The Grumpy Troll

Ramblings of a grumpy troll.

Administrivia: comment system & Google (Plus)

Administrivia: I had the new Blogger/Google+ integrated comment system turned on for about 24 hours but have now reverted.

My policy is that I want the minimum barriers to commenting consistent with limiting spam. For a while, I was open commenting relying upon Google’s excellent spam detection systems and cleaning up the little that slipped past. I do not want to require that folks submit their data into a particular fiefdom to be able to talk with me. Echo chambers are bad, even if the chambers are spectacularly large.

The non-Google+ blogger commenting system allows for federated identity systems. For the sufficiently paranoid, a federation member which has only one participant works. Federation works well as an organising structure on the Internet: email, XMPP, more, all uses it, leveraging DNS as the inter-member addressing system and identifier.

Alas, the Google+-integrated comments system supports showing old non-Google+ comments mixed in with the Google+ ones, but if there’s a way to continue to allow non-Google+ commenting after the switch, neither myself nor a friend can spot it. Thus the carefully limited claims made by Google about the system: they don’t actually say that you can continue accepting comments as before and their phrasing suggests that it’s just a better experience for Google+ users. I had to read the description twice though to confirm that they were leaving a lot unsaid, then embarked on a 24-hour test to confirm that I wasn’t reading too much into what was missing, but that instead Google have become really good at PR-deception press pieces that misdirect.

This is disappointing. Google used to win based on the best engineering. I may finally be kicked into just finding a new blog platform to escape an environment where the writers are treated as potential targets for manipulation. This may also be the wake up call that I should use Google+ less: this incident just does not bode well for the future.

-A dejected troll



I’ve heard suggestions that turning off name/url and anonymous commenting, while leaving OpenID enabled, cuts down quite a bit on spam. OpenIDs are freely available, of course…

If it weren’t written in PHP and dependent on MySQL I might run Wordpress. I still may use for things I can back up elsewhere; as far as I can see they’re the only free blogging platform not owned by someone huge and malicious. I’m still looking into writing blog-management software of my own…

I’ve never done the social networking thing. I have email and USENET and the very occasional message board. As far as I can see, the huge costs of running a social network mean that either it has to sell its users’ data (Google (in general but + specifically), Facebook) or it has to charge (which can’t compete with the "free" of Google and Facebook).