Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Here’s a problem I ran into when migrating from b2evolution to WordPress: my old RSS feed, which was running through multiple aggregators across the web, suddenly didn’t work anymore. The obvious (and painful) solution was to manually inform every system and person who cares about my blog that I’m now on a new feed. I was already diving into that that task, and planning to let a few systems drop off the wayside in the process.

Thankfully, Jordan M.E. (one of my favorite programmers), sent me the easier answer. She told me to use an htaccess redirect, so the old feed becomes the new feed. Here’s the code that I added to my root level (http://www.sarahdopp.com) .htaccess file (it should all be on one line):

Redirect permanent /blog/xmlsrv/rss2.php http://www.sarahdopp.com/blog/?feed=rss2&

In this example, “/blog/xmlsrv/rss2.php” is the path of my old RSS feed, and “/blog/?feed=rss2&” is the path of my new RSS feed. You need the “Redirect permanent” at the beginning to make it work. See it in action. This is the link to my old feed:

http://www.sarahdopp.com/blog/xmlsrv/rss2.php

Check the address bar after you click the link. You’re at my new feed. Voila!

If you’ve never edited your .htaccess file, it’s not as scary as it sounds. It’s just a text file with a funny file extension that controls some key things about your website. Some people have trouble opening the file because of its strange file name, so here’s a trick (note: you have to be comfortable with FTP to do this):

  1. Using your FTP client, find the .htaccess file on your webserver and rename it to htaccess.txt.
  2. Download the file.
  3. Open it in the code editor of your choice.
  4. Make the changes you want to make (see above) and save it.
  5. Upload it to your website.
  6. Change the filename back to .htaccess.
  7. Done.

So now, everybody who was reading my old blog can now see my new blog, as though nothing changed.  Well, they’re probably a little confused because I disappeared for awhile, and their aggregators may now be reloading new copies all my stuff, but hey.  Close enough.

Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Whew! Moving forward with the blog migration, I’m a little preturbed by the commenting options out there. Commenting, to me, is most valuable when it’s a door to two-way dialogue. The standard blog commenting model, however, is a more or less a list of dead-end mutterings. I don’t like it. I want more.

I was excited about Brian’s Threaded Comments plugin, which allows you to reply to specific comments rather than to a linear mess. I assumed that it came equipped with a “notify the person you’re replying to via email” feature (‘cuz really, that was my whole point for caring), but, sadly, I appeared to be wrong. He just provides the option to subscribe to all the comments in the post. So, in other words, if you subscribe to my comments, and I respond with a quick “thank you” to the guy who commented before you, you’re going to get that in your inbox. Gee, how useful…

Then there was Dodo’s Threaded Comments with Notification hack — which looked very promising indeed, but it lacked two very critical things:

  1. The ability to opt-out of notifications (absolutely necessary for an ethical website).
  2. The, um, code files. Thank you, outdated websites, for not maintaining your download links.

Really, what I want is Livejournal’s commenting system mashed up onto a WordPress blog with full customization options. But until I figure out how to do that (or someone magically does it for me… hint hint), I’m going to hold off on nested comments and stick to the opt-in all-post notification system… which isn’t the best solution, but it does foster a dinner-party-style conversation, and I believe that’s better than nothing.

And while we’re on the topic of WordPress usability issues, I think it’s worth pointing out that the system’s slick internal spellchecker is convinced that the word “blog” is a typo.   Heh.

Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Kathy Sierra, one of the keynote speakers at SXSWi this year, is hiding in her home with the doors locked right now, cancelling events and fearing for her life. She’s been receiving rape and death threats from anonymous trolls in the blogosphere.

She writes…

‘Do not put these people on a pedestal. Do not let them get away with calling this “social commentary”, “protected speech”, or simply “criticism”. I would never be for censoring speech–these people can say all the misogynistic, vile, tasteless things they like–but we must preserve that line where words and images become threats of violence. Freedom of speech–however distasteful and rude the speech may be, is crucial. But when those words contain threats of harm or death, they can destroy a life.’

Read her post and pass it on. As danah boyd points out, we need to stand up in social solidarity. This is our community. We have a responsibility to protect our space and send a message: this kind of behavior is NOT okay.