Saturday, July 31, 2010

Moderation Options

First of all, here's a picture. It's a fountain in front of the rec center where I work out. I took a walk around the building, and then around the fountain before going to work out in the water. Working out in the water usually helps me think, but I've got a LOT of thinking to do, so I guess it seemed like a good idea to walk around in something vaguely resembling nature.

I apologize for the weird thing with the comment moderation yesterday. When I logged into the administrator controls (which I hadn't had time to do yet, and they are NOT the most straightforward things), I saw an option that would require comments from "new" posters to await approval. I thought that seemed like a reasonable option because there is a fairly small core group here, and in the event that anyone new DID come along, it wouldn't be THAT much of a hassle to approve his or her first few comments.

I am SUPPOSED to be able to just click "approve user" for each of you, and then not have to approve each comment individually. When the "approve user" option didn't seem to be working, I tried approving all the comments individually. But no matter what I did, that "comment awaiting moderation" message kept coming back. I tried to post a comment in last night's thread explaining what happened, but MY comment seems to have disappeared forever.

I've returned the moderation settings to the way they were, which is that all comments are published immediately, but can be deleted after the fact. (By the way, I'm trying to figure out if we can have multiple moderators, but haven't explored the issue thoroughly. I'm not sure but that might be a "premium" feature.

Anyway, here's what I was trying to implement last night...

Comments are not visible to other commenters until the author is approved by the moderator.
A user is considered "new" until his messages are approved at least 5 times AND more then 12 hours passed since the first post.

As I've noted above, that had seemed like a manageable option. I still don't understand why I couldn't actually approve messages once and for all.

There's another option where a comment could be hidden if a certain number of people "flagged" it. My first reaction is that would be just *asking* for trouble. But I don't know for sure.

I will check back when I am able. I've got some things I need to take care of now.


  1. Bill Thomasson7/31/2010 12:36:00 PM

    Howard is first, of course.

    I'm not sure what the "spammer" concern is about. I saw the first so-called "spam." It was a request for cross-linking that struck me as perfectly reasonable, whether or not the moderator wanted to respond. The second one disappeared before I had a chance to see it, so I can't comment there.

  2. Bill Thomasson7/31/2010 12:56:00 PM

    On a personal note, I have unexpectedly had no "real" work (writing) for the past week. Long story related to difficulty figuring out what sort of research we're going to propose in the revised grant application. And after the first couple of days I had finally finished reading all the Hugo-nominated fiction and cast my ballot. (Only voted in the four fiction categories.)

    But I've been very busy catching up on a bunch of stuff. Including filing away some of the accumulated stacks of references. And I finally got around to figuring out how to access the DP Parade's PayPal account. I'd been tracking deposits into the account from our Web site, but there was a lot of work accounting for the fees that PayPal charges. And then I discovered that back in April somebody had hacked into the account and looted it of everything that was in it at the time. Our webmaster, who is the official account holder, is now checking with PayPall about what can be done.

  3. Lovely pic, Renee. Thanks.

    You're right. What you were trying to do does sound reasonable. I also agree that the flagging thing is probably asking for trouble. I'm so sorry the software is giving you such a hard time. Thanks for working with it. ♥ I'd be lost without my friends in this community; so, I'm very grateful for your work keeping it up and running.

  4. Oh my God, Bill! How much was it? No, you probably shouldn't answer that. What a terrible discovery to make! I'm so sorry! Please let us know what if anything the webmaster finds out. I hope you can catch the scum bag, or PayPal can, and prosecute him.

  5. You're welcome. I feel bad about being "missing in action" so much, but having Son do his schooling at home has taken a toll in more ways than I could have imagined. Having Son in the house *all the time* and having to keep him on task to get his work done has had a real impact on our ability to focus on income generating activities. And it's generally raised the stress level around here. Ultimately, we didn't have much choice in the matter, but I wish we'd managed to line up better support.

    One of the things I'm busy thinking about is how to go into this coming year (his senior year) a little better prepared.

