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OK. Here’s some chit chat. I think you need to define what is chit chat a little more. For example, if my comment includes a query or answer to a clue, and in the same comment I mention, say, the weather, will the whole comment be **CENSORED**?
Personally I enjoy a bit of banter amonst the commenters (commentators?) & will be very sorry to see it go. I would never have known there were other Brisbanites or Aussies if it weren’t for somewhat extraneous remarks. If it all becomes stiff & formal – which seems to be the way it will go – then that’s it for me. And that’s my say on the matter.
But then … before all the tosh began to appear, the Guardian thread – on this site at least – was thriving.
Ergo, if the person or persons (yeah, sure) responsible for trashing it (a personal opinion, I should like to make clear) of late decide(s) to leave, why on Earth would anyone with a genuine interest in super-brilliant crossword puzzles be the slightest bit sorry?
Pardon me for the extraneity by the way, but on this occasion I rather think it’s in the right place.
We don’t want this site to become ‘stiff and formal’ as you put it but we do want it to keep on topic. The occasional aside, if it doesn’t distract from the discussion, is no problem but why do you want to discuss the weather in a crossword forum?
I understand your viewpoint. We are trying to do something about it. Please give us a little time. Hopefully the measures we have put in place will restore the Guardian threads to their former glory.
I have been a lurker here for quite some time and this is my first post. All I do is to check the answers for clues that I have not been able to get or to see the explanation for any solution that I have not been able to break down. Here there is great tolerance and friendliness no matter who the person is or from where. Not only to non-UK resident people but even non-UKwallahs.
Recently I had to wade through some messages before I came upon what I was looking for.
If any visitor to any forum like this reads the messages for a week or so they will know the tone and tenor. Then they would do well to adhere to the general trend rather than you know what.
All these days wasn’t this message board working so well without a “chatmeister”?
Paul B has made several mentions of trolling, including a reference to someone using 7 IDs, which curiously haven’t attracted much attention. Presumably this suspicion has been born out by someone checking the origin of comments, so might that partly account for why these measures have been taken?
Brisbane wants to rule the world of Cryptic blogging … as if …
I work full-time and cryptics are my personal thing (Who the heck has time for dumibng down this site) .. I don’t know another person who does puzzles at all, hence asking Brisbbella to contact me direct.
I hope Brisbella takes umbrage as well, if you haven’t chased her off.
I apologise that I may have ‘trashed’ “your” site, but I like to be a bit silly and have fun… that does not mean I am not intersted in the intellectual side…. But a conspracy …pleeeeease !!!!!
OK… maybe we should all put down the fists full of mud try to calm ourselves. Surely we should all be happy now that the site provides the best of both worlds. FYI weather here in Liverpool is grey but at least mild.
Neildubya, appreciate your attempts to make everyone happy but the core issue remains: namely that a blog is not a chatroom. Those reading the blog posts and comments via the RSS feed still get the whole lot in their inbox.
The only solution I can think of that would truly accommodate all tastes would be to re-cast fifteensquared as a bulletin board, but I don’t know if that would be either viable or desirable.
Could I remind people that until very recently the dilemma did not exist. Hence suspicion.
In the event that recent new IDs are genuine, but simply don’t like talking about crosswords all that much on this specialist talkboard, then (if we really want to accommodate people who don’t appear very interested) of course it is about keeping everyone happy.
But if the problem is indeed a troll, then in trying to facilitate his stay we are solving nothing. He luxuriates in all this attention of course, as we jump about to his maniacal tune.
Smutchin: what exactly do you mean by bulletin board? Simply posts where comments aren’t allowed or some other structure? My knowledge of BB is limited to the old dial-up systems pre-Internet (well, pre easily accessible Internet.)
More generally: I used to blog daily puzzles on the Guardian and Independent strands. I now only blog the EV and the Inquisitor. As a blogger I get an email for each comment made. This is useful as it means I can respond to queries, particularly if I’ve made an error or omitted something. If I was to get 30, 50 or even 80 emails I think I’d end up filtering them to junk, which would be a shame as some of the comments might deserve a reply.
Brisbanegirl: Well, the weather here (Edinburgh) seemed very pleasant earlier
Colin Blackburn (#20): on the days when I get over 50 fifteensquared emails a day, I’m normally reloading the page fairly frequently anyway, but it’s nice to get the email notification when there’s been a lull and someone posts something extra.
Actually, I’ve only just noticed that there are per-post RSS feeds (linked to from the “This entry was posted” box) which would be useful for following posts where I wasn’t the original poster. (I’ve tried following the RSS feed for all comments on fifteensquared, but it’s just too much to cope with.)
Good morning Brisbane girl.Weather in London,dull.Paul B’s comment 16 .I think anyone ,like myself,new to this site over the last 6-8 weeks would have found a place where a bit of chat here and there was the normal way of things and joined in.So maybe thats where your suspect IDs are coming from.
