My friend the Blogger at RoyTho
There’s a bit of a brew about Memory Bank and time-stamps. Voice in Colombo pointed out that his posts were behaving as a ‘sticky’ on Kottu, remaining at the top. I noticed this and sent him an email to try and sort it out this morning. In the meantime I desyndicated the blog to avoid the ‘bad’ behavior. I usually prefer to resolve stuff like this over email, but he’s mentioned that he prefers a public forum. Otherwise I wouldn’t write this at all. In short, it is – as far as I can tell – a Blogger bug and not anything wrong with Kottu or malicious on Memory’s part. There is something called Future Posting, which I often do. If I write something late at night I’ll manually change the date to some time the next morning – so it publishes when people are awake. That’s fine. The problem (one of many) with Blogger is that it doesn’t future post correctly (Google Groups, etc). It changes the date to the future and publishes it immediately. In a sense having cake and eating it to. It is this bug that led to the Memory Bank affair. How that will be resolved I dunno.
Blogger was the first huge entrant into hosted blogging but it is also, in my experience, deeply buggy. The blogging part is OK, but the Atom/RSS syndication part is a mess. Blogger didn’t have RSS for years, opting for the less common Atom version. That may seem pretty geeky, but most apps I’ve found deal best with RSS2 and they’d have to write entirely new modules to deal with Blogger, if at all. Kottu (FeedWordpress) can parse Atom, but Blogger finally offers RSS now.
Another more major issue is timestamps. Kottu publishes posts in order, but that was actually a huge pain in the bum. Most blogs display the timestamp in standard GMT time, but some display it in local time + 6 or whatever, and Kottu has to somehow combine them. I got it sorta working, but note that Kottu doesn’t post times or even dates. With timezones the date was never quite right, so I just abandoned it.
When Blogger upgraded to Blogger Beta I remember that the feeds were completely fucked. For a few months all the Beta posts were dated like 3 or 4 hours ahead and never showed up properly. People complained, but there’s little I can do on the Kottu end with the amount of time I have. I just waited and Google fixed it.
The Memory Bank case is an example of an entirely different bug. Basically, Blogger doesn’t future post properly. Future posting literally means that the post appears in the future, but on Blogger it seems to appear immediately with a ‘false’ date. As a reader this is OK, though it can result in something called a sticky post. That is, if I date something to 2010 and post it, that will be the first story on my blog for the next 3 years.
This is not a Kottu bug. Kottu has shitloads of bugs, but this is actually a Blogger thing. Now VIC noticed this and pointed it out politely IMHO, though the headline was perhaps ill-advised. Now it’s this whole thing, and my response was to send him a private email, to the email we’d previously corresponded with. I’ll post my end here for reference, as he expressed a desire for a public forum.
I was doing some reading, and apparently there is a bug in Blogger with future posts (http://labnol.blogspot.com/2006/09/blogging-tricks-how-to-make-sticky.html ).
Future posting is perfectly fine, I do it all the time. Blogger, however, publishes future posts immediately rather than in the future as one might think. I’m afraid that this buggers up Kottu as well. I’ve desyndicated your blog until that bug gets fixed by Blogger, or you simply stop future posting.
He didn’t get that mail, but I did leave a comment on his site which he responded to. I resent the mail and added:
I usually try to send a personal email and resolve matters privately. In this case I did send you a mail at 7am to the address we previously used to correspond on. I have made every effort to contact you personally before taking this action, so I think saying I’m unprofessional is unwarranted, especially since Kottu isn’t a professional endeavor.
Kottu isn’t really something with a legal agreement involved, it’s really just a social space. There is no proscription against future posts, I personally do them all the time. If I type something late at night I future date it so that it appears first thing in the morning. Due to a bug in Blogger, however, your posts appear then and stay on top for the whole day. I hope you see that this is unfair to the other people that post throughout the day.
You’re perfectly free to future post on Blogger, but I simply don’t have the time to edit the Kottu parser for one blog out of 150. If you are willing to post items with the current data, I’d be happy to resyndicate.
So, that’s my end of it. Future posting doesn’t work with Kottu. I didn’t know this before but now I do. If you’re on WordPress or something you can still future post, and I still do. It’s actually very useful. If you’re on Blogger I don’t recommend. Memory Bank is still ‘desyndicated’, with notice, but if he’s willing to stop future posting I’d be more than happy to syndicate that blog again. Until then I think this is the best response, but anyone is free to comment. Again, I’d normally do this over email, but a public forum has its benefits as well. Again, it’s a Blogger bug to do with future posting. In fact, as far as I can tell Blogger is completely down right now.