Yes, the launch of the forum is not a mirage!

Several web-watchers have wondered if the forum is obsolete. We live in an age of blogs and Facebook, where everyone and their mother can voice their opinions for the world. The forum is less necessary now, when it was the primary way for people to express their opinions.

Color me unconvinced. Blogs and social media can’t mimic the sense of community or conversation forums can. Blog comment threads have been compared to forums, but the problem with blogs is that, most of the time, only one person can create a post. That one person ends up setting the tone of the conversation and determining what everyone talks about. The fact that many popular blogs on general enough topics end up resorting to the “open thread” to allow people to talk about topics that the blog author hasn’t seen fit to post on suggests that such blogs are missing something by not having forums where anyone can post.

One of the blogs I regularly follow is the Frank the Tank’s Slant blog, which became rather unexpectedly popular after its author wrote a rather provocative post on college football conference realignment. Shortly thereafter, the author decided to launch a forum for the site, but shuttered it shortly thereafter, citing as part of the reason why that he liked that “each blog post has turned into a free flow discussion on expansion issues, with news articles and viewpoints converging in a centralized place”, preferring not to have to hop to different places to follow a discussion. To each his own, but I find that to be something I don’t like about Frank the Tank’s Slant: that each comment thread becomes an unwieldy stream-of-consciousness discussion of issues tangentially related to the subject of the post and impossible to follow in full, because people are using the most recent post, whatever it is, to put up links, current news articles, and other such things they wouldn’t need to use the post for if they could start a thread on a forum. (I have a feeling what “Frank the Tank” really wants is a chat room, or something else akin to a forum with one thread.)

Nor am I convinced by the argument that these issues can be averted by stringing several blogs together and allowing them to “talk” to each other using trackbacks. Blogs are not Facebook, and blog posts are not forum posts. Being a blog author necessarily makes you the center of attention for that blog, and within the confines of that blog you’re expected to speak with a voice of authority, to everyone, at least when it comes to actual posts. Even if you don’t want to use your blog this way, no one follows every single blog in existence, so you’re expected to provide some summary of what you’re responding to to get people up to speed. Obviously, such circumstances don’t lend themselves to conversational discussion.

Sites like Facebook, meanwhile, have many of the same problems as blogs, while also in some ways having the opposite problem. Facebook does not lend itself easily to organizing discussions according to topic as opposed to who your friends are, and similarly you can only hope to even find a discussion, let alone follow it, on Twitter by already following someone involved in the conversation, and preferably at least two, and to follow it in real time you pretty much have to be following all of the participants. Ironically considering their alleged nature, such sites don’t lend themselves well to creating a community around a topic and holding discussions about that topic. “Frank the Tank” does have a point when he talks about having a centralized place for discussion as opposed to having to follow it in a bunch of different places. (I’ll have more on these issues and others later, possibly as soon as next week.)

Da Blog doesn’t have much of an audience at all, let alone a “community”, nor does it have any sort of single topic around which a community would form. So, other than ego, why have I long wanted to launch a forum? There are a lot of reasons, but I think a lot of them come back to some of the overarching guiding principles of Da Blog (and as a whole. The forum, as I see it, is intended to be a logical extension of Da Blog as a whole, where people willing to think can engage in the sort of in-depth analysis of various topics I try to engage in on Da Blog. One of the purposes I had for Da Blog was as a place where different viewpoints and interests could come together and discover each other, and thus have their horizons broadened. If the two subsites I have now catch on, people who come for my Sports subsite will be able to discover this webcomics thing that’s out there. (Not that they’ll find anything that necessarily appeals to them.)

Like Da Blog itself, the forum is about nothing in particular. No topic is off limits; you can talk about whatever you want to talk about, and I’ve tried to make sure there’s a forum about whatever there is you want to talk about. (There isn’t a Webcomics forum; any webcomics talk can go in the Comics forum.) With the forum, I’ve also tried to create a place for intelligent discussion of whatever topics people are talking about; there is a single Politics forum, and if I ever get the sense that one political persuasion or the other is not welcome there, I’ll split it into Liberal and Conservative forums, but the long-term goal will be to create a place where, as I have often said, liberal and conservative can come together and develop a newfound appreciation for the other persuasion. As such, I’ve tried to make the rules fairly lenient, hoping to encourage frank discussion.