Colin: crikey, you’ve been online a long time! The kind of thing I’m thinking of is only distantly related to the original meaning of the term “bulletin board” – more an online forum. The Crossword Centre has its message board, obviously, but that’s a bit rudimentary. Something using phpbb would be ideal, if anyone felt inclined to set up and manage such a thing.
There’s certainly room in the online world for a community for crossword enthusiasts but I don’t think fifteensquared can fulfil that function simply because it’s a blog, not a forum.
Personally, I think the blog format works for fifteensquared but I might be interested in joining a crossword chat forum if there were something a bit more sophisticated on offer than the Crossword Centre message board.
I should add that I actually rather like the Crossword Centre message board but I’ve barely dipped a toe in there contributions-wise and mostly watch from the sidelines. A phpbb type format would make it easier for newcomers to get involved, and allow for more off-topic chat.
No, Brisbanegirl. I’m still lurking around & chortling at the furore kicked up by this new turn of events. Yum yum, I love a good conspiracy theory. From henceforth I will drop the Bris part and just be Bella & in time “they” will forget I’m a colonial. And Paul B, I assure you there is only one of me. I can direct you to my website & photo if you doubt. I’m ancient but still glam.
#9 I have never understood why the Guardian insists on full name and addresses etc when you email a letter to the letter page, but is quite happy publishing stuff with no provenance from websites, bulletin boards and the like. I have always felt that if a person wished to comment then full names (with the occasional name withheld, for good reasons) should be used. So, couldn’t you insist on full names on this site?
Your previous post offered nothing constructive and did not appear to be a rational or serious comment.
Unless my memory is wrong, this was your first post here and it was aggressive in its tone, as is your second post. Do you wish to contribute positively to this forum or are you here just to make trouble. If the latter then I’m sorry but all your posts will be deleted.
If you’re saying that Dave E is Gauldrey Guy, it doesn’t surprise me. I recognise a trolling style in what’s happening here, and if you want rid of it the current strategy is not enough. If you want rid of it.
Some people may have changed what they say to accommodate the new guidelines, but for me the quality of their comment in G remains at an abysmally low level. Other remarks are intelligent and worthy of the blog, as Colin points out.
So far I’ve been called an idiot, troll (I didn’t know the internet definition before tonight), attention seeking and having an abysmally low level of comment.
It’s a wonder I came back .. altho I suspect the intent was that I didn’t.
What I don’t understand, is why this issue could not have been dealt with more subtly … I was never chastised at any point and now there’s a big issue … never mind, this is where we find ourselves.
On another tack … perhaps the more experienced solvers could take some of the us wayward tyros under their wings to encourage and mentor us in the craft … I would have thought that more helpful than accusations and ridicule.
BTW, weather is muggy but not too hot … we had a half-hearted storm this evening which only made it muggier (more humid).
Eileen – take out all the nonsense about trains going up and down and see how many comments are left in that Boatman blog… It’s a well-worn subject and doesn’t need to be rehashed ad nauseam every time a setter dares to use “up” in that way in a clue. Too tedious.
Re your comment #34. I agree that the topic of associating ‘up’ and London has been discussed before, and would be better off in the General Crossword Discussion page rather than in a puzzle-specific blog, but there was some relevance to the puzzle in question which is why I left the comments but asked that the topic be debated no further.
Re your comment #35 – “I was never chastised at any point”
Several people posted comments about the amount of off-topic clutter in the Guardian thread, and those who created this clutter knew who they were, so there should have been no need for any individual ‘chastisement’.
Hopefully we can now move on from this issue and get back to the enjoyment of puzzles.
Re your comment #38. I agree that there has been significant debate about the issue of ‘up’ and London on several occasions and to long-standing visitors this may have become tedious. But what about those visitors who have only just become aware of this site? They will not have seen the discussion before and may well have learned something new.
As it is common to a lot of puzzles, any further debate should be in the General Crossword Discussion page.
In my defence … I imagine I’ve been well tucked up in bed when those comments have happened, I don’t generally get back to them the next day and don’t have time to look over previous blogs. I will make it my homework on the weekend to look back.
Bella – as chatmeister commented, London=up is a well-known crossword convention and like it or not, that’s all there is to it. A tyro unfamiliar with the convention asking a question and getting an explanation is fine (as with the discussion of “saw” in the same blog) but people getting on hobby horses is usually just tiresome.
Chatmeister – ships that pass in the blog comments… I Hope my last comment addresses your question, which you posted while I was typing. I’ve benefited from having many questions answered here, many of them relating to common crossword conventions, and I’m always grateful for the good-humoured way they are answered by people who have probably answered the same question many times over.
Smutchin #23: Ah, you mean a forum or message-board format: subjects, threaded replies, etc.
