Category Archives: Weblogs

Spam problems

Typepad (the hosting service for this blog) is being overrun by spam comments at the moment. I am getting 100's a day that are not being detected.

Therefore I have turned on comment moderation for a while.

I don't like comment moderation, this is only as a temporary measure to deal with the spam.

I apologise if real comments get delayed or lost in this deluge.

Hopefully normal service will return soo.

Difference between new blogs now and 7 years ago

I started this blog in August 2003, just over 7 years ago and my new cycling blog in August this year.

I am finding the differences interesting.

The most obvious difference is in how people get to the blog. In the old days :-) it was all about getting linked from other blogs. You did this through

  • your blogroll (hoping to get others to include you in their blogroll)
  • commenting on other blogs with the url of your blog.
  • Linking to plenty of other blogs in your posts

Nowadays the focus for getting people to read your blog is all on Twitter and Facebook. Actually, mostly Twitter which is the largest referrer by some margin.

Obviously the blogging technology has also moved on a lot. One thing that has made a significant difference is the ease of getting photos and cycle routes onto the blog from my phone (htc Desire which I still love).

All in all I suppose the key change is that a blog can't stand alone in the way it used to. Fortunately, it doesn't have to :-)

Browser Shares

Browser-shares I don't often look at the browser shares for 42 but did today.

I think this is the last 1,000 visitors and I, at least, found interesting to note that Firefox 1, IE 8.x and Safari 1.x are with 0.7% of each other.

On blogging

In the last (at the moment) comment (of 93) on my post 42: Why would someone do this? I said to Alec "Am planning a post about engaging with the substance of Israel / Palestine. But no time yet."

Before I do that I want to respond to another point that seems relevant.

David Hallam has written a post First they came for the Jews, then they came for the Christians, then they came for…. which shared his distress over the killings in Baghdad on Sunday. However, he ended that post with a remark that I want to comment on when he said:

I just happen to note that the professional Methodist bloggers haven't mentioned Sunday's massacre.

Some clarifications.

  • There are no "professional" (in the sense getting paid for blogging) Methodist Bloggers in the UK.
  • I have been writing "42" since 5th August 2003. Nobody has ever paid me to write "42" (which should be obvious from the title "42: My life, the universe and everything". I have never asked anyone to pay me for writing "42".
  • "42" is not hosted on a free platform, I pay all the hosting costs and have never asked anyone for a contribution towards those costs.
  • I was not paid a stipend by the Methodist Church as a probationary minister until September 2005 by which time "42" was two years old. Before that I had never been paid by the Methodist Church.
  • While I would consider "42" as part of my ministry in the sense that every part of my life is part of my ministry it is not part of my work. In other words the Leicester North Circuit does not support "42" and I do not count the time I spend on it as "work" thus reducing the time I give to the Circuit.
  • My role as a Methodist Minister is not a 9 to 5 job and so I am sometimes able to write on "42" during the day without it being part of my work.
  • Most of the time I spend on "42" is late at night after evening meetings. For example I have written 4 posts in the week since my holiday the post times are 1:03am, 1:22am, 12:43am, 11:08pm. The one post written during the day we between meetings, I got home from the last of them at 10:30pm. The previous 3 posts were written while I was on holiday.
  • Anyone who has been reading "42" from the beginning deserves a medal but anyway they would note a significant reduction in the volume of posts since I became a minister (and a reduction in traffic).

My reason for making these clarifications relates to the debate we have been having on Israel and Palestine. When David "notes" that no professional Methodist bloggers have commented on a horrific set of killings in Baghdad then I believe it is problematical.

Firstly, I don't think it is helpful when a blogger, who celebrates his connection with the Methodist Church in the blog title and description, deliberately tries to mislead people.  David Hallam knows that there are no "official" or "professional" Methodist Bloggers.

