Sunday, October 3, 2010

When Bad Things Happen to Blog Enthusiasts

As it happens, this was the week my faith in technology turned to agnosticism. Ximena and I had set our classes for an asynchronous online interaction: her students wrote summaries of "the allegory of the cave." My students would use a list provided by Ximena to evaluate these summaries. Ximena's students get feedback, my students get awareness of what a summary must include, and they all get to leave the limits of their classroom: win-win all over. Not so fast.

Half my students were able to post comments with no problem. For the other half, they would post a comment, see it posted, and when the page would reload the comment would not be there. Post again, and the same process was repeated. Those who had not saved to MS word learned the hard way to do so. But even those who had were frustrated, posting again and again to no avail.; I tried posting, then Ximena tried posting (she had posted comments before to these students' blogs), and at some point neither of us were able to. Finally when Ximena had students go over their accounts, she discovered that a new feature blogger added, the spam folder, was sending all these lost comments to the spam area and keeping them there. Now that her students have replied to mine, it will be my turn to introduce them to the spam folder next time we are in the lab.

Now I am curious as to how blogger chooses which comments were spam. Was it the fact that all comments had that list of criteria enumerated? That they had been copied and pasted? That they were posted around the same time? Who knows but blogger? It sure as hell was frustrating for all involved, I can tell you that. Next week we will spend some time discussing this in my class--my main irritation with what happened is that instead of discussing the actual experience of interacting with the students we will also have to discuss technology, although I must say that my students were annoyed but not as irritated as I was--probably because they have had more experience with a life where things you need (subways, electric power, what have you) do not work as opposed to me who is a more recent NYC transplant. More to come this week...

Labels I decided to leave out for this post but I feel were appropriate: dystopia, hate crimes (me against blogger designers)


  1. On the sunny side of things: our Blogger accounts now include a COMMENTS folder that lets the author(s) see all comments to the blog on one page--a great feature that liberates us from scrolling down and clicking on each post to see if there are new comments. :-)

  2. I always tell my students "Things will go wrong, it is just a matter of how we handle it."

  3. Thank you for this information. Steve and I were having similar problems but thought that we were doing something wrong.

  4. I will join you in your hate crimes brigade against technology, even if Im a p not a j.