Pseudo-Redacting Spoilerer

Though inspired by an incident involving foul language, the Pseudo-Redacting Spoilerer was developed in part because commenters liked the idea of having an alternative to the somewhat cumbersome “rot13” method for concealing “plot spoilers.” With rot13 (at least under current circumstances), a user has to paste text into a cypherer to produce gobbledygook, or use a de-crypter on gobbledygook to get readable text. Revealing Pseudo-Redacting Spoilerated text will be quicker (virtually instantaneous) and easier for a reader, even easier than applying rot13 functionality via a browser app, and about as easy as using a clickable “spoiler.” The underlying text treatment also couldn’t be much simpler to apply by a writer or commenter. If you care to review the relevant exchanges, you can visit the sub-thread in which I improvised “redaction” of a comment containing a certain naughty word, the one that happens to consist of a peculiar conjunction (referring to another kind of conjunction – a usage whose historical origins are unclear, but which were once commonly associated with a certain idea about the sexual lives of slaves and slaveowners). Before any discussion could develop of comment guidelines enforcement and desirable treatment of foul language at the site, Commenter Brandon Berg announced a brainstorm, in the form of a request:

Also, you can read the blacked-out text just by highlighting it. Actually, could you apply that style to some rarely-used tag and let us use it in comments for spoiler text? Seems like it would be more convenient than rot13.

The idea was soon seconded and thirded and fourthed by others. In an email, an editor at the site returned to the original intention and use, and approved it for the same reason: that it’s easy to read beneath the “redaction,” since any highlighting (or copy-pasting) of the blacked-out area will immediately reveal the obscured text.

Where a comment may or may not cross the line, deleting it is kind of a death sentence that also leaves the commenter potentially confused (or at least able to claim confusion) as to what they did that was wrong.  With the blackout, the comment is just shamed and it’s immediately clear to everyone what is alleged to have been over the line.

Otherwise, in comparison to clickable spoilers, I like this blackout version because a) it’s amusing, since it looks, as OG Likko pointed out, so FOIA-irific, and b) it’s really easy to use and also to remove. The rest of this post will consist of a quick tutorial on how to use the Pseudo-Redacter Spoilerer as well as some format-clearing buttons that might work with it. (I’ll later present the code on my own blog.) spoil button 1After: spoil button 2…or “HTML tags enabling a CSS class,” to be more precise. I added basic HTML <em> (“emphasis”/italics) opening and closing tags to the sample to demonstrate the awesome yet precise tag-clearing functionality also now available: spoil button 3Voila!: spoil button 4Results after pseudo-redacting :

spoil button 5

A spoilation of beauty.


spoil button 6


The Gifts of Gab Jr box above is what shows for comment excerpts. Still thinking about how to handle this sub-sub-function, but full comments in Gifts of Gab and State of the Discussion will show the basic redacto-bars. The point is that, when you’re commenting on the (apparent) fate of Jon Snow, or on the condition of the character Bruce Willis was playing, or on Charles Foster Kane’s favorite toy, just go right ahead and no one will need to suffer spoilation at your hands – as long as you pseudo-redacto-spoilerer yourself first.


The toolbar looks pretty darn similar when you decide you, as an editor, want to black out part or all of a comment (after using the “Edit” link that appears next to the comment date, not the one on the timer): spoil button 7The editing toolbar you get when you’re writing a post and using the “Text” panel will also resemble the above. When you’re on the “Visual” panel, you can click the new black box when you’ve highlighted text. To change your mind, use the same old format-eraser button that some of you have probably never noticed or tried, even those of you who have opened the lower row on the visual editor (click the “kitchen sink” button if you see only one row).

spoil button 8

The End

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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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