My concern is that people might quite rightly be saying: Well David Hallam is right, if the Church is paying these people to blog then why are they not commenting on these events? They might be thinking that the Methodist Church us deliberately ignoring some events. Equally they might try to present the thoughts of some bloggers as if they were official (which would of course for "42" requires them to ignore the disclaimer with the site).

So "42" is neither official nor professional (well the latter should have been obvious from the quality of the writing). However, like the rest of my life I consider it to be subject to the discipline of the Methodist Church. I take being an itinerant Presbyteral Minister within the Methodist Connexion very seriously. Among many things (such as being sent by the Church to where they want me) it means I hold my blogging accountable to the Church. That happens principally through the local Churches and Circuit where I am primarily accountable to my Superintendent Minister. I recognise that I have the potential in a public way to damage the Methodist Church which is why I have always ensured that the training institute when I was training and all my Superintendents since have been aware of what I do on "42" in my own time.

I have no idea why David thinks I should be commenting on the killing of Christians in Baghdad. It is not as if I regularly comment on the news.

One thing I am sure of. If I am going to start repeating the news and commenting on killings around the world I will not do so by commenting just on the killing of Christians. I believe it is unhelpful if Christians only comment on the deaths of Christians. It makes it seem that we we put a higher value on the lives of Christians than we do on the lives of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Atheists etc. That is not my belief, my Christian faith teaches me that all people are created in the image of God and that all people are unique and infinitely valued & loved by God.

So as much of what we write is connected with the local and with people who are of the same faith it would be easy to wrongly imply that we believe we are loved more by God that other people. If I then start commenting only on the death of Christians it will reinforce views by Jews, Muslims etc that I don't think they are as valuable to God.

Instead I want to celebrate that to God every person matters. That God notices and loves the refugee as much as the suicide bomber as much as the victim of a terrorist attack as much as the elderly lady dying in a British hospital. Indeed it is precisely because of this aspect of the nature of God that we are called to act in Israel/Palestine as well as in Syston, Leicester, UK.

Version 3 of Methodist Social Media Guidelines open for editing

Ok everyone, last chance to improve the Methodist Social Media Guidelines.

Time to put up or shut up :-)

I have again updated the unofficial version for you to edit. As before I will give anyone who asks permission to edit this document (if you have already asked then you still have permission to continue) and Toby Scott will get all the changes passed onto him. The read-only official version is also available if you prefer.

This has not been a very long process, that was inevitable given that the next Methodist Council is the weekend after Easter. However, this has been something of a first in terms of openness and transparency in forming Methodist policy. I have been pleased to see how the suggestions made in the unofficial version have been adopted into the official version.

While these guidelines are not going to be perfect or all that the various online communities would like to see, I believe they are a great deal better than what was originally presented and move us in a helpful direction.

For earlier discussion see 42.Version 2 of Methodist Social Media Guidelines open for editing

LOVE LINK

I have been a bit slow to do this but Rachel tagged me in Re-vis.e Re-form: LOVE LINK for Link love so here
are Rachel’s latest postees websites, followed by my ten latest postees
websites. Your job is now to do the same, if I’ve linked to you. This,
whilst giving exposure to sites we might not have come across before,
is also revealing how some of us really are in network with each other.

Rachel’s latest 10 postees’ websites:

Chipping Away At Chuchianity
Bishop Alan
Fibre fairy at Strands of Life
David Rudel at Fire in the Bones
Dave Warnock at 42
Singing Owl at The Owl’s song
John Richardson at The Ugley Vicar
Peter Kirk at Gentle Wisdom
Tim Goodbody at Friends Meeting House
Fibre Fairy at Strands of Life

My latest 10 posters:

Rhea from hubbaduh’s Xanga Site.
Pam from PamBG’s Blog.
Hannah from We Mixed Our Drinks.
Mad Priest from Of course, I could be wrong….
Jack from ClobberBlog.
Will from Ramblings from Red Rose.
Peter from Gentle Wisdom.
Mark Adam but no blog so does not count
Josh from Josh Tinley.com.
Jon from Men: Leave Church – Encouraging all single men to leave the churches.
Sheryl Anderson but no blog so does not count
Sam from Elizaphanian.

