There will be a few changes around here. First of all, I am about to hand over the keys to the potting shed to several propagators. That is, there will be others aside from me who will be allowed to post.
I will let them introduce themselves on their own terms.
This decision is prompted largely by the fact that I will be away from the San Diego area for an extended period this year. I have been awarded a Lady Davis Foundation Fellowship to be a Visiting Professor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition to this extended gig, I will be traveling in the U.K. and Germany, in connection with my NSF-funded research on Party Personnel Strategies. I also plan to make a “side trip” to Estonia to give a seminar in Rein Taagepera‘s Logical Models Program at the University of Tartu.
During my absence, from early April till some time in August, I do not plan to be blogging much (if at all). Moreover, as my extended time off-line in December and early January showed, moving and settling into a new house and finca can be time-consuming, on top of one’s regular responsibilities.
Starting the multiple-planters model well before going on sabbatical will allow me to continue contributing with the new team and to assess how things are going, before heading off.
At some point in the coming weeks, I hope to adjust the template just a bit to make the blog appear a bit less as a personal website, which it still will be, but obviously to a lesser extent.
It looks as if Word Press will be releasing version 2.9 soon. So I will hold off for now updating the blogging software.
I may yet shut down comments until the update is installed, to ward off spammers. But for now I am leaving them open. Bulk-deletion is annoying, but not all that difficult, as long as the filter keeps holding the spam in moderation rather than letting even a small percentage of it to sprout in the orchard (as had been the case till yesterday when I adjusted some settings).
To deal with the increasing spam–yes, it has gotten worse since I noted it the other day–I have temporarily enabled a function that will not allow a first-time commenter to comment without my approval.
If you have had an approved comment here before, it should work as always.* If you are trying to comment for the first time, your comment will go into a queue. Please do not re-post; I will get to it when I can. And, I will warn you that I may accidentally delete a legitimate comment, as I am getting 100 or more comments in the moderation queue a day. Sometimes I just bulk-delete them, but I will try to be careful and look for any that should be cleared and allowed to post.
I am hoping this measure is one I can suspend before too long, once I get the new Word Press installed, or a better spam-protection plug-in.
* And I hope that spam that the filter has let through, but I have subsequently marked as spam or simply deleted, does not count as an “approved comment.” This is a test.
This site has been subjected to a rather massive spam attack overnight.
You may have seen some of the unwanted comments, but believe me, you saw a fraction. I did not count, but there may have been a hundred or more that the spam filter did intercept, but I still had to manually delete them because they were in moderation, rather than in the spam queue (where all can be deleted with one click).
I believe I accidentally dumped some legitimate comments in my haste to get through them all. I apologize if you were the victim of my hasty deletion. Feel free to re-post a deleted (non-spam) comment if you still have a draft.
I have had a message in my “dashboard” for months about a new version of Word Press being available. (In fact, in the time I have delayed updating, an even newer version has become available.) I have not had the time; and the site is sufficiently complex that updating is not straightforward (at least for someone of my limited website skills).
If these attacks continue, I may have to shut down comments temporarily until I can get the time to address the matter. Or I may at least have to shut down all older comment forms–older plantings, and a few specific ones, are more likely to get attacked by these pests. I would really hate to do that, because one of the things that really makes this blog work is the ability and willingness of readers to re-propagate an old planting when there is some new development.
Of course, that subject line is no surprise at all. Ladera Frutal proudly grows its fruits only with natural methods, the house has a solar water heater, and our green leanings when it comes to votes are well advertised. But, thanks to the virtual orchard’s host, we are greener still. I received the following from PowWeb:
Looking to bring green practices to the Web? Good news: by hosting with us, you already have.
How We Went Green
Since we’re not able to generate wind power onsite, we offset our energy use by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
The energy grid must maintain a full supply of power without overflowing. When wind power is added to the grid through RECs, the amount of energy produced by fossil fuels is reduced.
As a result, our offices and data centers are 100% powered by renewable energy, which means your site is completely green.
Our commitment prevents the release of 2,660 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. That’s equivalent to planting nearly 2,390 acres of trees, or removing 510 cars from the road.
It seems as if the most recent posts (plantings) are allowing comments, but older ones are shut down. I have no idea why this might be happening; rest assured that I have not gone back and shut down the comment form at older posts. In fact, one of the things that really makes this blog “work” is that I have readers who will remember an older dicussion, be aware of something new that is relevant to it, and go back and comment. At the moment, that feature appears unavailable.
I have selectively corrected the comment closure on a few older items that I know have some recurring interest, but obviously I need a universal, not a particularistic, solution.
One solution might be to upgrade the version of Word Press, which is not the latest by any means. But I need a bit more time (and a lot more patience) than I have right now to do that. So, things will be slightly less functional for a bit. I am sorry for that.
In the meantime, and for as long as this post remains available for comments, if an issue comes up that you want to comment on, just let me know here and I will re-open the older post. (Or just post here as if it were an “open thread”; not an institution I normally favor, but can accept under the circumstances.)
And thanks, as always, for reading. And commenting. When you can.
I have had two readers write in recent days to tell me they were not allowed to comment and wondering if I had changed things to block comments. Nope. But the blogging software had several things set that appear to inhibit comments. I never changed them, so I am not sure what orchard pest got in there and changed things around.
The problem might be fixed now. Or it might not. Who am I to say? But please try.
Update from Friend of F&V, Steven T.: how about now?
Planting will be rather minimal for a couple of weeks or so. The week beginning is a big one, with the baseball playoffs and High Holidays. And, oh by the way, the first week of the fall quarter.
I hope to check in now and then, perhaps with something on the Canadian election, which is 14 October. That also happens to be 15 Tishri, and hence Sukkot (which means it will be the Feast of Voting Booths for our Canadian Jewish friends). But, clearly, I will not be keeping up with this election as closely as I did the last one.
Later in the month I am sure I will have a few things to say about the upcoming election in New Zealand.1
Please feel free to treat this as an “open planting hole” for anything F&V-relevant that comes up, although it is always preferred if you can locate and reactivate an older thread on a topic, if one exists.2 As always, first-time commenters (propagators) or those who put in more than one link may find their comment held in moderation. I will clear such comments when I can. I am not going away, just unusually busy for a while.
Thanks for your support and patience.
May you have a new year of sweet fruits and effective votes! l’Shannah Tovah!
Are any other democracies having elections soon? I’ll have to check. [↩]
You can either scroll down the page or go to previous pages via the link at the bottom, or navigate the categories–Orchard Blocks–on the left sidebar. [↩]
Seems the virtual orchard was inactive for a bit. It is, after all, the sh’mitah year. Nonetheless, it appears that harvesting and propagation may now resume. Just in time for anyone who was planning to dance in the groves on Tu B’Av.
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4