I Call Fishy

This is odd.

When this post first came out, I posted the first comment (because I follow RSS I can detect almost immediately when a post comes out) - you can see it above. A little bit later Engineer-Poet replied directly to mine. When I last looked at this post, that's all the comments there were.

I come back today, and a comment has magically appeared before mine - interestingly, exactly one minute before.  Another comment has been inserted in between mine and the engineer's.

The narrative has as a consequence been completely changed. When I say "you’d also be the first to complain" I am referring specifically to Joanne Jacobs, who is a chronic complainer and dumper-on of all things public education.

But now it looks as though I am responding directly to the previous comment. The vaguely named 'sunana' talks about bureaucrats, and I'm talking about bureaucrats!

Then bill eccleston makes explicit the point of the post, "the students should adopt a 'shove it' attitude toward the authorities," and then two posts down expands on Engineer-Poet's point: "It is unlikely that five people would ever die in Thoreau’s cabin."

The net result is that, instead of my making a point that directly addressed the core weakness of the Jacob column, I appear to be engaged in trivial disputes with the other commenters.

Now the times of the comments are set by the server, and therefore cannot be blamed on time zone variance. Moreover, I checked the comments myself well after the time had passed in other time zones.

So I conclude that this is fishy. At the very least, it demands an explanation. How are comments that are being posted later appearing at the top of the list?


  1. Nothing new about comment approval queues - comments being hidden until approval. Neither your comment, nor the previous one, was visible until approved.

    Also: I don't believe that any of the subsequent commenters assumed your response was solely directed at the comment preceding yours. And even if they did, the preceding comment agreed with the overall sentiment of the Jacobs post, while yours posted an argument against both.

    Final conclusion? Posting about the order in which comments appear and complaining it could make one seem trivial, is ironically, in this case, trivial. :p

  2. > Neither your comment, nor the previous one, was visible until approved.

    No, that's not true, comments appear right away on that blog; there is no approval queue.

  3. OK, I went back and checked the original post, and Joanne Jacobs says new commenters are queued for approval. That make sense and is a good explanation.

  4. The blog owner would disagree with you:

    Joanne says:
    November 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm
    "Engineer-Poet is correct. Comments by newcomers go into a pending queue until I get a chance to read and approve them. At that time, the comment is posted by when it was received originally."

  5. Oops - please delete that last comment, it is quite redundant. :-)

  6. Still, comments should be time stamped as of the moment of submission, not the time of approval. The sequence of commentary is of paramount importance.


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