Because of the way bbPress works, the same system powering the forums is also now powering the comment system. That means the following changes to how commenting works, as well as some things you need to know about how the forum works:

  • The forum rules also apply to comments. I’ve created a comment policy page that will serve as a brief introduction to the most pertinent rules for anyone who doesn’t go into the forum, but the forum rules will always supercede the comment policy in the event of an apparent conflict. Even so, people who do venture into the forum should check out the comment policy anyway, as it contains important clarifications on how the rules apply to comments.
  • There are actual user accounts now, as well as all sorts of cool stuff you associate with forums, like formatting and such. You can also comment the old way, but you won’t be allowed to use all the cool stuff.
  • Ding, dong, first-comment approval is dead! Both guests and logged-in users will have their first posts show up right away.

One other thing: I have made the difficult decision (followed by the difficult process) of downgrading WordPress to 3.2.1, whereas earlier I had upgraded it to 3.3.1. This is not something WordPress makes easy to do, as WordPress constantly bugs you about upgrading to the newest version and doesn’t maintain any old versions, but as I’ve said before, when you create something that relies so heavily on plugins you have to make sure those plugins continue to work with new versions or people will be slow to update to those new versions because they want their plugins to continue to work. The first applicable plugin for bbPress I saw in the directory, the plugin to give people formatting controls, doesn’t work with WordPress 3.3, and its proprietor is already showing signs of falling off the face of the earth like the one who ran the plugin that powers the Sports and Webcomics subsites (which also now work properly, and even have more elegant logos as opposed to the old abominations). I don’t know how long I will continue to run an outdated version, but once all the other plugins are updated and I have the time I’ll not only update WordPress but overhaul the entire site and put the subsites on a firmer foundation.

Also, bbPress is kind of kludgy, so the forum will remain under construction for a while as I get used to it, and I can’t guarantee that all the functionality implied in the list above or the forum rules will actually be there (for example, right now you do have to be logged in to post on the forum). Still, I hope that even in this state, the forum will become a place that will raise the IQ of the Internet at least a few points, and that will help the site live up to its “Ideas every day” motto.

(Of course, maybe I’ll run into another reason why “Frank the Tank” shuttered his forum: the potential for it to become a massive time-suck!)

An Early-Week Super Bowl Preview

Median Expected Score
Giants 26
Patriots 29

Four years later, they meet again. The last time these teams did this it resulted in one of the best Super Bowls of all time, and quite possibly the best game of the entire last decade. Can the rematch live up to the original?

Probably not. Last time, the Patriots were trying to become the second team in NFL history to go completely undefeated in the regular season and postseason, while the Giants were the scrappy underdogs that just barely squeaked into the playoffs and shocked the world in the Super Bowl. This year, the Giants made another Cinderella run, but they aren’t quite shocking the world the way they did four years ago; they actually won their division, more than a few people noted how hot they were playing down the stretch, and they’ve already beaten the team that tried to go unbeaten this year. Meanwhile, the Patriots were the class of a rather inferior AFC, hardly showing the dominance of four years ago and showing a decided weakness on defense, admittedly like most of the league’s best teams. Both teams needed miscues from their championship game opponents to get here, and we already saw this year’s sports movie. None of the context that went into the game four years ago is there, and that alone will probably keep it from living up to that level.

That the Giants are playing as well as they are does throw in a few storylines of its own, however. Probably one of the bigger ones involves Eli Manning. Four years ago, no one thought he would ever be anywhere near as good as his brother. He’s since become one of the league’s better quarterbacks, but still raised eyebrows in the preseason when he claimed that he should be considered an elite quarterback on par with Tom Brady. While he didn’t put up the gaudy numbers Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Brady put up this year, he still managed to silence the critics and prove that he really is that good a quarterback, being named the NFC’s #3 quarterback in the Pro Bowl behind Rodgers and Brees. Now he has a chance to actually double his brother’s Super Bowl count, possibly for all time. And who does he have a chance to beat to do it? Why, Tom Brady, of course.

