Archive for the ‘housekeeping’ Category

h1 Changes to Commenting is an Attempt to Combat Fake Comments? FAIL

March 16, 2012

As more and more bloggers (like here and the DoD) begin to realize that their commenting system has had a surprise and unwelcome shot to the foot, the confusion and discontent is spreading rapidly. For the moment, we sit here at the mercy of the top folks at, hoping that my instruction thread has limited the damage, and alleviated a lot of the confusion for our readers.

While we wait and see if they’ll realize their mistake and/or change this, I believe I’ve stumbled upon what prompted this sudden move:

If I’m reading that right, it looks like my theory that this was intended to be a solution to nefarious gravatar/nic-jacking was correct, as this appears to have been done as a reaction to one case involving a victim of above-average influence on the net? Wow.

Even if it was properly executed (which it isn’t even close), it’s a boneheaded sledgehammer solution to a fly-sized problem. The thinking is still flawed, since anyone can still simply steal an image and apply it to their own gravatar account, if they really wanted to impersonate another netizen. Like with an IP, only the webmaster or admin would be able to tell the difference, and even they would not be able to verify which email addy what the legit one, right? To the rest of the world, the commenter is successfully impersonated. For example <—simple demonstration, with one of my other accounts.

Hopefully they're smarter than this, and switch it back…soon.



March 13, 2009

Sorry about the lack of activity here lately.  But like it reads in the sidebar, I do spend a lot of time perusing other sites.

I do, however, have one announcement, in that the Chamber now has nested comments (in other words, you can “reply” to another commenter, resulting in an indented comment directly below theirs). 

I thought it would be kind of a cool addition for when I become inspired to post something meaningful again….eventually.


2 Years Of Chamber Battles

January 16, 2009

I just thought I’d mention that the Chamber just had its 2nd birthday.   I’ll crack open an adult beverage to celebrate, but first I thought it’d be kinda neat to offer a little insight on where we’ve been.  A sort of “by the numbers”, a couple years in:


Top 10 posts all-time (by hits):

Title Views Political Blogger Alliance 4,929  
Photos: Karl Rove and George W. Bush 4,797  
Satellite Images: Gustav vs. Katrina 2,379  
Confirmed: Cindy McCain Is the Crypt Ke 1,685  
Racy Idol Photos: Brilliant! 1,654  
The Perils Of Posting Legitimate Questio 1,534  
The Cost Of “Infrastructure” Vs. War 1,383  
Who The Heck Is Johanna Cardona? 1,359  
Greetings Lizards! (Update: Banned) 1,285  
Is Andrew Rove “Prepared For War”? 1,182  

Top 10 search terms (how we were found):

Search Views
karl rove 2,900  
chenzhen’s chamber 2,287  
big mac 975  
chevrolet aveo 728  
tall 642  
george w bush 605  
johanna cardona 583  
godzilla 515  
chenzhen 455  
cyrus the great 430  

Top 10 clicks (links visitors clicked):

URL Clicks,29307,16… 264 208… 176… 175… 139… 122… 115… 99 89… 85  

Traffic by the month:

click to enlarge








There you have it!  A modest blog, to be sure, but I’ve certainly had a lot of fun so far.  Here’s to a couple more!


Yep, I’ve Got A Blavatar Too

December 5, 2008

After a year of spreading the purple throwing star around to every blog, message board and random social networking service I came across, the circle is finally complete.  As silly as it might sound, I’ve been itching for one of these for quite some time, and just recently the good folks at granted The Chamber an early Christmas gift:


I’ve got an avatar, a gravatar, and now…a blavatar!  Cool huh?

As an aside, there is a slightly amusing background story on how the star came to be, in case you’re curious.  I was pretty peeved at the WordPress people at the time, but lately I’ve been thinking it may have been one of the best things to have happened to The Chamber.  With little setbacks come great ideas, I guess. 

So, the purple shuriken of the Brave Nomadic Warrior of the Political Web ™ is now universal and worldwide.  Sort of my own “ghost face killing plate” (if you’re down with kung fu cinema metaphors), so you know who’s around when you see it.


Introducing: Chamber Lounge

October 21, 2008

I’ve decided that the Chamber might need an off-topic, uncensored, behind-the-scenes, backstage pass style area for both WPPBA members and regular readers.  So, here it is:

Chamber Lounge

For easy access, the link will remain near the top of the sidebar:

This area is password-protected, and is not viewable to the general public.

The password has been emailed to WPPBA members, along with a few others.  If I’ve missed you, feel free to send me a shout via the contact form and I’ll get it to you.


Chamber Poll Test

October 15, 2008

The good people at have just added a nice new feature, and I thought I’d give it a try:

I can see where this would be handy for the WPPBA 😉


In Search Of The Chamber

August 13, 2008

The good people at recently added some additional enhancements to the statistics that are available to those of us that use the service.  After doing some playing around with the new features, there was one statistic in particular that jumped out at me:

click to enlarge

Since the creation of this blog back in January ’07, a there has been a total of 1,280 hits from netizens entering the search term “chenzhen’s chamber”.

Now, I’m not quite sure what to make of that.  Either the Chamber’s fame has spread a bit and has slowly become a destination for an increasing amount of lurkers, or I’ve got one or two regular readers who haven’t figured out how to bookmark or add the blog to their favorites. (If its the latter, I’ll assume that you know who you are. I’d like to help, so go ahead and send me an email via the contact form.  There is no shame.)


Introducing ChenZhen’s New Blog!

July 22, 2008

Well, its technically a blog…

It’s ChenZhen’s Diggs!

