Tuesday, January 19, 2010

They’re back! The Comments Have Returned! They Want Attention and Company!

The comments, who were orphaned from their parent posts, the ones who moved to this blog from their previous postings by me elsewhere, are now back! Their parent posts look much happier about it, and I certainly am happy about it too. I was the one who knew where the comments were, and was responsible for reuniting them with their posts, which now appear here before the Welcome to Chez Chiara one. It took me some thought about how to do that both ethically and technically, and some prompting from regular commentator Add, who again recently delicately asked about their health and lamented their absence from the blogosphere.

He was right of course, in that the comments provide a great deal of information, support, examples, counterarguments and stories. They are also good for comic relief at times. Most important they provide a community of commentators whom anyone is free to join. Some regular commentators have found their way here, while others are still missing, but hopefully will be back before long.

Ethically, I was concerned that the comments appear as they did originally to respect the efforts of their authors and the spirit of the exchanges. For that reason I rejected my initial ideas of providing a summary with or without commentators’ names, or only publishing certain ones (how to choose!?). I also decided that the comments were attached to the posts themselves, rather than the blog where they originally appeared, so some have been very lightly edited to reflect that. Otherwise all the comments appear as they were originally left, on the post they addressed, and in sequence.

In terms of the technical side of things, I realized that the only way these comments would be reunited with their posts was for me to put them in manually, including the old time and date stamp, and the new one as they were posted. Alas, I, who spent the better part of a year using the Name/URL option, some how forgot that I could ethically put in the original commentator’s name rather than my own, so the first half of the posts (the ones on Celebrations, and Royal Saudi/non-Saudi marriages) have my linked name and avatar on my comments; and, a shadowy Blogger avatar and my name in black on the comments I copy pasted in for others. Within the latter are the original comment with the original commentator’s name “XYZ said…”, and the original time stamp before the new one.

The other half of the posts, the Personal Stories, and the Blogging and Ethics ones, have my comments in my usual format with the original date and time stamp before the new one; and, those of the original commentators have “XYZ said…”, their comment, and the older date and time stamp, before the new time stamp.

On the posts where there were new comments left after they were posted here, the old ones follow on immediately. This is not overly confusing, and occurs rarely. In fact most comments flow on from whatever is first on the thread.

Regarding commenting now, in general, anyone may comment on any post new or old. Disagreement and corrections are welcome, as long as a respectful tone is maintained. Personal attacks, including discrediting anyone’s right to comment on a post are not welcome. Needless to say vulgarity is not appreciated, as is any form of hate speech against any individual or group. These cautionary notes are in the hypothetical, as so far all comments have been very appropriate, and I haven’t had to reject any!

I will be keeping moderation on for the time being, as I think it helps preserve a civil tone on the blog, and prevents spam. Right now I am able to approve comments fast enough that I don’t think opportunities for dialogue are hampered. That may change, and if so, I would try having moderation off, and just the word identification for the spammers.


The maximum length of a comment is set by Blogger (by stroke count not word count) so if you feel your comment needs to go over, then submit part of it with “cont’d…” at the bottom and the rest with “…cont’d” at the top, or something similar so readers can follow along.


 As others know, I love to link, and think a discussion is improved by providing the original sources for others to view, when appropriate. When providing information and resources for others, links are even more significant. Links to relevant pics and videos enhance comments as well. Some of these are also humorous!

Spam sketch from Monty Python

Although it is easy to embed a video in the comments, by copy pasting the embed html from the video's entry, I am trying to find a way to have the internet (http) hyperlink embed in the comments. Any suggestions would be appreciated!*

*Umm Abdullah, who is a web designer as well as being the Nomadic Gourmet, the wife of Abu Abdullah and the mother of  Baby Ameena, offered the following tutorial to me after an email request, which I wanted to share with anyone interested:

To hyperlink something in a comment:

< a href="http://www.url-that-you-want-hyperlinked.com">word or words that you would like your readers to click< / a >
[with no space at the beginning between "< and a" or at the end between "< and / and a and >" which was done here to show the hyperlink html code rather than have it automatically link]

example: < a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMQbUajiIv4&feature=channel">BBC documentary about how Indians made it to the Caribbean- Coolies: How The British Reinvented Slavery< / a >
[with no space at the beginning between "< and a" or at the end between "< and / and a and >" which was done here to show the hyperlink html code rather than have it automatically link]

The Blogger commenting format does allow for manual insertion of the html codes around a word or words for italics < i > < / i >, bolding < b > < / b >, and underlining < u > < / u >. Just use the html codes given here, on either side of the text you want to alter, without the spaces between the characters.

