Monthly Archives: September 2010
Me: Perhaps the biggest disappointment for Vox users moving to WordPress is the weak support for post-by-post security.
Alternate-Universe Me: Yeah, and the lack of free porn.
Me: The lack of…wha? Oh, right: you’re Alternate-Universe Me. You’re here as my foil in this dialog.
AUM: You got it, tough guy.
Me: Okay. As I was saying, many of us former Vox users are disappointed that we can’t easily restrict a post to a limited “neighborhood” of other users.
AUM: You can use the password feature.
Me: Nobody likes the password feature. It’s a nuisance for both parties. The blogger has to distribute the password to all their friends. Users have to remember a different password for every blog that uses passwords. It’s nothing like the membership/role system at Vox, where you logged in once and instantly had whatever access other people had given you. And the password feature doesn’t even hide your post titles!
AUM: Fine, fine, you don’t like the password feature. Well, what about letting your buddies be users of your blog? Then they can see the posts marked private, and other people can’t.
Me: The trouble is, you’re giving them control over the content of your blog.
AUM: Control over your content? What are you talking about? You don’t need to give them that.
Me: I’m afraid you do. It says right here that private posts “are only visible to blog Editors and Administrators.” And over here it says Administrators have total control over your blog, and Editors ”can publish, edit, and delete any posts/pages, moderate comments, manage categories, manage tags, manage links and upload files/images.” Absolutely no offense to my online pals, but that’s an accident waiting to happen. Personally, I wouldn’t want control over someone else’s blog!
AUM: You wuss. Well, if you’re so concerned about this stuff, just make your blog private. Problem solved.
Me: That solves part of the problem. It’s still not like Vox (and a number of other blogging sites) where you can choose post-by-post to give access to a group of users or the whole world. The WordPress private blog option is all-or-nothing. But I have some writing I want to share with everyone, and some I want to share with just a few people.
AUM: Has it ever occurred to you that you shouldn’t try to hide things? Privacy is dead anyway. Information wants to be free. Let it all hang out, man.
Me: If privacy is dead, what’s my WordPress password?
Me: No system of security or privacy is perfect, but we can choose to keep some things adequately secret. There are nearly two billion Internet users now, and that number’s just going to keep growing. There is a huge difference between leaving something wide open to all those people and restricting it to just 35 or so.
AUM: Bah! What makes you think two billion people care about your crap?
Me: I didn’t say that. The number of people who’d like to use my personal musings against me is pretty small, but it almost certainly isn’t zero. There are some jerks out there, and I want to make it harder for them to poke around.
AUM: You’re not just a wuss—you’re paranoid!
Me: I don’t think so. If you haven’t been burned by posting something you shouldn’t have, or seen it happen to someone else, then you probably haven’t spent much time on Teh Internets.
AUM: Would you stop making the “Internets” joke? That’s so Bush-era.
Me: Sorry. It still makes me giggle.
AUM: So if you have so many misgivings over privacy on WordPress, why not move to another blogging site?
Me: Nearly all my Vox pals moved here. And WordPress has a ton of great features. I’d like to make it work.
AUM: Well, Mr. Negativity, how are you going to make it work after rejecting all my suggestions?
Me: I think the best option for bloggers who want both public and restricted-access posts on WordPress is to have two blogs—one public, the other limited to 35 users (or as many as I want, if I shell out a reasonable fee).
AUM: Whoa, whoa, hang on—you said just a minute ago that you didn’t want to add users to your blog.
Me: This is a different feature. You name the WordPress users who can see your private blog. They don’t get any control over your blog whatsoever.
AUM: But two blogs…what a headache! You’d need two user accounts! You’d show up as two different people on WordPress!
Me: No, you’d control both blogs from one account. Go to the Dashboard and check out “My Blogs”.
AUM: But it would be such a pain for others! I mean, following two blogs? What a hassle!
Me: I don’t think it’s a hassle. Just subscribe to both blogs in My Subscriptions, then follow my posts from there. You don’t have to do anything else. You don’t have to enter an extra password or anything. I would be happy to subscribe to two blogs for someone using this approach.
AUM: But I’ll get confused over whether I’m reading your public or private posts. What if I forget, and make a link to your private blog? The link wouldn’t work for most people.
Me: That was true at Vox, too. You had to be mindful of what others were making public before mentioning it elsewhere. At Vox, non-public posts would say “Viewable by Neighborhood” (or whoever you’d assigned it to).
