Long-time visitors to the site may be wondering what's going on with comments at Nuketown; for the last year or so, anyone could post without having to log in or have their posts moderated. That's no longer the case.
The problem is spam; the site has been inundated with a particularly annoying variety of comment spam that uses random snippets of legitimate text taken from other web sites, news stories, etc. and a smattering of legitimate hyperlinks to provide cover for hardcore porn comments linking to sites that are anything but legitimate.
It's been awfully quiet around here the last week or so, and I thought I'd post a note before folks wonder if I'd crawled off to a cave for information detox.
I work at a college as a web applications developer. And the thing about working in higher education (or hell, any form of education) is you tend to move through life somewhat perpendicular to the real world. My year starts in July, and ends in June, because that's how our academic calendar rolls. My life gets crazy in late August and late January, because that's when the Fall and Spring semesters begin.
The pace hits an even more frantic note in January and July/August because that's when the faculty and students aren't on campus (or most of them aren't at least) so we conduct this biannual mad dash to get all of our critical upgrades and new programs in place so things will be nice and shiny when everyone hits campus.
The lulls (and yes, there are lulls) come about two weeks into the semester and last until about two weeks after it ends. Which isn't to say we're sitting around playing cards all day, but it is a more relaxed, less frantic state of being.
But now is not that time. Now is the crazy time, and thus, the profound lack of posts around here.
I've been experimenting with analytics on Nuketown for the last few months, setting Google Analytics to watch the site's web traffic and Feedburner to keep an eye on the RSS feeds.
Given the dearth of posts around Nuketown last week, I thought I'd borrow a page from Uncle Bear's Sunday Brunch and give an update on the ol'thermonuclear burg. The day job has settled back down to its normal routine, but as Doc Brown once said "It's your kids ... something has got to be done about your kids!"
In case you missed it, I'm running a poll asking whether or not I should bring back the RADIATIONS email newsletter. RADIATIONS ran for a good number of years, but I gave it up when I moved to Drupal and had an easy way of producing an RSS feed for the site. I'm considering it bringing it back because personally, I find newsletters to be a handy way of remembering to visit the sites I enjoy. And if I like it, well, I figure others will as well.
The RPG Bloggers Network has been a tremendous success, sparking plenty of cross-blog traffic and comments. I’ve read lots of great articles and discovered a bunch of new sites, but I think there’s one area where the community can improve: game reviews.
Simply put, there aren’t enough of them. There’s plenty of speculation, analysis and debate but there aren’t nearly enough reviews (or, if they are there, they are quickly lost among the flurry of other posts). The RPG Bloggers guys are working on improvements to bring order to the chaos by adding new categories, but even then I think there will be a need for bloggers to knuckle down and review games.
I have as much work to do as anyone else. It shocked me earlier this week when I looked at my own RPG reviews category and discovered that five months had passed between my Battlestar Galactica RPG review and my new one for Star Wars: Threats of the Galaxy. Now granted, my sense of what I’ve written is distorted by all the writing I do for SCIFI, and I’ve certainly posted a bunch of quasi-reviews in the form of playtest reports, but still … there need to be more.
Nuketown's passed 500 comments. At least a hundred of those came from this spring alone, which goes to show just how much better my new "open" approach to commenting is (in which anyone can comment without an account, but messages are screened by the Askimet anti-spam software before being posted).
The community's coming together nicely, and I have no doubt that the count would be even higher if I, ahem, got Radio Active out on the consistent, weekly schedule I always hope for.
I've made a few tweaks to Nuketown's information gathering capabilities, updating a newer verison of the Google Analytics module for Drupal that includes the ability to track downloads and monitor Drupal search terms. I've also added the FeedBurner module and redirected the primary feed and the podcast feed to FeedBurner.
I've been spending a little too much time lately deleting spam user accounts from Nuketown. These are accounts that you, gentle reader, never see; they're created by spambots hellbent on promoting all manner of products, and I kill them before they can stick their spammy little necks out into the sunlight.