The dangers of blogging

It has happened before and no doubt it will happen again. But a recent post of my highlights one one of the dangers of blogging – upsetting people you have no intention of upsetting.

It started with my post 42: A church should have a masculine ethos (or not) where I was highly critical of the claims that the church needs a masculine ethos. I entirely stand by that post for the reasons I give in it.

A friend Peter Kirk left a couple of helpful and valid comments which included:

I would like to see your thoughts on why men leave the church.

That sounded like a good idea and it resonated with a theory someone had shared with me that I thought was worth exploring. Note that in his comment Peter had made it clear that his church did not have a masculine ethos:

My own
church is actually quite well balanced between men and women, which I
think is because of the leaders' care not to be too feminine, or
masculine.

From previous conversations I know that Peter is not a fan of extreme complementarianism (make headship) out of which comes this argument for a masculine ethos.

So I wrote 42: Why have men left the Church? which was an attempt to answer Peter's question, connect with the theory I had heard (simplistically about men leaving the church due to experiences during the World Wars where the Church & Christians were unable to help them experience God alongside them during the horror of warfare) and at the same time continue to point out the failings of the position that advocates a masculine ethos (as part of their subtext trying to enforce male headship).

I started that post with:

There is a frequent and loudly stated view that men leave the Church
because it is too feminine. It is very common in the US and is being
picked up by a number of Churches in the UK.

I was, at least in my mind, referring to the original post that I had written about, which expressed support for the network of Churches that Mark Driscoll has founded, and thinking of those UK Churches that also stand for male headship and criticise other churches for being feminine. It never crossed my mind that Peter would think I was referring to his church and views as to me they are entirely different to the ones I was criticising.

But from Gentle Wisdom » Why real men don’t go to church it is clear that Peter feels I did attack him.

I have already left a comment on Peter's blog post apologising, but I want to repeat it here. I apologise to Peter for making him think I was attacking him. I had no intention of doing so and apologise for poor writing that led him to think I was.

Now in his post Peter raises other questions/challenges which I think are worth responding to and will do so separately.

Commenting woes

My apologies that some recent changes in typepad seem to have created a number of problems related to comments.

One is that spam comments started taking over the "Recent Comments" box in the sidebar. Typepad are working on it, to reduce the problem I have closed comments on all posts older than 6 months and I re-instated the "captcha" for everyone (I am trying to remove this again to see if it is causing some of the other problems).

Typepad are also trialling a new comment editor where comments should display immediately. Clearly this is causing people to accidentally leave comments multiple times. Don't worry, I will clear up such problems (for everyone but Richard).

Hopefully things will settle down sometime during this millennium.

Squiffy warning

I have put in a temporary fix for the missing comments problem (see  42: No conspiracy here), it has made the site look a little squiffy (that is a technical term). So it is not (just) because you have been drinking too much.

More work on it later when I feel motivated to dive into typepad advanced templates again.

No conspiracy here

Just to reassure everyone that there is no conspiracy here.

Yesterday Gil left a comment on the post 42: New Frontiers and Women. It shows up in the list of recent comments, it shows up in the comment feed, I got a copy by email and it is in the management interface as a visible comment. However, it does not appear to be displayed on the actual post itself. I have no idea why, other more recent comments on other posts are displaying fine.

Anyway the comment was:

Hi Dave, what has happened to a whole load of other posts made on this subject. They seem to has gone ?

    * Commenter name: gil

My response is that I have not deleted any posts, I have looked through the lists of posts and don’t think there are any missing. Google shows quite a few related posts from me: New Frontiers Women – Google Search. Anyone else think something has got lost?

While looking at this I realised that I had not responded to the last couple of comments on the post from
Blue, with a hint of amber and Chris E. So I am writing a post to address their concerns with "scriptural principles"