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Posted in: Site updates, Thoughts

For a long time now - ever since this site went up in its original form over 11 years ago - I've gotten by without comments to my news updates / blog posts.

Well, for the first few years in this decade the most popular form of 'commenting' was writing into a site's guestbook (man that's old school, remember those things?). But then once blogging became more popular and the ability for a visitor to leave their mark on a person's rantings became the norm, I continued to stay away from having comments on this site because I've managed to convince myself that not enough people come here to read the rantings of someone who has way too many hobbies and simultaneously way too much spare time to write about those hobbies.

Blogging demotivational

The 'Email Me' link at the top of this site has been good enough for some people: my mail archives include plenty of e-mails from people over the years who have asked me for help regarding that Red Alert campaign I put together a long time ago, and even one time last year I got an e-mail from the author of one of the books mentioned in my tirade against the blossoming literary genre that is Zombie Fiction (rant against zombies here, author response here).

(My inbox has also had the occasional e-mail from online casinos wanting to put their ads on my site, or from people wanting to game the Google search results system by including me and my site in part of some link exchange program. I don't really know why anybody would want my site involved in that, but after the discoveries in my previous post, maybe it's because my site does so well in searches for chocolate chip cookies?)

There have been some pushes and shoves from people over the years to put comments on my site: sometimes a faraway relative just wants to say hello, other times my brother just wants to troll the crap out of this place and post links to irrelevant pictures or videos in an attempt to make you laugh or get you Rick Roll'd. But recently, after all these years of getting by without comments, I've finally decided to do something about it.

And in doing so, I've rediscovered one of the other reasons why I didn't add comments to this site in the first place: it's a lot of extra work.

As a stubborn programmer, I wrote the little 'engine' that runs this site several years ago. I never programmed comments into it; all it really is is a content-serving machine: you give it a URL, it puts together the page you asked for.

Then 2 years ago, part-way through Blog Every Day April, I added a chunk to it so I could write blog posts to it from anywhere I could get an internet connection to make my task of participating in BEDA a helluva lot easier. That was quite a time-consuming undertaking for me then, mainly because I kept designing and redesigning how it all worked because I never had a proper model or idea for how writing posts should be done.

Now I'm doing that again, this time for allowing people to add comments, and I discover that what works for me and writing new posts doesn't necessarily work well for general users and writing comments. That, and now that I'm going to open up an avenue for the internet in general to add content to this site, I have to think about security and things like preventing scripting attacks, spambots, and other malicious users...

I'm not a whizz programmer. Hopefully I at least fall above whatever mark constitutes an average level of programming skill. Sometimes I wonder why I don't just install something like WordPress so I can leave all the coding trouble to someone else. But as I was trudging my way through all the work needed to get comments going, I was reminded why I put myself through all this trouble: I'm learning, and it's this constant learning that keeps me above the 'average programmer' line.

So I'm persevering, and hope to have something working shortly after Easter. I was talking to a friend over Skype about this, telling her about all the troubles I was going through:

Me: But right now, trying to see if I can get comments working on my site.
Her: he he he
Me: What a mission. Just so my brother can make his words public, and so Laura can tell me she rulez teh intarwebs
Her: oh the things we do for the people we love eh ;P
Me: *sigh*

The things I do.