Site Discussion

Exporting the database

I'm interested in playing around with ways to render large discussions, to see what is readable / easy to navigate. This is motivated by part in the 500-comment+ discussions that span indented posts across multiple pages. I've already hacked together something that parses the html on the site (Drupal generates really nicely structured html) and rebuilds the comment database, but it seemed a bit rude to spider the whole site.

My first question is do you mind people pulling off copies of the site to experiment with, maybe building a tool to render the site in a different format? Which may then lead to technical questions such as:

  • Is it possible to export the Drupal comment database in some way?
  • What format?
  • Can it export smaller slices, e.g. something like particular days?

When are Actors appropriate?

So there have been conversations about what is appropriate talk on LtU. Personally I am not offended by brusque commentary. On the other hand, while I respect Hewitt, I do think that the 'actors everywhere' thing has not gotten any better, only worse. I posted about process calculi and the first post was to railroad it towards actors, and sure enough enough people took the bait. :-(

I believe that conversations should be allowed to go off on to tangents e.g. talking about quantum. We all have subjective opinions like Justice Stewart about when it has gone from respectable tangent over into frankly trolling beavhiour, even if the troller doesn't do it to be a troll.

I'm asking everybody who is getting involved in each and every actor thread to please stop when they are on topics that did not in fact start out talking about actors. Personally I think it is OK if you go and start a new parallel topic where you draw the link and leave the conversation there. I do not need anybody to stop talking, I just would very much appreciate it if we could all try to see if we can keep the torrent of actor threads contained in their own places, so that other threads can live or die on their own.

(At the very least, realize that by forcing a thread to go onto 2 pages you have broken my ability to get to the new posts. Hardy har-har.)

Thanks for your support.

can we help with the db?

Seems like poor old LtU has been down a fair bit on and off of late. Is it something we can do much to address easily? Even if it is just/only via moral support? :-} Thanks for the effort of keeping the old blunderbuss that is Drupal reanimated when needed.

Paged topics

Is it just me, or is not the ui/ux of multi-page topics just not good? Could there be a way to fix it or to enforce things can't be bigger than one page, or can we all start teaching ourselves that we should start new pages or something?

When I go to the "recent posts" and see some posts on some topic, I click on the topic title (not the individual *'s new posts in the "recent posts" list) and then if they are on anything other than page 1 i can't find them.

LtU database problem

On posting a comment, I get:

user error: Incorrect key file for table './ltu/cache.MYI'; try to repair it
query: DELETE FROM cache WHERE expire != 0 AND expire 

The comment is posted, but the above sounds wrong.

upvoting?

Does Drupal have a plug-in for supporting up/down voting things? I want to tell people who posted that i'm excited about their post even though i am too uneducated/ignorant/clueless to be able to actually post anything relevant other than, "w00t!" Can somebody pretty please install such a feature? :-) It would be nice to be able to sort the "Recent Posts" by that as well. :-)

Note to home page contributors

I added a new category "Scientific Programming" for discussions of, well, issues related to languages targeting scientific programming.

Math.js crashes my iPad

The site math viewer is consistently crashing my iPad; it makes a note that it is trying to load something math.js for awhile before Safari just dies. Either this is an iOS issue, or an iOS + great firewall issue (if the font files aren't hosted locally, they are usually hosted by a blocked-in-china google).

LtU now supports Mathjax

LtU now supports MathJax, which allows the use of TeX markup in posts and comments. Note that only TeX/LaTeX markup is currently supported - the alternate MathML format conflict's with the blog's HTML sanitization.

This enhancement is dedicated to neelk, who most recently suggested this feature just over a year ago.

When I went searching for a bit of Mathjax-compatible LaTeX that was relevant to programming languages, the first good example Google found for me was on Neel's blog:

$$
\newcommand{\val}[1]{\mathsf{val}\,{#1}}
\newcommand{\rule}[2]{\frac{\array{#1}}{#2}}
\newcommand{\judge}[3]{{#1} \vdash {#2} : {#3}}
\newcommand{\letv}[3]{\mathsf{let}\;{#1} = {#2}\;\mathsf{in}\;{#3}}
\begin{array}{ll}
\rule{\judge{\Gamma}{e}{A}}
{\judge{\Gamma}{\val{e}}{T(A)}}
&
\rule{\judge{\Gamma}{e}{T(A)} \qquad
\judge{\Gamma, x:A}{e'}{T(C)}}
{\judge{\Gamma}{\letv{\val{x}}{e}{e'}}{T(C)}}
\end{array}
$$

Copy-pasting the above and making it work immediately made it clear that we're going to need a package of useful macros. But it's a start. Feedback welcome.

Note that MathJax rendering is entirely client-side - if you don't see a well-formatted formula above, check the MathJax browser compatibility page and their FAQ.

How is LtU doing?

I thought it was just summer, but now that fall is here, the site still feels kind of quiet.

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