Ace of Spades Blog Commenters Survival Guide
Ace of Spades blog has a marvelous community of commenters, and you are free to join in without any sign-up, and you may comment under any name you prefer. However, there are technical tricks and techniques that are handy, and sometimes necessary, to know, in order to fully enjoy the experience.
This guide is full of what I have discovered. There's probably more. If you know something I've overlooked, please let me know.
Revised 2015 Nov 6, see "info" box below post.
- Referencing comments
- Text enhancements
- Non-ASCII characters
- URLs (links)
- Amazon - Funding Ace
- The Port 1080 Glitch
- Don't Worry, Be Happy
Name and E-mail fields are required for commenting . Optionally, you may add a URL which will be linked from the name. Your name can be whatever you choose and you may change it any time. Your email ought to be consistent and valid (or so I presume).
If you add a URL, be sure it begins with "http://" or "https://" or other acceptable protocol. Without this, the blog will create a bogus URL that looks like a sub-page on Ace of Spades. [h/t Mama AJ] (I'm not sure what other protocols, if any, are acceptable.)
Note that if you have "cookies" active for the blog, these three fields, name, email, and URL, will be remembered for the next time you comment. So, if you change your name (a/k/a "sock") for a joke, the joke sock will stick. You must leave a new comment with your regular name to change it back. Without cookies, all fields are forgotten.
Note on Names: It is acceptable to use a different name than your usual, usually for a joke, but it is absolutely unacceptable to use another commenter's name. Pretending to be a public figure is a gray area, depending on who; nobody expects "Hillary Clinton" to comment on Ace of Spades, but others, well, you never know who might show up for real.
Comment numbers may change, if the Powers That Be invoke the infamous "Banhammer." If comment #123 is removed, then comment #124 becomes #123, and so on with subsequent comments. So, if you refer to a previous comment by number, it might be off by one or more. This is not as rare as one might hope, with the occasional infestation of trolls.
Some commenters use the name and time-stamp to refer back to a comment. While it is possible that a commenter left two comments within the same minute, this at least puts your reference in the ballpark.
A third, cumbersome, way to refer back is to copy and paste the actual permanent comment URL linked in the comment number. I say this is cumbersome because it's not clear which comment you're referencing just by reading, and they're kind-of long (but not too long, see URLs below).
My thinking is, the best way to reference comments is usually to simply include the commenter's name and a snippet of the comment itself. This allows for easy searching, and if you snip the bit to which you're replying, can make looking back unnecessary.
- Technical warnings
- DO NOT COMMENT on old posts. Your IP will be banned. How old? A few days? A week? No one knows!
- No message, URL, or signature may contain the word BLAZER.
- "How do I embed a picture or a video in a comment?" You can't.
- Content warnings
- Ace asks that you avoid profanity, especially the words f*ck and c*nt. The latter, especially. These are not, necessarily, bannable offenses, depending on which side of the hayloft Ace got up that morning. Be creative in your language; you'll look smarter anyway.
- Ace warns that personal attacks will be cause for permanent banning (for certain values of "permanent").
- Don't quote trolls! Troll comments may be deleted, but quoting them perpetuates their trash, and may end up with your own comment getting deleted. Best habit: Starve a troll. Don't even acknowledge their spew. [h/t Milady Webworker]
- If you read something and don't already know what it means, for Heaven's sake don't look it up!
Text enhancement option ("tags") are limited to four. Unlike regular HTML which uses a letter or word inside <angled-brackets>, Ace commenters must use a single character between [square brackets] to start an option. To close the option, use square brackets with a slash before the letter. [x]enhanced text[/x]
For x, substitute one of the following:
i - italics
b - boldface
u - underline
s - stikethrough
Be VERY sure to use the close-tag or you may be consigned to "the barrel." What's that? You don't want to know.
Anything else inside square brackets will be displayed normally, including the brackets.
As a rule, characters above the old ASCII set will not show up properly on comments pages, neither in the post nor in comments. ASCII is regular English alphabet, numerals, basic punctuation, and spaces. Anything else will show up as black diamonds or squares.
If you try to leave other characters, as often happens when cutting & pasting from other sources, you will encounter the infamous "500" error.
Note: For some people, ampersands ("&") are not available in blog comments. Since these substitute HTML codes require ampersands, if you can't use ampersands, you are out of luck on substituting codes.
You can see the characters instead of the black diamonds by changing the encoding on a page, but then any comments you leave will be rejected. In my experience.
Depending on your browser, URLs in comments will not be "active." It's not you. It's the blog. You must highlight, copy, and paste the link.
Some long URLs may not break across lines. Use TinyURL, Bitly, or some similar service for creating shortened substitute URLs. Otherwise the blog may be w-i-d-e-n-e-d and you may find yourself in the barrel.
By the way, longer YouTube URLs can always be shortened to the form
where the x's are the video code.
You cannot put YouTube links nor most TinyURL links in the link accompanying your name.
If you see a URL with three underscores ___ in it that seems to be a bad link, it's probably masking out the letters i m g. Copy and paste the URL, substitute the letters "img" & go.
A list of available happy, sad, and other faces available on Ace of Spades, and the codes to use them, can be found at http://smilies.mee.nu/.
Be aware that smilies may be posted unintentionally. For example, if you try to type an 8 followed by a close-parenthesis, you will get a grinning smiley. To avoid this you must leave a space between the two characters.
Amazon - Funding Ace
If you shop at Amazon.com, you can help fund Ace of Spades, without additional cost to yourself. Click on "The AoSHQ Amazon Store" link or use the Amazon search box on the top of the right column on the front page.
If you don't see "aoshq-20" in the URL of an Amazon page, Ace won't be getting paid. You can add that bit to an Amazon URL if you know what you're doing modifying the URL. This can be complicated, and is beyond the scope of this guide (translation: I don't want to explain all the various details). [h/t Mama AJ]
The Port 1080 Glitch
This is complicated:
Due to a long-ago server crash, comments on Ace of Spades were moved to addresses using port 1080. They look like this:
This was later corrected so that instead of minx.cc:1080, comments were on the domain acecomments.mu.nu, like this:
Not all the links have been changed. As of this writing (2015 Nov. 5), the link to comments from individual pages (posts, not on the front page), have not been changed. Some folks may have problems with the port 1080 form. Use the "comments" links from the front page, or manually re-type the URL.
The Blog Webmaster is "Pixy," an entity as mysterious as Ace himself. In case of serious problems with the blog, Pixy is the person to contact, not Ace.
Best way to contact me is
email@example.com.If I'm alive or not too seriously dead, it will reach me.
Posted by: Pixy and the Hamsters at October 27, 2015 02:02 AM (2yngH)
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Don't worry about all this until you run into a problem. Have fun and enjoy being one of the "Moron Horde" of Ace of Spades commenters.
All of these difficult tricks will be made moot when the blog software is revised in… #twoweeks. (Ha!)