    We used to be so sure that he'd live independently, find a nice university job or whatever...we're not able to take anything for granted now. I don't know if he'll ever be able to drive. I mean, it's nice not having to worry about my teenage son out on the road, but pretty sobering to come to realize he may not be *capable* of learning such a complex task requiring the ability to think and react quickly (and appropriately).

    And he's light years away from having the skills and attitudes he would need to be able to live on his own and manage his own affairs. I don't think he even *wants* to.

    But I guess I'm still holding out hope for a happy ending.

  6. How about a residence college that is made for people exactly like Son?

    What if we all hunt about online, folks?

  7. Here's a link for you, Renee:

  8. *hug*

    My sister can't drive. Oh, she knows how and has, or had, her license, but between her learning disabilities and, particularly, her anxiety disorder, it's not something she was ever good at or comfortable with. And, now she can't drive at all. Hasn't been able to for years. Yes, being a non-driver is a major PITA (Don't I know it!), but it's not the biggest problem. The daily living skills are much more important. I don't know what to tell you about those, especially if he isn't all that interested...

  9. Bill Thomasson7/31/2010 06:28:00 PM

    I don't know if I've menteioned it here, but I see one of the advantages of my eyes going bad being that I am no longer expected to drive. I never had real confidence that I would be payimg attentioni to the right thing at the right time or that I would react quickly enough. That was implicitly why, 40 years ato, I made a point of choosing a house convenient to good public transportation.

    Driving isn't really an essential life skill if you live in the right place.

  10. Bill Thomasson7/31/2010 06:31:00 PM

    That looks pretty good to me. The students attend regular universities -- no segregation! -- but their living situation eases the transition from holme to independence that is even harder for them than for most.

  11. Sorry--the driving thing was a bit of a non-sequitur. The bigger issue is all the self-care he refuses to do because he balks at being told what to do. We were able to get him into a day camp that was designed to teach daily living skills, career exploration, etc. to teens with Asperger's. He made a big stink about us "wasting his time", because summer is supposed to be "his" time.

    He actually thinks he can *debate* his way out of the need to take a shower.

    Our goal has been to keep his options open for him, in case one day a miracle happens and he decides he *does* want to go to college. So we insist that he do his school work--meaning we have to find out what he has due and when, and then follow up with him until there is evidence that he has actually submitted it. But he actually does the work. And if he *does* the work, he gets As. But he complains all the time about us "making" him do the work.

    No one has been able to get him to articulate any plans for the future. I honestly don't believe the future even exists in his mind. He can't see past what he wants to be doing *right now*, which is arguing with strangers on the internet.

    Demetrius has commented on the irony that Son really seems to be *made* for a career in law. But that requires a LOT of school.

  12. Daughter, on the other hand, definitely *does* want to go to college, although she doesn't have any inkling what she wants to do yet. But apparently she had been assuming that when the time came, we would be paying for it. Having one more nearly impossible expectation to try to live up to was not acceptable to me, so I gently provided her with a reality check that unless things turned around in a BIG way, we weren't going to have that kind of money. I told her that we were going to do everything we could to help her, but that she would need to be actively looking for scholarships, and generally doing whatever she could to make herself a good candidate. (She starts high school next month, by the way.)

    Daughter was utterly indignant. She said we shouldn't have *had* kids if we weren't prepared to pay for college.

    Yeah, I know--"She's at that age". But I'm still tired of it.

  13. I should add--this is the same kid who considers my efforts to get to know her "stalking". Things like, when I hear her mention a band she likes, and I try to inconspicuously type it into my phone so that I can remember to look it up later--she *catches* me, and asks accusingly, "What are you doing?" When I answer her honestly, she exclaims, "You're such a stalker"

    So I'm supposed to pay to send a stranger to college? Who does that?

    Billionaire philanthropists, I guess. But even they often want you to write an essay about your plans before they just hand you a scholarship...

  14. I graduated 3rd in my class in high school, but as neither of my parents had gone to college (Dad quit after 8th grade, in fact) they were clueless about how it all works, and it really wasn't on their radar anyway. My high school guidance counselor would hold up 4 fingers every time he passed me in the hallway (which was his way of saying I should go to a 4-year college), but he never lifted a finger to help me actually do it. I never even bothered to take the SATs. Even had I wanted to go, we had no money whatsoever.

