Upgrade Stalled

It looks like not enough people made the correct devotions to Hermes and now we are not going to try and upgrade the blog this weekend. Heather has been sidelined by a cold and a fair amount of work and my internet access time is approaching the bare minimum. When we have more time we will look at what is required with the upgrade and give it ago. Please, keep making sacrifices to Ukko though.

Upgrade Time

Just to let you know we are planning to upgrade to WordPress 2.3 over the weekend. As this is likely to change a lot of our plugins (such as Ultimate Tag Warrior), there may be some problems with the site while this happens. Please be patient and pray to Hermes that we get up and running again without any problems.

Comments and commenting

After the success of our recent blog comment week, it seems things have dropped off again. As a result off this we will be looking at another comment week soon, as well as making personal efforts to comment on other blogs more often in general. I would be interested in hearing how other feel about comments – do they motivate authors? Do you prefer comments or track backs? And so on. Please let me know what you think.

Nulls Back

In case you have missed it, Nullifidian is back blogging – today with a nice catch of Archbishop Rowan Williams claiming that he cant come to terms with humans being created for a “Purpose.” Brilliant. Well worth reading.

The pawn’s English

Getting a comment here from Steve Sutton, I looked at his blog.. There is some really funny stuff there. There’s a great comics page called Internet Earl and some brilliant Voyager spoof scripts that might almost have been actual episodes. And lots more, youtube videos etc, that I haven’t had a chance to look at.

In case, you are wondering, the headline above is a great phrase that appears in one of the comics. It makes sense in the context. You have to go there.

Following our self-imposed rules for comments week, we should have commented on his blog but I couldn’t find a comment form, although there is a full-blown forum.

WordPress Upgrade Time

Just a reminder for all WordPress users out there. Version 2.2.2 has now been released and, as this is a security upgrade, it probably makes sense to upgrade now.

Scientific Vigilante

In the course of commenting on each post I read, I have come across a problem very early on. I don’t have, and don’t want, a blogger account which makes it impossible for me to comment on some blogs hosted by blogspot / blogger (see how many times you can engineer the word blog into a sentence…). To work around this, I am going to have to make my comments here instead.

On the plus side, this has the added advantage of giving the recipient blog a technorati backlink if they are interested in that sort of thing.

Anyway, the Biologists Helping Bookstores blog is hilarious. It is a shame I never came across it before. Basically, this person goes round bookstores and re-categorises the woo-books into more appropriate places, mainly moving non-science back into religion where it belongs.

My favourite post though is La Jolla Bookstar, 7/20/2007 one. Not only did it generate the comment which inspired the title for this post, but it includes the blog author moving Behe’s book to the New Age section:

Six copies of Behe’s new non-science book are relocated to their rightful place next to Everyday Magic, The Love Spell, and Grimoire for the Green Witch (what is “grimoire” anyway?).

Perfect! It is accompanied by photos as well… What more could you ask for? Although I have never done this myself, it seems lots of people have – well done to them all.

[tags]Blog, Comment Week, Biology, Behe, Evolution, Non-Science, New Age,grimoire, technorati, religion, science, society[/tags]

Blog Comment Week

Just to let you know, the WhyDontYou Blog will institute blog comment week from today. In a nutshell we will undertake to leave a comment (and a relevant one) to the blog posts and articles we read during this week – hopefully sharing ideas or providing a counter point to the opinions given by others with the aim of broadening discussion. Where it is not possible (or appropriate) for us to leave a comment on the blog we will consider making a post here as a response (part of me feels this is a better way of engendering discourse anyway). Please feel free to join in!

Commenting on blogs

Now, we are as guilty of this as anyone else, but looking through the stats it seems that, on average and discounting bots, there is only one comment made out of every 250 page views on this blog. Part of the fun of blogging is getting feedback from others and learning from their ideas an opinions. To try and rectify this, WhyDontYou blog is asking everyone who visits and reads a post to leave a message — even if it is just a “You Suck” comment — and we will do our bit by beginning a “Comment Week” next week, where we will leave a comment on every post we read. Please join in and spread the word.

