It’s been a wild couple of days with the database update — BIG THANKS to Chris Lea, Media Temple Director of Technology, for personally upgrading our server and making sure everything here sings the best and fastest possible tune.

Here’s what else has been happening:

Database
The speed and responsiveness of our MySQL server feels faster, better and stronger. If you are experiencing any strange happenings here when you create a post or contribute a comment, please let me know.

Background
I have been working hard behind-the-scenes to get everything ready for the new Urban Semiotic where more than one Author can publish a post. I spent most of yesterday getting everything working and our new Authors page and Writing Tips page both look really great. I am surprised at the level of interested and enthusiasm for participation and I thank you!

Reading
I will spend today fixing things and testing stuff as well as reading post pitches and submitted articles for publication here.

Learning
I learned several things yesterday. First, I no longer appear in a blue box when I place a comment in a thread in which I did not author the post! Harumph! Also, I learned if I want to get the comments emailed to me in a comment thread from a post in which I did not write I actually have to check the box to subscribe to the comments! Harr! It took me all day to figure out why I wasn’t getting any notifications on the comments for Chris’ excellent post on bussing which then leads us to a question for you…

Question
I can set “Subscribe to Comments” to default to having the subscribe box checked instead of unchecked. Do you prefer to leave it as it is where you have to check that box to get comments sent to you if you comment or would you prefer to have that subscribe box checked by default? Please let me know your preference here in a comment. Majority will rule.

Ending
Scott of Scott-O-Rama is a wonderful blogger and I was disappointed to learn he is closing his Discuss It forum. His reasons for closing the site are understandable and those elements could threaten the livelihood of our Author expansion here as well if we are not careful. I think our philosophy of moderating comments helps a lot as does requiring Registration in order to comment. There is one other thing that should help prevent a similar demise here that Scott experienced over there…

Naming
The official name of this blog is “David W. Boles’ Urban Semiotic” and I chose that full title for a reason: People know who, what and why this blog was created. When I opened up Author posts I considered condensing the title to just “Urban Semiotic” — that’s how most people link to us anyway and that’s fine — but then I thought, for now at least, that keeping my name in the title provides protection for Authors and Commenters because I will take the heat if there are any fires. A lot of time and energy has also been spent on linking and branding this blog and to change the title now is to start all over again in search engine ranking and brand identification.

You get big credit in search engines for longevity and stability and to change the title now is to gamble what has already been hard won. I also like being on point. Fresh publication is ultimately my responsibility and desire so if there are no new posts I must create new posts. I am responsible for what happens here and for the quality of publication. I decide what comments get published and which comments never make the air of consumption. We may not be The Huffington Post but the idea that drives that blog and its title is the same energy that has always driven what you read here.

Thoughts
If you have any thoughts to share on what might make this blog better, please let me know! I was tempted for five seconds to start another blog for Urban Semiotic “Staff” only that would be entirely private where we could discuss publication plans and other issues but then I was quickly taken back to my Team Toshiba days on CompuServe.

The private discussion area for Team Toshiba staff was always the most interesting and vibrant place compared to the official support and lounge chat sections and I found it unfortunate the most dramatic conflicts, joys and brilliant stuff happened privately beyond the public eye. The staff forum regularly had 100% more messages than 95% of the support threads and that was always strange and a warning to not repeat that misuse of unique genius and genuine intimacy in a place where only the select few could partake. If we have things to discuss we can do it right here in the open where everyone can feed at the trough of our thought.

21 Comments

  1. I posted a comment earlier, but it seems to have been lost :(. Ill try to recap:
    1) I vote for subscribe-to-comments being the default. Anyone taking the time to register is likely to stay around for a bit and I think having access to comments in your email promotes more discussion.
    2) I am sad to see Discuss-It die, I enjoyed the questions put forth and the resulting debate. However, there was a small encampment of trolls that on more than one occasion made the experience less than pleasant. It wil be missed!

  2. Jonathan —
    I tend to agree with you on point 1. Now that registration is required most people here usually re-comment after their first comment so making it the default might be wise and since you’re the only one who voted, you are currently the Majority.
    :mrgreen:
    People can always UNcheck the box if they don’t want any follow-ups. Unsubscribing is easy.
    Yes, Discuss-It dying is a sad thing because it was a noble cause. You have to create blog foul lines and enforce them or you’ll be run over by the trolls with an agenda of hate who claim posting comments on a blog is a inalienable right and the Democratic Way and to them I have always replied, “A blog is not a democracy” as I delete their nastiness forever.

  3. FYI —
    I turned off the “fancy drop-down” live search option — now the search works must faster.
    Since I deleted Extended Live Archives I also deleted the useless “Archives” page for now.
    I turned off the fancy AJAX style of comment posting — things are must faster with that feature disabled for now.

  4. I was going to mention that I had mixed thoughts about the subscribe to comments feature, but it might be good to have it selected as a default since we have the ability to deselect it, if desired. I only check my personal email a couple of times per day, so I’ll probably opt out of the emailed comments.
    I support your idea to keep your blog named the way it is. It’s your brand name. When more and more authors start contributing, it will be even more important to prevent confusion. After all, this is your creation.

  5. Chris —
    I appreciate your feedback on the Comments subscription. We’ll try it out as checked by default and it that doesn’t work then we’ll switch it back.
    Thanks for the thoughts on the blog name. I’ve been wrestling with the idea for a couple of months now as I anticipated this change in publication. No one raised the issue with me — I wanted to address it in case anyone was privately wondering.

  6. A couple of things ..
    1. I spent a good few years managing and building online communities, only to watch them crash and burn due to insider cat fights, childish mind games, and countless other things that could have been easily averted. How? The management wasn’t willing to take a hard stance. If you simply stick to your guns and surround yourself with people willing to support YOU not just support their own little agendas, then you’ll have no problem what so ever. Oh, and yes, you can support both.
    2. I feel it would be a great pity to change this sites name. Other than the reasons you’ve stated, this site is still yours. Authors will come and go, but you shall remain (of course, given that you don’t sell or pass on the site). I simply don’t see why you’d change it.

  7. Hi krome.obsession —
    Thanks for your usual excellent feedback and I look forward to reading the next revision of your terrific article. Let me know when you’re ready for me to have an official look at it.
    1. I agree with you completely on this matter. Sometimes there is danger in “giving everyone a voice” and “hearing from all sides” because there are times when people deserve to be ignored because of their hidden agendas or just plain ignorance that cannot be cured. There’s no splitting the baby here and all the Gordian knots have been cut. We know who we are and what we stand for and if you’re with us, great! If you’re not with us, fine — there’s no reason to stick around and be miserable.
    😀
    2. Quite right! It will be interesting to compare our “Authors Page” now to how it looks a year from now. I’ll still be in first position bulling my way through this blog — but how many of the other names and faces change will be a fascinating pendulum to watch swing and those names can, should, shall, will and must change because that is the dynamic element of the internet and of living in the now and to fight it is to attack the very elements that brought everyone together on that page in the first place. To ensure those who are invested here regularly with posts while others may linger in more occasional oblivion of posting new pieces I may need to divide that page sometime in the future into “Active Authors” and “Resting Authors” and the difference between the two will be some sort of regularity in posting — say one article a month or something…

  8. Mik!
    Thanks for your vote on the Subscribe to comments and I appreciate your understanding about the blog name and on your experience with the site speed. There are still tweaks being done behind-the-scenes and testing so sometimes we’ll be fast and other times we may be slow to unreachable.