearly everything posted here for almost a year and have yet to be greatly disappointed - ok, a couple of times, but I was drunk and you were in a boring mood.
    Bottom line is, I give you permission to do whatever you want with your site, as long as it’s tasteful and you’re not being label. If it’s important to you, it’s important to me!
    PS You do remember me, right?

  7. That’s a good point, Brock. So far my testing hasn’t shown that the change in the comment listing has helped rebuild times at all so I’ll probably change it back. I kinda liked it better the old way too, but you never know until you try these things, right?

  8. Yeah. What he said (pointing at Brocks comment.) You think that this is enticing enough?.

    Love ya work Les. You definitly deserve a

    “Hey, Nice Blog”

  9. Glad I’m not the only one who liked Stupid Evil Comments better the other way.
    Oh and I think you know, Les, how I feel about Little Smiley Face God Icons.

    LSFGI: You will interpret this post the way I direct you to interpret it.

    Me: But the person said “fuck you” to me and put your smiley face after it. Should I not interpret this as a slam?

    LSFGI: Do not question me? The ways of Smiley Face God Icons are mysterious to the common blog reader. Enough of your doubts!!! Now go and build me Smiley Ark of the Covenant..

    Say it, don’t play it!

  10. OK. I’ve restored the original Recent Comments listing by popular demand. And you guys say I never do anything for you.

  11. Well, I’d vote the smilicons off the island if they’re slowing comment processing down.  But that’s just me.

    I keep debating whether to do comment subscriptions on my own blog; given the processing time issues you seem to be having, I’m not sure it’s worth it (though you get a lot more commenters than I do, which might tip that decision).

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