New Theme Time

New Theme ScreenshotIt has been a quiet weekend here on the blogging front, but we have worked on a new theme – returning to a Stonehenge header picture and blue colour scheme. The site should now look like the screenshot. If it is radically different there is a problem or we have removed the theme 🙂

As always, there may be a few teething problems early on, so we really do appreciate it if you can take a moment to let us know if you encounter any problems. No matter how trivial you may think a problem is, if you tell us, we can try to fix it! One thing we will try to look at is page loading time. Our initial work around for this, is to increase the use of “read more” breaks in the content of posts on this page, but I am aware some people don’t like this, so please take a moment and let me know what you think.

[tags]General,Site Admin, Theme, Whydontyou, Blog[/tags]

Tagged by Atheist Perspective

This blog was tagged by atheist perspective I’ve shamelessly lifted an explanation of what that means from the atheist perspective site, which is excellent by the way.

We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
– Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
– People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
– At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
– Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Well part A is completed with minimal effort. Clearly the next stage must have to be the 8 random facts. Argh, 8 things about us that we wouldn’t mind going on the net – but are actually interesting enough to post. Damn that rules out almost anything I could put here….

Hmmm…. hmmm…..

  1. Between us we have lived on or visited 5 continents. Antartica is one of the two we’ve never been to, although one of us has been close enough to swim in it’s waters. (Yes, it really is as cold as you would imagine).
  2. Between us we speak – to a standard ranging from fluent (English) to pathetically halting (well, the others) – 5 languages and can make sense of a couple more with babelfish’s help. Oh yes, 5 languages Plus Latin.
  3. One of us genuinely believes the Wire is the major artwork of the 21st century. This is a minority viewpoint in every sense, even on the blog.
  4. We train with weights, more or less every day. One of us even got a certificate that will pay out thousands if anyone he trains gets injured, The other one has long been planning to enlist him as her personal trainer and do something spectacularly stupid…
  5. One of us has become obsessed with taking photographs and keeps getting better and better digital cameras every few months. And the pictures are getting better all the time as well.
  6. One of us refuses to accept any limitations, no matter how glaringly obvious, and hence persists in thinking she can do 3d graphics, despite the evidence of the senses.
  7. Terry Pratchett remains the one author we agree 100% over and have obsessively read every book produced. (Not all good though- the “actual” sci-fi books are poo and the science companion is distressing)
  8. CSS design is soundly despised by every one who has anything to do with this blog. Even their pets hate CSS.

Choosing 8 blogs was no easy task either. There were obvious choices – like nullifidian – who have probably already been tagged within an inch of their lives so would just get pissed off. However, I sprinkled my fairy dust over the atheist blogroll and found some worthy, if less familiar, contenders.

[tags]Blog Meme, Atheism, Wire, WhyDontYou, Why Dont You, Society, Culture, Travel, Languages,Blog, Meme, Blogs[/tags]

Most viewed posts

Just out of interest, I thought I would take a look at the most popular posts on the blog and see if it gave an insight into visitors here.

The top three most viewed articles on WhyDontYou (at the time of writing this post) are:

  1. How to Defend Religion? with 2411 direct views (it even has 14 comments and over 1000 home page views).
  2. One Person’s Take On Christianity has managed a total of 2332 direct views, although it only generated three comments and 14 home page views.
  3. Content Negotiation – Mirrored Post, which despite being a blast from the past still gets 10 – 15 hits a day and has amassed a total of 1979 direct hits but in languishing in the comments stakes.

Alternatively, using Feed views you get this picture:

  1. Rapture with 5197 feed views (a paltry 106 direct views of the URL though)
  2. Faith in its death throes? with 5150 feed views but only 114 direct views
  3. Computers aren’t doctors with 5119 feed views but only 126 visits to it’s URL.

This produces some interesting assumptions about people who come here. It seems (and this correlates for more than just the top three) that a post is either popular with people coming to visit the site (direct URL views) or popular with people reading it on the feeds, but never both. For example, One Person’s Take On Christianity has amassed exactly ZERO feed views.

The most popular category is Bad Shops with almost twice as many views this year as the second most popular which is Television (13598 views vs 7278), which, given the high quality philosophical content here, speaks volumes about what people are really interested in 😀 .

