The Alexandrian

This Is (Not Really) The End

January 31st, 2011

The Alexandrian, as it currently exists, is a glorious mess of amateur HTML and half-assed javascript. It’s difficult to maintain and impossible to renovate. Plus, I can’t actually schedule posts, which means that the site takes a vacation whenever I do and stands unnecessarily vacant on frequent occasions.

Oddly, what’s really prompting this post is the commenting system, which was originally built around HaloScan and has been completely borked ever since HaloScan got bought out (and then bought out again). Honestly, I’m not really clear on how it’s still working at all.

In any case, starting today the Alexandrian will be updating to a WordPress installation. Here’s what you need to know:

(1) The RSS feed will no longer be updated. If you want to access the new feed, click here. (In a few days I’ll be attempting an XML redirect from the old feed to the new feed, but this apparently doesn’t work with all feed readers. If you want to be sure to continue you subscription, subscribe to the new feed now.)

(2) The address http://www.thealexandrian.net will resolve automatically to the new site. Shortly after this post goes live, http://www.thealexandrian.net/index.html will be replaced with a redirect page. If that re-direct isn’t working for some reason (most likely because I screwed it up), simply navigate to http://www.thealexandrian.net and you should be good to go. Update bookmarks as necessary.

(3) All the other links on the old site will continue to work, but will no longer be maintained. If something stops working for some reason, I’m not going to worry about it. So while older links won’t generate a 404 error, if you want to link to the Alexandrian I recommend linking to the new site.

(4) I’m currently in the process of converting all of the old content over to the new site. This is an ongoing process and it’s proven to be a lot more time-consuming than I’d anticipated, so I’m not done yet. Right now I’ve converted all of January 2011, and everything up to May 2008. I’ll be continuing to fill in this gap as time permits, and you may see some weird artifacts cropping up here and there while the work continues. (For example, I intermittently forget to retro-date a post before hitting the “Publish” button — so you may occasionally see an old post appear on the homepage and then vanish again a little later when I realize I skipped a step. Sorry ’bout that.)

(5) I’m manually transferring an archive of all comments posted on the old site to the corresponding article(s) on the new site. I’ll continue doing that for awhile as new comments crop up on older posts, but at some point I’ll stop doing that. (Hopefully I’ll be able to decommission the old commenting system at the same time so that it can no longer be accessed.) I’m fairly certain that some older comments have already been lost due to the distinegrating HaloScan/Echo system, but I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do to recover those. (EDIT: This has now been confirmed. For example, all of the original comments for my remix of Keep on the Shadowfell have disappeared. Makes me a little sad.)

For the most part, from your POV the new site will probably end up being largely indistinguishable from the old one. (At least, after a potential period of working-out-the-kinks.) If you’re reading this today on the new site, you should already see a few key improvements:

– A search function (currently at the top of the right sidebar).

– Integrated commenting so that you no longer have to try to guess to figure out where the article associated with a comment is located.

– New RSS feed includes the full text of all posts.

Things I’m hoping to implement in the future:

– Re-establishing permanent “content shrines” and the upper crossbar navigation panel (albeit in improved forms). For right now, you can still access the older versions of the Creations, Politics, and Reviews page. You can also access the old Bibliography page.

– Theme-switcher for those who miss the old white-on-black theme.

If there’s anything else you’d like to see on the site, leave a comment. (But you’ll have to go to the new site to do it.)

UPDATE: As of 6:40 PM, we’re having some migration problems. When you view an individual post’s page, both sidebars are appearing below the post. Everything appears to display correctly on the rest of the site. Debugging now.

UPDATE 2: As of 7:40 PM, the problem appears to have been fixed. In addition, you will no longer be required to log-in in order to post. If you run into any additional problems with the new site (broken links, weird formatting, etc.) please leave a comment on this post to let me know. Thanks!

UPDATE 3 (2011/02/02): Still tweaking the settings and filters for the commenting system. Trying to find the right balance between “I need to approve every single comment” and “website overrun with spam”. There’s likely to be some fluctuation over the next few days which you may or may not notice in terms of how quickly comments appear on the site. (The goal is to have legitimate comments appear immediately with a 0% incidence of spam. This is, of course, impossible. But it’s a nice goal.)

UPDATE 4 (2011/02/09): Archives are now complete through the end of 2008. 350+ posts. I have apparently written a lot of stuff for this website over the past 5+ years.

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7 Responses to “This Is (Not Really) The End”

  1. grodog says:

    Justin—

    I don’t remember seeing comments on your old site, so perhaps they weren’t working for me at all?

    Good luck with the continuing site updates!

    Allan.

  2. Justin Alexander says:

    That is entirely possible! They were a third-party javascript insert which was literally supposed to have stopped working sometime in 2009. Somehow they kept chugging along (at least sort of). If they weren’t being seen by some sizable chunk of users, I suppose that would explain why conversation was always light at best. :)

  3. 8one6 says:

    Congrats on the site upgrade.

  4. Catprog says:

    What happened to the story about the double death of the big bad?

  5. cr0m says:

    Great news! The Haloscan comments were the only reason I never commented. Your blog is fantastic. Keep up the great writing on RPGs and other nerdy topics!

  6. Justin Alexander says:

    @Catprog: In the Depths of Khunbaral.

  7. Morgan says:

    I always wondered why you didn’t have comments! Thanks for improving the site. I like it already.

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