Now, I say its technically a blog because it uses the site and has a comments section and all that, but its main purpose is to serve as a link aggregator for Digg (appropriately, I chose the Digg 3 column theme).  Since Digg makes is easy to generate RSS feeds for everything, I can track topics, websites and even other Digg members’ activity right in the sidebar.  So, the “blog” is really just a tool that I (or, now, anyone else) can use, and it pretty much runs on autopilot.  And since there appears to be a higher maximum number of RSS feeds with the Digg theme (the Chamber’s theme only allows a maximum of 9), I can really go nuts with it.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Off For A Short Vacation

July 18, 2008

I’m going to work tomorrow and leaving directly for a little fun in the sun here in the glow of our beautiful Minnesota summer.   The destination:  Big Rock Resort in Walker, MN.   I’ll be hypermiling the whole 3 hr trip, although it might be a good idea to put some extra weight (in the form of a spare wheel and jack) into Slow and Low.   Blowing a tire on my way to work without a spare would be an inconvenience, but having it happen in the middle of nowhere would positively suck, after all.

Anyway, I’m guessing that there will be no internet access where I’m going and won’t be able to respond to any comments or emails, but I’ll leave the light on for ya.   If any of those lame spammers get through the filter, please ignore them.  Or, stab them with a fireplace poker or something, and I’ll clean up the mess when I get back sometime late Tuesday.

In the meantime, you can enjoy a little kung fu video:

Chen Zhen kicks ass even when blindfolded, don’tcha know?


How-To: Political Blogger Alliance Ping Code

June 17, 2008

After fielding quite a few emails related to questions on the WPPBA ping code, I’ve decided to post a little step-by-step.  I probably should have posted something like this awhile ago, as I’m sure it would have saved myself and others a lot of time, but better late than never I guess.

So…if you are a member of the Alliance and want to use the code (which is nothing more than a package of links to members’ ping pages) for politically-themed posts, the easiest way is to do the following…

First, you’ll notice that my sidebar contains the latest code (yes, I am in charge of the code; I am the General, after all LOL)….COPY IT.  It’s usually easier to do this from another window, so I always open another one when I want to do this.

Second, PASTE the code at the bottom of your post, making sure that you are in “Visual” mode when you do this.

The code will look like this: Political Blogger Alliance

Scroll your cursor over each letter, and you’ll notice that each one represents a link to an Alliance member’s blog.   Click on a letter, and it will take you to that member’s ping page, and display a chronological history of the pings they’ve received in the comments section.  For example, if you click on the “W“, it will take you to my page, and you’ll see that I’ve collected hundreds of them since the code was originally conceived.  All those pingbacks contain links to posts by members of the Alliance.

The idea behind all this is that when you post the code, it notifies those members of your post (as it will show up in the comments section of their ping page, as well as on their wordpress dashboard).

I should also note that, in theory, this should work like a charm, and every member should get a ping.  In practice, however, I’ve noticed that it’s actually quite rare that everyone gets the ping. This is for reasons that neither myself nor the people have been able to figure out, but I still use it because I figure that some is better than none, and it takes only a few seconds to add this to your post.   I have discovered, however, that the more times that you “edit” and “save” your post once the code has been entered, the more it seems that pings tend to go out.  This may be because the system attempts to “re-send” the ping each time one saves, but I’m not sure.

You may also notice that there is only one letter that is left unused, so I may take the time to kick out some members whose blogs are demonstrably dormant, or members who have deleted their ping page.


Broadcast The Chamber

February 27, 2008

I figured that I’d have to get around to this eventually….

Introducing the Chamber’s very own YouTube Channel!

It was a long time coming, really.  For years, I’ve had this Sony digital camcorder sitting dormant in the closet, and it wasn’t until I finally got around to purchasing a new firewire-equipped laptop that I was able to fully utilize the technology that makes it possible to actually broadcast my silliness to the world. 

I thought I’d start out with a simple test video, using my dog (Indy) as the unwitting star here on my blog.  As I get used to how this thing works, I’m sure I’ll move on to bigger and better things, but for now….baby steps.

Isn’t technology grand?

Anyway, I was entertaining the idea of having a weekly “rant” or perhaps just my take on current events.  It’s a work in progress, I know, so for now I’ll just be satisfied that the thing actually works (pretty smoothly, I might add).


Finally, A Comments Policy

February 15, 2008

Last night I took a some time and did what many bloggers tend to do early on, namely drafting a policy page (of sorts):

Code Of The Chamber

The rules are pretty lax around here, but I thought that I might as well put something up that clearly states what visitors can expect from me, and why things are what they are here in the Chamber.  The link is now prominently displayed in the sidebar.


Header No. 16

February 10, 2008

For the past year, I’ve had a set rotation for the 15 original headers I whipped up for the Chamber*.  Every Sunday I put the next one up, but tonight I got a bit of an itch and decided to make number 16 (if you’re really curious, this was actually squeezed between #12 and #13, but we’re not going to get too technical, OK?). 


I was careful to use the same format, and this image is creatively cropped and altered with my pathetic photoshop program using that series of pictures taken at a shaolin temple. 

*I did use a special Christmas header for a day or two.


Magic Uprights

January 31, 2008

Whether it involves changing the rules midstream to provide oneself a “hit” or your opponent a “miss”, this emblem is attached to a Chamber comment that “moves the goal posts” in a debate.

For a generic example:

Netizen A claims X is true.  Netizen B claims X is false.  When confronted with overwhelming evidence that supports Netizen A’s argument, Netizen B insists X doesn’t matter because of Y.  (argument might then shift to debate validity of Y)