Monday, October 30, 2006

Electronic Weirdness Department: Counting Comments

As a software developer with over 25 years’ experience – and the grey hair to prove it – I have a strong aversion to computer programs that don’t work. The only thing more annoying than software that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do is broken software (or hardware, for that matter) that all of a sudden starts working properly for no discernable reason. Inconsistency sucks. It’s evil. If I wanted to deal with inconsistency, I’d have found a career dealing with people or animals instead of computers.

So, as a way of expressing myself without the nasty human-interface stuff, I took up blogging as a penance hobby. Beats talking to real people, right? I get to say what I want, nobody can interrupt me, and if nobody actually pays attention to what I’m saying, well, that’s just normal – they don’t pay attention in person either. No arguments, no talking back, I can delete comments I don’t like. In cyberspace, nobody can hear you scream – unless you’re Crystal, of course.

Great. I’ve got a hobby. Just me talking to a computer, not giving a flying copulation who’s reading what I write (which is why I check my visitor stats no more than once every half hour or so, usually). Everything is smooth and simple. No worries. No expenses to speak of: free blog platform and hosting courtesy of, free boring blog template provided by same, future more exciting template to be provided by Vaguely Sinister Wife (who, inexplicably, does things like this for me out of the goodness of her lethal little heart), free sidebar toys. No pressure, as long as I come up with a new post every few days. (Actually, that can add up to rather a lot of pressure.) No aggravations.

No aggravations…

No aggravations?

So tell me: Why can’t Blogger decide how many comments there are on my last post?!? On my main page, Blogger tell me that “Ditching Israel: a false panacea” has four comments. But the single-article version and the monthly archive page say it has five comments. And the “post a comment” page has six comments on it – including the last one I wrote, the absence of which on the single-article page tipped me off to the problem.

Now if Blogger simply wasn’t working for a while, I wouldn’t complain – after all, it’s a free service, and they hardly owe me perfect, 365-day-per-year interruption-free service for the money I’m not paying them. If the comment counter were showing zero, I could understand; after all, I’ve written a bug or two in my time, some of which were doozies. I could even contain my frustration if Blogger had lost a comment or two; shit happens, especially to me.

But how can Blogger come up with three completely different numbers for the same thing? If they have my last comment in their system, why does it show up only on the “post a comment” page and not elsewhere? Why am I seeing this problem only on my most recent post – a slightly boring, but harmless and well-intentioned little essay? What kind of screwed-up logic from Hell could create such an annoying discrepancy? WHY DOES BLOGGER HATE ME?!?

*          *          *

Sorry for shouting. While I take some deep breaths, please leave comments to console me and help me calm down. Maybe Blogger will even display them properly.

Stupid hobby.

Addendum: Now that I’ve posted this semi-coherent rant touching cri de coeur, the comment counter on my main page, as well as the archive page and the single-post page, is showing six comments for my previous post, as it should. I look like an idiot, even though I didn’t do anything wrong. I hate computers.

Appendix: I have Blogger set up to email me every article that I post, along with every comment that someone posts. Interestingly enough (at least to me), just after I posted this piece, the last two comments that had been posted on my previous article – both of them more than 24 hours old by the time Blogger emailed them to me – suddenly turned up in my inbox. I was thrilled, of course: There really was a glitch at Blogger! I’m not necessarily an idiot! Then, of course, the Blogger server went down so I couldn't tell anyone about what happened.

Have I mentioned that I hate computers?

Categories: , , , .


At Tue Oct 31, 04:28:00 AM GMT+2, Anonymous Bean said...

I have a special mantra just for these occassions (which happen frequently enough that I need to be prepared). It goes like this:

"Do not be concerned. It is just the gremlins. Do not be concerned. All is well. It is just the gremlins"

Repeat as often as is necessary for a glazed look to spread across your features and all responses take on an air of distinct complacency.

You *would* think that the same function would do the comment count no matter where it appears, right, right?

"Do not be concerned..."

P.S. VSW is a gem. Can't wait to see the new template.

At Tue Oct 31, 10:19:00 PM GMT+2, Blogger muse said...

I also had trouble with blogger comments the other day. So it wasn't personal.

At Fri Nov 03, 12:10:00 AM GMT+2, Blogger montchan said...

I HEART the new header with the cats!!! heart heart heart!!!

yeah, I'm a cat person, even though I have a moose in my header.

I need to add you to my links.


At Sat Nov 04, 05:41:00 AM GMT+2, Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

That is a lot of cats. Do you raise them for food?

At Sat Nov 04, 01:15:00 PM GMT+2, Blogger Don Radlauer said...

Well, we really do have ten of the little demons living with us; so the few that have infested the blog are only a proper subset of what I have to put up with. And no, we don't eat them, even though some of them are large and fat enough to make a good family meal; sadly, cat isn't kosher.

At Sun Nov 05, 02:27:00 PM GMT+2, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

I hate them computers after more years, but I suspect I have started hating them earlier. In any case, haloscan is much better and almost no spam comes through. Managing it is also a piece of cake, but the initial installation process is(was) a bit quirky. And no word verification punishment!

And now that double appearance of the "comments" drives me bonkers. Er... re that spouse of yours... hint hint, anyway the help forum of Blogger refused to come up with any explanation of that phenomena.


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