Fight Aging! Finally Exports a Comments Feed

There is no doubt a special circle of hell reserved for an individual who allows twelve years or more to lapse before adding a comments feed to his or her blog. I imagine that Dante would find a lot to say about the sins of our modern technological society, were he alive to be given the chance, but I've never claimed that things move rapidly around here. It took me five years of talking about it to get to the one and only redesign in the history of this site, for example.

This update is fairly simple and prosaic. Individual comments now have anchors within a page, and are directly linked in the feed. Many of you have by now worked out that comments allow a little HTML for formatting, such as italics and bold elements, and automatically convert pasted URLs into links. That HTML will transfer through into the feed. You'll find the new comments feed at the following URL:

https://www.fightaging.org/comments.xml

The new feed is also mentioned in the help page for Fight Aging! feeds. I should say that this feed is really just a stopgap for now to make life easier for people who like to keep up with conversations here. I know you that all have far better things to spend your time on than speculatively reloading posts here to see if anything new has arrived, but that was pretty much the only option. You do still have to set up a feed monitor or reader to keep tabs on the situation if you are participating: it does require a little work on your part to keep up, but this is still an improvement over the recent past.

In the future I am planning to move Fight Aging! from its present aging and unsupported platform to a standalone WordPress deployment, but the timing of this depends upon my finding the necessary free time to devote to the project. A start has been made, a lot of the fiddly setup and deployment issues completed. Given the more than ten years of increasingly baroque additions and customization to the present Fight Aging! platform, I have to say that it isn't a straightforward migration at the application level, however. It will be worth it once done. When set up in WordPress I will have a lot more latitude to add all sorts of useful features, such as subscription to comment threads, better presentation of recent comments on the site, and other items that would be quite painful to attempt today.

It looks increasingly likely that the WordPress migration will not happen prior to this year's Fight Aging! fundraiser for SENS research programs, given that the first phase of the fundraiser will be underway in a matter of a few weeks from now. While the fundraiser is going on I will have higher priority items to tackle than the migration; while a comment feed is a poor substitute to be going on with for the moment, it is considerably better than the nothing that was in place prior to today.

Comments

Thanks! This was a much needed feature.

Posted by: Antonio at May 20th, 2015 4:07 AM

I would suggest a social media presence is perhaps an idea to consider? A lot of the more succesful advocacy groups eg, Maria Konovalenko have very strong social media presence and use it well. She raised over $12k for her Longevity cookbook fund raiser in just five days. Social networking is the key to advocacy and spreading the word and its there for free for us to exploit.

SENS has a page on Facebook too though it is hardly a hotbed of activity and debate which tbh I would have hoped it would be. There are large groups in the thousands like Transhuman and biotech interest groups, all of which could involved through the power of social media.

Have you considered combining your site with a social media function Reason?

Posted by: Steve H at May 20th, 2015 4:53 AM

The comment feed is much appreciated. I would not be particularly enthusiastic for more radical changes. Fight Aging! is a very useful information resource and topical news aggregator but "social media" integration would come at the expense of its signal/noise ratio.

Posted by: José at May 20th, 2015 8:11 AM

I don't use social media, so full social media integration (like converting it into a FB page) would prevent me from commenting.

Posted by: Antonio at May 20th, 2015 8:33 AM

As much as I dislike WordPress (mostly due to the nature of the sites that use it; it's pretty much the go-to solution for every cookie-cutter SEO blog produced by someone making money by writing articles on things he knows nothing about), it has features that FA! doesn't. The one I'm missing most is a time-based archive browser.

It is possible to "integrate" social media without letting it dominate your site. There's commenting solutions that allow people to comment with their social media accounts, OpenID, or by putting in whatever username they want. (I don't use social media either.)

Posted by: Slicer at May 20th, 2015 10:29 AM

Yes When i mentioned Social Media I meant the level of integration Slicer is talking about where one can use FB to comment and perhaps feed your stories to a FB page but disable commenting on that page to encourage commenting here via FB log in. It can be done and leaves this excellent resource intact whilst increasing interest and boosting the signal for SENS.

Posted by: Steve H at May 20th, 2015 11:48 AM

Thank you very much for the feed Reason!
Now I no longer need to wait a month to read your articles in the hope to catch most reader comments. I can start to catch up now, become current and rely on my RSS feeder to notify my of new comments.
No more need for me to live in the past :-)

Me too, I'm not a social media user and would hate to see FightAging! disappear behind thick walls of the typical social media control. I realize though that that's probably where most prospect readers are. Maybe keep this site, or your planned new WordPress site, as the base and have some sort of referencing system in the diverse social media worlds point here?

I love this site the way it is but just like Slicer, I think it would be great to see some sort of archive browser functionality added.
Maybe it's there already. Maybe you already added it ... I'm still a month behind on my reading. I have some catching up to do over the weekend :-)

Posted by: Jo Creyf at June 17th, 2015 1:17 PM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.