Now, my original aim was to see if I could get an insight into visitors here. I am not sure the stats are really successful.  The preponderance of Religious related posts in the “most popular” lists makes sense, but I have no idea why “Content Negotiation” has become a run away success. How to defend religion has a constant stream of visitors since Ruth Gledhill linked to it in her article for the Times Online but why the others are popular currently escapes me.

From a technological point, I have no idea why the decisions between reading post / viewing feed seems so heavily polarised. There are no posts I can find which have a similar number of both, it seems very much an either/or thing.

Lastly, I wonder if, by highlighting the most popular, will this make them even more popular? I often see blogs with sidebars proclaiming the “most viewed” posts – surely this will have the effect of making those even more viewed and, as such, increasing the distance between them and others to the point at which it can never be crossed.

Comments welcome 😀

[tags]Technology, Feedburner, Feeds, RSS, Content, Blog, Philosophy, Society, Content Negotiation, Religion, Ruth Gledhill, Times, Firestats, Statistics[/tags]

Sailing under false colours

Google “Atheism” and you find http: //www. carm.org/ atheism.htm (spaces inserted by me :-p ) as the number 4 unsponsored link.

The blurb underneath it says

Provides proofs that atheism is invalid. Also has tips on how Christians and atheists should communicate.

Well, calling your blog page Atheism while “providing proofs” of its invalidity strikes me as non-starter for initiating a model of how Christians and atheists should communicate. (I am thinking of setting up a blog page called “Born Again Christian” and see how well that goes down.)

Carm is apparently the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

Hence, I thought they might start with the Inquisition, the Crusades and the witch trials – then maybe go on to the zillion other lesser atrocities associated with organised Christianity but no.

They seem rather bigger on “research” than apologies. The rest of the site is mainly devoted to providing apparently research-based arguments for Christians to throw in the face of doubters.

My time on this planet is too short for me to address these arguments one by one and why bother? They throw a set of ideas into a mix and then follow their ideas to a totally predetermined conclusion.

The basic design flaw in this sort of thinking is that it actually steps outside thought. There is always a preset answer… If it’s not in some part of the Bible then it’s in a catechism of answers to atheists. Anything but bloody think for themselves.

Still, it is impressive that CARM think that it is worth suckering atheists in by pretending it’s not a Christian site. (Though a slim pretence that won’t hold up for any longer than it takes someone to spot that the first menu tab is entitled “-Jesus saves-“)

And I love the atomic symbol they use as shorthand for “This is real science stuff.” How delightfully predictable.


CARM is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose purpose is to equip Christians and refute error. The faith once for all delivered to the saints is under attack all over the world. More and more we need to know the truth and be able to articulate it.

How can faith be under attack? Surely, by definition, faith is belief without proof. If people genuinely have such “faith,” why would they care if other people dispute it?[tags]atheism, blog, carm, christian-apologetics, religion[/tags]

WordPress blog themes

Contast WordPress Theme ScreenshotBit off the normal track here, but there is a new theme available from Compuskills which I think is really pretty (although I am biased) and if it wasn’t for the fact I like this theme, we would probably be using it here.

Have a look, let them know what you think (I took the photo they use, in case you are wondering..) and if you think it looks good use it on your own blog. They are willing to modify or create themes to your specifications as well, so if you are looking for an overhaul give them a shout. For non-WP users (you weirdos) they may also be willing to accommodate your system.
[tags]Blog, WordPress, theme, webdesign, compuskills, Site Admin, Blog Software[/tags]

New Page – Blogroll

Just for general site admin / information purposes: we have added a new permanent page to hold the Why Dont You Blogroll. I am going to see how this goes for a while and then, if there are no problems, I will move the blogroll out of the sidebar where it currently lives.

The only hurdle I can see with this is that it may impact on any technorati link ratings. As far as I see it, each time we make a new post, the pages in the blogroll should all have their technorati authority link from us “refreshed” as it were (resetting the 180 count down). Moving them to a new page make cause problems – but as, at the moment, it seems technocrappi is not reading our outbound links properly anyway, it may not matter.

Please, let me know what you think about this.