Brady has already cemented a Hall of Fame resume, but it’s still interesting how another Super Bowl would impact his legacy. For the past few years, we thought that night in Glendale was the last night of the Patriots dynasty, as, while the Patriots remained one of the league’s elite teams, injuries and underperforming teams kept them out of even the conference championship game. It’s been something like seven years since Brady’s last Super Bowl, and at his age it’s fair to wonder how many more seasons he has left in him. Seeing Drew Bledsoe, the man whose injury set the stage for his entire career, handing out the Lamar Hunt Trophy, you had to wonder if it was a fitting bookend to his career. How would one last postscript Super Bowl to tie Joe Montana be seen when we look back on Brady’s storied career?

Throw in the game being played in Indianapolis, home of Eli’s brother and the Patriots’ main rival over the past decade, and it’s easy to see why Peyton Manning’s shadow hangs over the game, and why there are still plenty of storylines for Giants-Patriots II.

Quick sports graphics update

Two new developments and something I forgot from last time add up to a short new sports graphics update.

I have to say, I’m not a fan of NBC’s new post-relaunch graphics package, which looks really bulky and amateur. It almost looks more designed for Comcast SportsNet’s purposes than anything else. The text is off-center enough that it actually looks like some of my PowerPoint mockups.

On the plus side, NBC learned their lesson from their last change to their timeout indicators and this is some of the best I’ve seen from a graphic designed for them.

Also, NBC, ESPN, and Turner are all now using two-line boxes for the display of player info, leaving only the NFL’s main partners, CBS and Fox.

On the NBA front, ESPN continues to tweak old graphics to fit them into the new graphics package, continuing to make me wonder what the point is because aesthetically, it looks worse than the old one. And the NBA package continues to use the two-line format for whatever reason. On the other hand, there appears to be some sort of weird drop-shadow effect, and the specific graphics used for player info is the same as for college basketball.

Oddly, FSN went to spelling out team names for its new NBA graphics. I call it odd because if there’s any version of basketball (or really any sport) where the use of full names over abbreviations is justified, it’s college basketball. So why did FSN decide to continue wasting space for the college game but fill the space for the NBA? I could see if the NBA graphic was redesigned later, because the NBA season started later, but does that mean FSN will change its college graphics to match?

Also, ESPN deciding to indicate when teams are in the bonus may be becoming a trend, because FSN’s new NBA graphics do the same thing… in one of the most awful ways I’ve seen. If you’re going to have such a space hog you might as well at least put timeout indicators on it. We’re going to be in for some awful graphics for the next couple years. Be afraid… be very afraid.

I forgot to mention the Big Ten Network on my last roundup, perhaps because I blocked out the hideous way they showed the down and distance the first week of the season. Who thought this was a good idea? WHO?!?

If they wanted to preserve the shape, shouldn’t they have designed it to begin with to shrink neatly like Fox’s graphics? Thankfully, they eventually came to their senses. Beyond that mess, the BTN’s new graphics mostly serve the purpose of bringing them closer to the rest of the Fox stable, without quite being the same thing.

This next video will mean we don’t have an all-YouTube graphics roundup, but thank god, because YouTube in Chrome coming from Google Video Search, which should be a harmonious homogenous experience, was a complete nightmare, and you can read my tweeter for the full carnage…

And with that, I expect us to be done until baseball season starts.

Update on the site

There is no change in the status for the Sports and Webcomics subsites. I had an idea for how to fix it but quickly realized I didn’t know nearly enough about coding WordPress plugins to pull it off. For the time being, the way it works now works well enough for me, even though I can’t scroll through all webcomics posts. But the long-term solution for those sites will likely involve a major change in how works, one that is likely to happen regardless of other factors.

