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Timothy (TRiG)
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My liking for the new skin is not unmixed, but I do find the narrower column easier to read. And the amount of whitespace is relaxing to the eye. So I like the overall layout. Not sure I like the details. The font of next/previous buttons does not balance well with the font of the comments. The heading is rather blockier than I'd like, and the subtitle "It's (usually) more complicated than that" has disappeared. For an archive site, though, it'll be fine. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Oct 13, 2012 on Closing time soon at The Slacktiverse
Ooh. Shiny new skin! I like! Bit late now, mind you. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2012 on Closing time soon at The Slacktiverse
Firedrake's last sentence there is important, actually. I'd not thought of that. And I do think Ana Mardoll's suggestion makes sense, especially given that she clearly knows what she's talking about. I'd even be happy to use Blogger (on a "better the devil you know" basis), even if the comment form on their blogs is sometimes almost unusable (there may be a way around that). TRiG.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2012 on Closing time soon at The Slacktiverse
As far as I can work out from their help pages, Nabble is non-Free, in the FOSS sense. I'm not sure whether that's an issue to anyone but me, though, and it's certainly something I can live will. I'd prefer truly Free FOSS stuff, though (hence also the preference for WordPress over Blogger). (And I'd prefer a blog over a forum, too*.) TRiG. * There is a WordPress plugin called Simple::Press which integrates a forum into the blog. I don't know whether that's available on, though.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2012 on Closing time soon at The Slacktiverse
So, who's going to be running this blog/forum/whatever? Isn't that the most urgent thing to sort out? TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2012 on Closing time soon at The Slacktiverse
And yes, Chris' last post, which wasn't there before, is also a valid point: a blog is, for lack of any better description, more "concentrated" than a messageboard. Everything happens on the last one or two threads. And perhaps a blog, even with only open threads, no actual content, is still better at hosting a small community than a messageboard would be. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2012 on Closing time soon at The Slacktiverse
I think Chris is right: messageboards and blogs are fundamentally different things, and interaction on them happens in different ways. We could, of course, have both, even on the same site (and I'd be willing to provide hosting for it, too*). phpBB supply free forum software. WordPress supply free blog software. Someone sets up a hosting account with support for PHP and MySQL, installs the two, and we're free to go. And then we see which works best. (Perhaps use the forum to thrash out ideas for blog posts?) Note that there are also free blog sites and (though rarer) free messageboard sites, but it's unlikely we could get both on one domain without paying for the hosting, though the code itself should be free. I mean, I could suggest that we just set up a club on h2g2, and that any articles we come up with be submitted to the h2g2 Post. But that would mean making The Slacktiverse a smaller part of a larger community. This might be a good thing for all concerned, but equally might not be. It would certainly be a *different* thing. Incidentally, the existing archives could be exported to a different platform in a way which didn't interfere with the privacy of posters. Set all IP addresses to the loopback address ( and set all e-mail addresses to the SHA1 hash thereof (thereby preserving distinctiveness while protecting anonymity) [new_email = sha1(old_email + salt) + ''], or something like that, should do it. I don't know whether that's actually wanted or not, but if it is wanted, that's one way to do it. TRiG. * This would mean that I could see the database. I could promise not to, but the very fact that I could would be problematic for people with privacy concerns, so it's probably best if you don't take me up on this offer.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2012 on Closing time soon at The Slacktiverse
I've just checked, and it seems they don't. Annoying. is a blogging site (free). is a site where you can download the software to set up your own blogging site. Also free, but would require paying for a domain name and hosting. has OpenID plugins, but I've so far been unable to find one I'm happy with. It's possible that also allows OpenID logins, and it just so happens that every single one of the blogs I've checked has disabled that option, but I doubt it. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2012 on A New Day at The Slacktiverse
Ah, I was just going to say something similar, but my session had expired, I had to refresh first, and saw that you'd already said it. After the mess with threaded comments at Patehos!Slacktivist, it was pointed out that threaded comments don't work well for group discussions, though they apparently do work well for some other types of conversation. I don't think a model with threaded comments would suit us at all. I think accepts OpenID logins. I know can, with plugins, but that would not be a free option. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2012 on A New Day at The Slacktiverse
On my second reading of A Town Like Alice I was horrified that I'd managed to miss the blatant racism in it the first time. I'm currently rereading The Silmarillion. I'm a bit annoyed that it follows only the royal houses, but it's still well worth reading. (I've just finished the tale of Beren and Luthien, which I know was very important to Tolkien himself.) TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2012 on Rereading The Old Favourites at The Slacktiverse
For some reason, O Fortuna seems to be a favourite for this kind of thing. There's loads of creative subtitltes for it on YouTube. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2012 on Overheard on your lawn this year at The Slacktiverse
Yes. It would be trivially easy for any competent deity to provide unambiguous evidence of zir existence. The fact that such evidence is not forthcoming suggests that (a) no such deity exists, or (b) the deity doesn't care whether or not we believe, or (c) something more complicated which I can't think of right now. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2012 on An Atheist Roundtable at The Slacktiverse
My mother has said she always gets sad when she sees ripe blackberries. For her, that's the signal of the end of the summer (and, in byegone days, the signal that her children were soon going back to school). The year turns. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2012 on Turn, turn, turn at The Slacktiverse
"God is outside the realm of science" is basically a sort of cop-out. If you are interested in presenting evidence for the existence of God, a cop-out is unhelpful. If you're not interested in presenting evidence for the existence of God, a cop-out is unnecessary. Either way, it's annoying. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2012 on An Atheist Roundtable at The Slacktiverse
I'll try to remember to submit this for next week's "In case you missed this", but in the meantime I'll put it here. Dublin City Council has voted in favour of marriage equality (purely a symbolic gesture, I think, but still good to see). TRiG.
