Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Special Edition: Everything You Wanted to Know about Adding Comments But Were Afraid to Ask

NOTE: today's update on Susan for DAY +7 is posted below this "Special Edition."

By popular demand, here's a "how-to" for those who don't know how to. It is intended for

(a) those of you who are wondering why/complaining about having to do a "word verification" in order to post a comment
(b) those of you who want to record comments for Susan but haven't because you don't know how
(c) those of you who are tired of commenting as "Anonymous"
(d) those of you who aren't "Followers" and wonder what you're missing, if anything (the "Followers" are those 19 people [current count] listed against their pictures or silhouettes in the green strip off to the right

WARNING !! Terminal boredom lies ahead (pun intended). If you aren't among those described in a, b, c, or d, read no further. It's a long post (I get paid by the word) and dull.

(a) Why "word verification"
  • Malicious "bots" troll the blogosphere looking for opportunities to post nonsense, advertisements, and even "malware" to blogs that have not defended themselves.

  • SPAM bots (bots that post SPAM) and other cybernetic bad guys cannot read randomly squiggly writing (sometimes we can't quite either), which is why you are being asked to decipher the squiggly word and type it in, thus proving that you are a human, not a software program up to no good.

  • If we did not take this precaution for Susan's Recovery Blog, we would risk spurious, and possibly harmful, postings.

  • NOTE: the word verification is only necessary when you come in as Anonymous or Name/URL or haven't yet signed on to your account ID (if you have one). If you have already signed on to one of the recognized profile accounts with your ID and password, like gmail, for instance, you won't be asked to interpret the squiggly word.
(b) To record a comment:
  • In the thin white rectangle that runs across the bottom of each posting you will see the word "comments" underlined and a small green dialog balloon icon immediately adjacent to its left. Clicking on either of these will take you to the top of the comments section for that posting. Beneath the most recently added comment is a blank white box (depending on how many comments have already been posted, you may have to scroll down to see it). Position your cursor anywheres within the box and click. You will now be in data entry mode and can type your comment.

  • Before you can post your comment you must choose a profile from the "Select profile" dropdown menu. The topmost choice is "Google Account" followed by five other much less common on-line profile IDs that some of you may have. If you select any one of these six, the nickname associated with your profile will appear at the top of your comment. If you do not have/select one of these profile IDs, you have the choice of two more profiles: "Name/URL" brings up input fields for you to enter that information, which will then appear at the top of your comment, or you can select "Anonymous," which is what most of us have been doing, not necessarily because we want to, but because we don't have any other online indentity to use. It is not bad to be "anonymous," but if you are, it is ESSENTIAL that you SIGN YOUR COMMENT (i.e., type in your name at the end) or Susan may not know that it is you sending her the comment.

  • If you select one of the six account profiles and you are are already signed in, then clicking the "Post Comment" button will add your comment to the bottom of the comments for that particular blog post. If you are not yet signed in, a "word verification" box will pop up, and typing in the squiggly word you see will bring you to the sign in page for your identified account. Signing in will cause your comment to post.

  • If you have selected "Anonymous" or "Name/URL" as your profile, you must then click on the "Post Comment" button, which will bring up the word verification box. Typing in the letters of the squiggly word you see and then clicking the "Finish" button will cause your comment to post.
(c) How to lose your anonymity:
  • If you are tired of being "anonymous" and don't have one of the six on-line account IDs (e.g., Google, AIM, et al.) the easiest solution is to let yourself be googlified.

  • To do this, select as your profile "Google Account" (even though you don't have one yet) and then click on the "Post Comment" button. This will open a word verification window [NOTE: if you are signed in with one of the specified online account IDs, you will not have to do word verification] where you will be asked to type in the letters of the squiggly word you see in order to prove that you are a human and not a machine (like a SPAM bot).

  • Typing the word in and then clicking the "finish" button will then open a page where you will be asked to sign in to "Blogger" with your Google account. If you already had a Google account (like gmail), but just hadn't signed in yet, you would do so here, but you don't, because if you did, you wouldn't need to read this instruction. Since you don't have a Google account, you'll want to avail yourself of the option at the bottom right to "Create an account now"

  • Click on it and follow the prompts and you will create your own gmail account, thus giving you the information you need (email ID and password) to sign into your Google account, and so, Blogger.

  • You don't have to use gmail, you just have to create the account. It's free, it's quick to do, it's easy, and it's part of Google's nefarious plot to googlify the world.
(d) For those who'd rather be Followers than Leaders:
  • Followers in a blog are simply those people who click on the "Follow" button in the green box and follow the prompts to become a follower. To do so, you must sign in with an account like Google, AIM, Yahoo or a few others. Clicking the Follow button brings you to a screen with prompts to do this.

  • Essentially, what being a Follower means is that you will be notified on your Blogger Dashboard when there is a new posting to any of the blogs that you "follow" (the Blogger Dashboard is an option that can be visible when you are signed in to one of the approved accounts). It also means that you are publicized in the blog as a Follower so viewers of the blog can see who the Followers are, and see what you look like if you have posted a photo as part of your account profile.

    By the way, you do have the option of being a private Follower, which means you get to see but not be seen (i.e., have the blog tracked in your Blogger Dashboard but don't have yourself identified on the blog as a Follower).

  • As to whether or not to become a follower, it's your choice. It isn't necessary to do so in order to see the blog or to post comments. It can be useful if you're someone who looks at the Blogger Dashboard. Or it may be important to you to know that other people looking at the blog know that you are a Follower.
Hope the foregoing enlightens more than it confuses.

1 comment:

  1. After reading that, I think I'm going back to quill and parchment. Otherwise, sounds as though Susan's in the category of no news is great news! Bob, when are you graduating from potatoes to a major food group, like brownies? By the way, Steve Brown agreed the pictures probably are hung too high in the apt. Feel free to adjust.