You may notice the size of the post queue has gone down significantly. I had planned a major project that would take up all of February, and intended to introduce it Monday, but realized it would have completely monopolized my time. Perhaps if I had done it during the winter break as I originally intended it wouldn’t have been so bad, but as it is I’m struggling to keep up with my classes enough already. The timing was shaking up to be wrong as well, as, had the series that was planned to start Tuesday attracted a sizable audience to Da Blog, much of it would likely have been turned off.

(Longtime readers of Da Blog might remember my plans to write a book on the impact of the Internet on our lives, a book I wound up being too lazy to actually write. There have been times when I wish I had written it, but never more so than now; tomorrow’s post especially will essentially be some of what I would have written for the book.)

That series will still be four parts, and in fact I’d have liked to start it when I had planned, but if I’m going to do that, I’d like to have the forum up first. As such, I’ve removed the last vestiges of my failed attempt to launch the forum some years ago, and the site will go down again sometime tonight or Friday as I set up what hopefully will be the actual forum. Yes, we are that close, people.

Rich’s Kickstarter became the most-funded Kickstart in the history of the comics category. In two days.

(From The Order of the Stick. Click for full-sized perfect crime.)

As with Homestuck, it takes a lot of doing for me to post on the same comic twice, and the previous strip certainly ranks high on the list of OOTS strips that would qualify if any did. In this case, after giving myself a day to think about it, I decided that after how SoD-heavy my last post was, I should write a post oriented more towards readers of the online comic. I also think I may have been too gobsmacked by the comic itself to think clearly about it.

For readers of the online comic, the main development from the previous strip, aside from the end of Tsukiko and the revelation of what the ritual actually does, is the more general revelation of Redcloak as the man behind the man. Honestly, though, even before SoD was published there’s been hints of this in the online comic, from Redcloak convincing Xykon to attack Azure City to his level of involvement in the battle planning there to convincing Xykon to stay in Azure City. In the previous book Redcloak even made clear that he and Xykon were not on the same side and that Xykon was little more than a “valuable ally”, which also backs up my contention in the previous post that Redcloak is more committed to the Plan than to Xykon himself. The previous post also explains why this isn’t quite the revelation it looks like it is (and I’ve had people try to tell me it’s even less of one than that).

Probably more stunning, and coming across as a revelation on the order of the “planet-within-the-planet“, is the revelation that the ritual doesn’t do anything near what Xykon thinks it does, that Redcloak has manipulated things down to the level of Xykon’s motivations and goals. By itself this revelation changes little, since Xykon doesn’t know about it, until the final battle (although one may be excused for wondering if it’s related to the “planet-within-the-planet”), but it does say a lot about Xykon, Redcloak, and the relationship between them, much of which is made apparent either in the strip or my previous post. It recontextualizes every strip with Xykon and Redcloak to know that even success for Xykon would accomplish what Redcloak wants, but not what Xykon wants.

Considering that the ritual in actuality neither destroys the world nor conquers it, it also defangs Team Evil a little as villains, even if their success would still cause some nasty consequences. In fact, this is a theory I’ve had in my head since having SoD spoilered for me, but knowing what the ritual actually does could actually open the door for Xykon and Redcloak to succeed at the final battle. Although Redcloak may not be mired in complete subservience to Xykon, he’s still tightly connected to him, and much of the comic and SoD has raised the possibility of a full split between the two being a fairly major event. Xykon discovering the ritual doesn’t do what he thinks it does, as has already been made clear, would certainly fit the bill, and he inevitably would find out if he were to be “successful”. One wonders if it constantly nags at the back of Redcloak’s mind what reaction Xykon would have to “success” at this point. (One problem with this theory: it turns the main villain from Xykon to the Dark One, however briefly, who I don’t think was even mentioned in the online comic until the third book… but what he doesn’t know about the “Snarl” could hurt him.)