Lies to children certainly form a large part of the teaching of science, but the same applies, as comments to that article point out, to history lessons. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Sep 1, 2012 on An Atheist Roundtable at The Slacktiverse
by definition, gods and the supernatural ("beyond the natural") are outside the realm of things testable by science Whose definition is that? I suspect it's a recent one. It is arguable that anything that cannot be observed does not, in any meaningful sense, exist. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2012 on An Atheist Roundtable at The Slacktiverse
Well, I spent the last five days at a Discworld Convention. I may not now be entirely coherent, but I can report that did get to talk with Jacqueline Simpson, the awesome woman who wrote The Folklore of Discworld, and whom Terry Pratchett consults on folklore matters. Modern folklore, she says, changes and is dispersed so quickly that she cannot keep up with it. At the Irish Discworld Con last year, she gave a talk about the magic number three. Stories told happened to a friend of a friend of a friend, or to your great-grandfather. Three fates. Three witches (the mother, maiden, crone triad is, she said, actually fairly recent here on Roundworld, though Nanny Ogg tells us it's ancient on Discworld). And various other threes which, in my current sleep-deprived state, I simply cannot recall. Across the road from my parents' house is the demesne of an old landed estate. The demesne contains some ancient oak woodland, but also many fields, and is a working farm. One field contains a small hawthorn tree, which the owner carefully ploughs around without disturbing. I mentioned this to Jacqueline when I was talking to her a couple of days ago, and she was delighted. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2012 on The folks round here do say... at The Slacktiverse
And the little metal thingumibob for opening the top of the range (solid fuel cooker) is called a hugimaflip (the h is silent, but I for some reason feel it should be there; the g is soft). I once asked my brother how he thought this should be spelled, and he came up with you jimaflip. We then spent some time working out a definition of the verb to jimaflip, but nothing stuck. (I think we settled on to talk nonsense, but it was never actually used.) TRiG.
Toggle Commented Aug 22, 2012 on Private Slang at The Slacktiverse
And any cat of unknown name is called "Pushkins", of course. TRiG.
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2012 on Private Slang at The Slacktiverse
Ah, from my little sister comes the name "gekki" for any form of pasta. In the book The Power of Babel, the linguist John McWhorter uses this sort of in-group slang and jokes as a metaphor to explain why smaller and older languages tend to be more grammatically complex. Young languages are simple, and widespread languages are simple. A lot of the corners got knocked off Latin and English, while Welsh still has its baroque complexities (and American Sign Language and Tok Pisin haven't yet had time to develop theirs). TRiG.
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2012 on Private Slang at The Slacktiverse
Quack! For some reason, we quack at Discworld Cons. Apparently this goes back to Pat Harkin saying something about the people on stage being "sitting ducks", so now the audience quacks, and occasionally makes whole farmyard noises, at those on stage (particularly Pat Harkin, even when he was being the narrator of the Rocky Horror Discworld Show*). And yes, it does get annoying. (Though, as narrator, he had a hunter's lure in his pocket, and quacked back.) TRiG. * RHDS was my introduction to Rocky Horror. "Thunder rolled," said Pat. "It rolled a six," roared the audience. Awesome.
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2012 on Private Slang at The Slacktiverse
Madhabmatics, I recall you telling me about hallucinations once. Was that the same experience? TRiG.
It's good to hear that, Slactkivite. TRiG.
(This, incidentilly, leads to questions on Jewish websites about whether turning a page on which the tetragrammaton appears counts as "erasing the name of God".)