    It wasn't until I was working full-time at UNH as a custodian that I began my college studies, simply because staff were allowed two free courses per semester. I was a good student...raised my hand, asked questions, got my assignments in on time. In one of those classes ~ "Crime, Courts and the Individual" (it was held at a time I could attend) ~ one of my classmates happened to be the Assistant Director of Admissions. She asked me one evening what my major was. I explained that I was just taking a few courses. She handed me her card and said, come see me. I did. Pretty swiftly I was a matriculated student! You never know how the path may turn out.

  15. Hubby, on the other hand was college bound from the start. Junior Class President in high school, President of the National Honor Society, etc.. The only trouble was that he was 7th of 10 children, and his family had no money either. But thanks to hefty Pell Grants and Stafford Loans he was able to afford college. That, and being accepted into G.E.'s apprentice program. He went to school part time and worked full time for 4 years, then to school part time while working full time for two years. It was a long haul, but we survived it. Again, not the usual path.

    Had I known that I could have had scholarships and grants, I might have gone to school full time. These days it might be that a person has to work and study more slowly. To tell you the truth I think slow studies are more sane and manageable.

    In two years I got in about a year of college. Then I had babies and as I had never declared a major, I decided to make being a Mom my major. Loved it! When they were older I went back to school here in Vermont to Goddard College. They accepted ALL my courses from UNH, and I wrote for and received the maximum of 3 semesters of Life Learning Credits. Three semesters later, I had my Bachelor's! College through Goddard cost just $6K per year, because I did it as an off-campus residency student. I more or less "home schooled" those semesters ~ it was an ungraded program, which I designed myself, had faculty oversight, and at the end of each semester my main advisor and I would each write an evaluation on me. So I have to say it cost me just about 18K for a 4 year degree. Not bad!

    Daughter*in*Ohio is simply hitting the reality snag that my kids hit once they went to college. We didn't have money either, but they got grants, did work-study, and took on a lot of debt. We took on some of the debt with them through VSAC (Vermont Student Assistance Corporation). In a real sense the people who can go to school most easily are the richest and the poorest kids. If you have a little money the college will want you to give it over. If you don't have it, many schools will help. A kid has to either have money or brains or disabilities to be likely to get it. Hang in there. IF they want it badly enough, it WILL happen.

    Prayers ensuing.

  16. BTW, Stafford Loans are interest free. Payment of them is deferred as long as the student is in school at least half time. Bush screwed this up, of course, but Obama is trying to set it to rights. And talk to your Congress people! A recommendation from one can help get a kid into school too.

  17. I've been putting out a hummingbird feeder for a few days now. I make the nectar myself, no red dye. Today I finally saw a hummingbird at the feeder (a green one). Six times I spotted a hummer feeding. Don't know if it was the same one or multiples at different times. The feeder has a ring-shaped perch so the hummer can sit and feed without whirring its poor tired little wings the whole time.

    They've come here for a few years, attracted to the flowers in the front beds. I just added the feeder recently because their food flowers aren't blooming well this summer because of the terrible prolonged outrageous heat.

  18. Ally's candle page is acting buggy tonight. Twice in the last couple of hours I've added a candle but it never shows up. The count remains at 9. Sigh.

  19. Bill Thomasson7/31/2010 10:15:00 PM

    I guess I've finally had a message disappear.

    The only news on the PayPal front is that our webmaaster has filed a fraud claim and we have gotten full records of the transactions. The overwhelming majority of the money went to a small but apparently legitimate securities consulting firm. At this point it almost looks more like a PayPal software glitch than deliberate fraud.

  20. Thanks for the tips. I believe it *will* be doable one way or another. Last I heard, she was saying she wanted to be a physicist, and it occurred to me that there probably scholarships for women entering "nontraditional" professions. But when I asked her today, that's when I learned that she's not thinking of that any more but doesn't know what she wants to do.

    Daughter was identified as gifted very early on, but I think she enjoys art and music more. But from the little I've been able to glean, she's probably picked up on the notion that you can't make a living at those as easily. Just guessing at this point. I'll be happy to help her explore her options when and if she's willing to let me.