Of course there is such a thing already: Usenet. Web-based forums have hidden Usenet from lots of people either by providing an alternative of by providing a front-end such that they don’t realise it isn’t web forum. The group rec.puzzle.crosswords is the corner of Usenet where crosswords, cryptic and otherwise, are discussed. They have several cluing competitions too for those who fancy writing the odd clue.
The Crossword Centre’s message-board has become quite specialised over its lifetime. Most of the discussion centres around the Listener Crossword through other crosswords are discussed and there is plenty of off-topic banter.
It might be interesting if something like phpbb could be shoe-horned in to fifteensqaured (WordPress is php-based and there probably is a thirdy-party plugin available.) If only to provide some structure. But, whether yet another crossword forum is needed is another question.
It’s a shame that suddenly there are all these rather broad accusations of triviality, trolling, etc. flying around. Incidentally, I haven’t seen any evidence that there is widespread sock-puppetry going on in the comments of any of my posts.
It’s certainly a positive idea to have these extra comment threads for off-topic discussion (and to keep the puzzle comments rather more focussed on the clues) but I’m a bit worried that this seems to have created a less polite and welcoming environment for newcomers. I hope this will settle down again. Monica M: don’t be put off by all of this! I wouldn’t assume those remarks were aimed at you, but in any case (I hope!) comments on puzzles that are interesting and on-topic are always going to be welcome.
Well, I’m sorry to say I’m going to take a spectator’s seat from now on and just use Fifteensquared as the great reference source it remains, chit chat or no. But I don’t think I’ll be taking part. I’m nervous about living up to other people’s expectations of the quality of my posts and whether they’re worthy or not. Sincere apologies if any of my previous posts have contained irrelevant content.
1. People are generaly kind and generous with their knowledge.
2. I learn something new every day
3. Bloggers come from every walk of life
4. Bloggers are from most age groups (no gen Y yet?)
5. I,m not so arrogant I can’t change my ways
6. I have a very thick hide
7. I like to be intellectually stimulated
8. I like to have fun
Thanks for saying so. I wasn’t specifically singling out that comment, although I agree there are some similarities in my wording . If there’s one surefire way of alienating people from an online group it’s to make them feel inadequate and inferior and it’s something I cannot abide (maybe it’s why I take The Guardian?! Oh, hang on, I don’t. I just print off the crossword . . .)
Truth be told I have just won a new commission to make a series of films so I will be a busy boy for the next few months and may be pressed to do the crossword, let alone participate in a forum. Off to Milan next week, then sunny Estonia. Then Bracknell. Coo . . .
But I shall leave with the fun piece of news that I have just had my first crossword published by a third party : http://www.alberichcrosswords.com/ . It’s the themed one that I know a couple of people here have already tried. Smutch, you should send one in to Alberich – there are some crackers in the Guest Puzzles section and yours would make a fine addition. Congrats on your website btw. Looks great.
Re your comment #33 – “Some people may have changed what they say to accommodate the new guidelines, but for me the quality of their comment in G remains at an abysmally low level. Other remarks are intelligent and worthy of the blog …..”
This is only your opinion and does not reflect site policy.
This site attracts newcomers to crosswords as well as experienced solvers and it is completely unreasonable to belittle the former just because they ask a question, or make comment, that seems naive or unintelligent to you.
As I said to Ian, all comments are welcome, from people of whatever level of expertise, provided they are on-topic and relevant to that particular puzzle.
Please do not denigrate other posters just because their comments do not come up to your erudite standards.
Thanks, Ian – presumably that’s Alberich of the FT, and I like his stuff, so I may well submit something. First glance at the site suggests there’s plenty worth looking at there – I’m sure your work will fit in nicely.
Good luck with the filming, and I hope we see your name on the fifteensquared comments again soon.
I have assumed it’s *the* Alberich but he’s modest enough not to mention it anywhere. The guidance on correct clueing is wonderful and when I submitted my puzzle he was kind enough to take time to point out a number of issues and in one case to request I write a new clue (which is a FAR better one, I should add!). He won’t make the changes himself as he wants it to be the compiler’s own work. A very useful resource and an honour to have been published on it!
Thanks for your kind words. I’m sure I won’t be able to keep away for long . . .
Chatmeister, that is NOT what I meant, as you very well know. I said:
“Some people may have changed what they say to accommodate the new guidelines, but for me the quality of their comment in G remains at an abysmally low level.”
Is it somehow unclear who I’m referring to? It’s my opinion – not the site’s, unfortunately – that 15/2 is being trolled by a very clever but seriously twisted guy who, through necessity, knows a great deal about the technology that can hide his identity and posting source.
Some people who’ve moaned about my remarks may be real, (if you are, sorry) but I’m not convinced in the slightest. So I’m sticking to my guns. A few weeks ago we had no problems at all. But now, in my view we’ve got a pathological spoiler who wants to wreck this site for everyone that uses it – including genuine newbies.
