Why, oh, why is it that it is seemingly impossible for any sort of significant change to the ScienceBlogs collective to occur without major problems? It happened a a few years ago when we underwent the first major template upgrade. Given that experience, it was with great trepidation that I faced the upcoming migration of ScienceBlogs to WordPress. It began yesterday and thus far has not gone particularly smoothly. I was locked out of my account for a period of time, and, as of this writing, I’ve lost at least a couple of months’ worth of comments dating back to before the original date that the overlords had proclaimed to be the date before which nothing would transfer; that is, before a deafening wailing and gnashing of teeth went up from the bloggers, who, quite understandably, were not happy with the prospect of losing a month’s worth of comments and having to repost a month’s worth of material manually themselves. This is a particularly annoying situation given that Abraham Cherrix had actually shown up in the comments and I wanted to blog about it. Now they’re gone, hopefully temporarily. (Of course, given how the migration has gone thus far, I’m not entirely convinced that this post will actually show up, which is why I now think it might not be until Thursday before I have a new, real post doing what Orac does best.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy that we’re moving over to WordPress, but so far things have been a bit…rocky. Database errors, me getting locked out of my blog (me! Orac!), and a variety of things not working properly. I’m sure that sooner or later the Powers That Be will get their act together and fix all the glitches in this upgrade. I know for sure that they will restore the comments, because I will raise holy hell until they do.
In the meantime, here are a few things I’ve noticed and that you’ll have to know. First off, there will be no more necromancers. I’ve set WordPress to automatically shut down all comment threads 90 days after the post goes live. (Doing that also cuts down on comment spam, too.) Second, you will not have to use your WordPress login or in any way register for an account here in order to comment. Pseudonyms will still be permitted as before. However, after things get fixed here, I do plan on turning on the feature in which you must have a previously approved comment in order to comment without moderation. What that means is that new commenters will have their first comment go to moderation. Once I approve it, they’ll be able to comment freely. I realize this might be an annoyance to longtime commenters when I finally turn this feature on. You might get caught up as a “new commenter.” However, this is the way it is at my other blog, and I like it there. At the very least, it will help me keep sockpuppets under control, because each time someone posts with a new ‘nym and/or e-mail address, that person’s post will automatically go to moderation. Once the glitches have been hammered out, I will also start fiddling with the other settings, all in order to try to make this blog look as cool as I can within the restraints of the template.
While we’re waiting for our overlords’ developer to get its act together, this is as good a time as any to discuss what you like about the new look, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to see tweaked and changed to make it better than ever. I’ll pass on suggestions to the overlords. Personally, I don’t like not being able to control how much of each post shows up “above the fold,” so to speak. I do like the fact that it’s WordPress, however, which might just make up for the other annoyances.