It’s also worth noting the number of characters whose information about the Gates, past and future, comes primarily from Xykon and Redcloak. Nale picked up a lot of information about the Gates from Shojo, but makes clear that he intends to get the ritual out of Xykon or Redcloak somehow. They aren’t going to be any more successful, at least at this gate, but it’ll be interesting to see what the reaction will be out of either one of them if they even get close. Would Redcloak, for example, be more willing to divulge the arcane half of the ritual than we may once have thought he would, in hopes of grooming Nale to potentially replace Xykon?

Meanwhile, we now have some sense of what Redcloak’s plan for the phylactery is: to replace it with a fake. In some sense this actually helps Xykon, and certainly doesn’t help the OOTS, who could conceivably destroy the “phylactery” without actually destroying it. But the fact that Redcloak evidently wants to hide this plan from Xykon suggests he still has some ulterior motives…

The Breeder’s Cup moves to NBC – what it means to all parties

A while back we started getting TVG network on our digital package. There was a time when I would flip on the channel and become addicted for hours at a time watching races I knew nothing about until ten minutes before post time and didn’t care about. Granted, it was probably because of how fast and furious races could come, but I was probably ready to dance on horse racing’s grave before then and now I often quietly cheer for the sport to stop shooting itself in the foot and make a return to American consciousness.

So I have to say I like the Breeder’s Cup’s new deal with NBC that will put the Cup on NBC and NBC Sports Network starting this year. After the Cup Classic was relegated to cable the past few years, the main NBC network will now put the Classic on in primetime. Don’t get too excited – we’re talking about Saturday, also known as “the night that doesn’t exist as far as the networks are concerned”, which nonetheless is being increasingly colonized by sports like ABC’s “Saturday Night Football” college football franchise – but it should still help the Cup’s aura as the championship of horse racing. Anything that focuses the masses’ attention more on the Cup and less on the Triple Crown can only be good for the sport – as does building a strong identity of being on NBC, which will now have both.

ESPN is pulling a “they didn’t fire us, we quit” card, and may now be out of the horse racing business. But this deal is very, very good for NBC and NBC Sports Network, especially since the non-Classic races may be up there with some of the biggest non-hockey programming on NBCSN. With NBC now being so strongly attached to horse racing, it’s easy to see them loading up even more on the sport, especially to fill time on NBCSN, which could use all the events it can get. NBC and NBCSN already have this past summer’s “Summer at Saratoga” series (highlighted by the famed Travers Stakes) and have signed up to show many of the Derby prep races this spring. I could see NBCSN loading up on as many relatively top-notch horse races as it can on Saturday afternoons outside college football season, especially on weekends when NBC has golf commitments, which can certainly only be good for the sport in the long term.

Only one other sporting event has moved from ESPN to NBC since the wars started – and the Belmont Stakes had actually reached an agreement before the NBC/Comcast merger became final. Fox has so far been more successful at taking events away from ESPN, highlighted by the World Cup, and ESPN has been more successful to this point at taking events from NBC than the reverse, highlighted by Wimbledon. To pick up a real win over ESPN, even a small one, has to feel huge inside the NBC Sports offices, and goes a long way towards proving that smaller events can have a home on NBC Sports Network. No wonder ESPN’s denying it was a real “win”. If they were interested, they have to have legitimate concerns right now.

Sport-Specific Networks
6 6.5 4.5 2.5 0 1.5

Also, contribute to Rich’s Kickstarter drive, and hasten the day I get any collections of the online comics other than the first. If I had money, I’d contribute just to get the bonus story.

(From The Order of the Stick. Click for full-sized puppet strings.)

This comic would have warranted a post even considering all the knowledge already out there. For someone who hadn’t read the Start of Darkness prequel or any synopses of its events (a group that apparently includes Gary “Fleen” Tyrell)? I’d have to imagine they’d be in a stupor for days.

(There will be more minor SoD spoilers in this post, but I’m dispensing with the jump break because a good number of them are unspoilered in this comic, allowing me to talk around any details that are too spoilery.)

