Posts tagged with Behind The Scenes

Comings and goings here at

I'm very excited today to introduce you to Alex Parker, our new digital editor here at

Alex will replace Whitney Mathews, who you'll all remember left and The World Company just before July 4 this year. It's taken us a little longer than we would have liked to replace Whitney, but it was important to us to have the right fit. Alex is the right fit.

Some of you may recognize Alex's names from his previous time at the World Company. He was our education reporter — coincidentally one of his clearest memories is reporting on the USD 497 decision to build new stadiums at its high schools — and then a reporter and web producer for our websites. One of the works I'll most remember from his time here was the multimedia story he did on a Fort Riley unit's preparation to deploy to Iraq.

Alex left us in 2009 and has worked for the Chi-Town-Daily News and the Chicago Reader before returning to Lawrence just this week. I'm really excited to be putting the community in his hands.

With in good hands, I feel like it's an appropriate time to announce news of my own. A few weeks ago, I let The World Company know I'd be leaving to take a new role at Public Radio International in Minneapolis, Minn. My last day is next Tuesday.

I've spent the past five years working here — and I've lived here for more than eight — and I cannot tell you all how thankful I am for all of the support and wisdom I've gained from working with the community here — both virtually on and our other websites as well as in person in Lawrence. Leaving will be bittersweet for me; I'm sad to leave my friends and colleagues in Lawrence, as well as the community we have here, but I'm excited for the new opportunity.

So, thanks again, for being a fantastic community. And don't be surprised if you still see me lurking in the comments occasionally. There's a great community here and I just don't want to totally get away.



Yes, we have a spam filter and yes, sometimes it catches your non-spam comments

A few months ago, you may have noticed a rash of spam being posted to our comments.

It looked something like this:

===== =====

Air jordan(1-24)shoes $33
Handbags(Coach l v f e n d i d&g) $35
Tshirts (ed hardy,lacoste) $16
Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30
Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,A r m a i n i) $16
New era cap $15
Bikini (Ed hardy,) $25

===== =====

We removed those comments as fast as we could, but unfortunately they came faster than we could ever get them. So, we implemented a technological fix that prevented those comments from ever being posted. That fix is known as Akismet.

It's a simple web service that allows websites to run their comments past the akismet algorithm, which determines whether a comment is spam.

Since we implemented akismet filtering of our comments in April, nearly 4300 comments have been marked as spam and intercepted. That means you all never see them and we don't have to chase them down and remove them.

But let's be honest: the algorithm isn't perfect. For instance, Agnostick and smitty have both had reasonable comments marked as spam and intercepted.

Trying the same post over and over again generally won't help. What you need to do is look at your comment and think about what would be tripping the filter.

For example, with Agnostick's comments, his signature with an e-mail address likely gave a very high spam score. With smitty, it was the use of odd symbols and odd spacing, behavior not normally seen in human posters but often seen from spammers, that caused the spam filter to mark the comments as spam.

Another common trigger is a comment that is almost exclusively a link. Put some normal text with your link, and it likely will go through just fine.

The great thing about Akismet is that it's always getting smarter. While it may mismark your comment now, in a few weeks it may know that your comment is fine. On the flip side, a comment that went through before may be blocked the next time, because it's similar to a new spam technique.

Have some patience and do let us know if you run into the filter catching something that just doesn't make sense at all.