How to fix the missing user names in the archive
As anyone who has looked at the archive knows, there are no user names. Which sucks.
This should be easy to solve, without putting undue burden on @Jack-Waugh. Most of the work necessary does not require any technical skill or knowledge of how the forum is implemented. It just needs people to compare this archive with the one at CES, figure out what people's numerical id's are, and post them here. We can then just make a simple way to feed that into the database. @Jack-Waugh will have to help with the last step, but it shouldn't be his responsibility to match up all the usernames with numerical ids.
My id is 81, and my old username is RobBrown. You can tell this (as well as getting a bunch of other name-to-number matches, for instance cfrank's is 116), by comparing these pages:
It might take a couple hours to do all (or at least most) of them. Even if you want to do just a few, it will be helpful, as long as you paste it into a message appended to the end of the existing list.
So here is my start of a list with 17 entries. (the last item is optional, and is the user's name at this forum). This took me less than 10 minutes, and probably covers well more than half the content since these are prolific users.
81,RobBrown,rob 116,cfrank 17,parker_friedland 51,Keith_Edmonds 49,BTernaryTau 61,Toby_Pereira 87,Essenzia 12,NoIRV 35,waugh,Jack-Waugh 30,Marylander 27,Nealmcb 19,Sara_Wolf 28,rkjoyce 47,AssetVotingAdvocacy 48,Abd 3,Jameson-Quinn 56,wbport1
Another clue as to who is who comes from the many quotations that cite the person by name and the post by topic ID and the post's sequence number within the topic. It occurred to me to try to digest this info with custom software. It can also be done by hand and eyeball.
There are two ways to identify posts in the database. One is by the unique ID that every record has. The other is by, as I mention above, topic and post number within topic. The latter is how I display them, and the former is how I identify them in URIs. Since I'm displaying them by topic ID and post number, you can match those to the quotations.
A thing about the archive that sucks even more than the lack of user name-to-number mapping, is that the archive is not up to date. I looked into screen scraping to complete it, but determined that is not practical. We depend on Felix for the rest of the archive. Sara says we can wait until he shuts down the old forum, but I don't like that, because for the several posts that went onto the old forum after the point at which Felix took the snapshot, if we want to discuss them, we don't have a super good way to cite them so people can read the originals that we want to discuss. Since they aren't in the archive, you can't link to them there, and if you link to the old forum, those links are likely to rot arbitrarily soon.
I was kicked out of participation in CES activities because I push back against the gender cult. I don't know whether animosity toward me personally because of that affects Felix's non-response when I ask for an update.
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Here's an example of the method of chasing from quotations that cite names.
First I went to the search and entered a regular expression so the URI of the search became https://www.votingtheory.org/archive/search?0=%22PCRE%22&pattern=%22%5C%5C%5Bquote%3D%5C%22%22&i=0&m=0&s=0 . If you navigate there, the search form will be filled in as I filled it in, but the search will not start until you press the "Go" button.
Then in the first post that comes up, I hit the Expand button, and I saw 36:29 by 43 on 2018-11-22T19:15:03.285Z in reply to 36:4
[quote="psephomancy, post:4, topic:36"]
and so on. So, according to this quotation, psephomancy is the author of 36:4, which is to say the fourth post in topic 36. If we middle-click on the link 36:4 where it appears right after "in reply to ", we get to the post being quoted and we can see that the author of it is 7, thereby we can relate the ID 7 to the name psephomancy.
@Jack-Waugh Yeah I tried using the quotes but found it was quicker and more reliable to use the CES forum for reference, since it is still there.
How hard would it be to put these usernames in the archive database and then show it in the archive? Is there a username to user id table? or at least a column in comment table for the username?
It would also be nice if you could show the timestamps in a bit more user friendly format. It shouldn't matter if they are just displayed in UTC as opposed to the time zone of the person viewing it. But this sort of thing hurts my brain: "2019-06-12T14:21:33.354Z"
@rob Adding and using the number-to-name associations will be easy. I can also format the dates. Give an example of how that should look, to your taste.
Another thing maybe worth changing is the font used for the comment bodies. The fixed-width font comes from Sara's homepage design, but I feel it's not that good to just use everywhere for lack of anything else in the palette (other than the cursive, which would be wholly unreadable). Should I use something more like one of the fonts that this forum uses?
@Jack-Waugh I'm glad to see it is easy to do the numbers to names. I'd bet if you went ahead and did it for the 17 I collected as well as the two additional ones you found, that would make a huge difference in terms of usability of the archive.
My preferred format for dates is "Dec 28, 2020, 9:48am". However, the forum uses "28 Dec 2020, 09:48", which is ok too.
I don't have strong feeling about improving the font, but if you used the ones that are used on this forum that'd probably be best.
@rob The archive is now showing author names in the cases where it knows them.
@Jack-Waugh Nice! Huge improvement. It seems to put names on well over 90% of the posts.
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@rob I am now formatting the dates that are associated to the posts.
Topics used to show all the details, including creation date. I no longer show any details for them, just the title of the topic.
I believe there were no other contexts in which dates showed up, just those two.
Of course, post headers themselves show up in three contexts: posts for a topic, a single post, and search results.