AUM: Great. Well, how are people gonna tell your public and private URLs apart, Einstein?
Me: I would give my private blog a spectacularly imaginative name, such as “phantomxii-private”, to distinguish it from my public blog, phantomxii.
AUM: You can’t use hyphens in your blog name.
Me: Oh. Well, I’ll think of something.
AUM: I’ll bet you will. I think you’re just setting up a clique so you can snub people.
Me: That is totally not the point. Yeah, I’m sure some people use private blogs that way. But how is that different from Vox? You could exclude people with a mouse click over there, too.
AUM: Hmph. I suppose you think you’re all great. Did you think up this dual-blog idea yourself?
AUM: And are you willing to hear the least little dissenting opinion on this, or are you just another closed-minded troll?
Me: You may notice that this post has a comments section.
AUM: Oh. Fair enough. Well, I’m off to buy some Birkenstocks and Patchouli. Or maybe Glenn Beck’s novel and the largest SUV I can find.
Me: You’re doing wha…? Oh, right—the whole Alternate Universe bit. Got it.
(For anyone stumbling across this who doesn’t know me: I’m moving my blogging to WordPress from the soon-to-be-defunct Six Apart service Vox.)
All my old Vox material is waiting in the wings here at WordPress. I haven’t brought it out yet because I’m debating how to organize it.
I’ve gone through 330-odd Vox posts to remove extraneous links, reassign categories, and find things that are broken—or will be very soon.
It took me a while to understand that WordPress doesn’t host music or video unless you pay a premium. All my media uploads that are working just dandy since the transition to WordPress? They won’t be working at all come September 30th, because they’re still at Vox.
The migration has been a mixed bag. The timestamps are wrong on the posts but not the comments. The text formatting is mostly intact in the posts but completely obliterated from the comments. The familiar “[this is good]” stamps in comments are gone, except where we typed them in manually (usually done to create variants such as “[this is hilarious]” or “[this sucks]“). Comments and tags on individual photos and other pieces of media are gone; WordPress doesn’t support them. But tags on posts appear unscathed. Photos all seem to have made it over, although many are displaying at the wrong size.
So it goes. Moving data from one structure to another is rarely smooth. It could’ve been a lot worse (for instance, there could’ve been no import tool at all).
I’d really like to ramp up my blogging again. Going through three years’ worth of posts has reminded me of its value—and underscored that some posts should be trumpeted to the world, others shared with just a few people.
I still don’t have my blogroll and subscription list up to date. I’ll catch up on those once I’ve got my posts squared away.
The adventure continues.
No, not really. Despite approximately 24 hours during which exactly 5 of my Vox neighbors—specifically, those whose WordPress user IDs I could suss during a very brief hunt—were able to see my blog, and tens of thousands of eager fans* were locked out, my transition to WordPress, now well underway, has been relatively smooth.
My old Vox posts are here, but not yet visible. I’m still working out where everything goes. I like how Valerae…er, I mean Jan Brady…er, I mean Eve has archived her old Vox blog and started fresh on WordPress. And Mr. Guilt has pursued a similar course. Freedom Smith has kicked off a discussion of the merits of public and private blogging using WordPress. There are many more options here than at Vox—and a few things that are no longer options.**
Today saw the final Doorknob Monday to appear on Vox—indeed, my final post there. Will there be more doorknobs in this fresh new space? That, friends, shall depend on a great deal of meditation and soul-searching on my part. (In reality, it will depend on finding doorknobs to photograph in this increasingly accessible, handle-oriented world.*** I may have to resort to such things as fan-contributed photos, scholarly articles, rudimentary red-ink drawings, etc.)
For the moment I am wandering around here under the moniker “phantomxii”, but feel free to call me “Scott” or “Hey, You” or “Master” or whatever makes you happy.
And as for the default “Hello world!” post, I think I’ll ignore the directions and neither edit nor delete it. I got some pretty good comments on there.
Oh, and the blogroll is totally a work in progress. If you’re not on there, it does not mean I hate you. I will have a separate “hateroll” for that.****
*Fan count is accurate to ±99% (I use the same arithmetic the Tea Party uses to compute its membership).
**Such as blaming all our problems on Six Apart.
***Door Handles Tuesday never quite caught on, although I insist it holds great promise.
****No, I won’t.
Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!
So, Vox is closing.
I guess Doorknob Mondays will have to find a new home.
I'll let y'all know when I figure out where that is.
I wonder if the musical instrument company will get its rightful domain name now.