Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Remover of Inconvenient Things ...

... is the name of a character in a book I read once. We could sure use one of those, eh?

I'm sorry I cant post more often here; my work has taken a sudden upswing (right sort of problem to have) and it is putting a serious crimp in my online habit.

Please encourage your fellow UT & Salon friends and acquaintances to pop in here. I figure that (A) we might be able to assemble sufficient moneyed and un-moneyed mass to have some kind of influence, or (B) perhaps more likely, at least we'll have somewhere to bitch and moan where our bitching and moaning can actually be read by other people without them going stark raving mad in the process.

While you're here, please think about adding a comment to the effect that you are a fellow dis-satisfied UT or Salon subscriber/reader. Their business model runs on eyeball counting, so the more eyeballs having some kind of affiliation here, the more likely we'll be able to have a positive effect.

I work as a consultant (i.e. bandit in a suit) in the IT industry - a bloody good one, I might add - and I've been involved in it since way back when we used to call it Data Processing. I've project managed the construction of purely marketing web-presences, online shopping sites, online banking systems, and business-to-business websites. IOW, I know a bit about what to do and what not to do. In my professional opinion there is:

1) No relation whatsoever between the contents of the letter sent out to subscribers by David Talbot recently, and the horrific mess that has been made of the Salon.com site.

2) No reason why this had to happen. No technical requirement for this to have been done this way, and in a business that actually has a concern for the interests of its customers, no good commercial reason to do this to them.

3) No remotest connection between the practice of professional web content management and what has been happening at Salon for the last year at least, but culminating in the truly outrageous catastrophe currently ongoing.

Well, anyone who is a customer or reader of Salon.com now knows a fair bit about what not to do, as well. Everything you never wanted to know about web content management but have been forced to find out.

Please do leave a comment, suggestion, or statement of moral support.

This aint over!


  1. Hey, Scuzza.

    It's a mess. No argument from me. I think they thought Word Press would be easy. And, now they've discovered that the tweaks to Word Press they were sure they could do have had domino effects throughout the whole package. I don't know IT from brain surgery, but I've been involved in more than one "migration," and they are never simple, nor pain free.

    ~ bystander

  2. Agree -- I assumed that Word Press would be less idiosyncratic, be an already tested format yet, it appears to need a serious overhaul. The loss of "most recent post first" is enormous and the "branching" for replies needs not only a "compress" feature ... but also desperately needs "new" flags ... and preview ... dreadful choice, can't believe the people who chose this turkey had familiarized with the existing system much less beta tested the fucker.

    On another site, it was suggested that this "re-launch" may not be a "re-launch" so much as an effort to position Salon prior to the being-rolled-out next election cycle. IOW, "we" may have assumed they were going to address "our" concern (about shitty content), when in fact this was actually about addressing "their" concerns (loss of audience).

    It won't let me register ... and I've decided to not even consider attempting to do so again for at least two weeks ...

    As far as I can tell, their "acknowledgement" that there are problems is shallow and unconvincing, again suggesting they.have.no.idea. when it comes to their product.

    Like MM, I was seriously considering subscribing ... but I'm in serious wait-and-see mode. Hell, if it opens GG up to be poached ... there might be more than a silver lining

  3. Salon is going to agressively monitor the comment section and remove comments it doesn't like and you are worried about compress features and flags?

  4. People have always been banned, posts deleted ... as happens on ALL websites.

    Salon says that complaints about out of control postings, spam, personal feuds and the like have become overwhelming. It is their business decision to increase enforcement of posting guidelines.

    I actually do not anticipate a problem... most of those who are likely to be affected will (hopefully) think twice before their next tirade ...

    Yes, I'm infinitely more concerned about being able to find the "letters" content I value.

  5. This is so damn ridiculous. I cannot get on. It automatically logs me in , but with a wrong variation of my name; there is no button that allows for creating a new account other than a Core one. I link to either FB or Google as directed and it says I haven't entered anything in the boxes. Over and over again. I have contacted the editors repeatedly.
    Really furious about this.

  6. At this point, I think we need a boycott. If no one logged on, someone would pay attention and fix these issues right quick.

  7. Given that about 3/4 of all posts are about the system ... it's no hardship to "boycott" since I can't get in anyway.

    It rejected my password and now will not accept old password or allow me to create a new one and says that my user name has a different password and/or that my user name and/or password already belong to someone else ...