Let’s start with the fact that those who did read SoD might be confused at Redcloak’s effective claim to have always had a spine, which would render my last OOTS post moot. At the end of the previous comic, Tsukiko calls Redcloak “Wrong-Eye”, which is Xykon’s way of reminding him of his great failure at the end of that book that, he believes, effectively keeps him in line and subservient to him in perpetuity, and it seemed to work quite well earlier in this book. But here, Redcloak claims that he only ever allowed Tsukiko to get her way to avoid “upsetting the delicate balance between myself and Xykon”, implying that he has always been in complete control of the situation throughout the online comic. Which raises the question: do we need to reinterpret what happens at the end of SoD?

On one level, Redcloak doesn’t admit to any specific manipulation of Xykon here that wasn’t already covered in SoD, and which dates to the very beginning of their relationship. Not informing Xykon of the ritual’s true purpose has been a sort of passive manipulation; Redcloak could be a complete patsy of Xykon in the here and now, and Xykon’s actions would still be manipulated by Redcloak’s misinformation in the past. The “delicate puppet strings on which ‘Lord Xykon’ unknowingly dances” may well be as simple as Xykon continuing to go after the gates, convinced they will allow him to take over the world, in the first place.

On the other hand, Redcloak implies that it was never the “Wrong-Eye” comment that caused him to acquiesce to Tsukiko’s wishes, but merely maintaining his control over Xykon, letting Tsukiko control him rather than gain too much influence over Xykon. Although he may just be showing some bravado for Tsukiko’s benefit, it still suggests he’s not as broken up over the end of SoD as that ending makes us think.

The thing is, though, while the tragedy presented to us in Start of Darkness may not be the whole story, Redcloak may well still be mired deep within a tragedy of a different sort, one he may never escape from, one of loyalty not to Xykon, but to the Dark One. The Dark One has his plan to better the lives of goblinkind, divulged to non-SoD readers in this comic, but Redcloak has come up with an alternative, one that doesn’t involve the risk of the entire world being destroyed, and one that SoD readers may recognize as an improved version of what the Dark One himself engaged in in his former life, one of goblins seizing a piece of the world for themselves.

Tsukiko essentially warns Redcloak that killing her would lead Xykon to completely obliterate the fruits of that plan (and Redcloak’s life), and Redcloak seems resigned to that eventuality, noting that Xykon’s reaction would likely be the same to Tsukiko tattling on him. At least theoretically, there is an alternative, albeit a difficult one, one of all-out resistance to any attempt of Xykon to commit genocide on Gobbotopia, admittedly difficult considering Xykon’s epic-level status. On one level, that’s not going to happen because it would end the comic or at least Xykon’s (and Redcloak’s) status as its main villain. But on another level, for all that Redcloak may have doubts about the Dark One’s plan, he’s still willing to sacrifice everything for it. It’s especially tragic considering that the forums have speculated in the past that the Dark One hasn’t been completely honest even to his own high priest about the true goal of the Plan.

Perhaps it’s here that Redcloak is still affected by the end of SoD, rendering him unwilling to abandon the Plan under any circumstances lest his guilt for that ending overwhelm him, but unbeknownst to Xykon, still seeing him merely as a means to that end, one that can be replaced if he can find a powerful enough arcane spellcaster that he can control easier. Without getting too spoilery, there’s a bit towards the end of SoD where Redcloak’s brother voices his own concerns over the Dark One’s motives, and whether he really has the best interests of goblinkind at heart. Gobbotopia suggests those words have been nagging at Redcloak; his willingness to throw it away suggests they haven’t been enough to dissuade him.