I do think the Anonymous option is valuable. However, it would be nice to be able to follow a given Anonymous’ contributions so feel free to invent a blogonym that hides your identity as much as you feel comfortable with. The Name/URL option is one way to do this, as no URL is required. So invent a name and put it into that option if you don’t want to link to your site, or your own profile. You may also create a name and profile for Blogger which has no information linked to it or visible.

Except for one complaint recently, everyone seems to have found that the commenting format used currently accepts their comments with a minimum of fuss. If there is a problem, please copy your comment and then paste it back in, and try again. Also, if it is not meant to be, and the commenting jinn just won’t let it happen, or prefers to eat it, send it to me by email, and I will put it in under your name. Let me know in a comment or an email if there are problems with the commenting jinn! (email chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com)

If you want your name and email/URL to pop up each time you comment without you having to type it in, use the Google Account option, or one of those other account type options. You may also get your own free avatar easily at www.gravatar.com.

I have added a Google Translate function to the side bar for those who might wish to double check a meaning, or read the post in a different language. Google is better at translating some languages than others, and at some sentence structures and vocabulary than others. Back translating, ie putting the translation given back in to be translated to the original language, is one way to check the accuracy of the translation. The same technique is good for those commenting in English whose first language is not English.

Another tip, if you are uncertain about your English, is to compose your comment first in a Word or Google document and use the spelling and grammar checking functions there, before copy pasting your comment into the comments on the post. No worries, though, comment as you feel comfortable. There are no points off for grammar, spelling, or typos (thank goodness!).

Do have a look at the posts prior to the Welcome to Chez Chiara one, or those in a specific category or by word search that interest you, and update yourself with what was written addressing them when they originally appeared (all within the last 6 months).

Particularly good collections of comments on the earlier posts are: Blogging and Ethics Parts I, and II; The Marriage Permission Process: Is Either of You Non-Saudi?, and the Update; From the International Ummah to Married in Saudi Parts I, and II; Royal Saudi/non-Saudi Marriages and Their Families: Part III Prince AlWaleed and Part IV Prince Khalid; Saudi Arabia and Hajj; Ramadan and the Mixed Couple/Family; (Auto-) biography of a Saudi Fraud: “Non-Original” Saudis and Cultural Identity: Parts I, and II; Saudi/non-Saudi Students: Marriage and the Marriage Permission Process: Parts I, and II; Desis, Multiculturalism, Saudization and Marriage: Parts I, and II; Courtship Interrupted, Family Permission Denied: How do you mend a broken heart?; Flirting, Dating or Courtship? Learning to Appreciate Saudis.

However all the comments on all posts, older and new, are worth the read to supplement their posts. The original ones apologize if they have clogged anyone's Google Reader or other reader by deciding to act in solidarity, and manifest themselves all at one go. The comments very much enhance their respective posts and would enjoy the attention of being read again, and having new comments added to them.

Let the commenting on older and newer posts begin!

Any comments on the comments/commenting?
Any current problems with the commenting jinn?
Any suggestions on the ethics or technicalities of commenting here or in general?
Any other suggestions, comments, thoughts, experiences?


Qusay said...

U found him... u really did, the Jin of the blogs.... he looks very familiar... like the one in Aladdin, would it be "jinnist" if I said they all look the same to me :)

Congrats on getting your posts and comments united again, good job.

Susanne said...

Oh, thanks for letting us know to pronounce Chez Chiara! I just noticed it! :)

Glad your posts and comments are reunited!

Puça said...


Chiara said...

Qusay--Indeed! I am so glad to meet him in person! Not jinnist at all! An observation of fact, and a knowledge of the representation/ manifestation of jinns who are often blue-coloured as well (not that the is anything wrong with that ;) ). This one is particularly robust though, muscular, and friendly--very Disney-ish. But then again. I may be accused of flattery of jinns in the interest of keeping mine happy. See New Year's Resolutions Part I #4). LOL :)

Susanne--thank YOU for your email query and the inspiration. I do hope others find it down at the bottom of the page. It was messing up my side bar when I tried it there.

Puça--Gracias! Yes, I was so happy to put them in and to review all the wonderful comments from all the great commentators, like yourself, and Qusay and Susanne here. The poor posts looked so isolated without their comments! Glad to see things are letting up a little for you and you have a chance to comment more often in the next while.

Anonymous said...

I found your site when I googled West Arabia, after I finished Kamal Salibi's extraordinary book The Historicity of Biblical Israel. Very interesting site--will need more time to explore it.
You say you are a "daughter of the Book," meaning? Is that your cutesey way of saying you are Jewish?

Chiara said...

Anonymous--Welcome to my blog, and thank you for the kind words. "Daughter of the Book" is an accepted Islamic expression for women who are either Christian or Jewish, and therefore eligible to marry Muslim men. I am a baptized Roman Catholic, like most of Italian origin. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you will comment on newer and older posts.

Jafri said...

Warmest greeting from Singapore ....



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