    I would only like to add wrt Alwaki that I am astonished by the careful avoidance of discussing WHAT likely radicalized this man was his PERCEPTION that the GWOT is a Global War on Islam ... a perception that many people share ... including (as I have mentioned) many of the "good christians" in my parts who appear to believe that eradication is the only solution - iow, kill them all, let god sort them out ....

    From what I understand, although jihad may take many forms, jihad in the defense of the faith, Islam is a pretty foundational concept. Oh, and many Christians share a belief in the glorious calling of martyrdom in the cause of defending their faith in the face of temptation and/or infidels and/or evil. The martyrdom of the early Christians is often invoked... as a gloriously "risen from persecution" (god's on OUR side) narrative.

    As I said, prior to Alwaki's assassination, killing a cleric guilty of "defending the faith" certainly will not improve this perception ... which we insist is delusional... so far, it appears that few Moslems actually cared very much about Alwaki, defender of the faith, Al-Qaida commander, cleric ... Alwaki who?

  8. Hey scuzza :)

    This is elissar008, and I freaking hate this new system. I can barely follow the threads of conversations I am having, my archive is still nowhere to be found.

    And I'm a "Core" member, but that shit will end as soon as my subscription does.

    Just the other day an the article about Awlaki had some 700 comments before 5pm--this change seems to have cut our community's throat. I really hope Glenn can remedy this, he must have enough pull with Salon to make it a little better.

    I know we complained about the old system, but god this new one seems so much worse already. I'm trying to be patient, but I'm not digging the pointless pagination, or the now required use of html tags and the frustration in finding things you or others have written on the thread previously.

  9. elissar008,

    There is an old saying that one should be careful of what one wishes for because: you just might get it.


  10. Actually, I was astonished to read a comment from Glenn, in which he appeared to be voicing liking the new system. Unbelievable.

    Susan, it sounds as if we are encountering exactly the same problem, which is a relief (at least I'm in very good company). I even started a brand new gmail account and created a new name, and it still will not let me in. Starting to feel more than metaphorical.

    5 October 2011 09:18

  11. Good day ScuzzaMan.
    The changes at Salon are about stopping posts and removing comments the government deem 'wrong'.
    I do not believe in Santa Claus or coincidence.
    Many posts about Anwar al-Alwaki dissappeared. They havent comeback yet.
    Functionally I prefered the old format though the archive should have been numbered in sequential order to compare other posts.
    Americans murder at will and Salon has a face lift. Your comments have always been right, good on ya Scuzza.
    james fingleton wild.

    I will never give Salon a cent.
    If my archives dont come back I'm out of there.
    I'm out of there any way. I just want to see those missing posts, or hear the story about how they disappeared.
    More power to you.

  12. I wish I could remember exactly what I did when I first signed in after the change because I had no trouble whatsoever getting into my account and accessing both the site itself and my letters archive. I was given the option so I went ahead and changed my password. I did have a premium membership and it apparently seamlessly changed to a "core" membership. I had always used the same screen name and password which may have something to do with it but it seems like others are in that same situation. I don't have to sign in through Goggle or
    Facebook either.
    The letter threading really sucks. Surely there are ways to improve that.


  13. I can now sign in as a core member but have no archive. I have only had one name , my name. I was one of the first to get back online many days ago through facebook (ugh). Many posts from other posters have dissappeared. Where did they go, why did they go and what are they doing now?
    If everything was up front why was Salon not up front with it before, during and now afterwards.
    This can not be random chance there is a design.
    james fingleton wild

  14. I can now sign in as a core member but have no archive. I have only had one name , my name. I was one of the first to get back online many days ago through facebook (ugh). Many posts from other posters have dissappeared. Where did they go, why did they go and what are they doing now?
    If everything was up front why was Salon not up front with it before, during and now afterwards.
    This can not be random chance there is a design.
    james fingleton wild

  15. I'm getting very discouraged by this. UT steals enough of my time as it is, but if I have to really search through every thread just to keep a conversation going I'll have to just give up commenting entirely.

    I really don't believe Salon is going to improve the new system much beyond what already exists. Perhaps we can generate our own little internet revolt, but I doubt they'd care.