If you want to take issue with me about it, or discuss what I know more fully, then surfcake at tiscali dot co dot uk.
Re #58: from Wikipedia : “A CONCERN TROLL is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user’s sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group”.
I suppose we ALL need to be a little careful of appearing too upset about the matter in hand, don’t we . . .?
Your audience here (not as big as you imagine) might almost buy the above if it weren’t for the fact that (a) I’m not using a pseudonym, and (b) I’ve been around for years posting as normally as people tend to, when they’re not being trolled, around these parts.
Chatmeister, #54,I’m glad you brought this up, but shouldn’t we also mention #12.Its easy to assume that we’re all adults here and that cos this is a crossword site everyone has the same ability to express themselves clearly .To some young people ,or people with learning difficulties such comments could offend and alienate.I liked the friendly feel of this site but when people start writing things like “low level and “idiots” it borders on aggression.
Apart from that I’m quite enjoying the chat so far.Well done.
Thanks again Andy … oh, not again. I mean Steven, don’t I.
I’ll enjoy looking at the puzzle by Mad – that’s you, isn’t it? – over at Neil Shepherd’s site, where I’ll be able to compare it for style with the offerings still on show, after all these years, from your friends Slovany and Polvo.
Goodness gracious me. Now I’m a troll. Sorry to disappoint you Paul B (what’s the B for – bloody minded?) but Bella (formerly Brisbella) is a real person though I have to admit Bella is one of my nicknames, a whimsical tendency in my family so that no one was called by their real names, e.g. Aunt Doris was Bonnie – the beauty of the family. Wanna see what I look like – http://www.doghousestudio.com.au Bottom of the page there, I am. Not much like a troll, eh. And my fellow Brisbane-ite, Monica is real too. Oh, and it is very hot already & about to rain here in Brisbane at 7:43 am.
I look forward to being publicly and unreservedly declared innocent.
Trolling, indeed! A mysterious and malicious technical wizard who can create multiple ID’s, upset everyone, and bathe in the glory of the attention – on a site that (refreshingly) doesn’t require you to register? Piffle! A conspiracy to bring down fifteensquared from down under? Tish and tosh! I thought it was amusing at first, then was annoyed at a few elitist comments and wanted to part company. Now I am speechless that it’s apparently me and my multiple personalities that are at the bottom of it! Utter claptrap!
Much as I think this is an absolutely excellent site – one of the best finds in years for me – I reckon if you count the total number of contributors, multiple pseudonyms or not, there just would not be a large enough audience for a twisted mastermind to make it worth his/her while, surely! But more to the point, WHY on earth would anyone – demented or not – want to do that? To what end? To lord it over an audience of people who like to do crosswords? Please!
There’s nothing to investigate here, other than some toy-throwing because some new posters, me included, (and me), don’t forget me, (or me,)didn’t know or fully understand the rules. Take a look back at the last few months posts and see how many of the established posters are ‘guilty’ of straying from acceptable comment on numerous occasions. Now we all know and hopefully understand and, look!, we have a cosy chatroom to do this kind of thing in. Surely that’s an end to it?
Having said all that, if anyone does unearth the troll, be sure to tell us who it is, eh?! It’s the most excitement I’ve had since tea.
Your viewpoint is well understood. Steps have been taken to prevent a further re-occurrence of this event. Please do not judge this site by the activities of one particular contributor who seems to have a personal agenda.
Testy & Chatmeister; (#72,#73),weather its trolling,paranoia or a big misunderstanding, some comments are inappropriate and should not get through.Accusing people who are new to this site of being someone else, simply cos they are new to this site ,is prejudice.
Of course not, Chatmeister – and apologies if I’ve dragged it out by participating. It’s just that it seems people may be on the verge of buying into the mystery multi-monickered man/woman theory and I SO want to continue to be a part of this terrific group (of which soon I shall be Master, mwah ha haaaaa)
Paul B has made my day – he checked our website, saw my photo and then PHONED me from the UK to see if I was real. I would have loved to tell him the whole site was bogus and just there to fool him but commonsense prevailed. I accept his apology wholeheartedly (but he’s still bloody-minded and admits to it). But aren’t we all having fun!
I rang Australia, and … a designer at a recording studio in Brisbane answered and confirmed that she is indeed ‘Bella’, as represented on this site. So I’m completely and utterly wrong. And that would mean there’s a fair chance I’m wrong about everybody else.
Sorry. I really thought we were going to lose the site under the weight of all the extraneous comments, and I wasn’t happy about it at all. I won’t mention it again.
Well I’m glad that we seem to have come to some sort of armistice on this. Perhaps to avoid putting off potential new contributers, we ought to clear out the General ChitChat thread and start with a clean slate.