New New Since Last Visit Comments Comments


…new to the thread…

New Since Last Visit (NSLV) Formatting

Those of you paying close attention may have noticed that I’ve been adjusting the NSLV comment-formatting over the last few days.You may notice now that the function is working differently. Most users should be content just to absorb the change as it appears for them, and won’t really need to read this post or benefit from it: After a short transition period during which certain “cookies” in their browsers – yes, this site uses browser cookies! – get populated with data, things should, fingers crossed, go smoothly enough. After that we can see how we like it. I don’t think the change will greatly affect anyone’s use of the site. For all I know, only nevermoor, Vikram, and I will care at all. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a lot of users never picked up or understood what all that blue comment highlighting as previously used even was supposed to indicate. Anyway, for the record, here’s an explanation expanding upon a comment from the prior thread – #5 being the main functional alteration intended to answer user requests, though from a design perspective #1 may matter most:

1) On your first visit to a thread, all comments will appear without NSLV highlighting. (Previously, on a first visit, all comments would be highlighted as NSLV.)

2) After the first refresh, your current session will be “tracked” in the sense that the “entry-time” will be logged in a browser cookie.1

3) All comments posted since the session start will be highlighted as “new.” That “highlighting is now in effect” will be noted at the top of thread.


For now on highlighting new comments …and keeping highlighting in place on any new since previous visit.

4) On your first subsequent or return trip to a previously visited post, all comments since your previous visit will be highlighted. Currently the highlighting is set as a variation on what’s called “box shadow,” which will be supported by the vast majority of browsers (all “modern browsers”) that any of you are using or should be using – along with a bit of border formatting that’s even more broadly supported.


…blue box right shadow on new comments…

5) Those comments will remain highlighted during the new session. So, for the duration of this new session, you can comment or go away and come back without losing the indication of comments new since your previous visit. The session is defined by time period automatically set at entry on the thread. Currently, it’s set at 15 minutes. If anyone wants it longer or shorter (or the old way!), let me know…

6) Once the session period has expired, on the next refresh the old highlights will go away. A few from the most recent session, or the end of it, or the end of a second session – depending on how you want to look at it – may still be “captured.”

After more thorough real life testing, I will look at installing a “show new only” button – meaning you could for reading purposes make all comments but new ones temporarily disappear or collapse, but that’s for later, and may involve some further additions to comment thread functionality and interactions.


  1. If your browser is set not to take cookies, or you’re about turn them off, to make it harder for the NSAstapo to produce proof of your visits to OT, then none of this will matter for you. For those interested in the details: The old set-up used one browser cookie to do its work. This new one uses three – but all are set to expire and their potential growth is capped at a small size. []

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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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