  16. Yes, there are some very simple improvements that could be made ... and some have been made ...

    - darken and broaden the line of each "limb" and then use lighter line(s) or different colors for the tributaries there from.
    - number ALL posts
    - "harden" page break criteria.
    - resinstate "latest first" -- please
    - people seem to have serious href problems, so much so that no one is using it.

    I'm waiting for them to acknowledge there is a problem and provide instrutions on WHAT I SHOULD DO NEXT... because "experimenting" resulted in a serious of 12 "new password" e-mails being sent to my primary e-mail account (in about 15 minutes).

    DOES ANYONE KNOW: If you have to leave yourself signed into G-mail, in order to access Salon in this way.

    I use hotmail for my work and personal matters. I used G-mail for throwaway stuff that generates absurd amounts of "mail" (though less than I anticipated).

    Seems obvious that G-mail does something that Hotmail does not. .... no, I don't want to be tracked anymore aggressively than I already am ... which results in some pretty funny "targeted" advertising...

    no, I don't want some demographic profile developed based on my surfing habits.

    Delighted to see Gary Kamiya back.
    Dismayed that Joan is writing quite so often ... and using Move-On's endorsement of OWS as some sort of validation ... as if.

    Yeah, all those self-promoting "movers and shakers" don't want to be swept away in the flood ... or forgotten ... kind of like everyone climbed on board Team Obama ...

  17. Has anybody with a multi-word screen name been able to get to their old Salon Letters archive?

    It seems that everybody who has commented about having been able to get to their old archive is using a one word screen name.

  18. now that is fascinating, Ben. You may be onto something!

    All I know is that I lapped myself at pissed off and am now in the homestretch for totally done with it all.

    The last straw was making a third gmail account and then being asked, while trying to log onto the ffing mother-ship, aka Salon, if they could share my gmail info with a third party. Um...no, that would not be okay. I was promptly locked out again.

    So sick of this damn thing. At this point I have so many accounts that I've attempted to create that it is probably screwing up everything. In fact, I tried to post here earlier and couldn't.

    Honestly, I'm not contagious! Just monumentally irked.

  19. Ben,

    I'm not sure the multi-word screen name is the issue. I'm seeing plenty of folks comment successfully with multi-part names, numerical names, hyphenated names, and names with characters.

    I suspect, without knowing, that there are windows when people can get through the registration system. And, given the comments in Joan Walsh's most recent column, they are battling the very trolls (virt-troll, whatever the hell that is?) the new registration process was designed to discourage.

    I'd guess in a week, if we all haven't just thrown our hands in the air and left, or if the better writers haven't, they'll get it sorted out. It's just going to be hell getting there.

    ~ bystander

  20. Hmmm, the thing is that the modern corporate mentality (very much in evidence at Salon) is very much like the old British Foreign Office:

    "never apologise, never explain"

    I expect them to keep tweaking around the edges of mass complaints, without ever contemplating giving up whatever twisted commercial advantages they think they got (were going to get) from this debacle.

  21. Scuzza, that is what most bothers me. Where is the person accepting responsibility and apologizing? This is really quite a profound failure.

    It might have been nice, for example to warn us that we might lose our archives; I was actually working on something creative that incorporated some things stored there, and would have made a back up.

    Oh well...burning down the house (only I would have liked to drop the match myself).


  22. not letting me post the following:

    (3rd or 4th try)

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 4:0044 pm

    I received the following from rhagen@salon.com:

    'Salon now offers three avenues for commenting: 1) becoming a Salon Core member; 2) connecting your account to Google; 3) connecting your account to Facebook. If you have neither a Google or Facebook account, I'm happy to grant you commenting privileges in our system. Does your account correspond to this email address?'

    I was not a premium member, and did not become a core member, but I am starting to feel guilty about getting access and my small archive back when others are still being shut out of the system.


    I'm inclined to wait for them to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Susan Sunflower

  23. I would only add that my desire/intention that they "figure this out by their own self" ... without my (personal) howellng to be addressed ... oh gosh .. is a deliberate, political stance...

  24. Susan, I was finally able to log on (with one of the bizarre variations of my name (percentage signs and symbols in it) this afternoon. If you haven't tried, you might want to try again. Good luck.

    I remain highly critical of the new system and will continue to mull over next steps.