Posts Tagged ‘blog mechanics’

On the road

I’ll be traveling this week (mostly Washington, D.C.) and may not be able to respond to inquiries or moderate comments until I return. I’ve set up a number of items to auto-post in my absence, though, so check back.

A reminder on comments moderation

Comments on this site are often automatically held for moderation, and appear after they are approved. Unfortunately, in a relatively small number of cases they get caught in the spam-comments filter. For reasons I’ve never been able to figure out, the software seems to take a dislike to certain commenters and throws most or all of their comments into the spam file, even though I never see anything visibly wrong with the content of the comments and even though the software is supposed to assign positive weight to being a previously approved commenter.

When it runs heavy, comment spam can amount to many hundreds of spams a day, which defeats the hope of sifting through them individually in search of legitimate comments, and means I just wind up deleting them in bulk. When the flow is light, as at the moment, I do try to make this effort, and sure enough two legitimate comments just showed up that had been wrongly marked as spam over the past day or two.

If your comment never posts, even though it’s innocuous or constructive, there’s a good chance this is why.

WordPress upgrade

I’ve upgraded the site to the latest version of WordPress in response to reports of a serious attack on older versions (if you’re running any version earlier than the new 2.8.4, go read about it immediately).

Every time I upgrade, there are user problems for a while, which for readers with some browsers take the form of a front page frozen in time at the last post just before upgrade (in this case, “NYC: tobacco shops can’t give away coffee“). I’ve tried to avert this problem with more careful attention to the cache file, but if you notice this problem (or any other) with the site, please email me at editor – at – thisdomainname – dot- com.

Hold that thought — comments off this week

I expect to take this week off from editing the blog. I’ve prepared some posts to auto-post through the week, but comments will either be turned off or held automatically in the moderation queue (where they may not be reviewed for several days). If you’ve got something you want to say and find that comments are closed, hold the thought and check back next week.

A word for Hosting Matters

Hosting Matters offerNo, we haven’t begun accepting advertising, but we figured we’d put in a good word for Hosting Matters, whose hosting services we’ve been using for years and whose support staff over that time have helped extricate us from more than one baffling technical impasse arising from software oddities, DOS attacks and so forth. If you follow the linked graphic, or just click here, you’ll find the details of a promotion they’re doing for an “unmetered” hosting plan (not quite the same as “unlimited”, as they explain) which provides a lot of availability at a low price for those who manage growing websites. If you sign up through us, we also get some sort of credit on our own hosting bill, which I suppose puts this in the category of blog posts that the Federal Trade Commission is so keen on regulating.

Are you seeing a July 5 version of our front page?

This happened back in January last time we upgraded WordPress, and I’m afraid it’s happened again: some users of Internet Explorer and Safari are reporting that the front page of the site is stuck for them in its July 5 form, as of just before the update. I think I’ve fixed the problem now by restoring the missing cache file, but you may need to do a forced refresh (SHIFT button while clicking “reload”) to see the results.

If you’ve tried SHIFT + reload and still get the July 5 version, let me know via email (editor – at – or post a comment.

WordPress update

If the site is temporarily unavailable, it’s because I’m updating to the latest version of WordPress. Back soon, I hope. Update 11 p.m. Eastern: Looks like it worked, if you see a problem let me know.

Spoke too soon: there was a caching problem which has prevented many readers with IE or Safari browsers from seeing newer posts (details here). I’ve put in what I hope is a fix.

More tweaks to the site

As we’ve begun filling in tags to the thousands of posts, the “tag cloud” became less and less interesting and more and more distracting on the front page.  We’ve moved it to a back page and replaced it with three hand-made lists of tags:

  • Categories, with tags roughly corresponding to the categories from the old website;
  • Favorite topics, featuring tags corresponding to popular reader favorites from years past and today; and
  • Good copy, attorneys and law firms you want to read about.

Are we leaving anything out in those tag lists you’d like to see there?

Don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail with a link if you see something that was improperly auto-tagged or is missing a tag that would be useful.

New features: browse by tag, related posts

Continuing our WordPress site overhaul, we’ve added two new ways to navigate through Overlawyered to find relevant past material.

Our new browse by tag page lets you zero in quickly on posts that relate to your topic of interest or locality. We’ve assembled an uneasy mix of the old post categories, automatically generated new tags on old posts (e.g., “Detroit” will yield stories linking to the Detroit News even when there is no local angle) and tags newly selected by Ted and me, with the balance, we assume, gradually shifting toward the latter over time. We’ve tended to avoid autotagging the most common terms as well as the very largest cities and states; remember that you can still try our regular search function.

And here’s a neat trick: by tinkering with tag URLs, you can combine tags to find a subset of posts with overlapping tags. For example, the URL calls up all posts that are tagged with both “Illinois” and “family law”. (Note the required placement of the plus sign and hyphen(s).) Likewise with “Bill Lerach” + “politics” or whatever other combination of tags you like.

Finally, we’re experimenting on individual posts with suggested “Related posts”. These are auto-generated by the tag program based on shared tags, so they will inevitably be less than perfect, but may make a helpful place to start.