On the other hand, perhaps it’s here that Redcloak’s recovery of the phylactery really comes into play. If Redcloak can save his life and that of the people of Gobbotopia with the threat of destroying or re-losing the phylactery, he might just be able to continue to have his cake and eat it too. Certainly if Redcloak still sees Xykon as a means to an end, he can at least bluff Xykon into staying in line as a last resort, and certainly it seems unlikely that Xykon would follow through with such a threat, if only because of how integral Redcloak himself is to the strip, although it would make it far easier for Hinjo and company to retake the city. One wonders if it was the recovery of the phylactery, as much as Tsukiko’s threat to unravel (no pun intended) the Plan, that allowed Redcloak to finally take matters into his own hands regarding Tsukiko (sort of).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t cover the end of Tsukiko’s story, as relatively bare-bones as that story was. For someone so delusional about the undead, it’s somewhat fitting for her to meet her end at the hands of the creatures she so adored. I might have preferred for her to become an undead herself, to find out how the other half lives, but Redcloak clearly couldn’t take that risk, as evident in his order for Tsukiko’s former “children” to devour each other. And while Rich presents us with four panels of Redcloak’s expressionless stare while Tsukiko gets slowly drained away, her vain, delusional attempts to appeal to those “children” as her worldview crumbles along with her are far more chilling than any actual depiction of her draining and dismemberment would be. (Although one wonders if having the wights kill her entirely, as opposed to, say, throwing her into the rift, may come back to bite Redcloak in the end if her spirit is still around to blab to any other interested parties…)

From an example of congressional bipartisanship (SOPA) to an example of ideological bipartisanship.

Our school’s library gets a lot of magazines, and occasionally I take a peek at them. Over the past few months, the National Review – the United States’ conservative magazine of record – has published stories with, essentially, the following messages:

  • “Hey, you know, maybe those Occupy Wall Street guys have a point, maybe these big banks might just have a little too much power?”
  • “Hey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s harder to move from relative rags to relative riches in America these days.” (This was the cover story of the same issue as the above.)
  • “Hey, maybe we should get all this Wall Street money out of the Republican party?” (Another cover story; I didn’t read this one, but this was the gist I got from the table of contents.)

I don’t know if this says more about the National Review, the state of the country, or the state of the Republican Party, but I do know I will have much more to say about this sort of thing next week, and especially in March…

Da Blog is back, baby!

Well, I can’t say this was the happiest 36 hours Da Blog has ever had.

First, I found out I’d deleted the plugin I’d used when first setting up Da Blog to hide it from public view, and couldn’t find it again. Then I downloaded a plugin that just coughed up a 503 error whenever I went to a WordPress-powered page – even my admin section, meaning I wound up having to disable all my plugins in my database administration just to undo the damage. Then, after finding a working plugin, I upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, only to discover too late that the plugin I was counting on to pick up the slack for the old one didn’t actually work that way.

So now we’re back on the road, and the Sports and Webcomics subsites are running on the last developmental version of the old plugin until I can find a longer-term solution. There are a few quirks, most notably that the main pages of both sites are currently serving up all my posts instead of just the ones in those categories, but it should still be functional. If you see any other problems, give me a holler in the comments.

However, now I have a new problem: the power went out at our house this morning and might not be back until partway through the weekend. As such, I’m going to queue up a quick post to go out tomorrow to continue the streak and won’t be able to do any more work on Da Blog or the site until Monday at the latest (and I really hope it can be sooner). I know I promised a full-fledged preview of the conference championship games, but the MXSes will have to suffice: Ravens 21½-28½ Patriots, Giants 19¾-22¼ 49ers.

More to come on Monday, including – hopefully – the much-delayed launch of the forum.

Programming Note

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized blackout.)

I had heard of SOPA before today’s protests thereof, but I generally don’t like jumping to conclusions and following whatever people tell me I should think. Nonetheless, in light of current events, next week will see a special four-part series on the future of content. Some of this will likely be things that would have made my book on the Internet had I ever written it, and not all of it will be related to SOPA; there will also be things specific to this site’s main two topics, sports and webcomics.

Also, will go down today sometime between 9 AM and noon PT, but not because of SOPA. I’m finally upgrading to WordPress 3.x series; seems someone finally got around to taking over the plugin that powers the Sports and Webcomics subsites.

Also, as I write this, it is 1:35 AM on the West Coast, and many webcomics have not updated yet, and I still feel confident saying that no other webcomic will protest SOPA as well as Homestuck, even if no one will get it later. (Although now that I’ve seen xkcd, I like its alt text too.)