Ongoing Community-Participatory Gradual Organic Site Redesign and Development Project Situation Report


We – the Ordinary Times Commentariat, Editors, and I – seemed mostly to decide we mostly are mostly OK with implementing all six of the proposed comment thread glitchancements sitewide, as amended.1 The additions that required format re-styling were, I think, in particular greatly improved by discussion and cooperative testing (and especially by “annoying nitpicking”).


A request for an Other-Gentleperson’s-Comment Quoter-Replier feature (OGCQR) was answered with addition of same. However, it comes with minor hinks that just so happen to show up on Firefox, my main browser for development work, preventing me from fully conveniently availing myself of said new handy-dandy feature.

Editing Quote CommentsIn point of fact, I borrowed the code from an in web terms old and coder-confessedly (see ill.) dodgy piece of thing, and will be adapting a less-old and, one may hope, less-dodgy thing-piece soonish.

Subscribe to Comments Reloaded

There are numerous bits of old code floating around the Ordinary Times installation. That’s not always a bad thing, old code often being good, compact, efficient, tested code, but time and progress do march on.

Subscribe to Comments (S2C),” the plug-in that produces comment-subscription forms, is one piece of very old code, rated “compatible” up to WordPress 2.3.1, dated 2007 (we’re today in the epoch of WordPress 4.1.1).

It turns out, however, that someone wrote a successor to S2C, Subscribe to Comments Reloaded” (S2CR), that already includes features not present in S2C, and that promises to take over S2C’s database no probs – making, potentially (and as so far tested), for a smooth changeover to a superior and currently supported implementation of about the same functionality. So, this weekend, Lord willing and the site don’t crash (LWSDC), I’ll be switching over to S2CR, and, I hope, also seeing if doing so cures a problem reported by one user who got hit by a weird bug disrupting his subscriptions.

S2CR also includes the option to make comment subscription the default for those who comment, plus another option to send subscription-confirmation emails out. I think both options together make for a superior package. In other words, if anyone leaves a comment and doesn’t do anything else – like un-check the checkbox – he or she will be auto-subscribed, but won’t start getting comment emails until confirmation.

Contact Forms and Miscellaneous

ot_compositeI’ve also done some more initial work addressing readability and operations – adding space to the layout and otherwise separating the sidebars from the main content areas, balancing the post and comment area formats a bit, consolidating main navigation menu items, and adding contact forms (CFs – created with Contact Form 7) also accessible from said menu.

Specifically on the CFs, people wanting to contact OT now have two to choose from, one for “editorial/general” inquiries (to be monitored by the editors), one for “help/features/glitch-reporting” (at this point monitored by me). I expect later to be adding contact pop-up forms accessible from every page, but it’ll be best-practicer to keep static versions, too, accessible when for whatever reason the pop-ups aren’t – bad form when there’s something to report that prevents reporting of that same something.

Also: It’s now OK to say “Heidegger” and “Wittgenstein” in OT comments, and also to include up to 3 links (not including one’s own commenter link) without getting sent to moderation as a suspect spammer. If problems like the ones that led to the banning of those two names recur, maybe we’ll move early on some community self-moderation ideas.

Last change to mention: In response to a contributor’s request, and because I think it’s a good idea, I expect shortly to be introducing an author-bio-box that will appear automagically (and retroactively) on all posts, though the results will depend on the extent to which the authors cooperate…


I’ll leave later for later, LWSDC, except to say that, since posts like these may get as boring for most users as the changes they describe get complicated and time-consuming for anyone toe execute, I’ll be looking at other ways to keep everyone notified and clued-in and feedbacking, reserving posts and “featured-level” posts especially for things I think the community really needs to discuss, or might really enjoy discussing. In fact, this post started out as a post intended for OT, but it was only after working on it for a day or so that I decided to keep it here, for my own design/development “notebook,” rather than publish it over there.

Ray Lamontagne " God Willin' And The Creek Don't Rise"

POST IMAGES BY AUTHOR, BASED ON Vintage vector designed by Freepik.



  1. Infinite Replies (IR), Simple Comment Editing (SCE), By-Author Formatting (BAF), Since Last Visit Formatting (SLVF), Depth Marking (DM), and Max Depth (MD) nesting adjustment. []

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

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    Noted & Quoted

    TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

    For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

    The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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    Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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    [E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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