Changes in the local blogosphere

There has been a flurry of activity in the Orange County political blogosphere this month. Changes that interest me as much as who is wining the presidential primaries. (Go Obama!)

First, the big news is the disappearance of the Squeeze the Pulp forum. In its place appears to be a site that could have a community, but it isn'y very clear how. The new site is based on software called DokuWiki. It looks like a bunch of semi-static pages can be created and edited by a group of people. So people will write rants and others will edit them. For what, grammar? The two-way communication of a forum has been lost.

Part of me is sad that all the STP writing is gone. Mainly because it would help people remember the slander and hateful crap. Why would we want to remember that? To inform the context of our local political history. For example, the dirty tactics some supported there. It could also encourage more long-term responsibility. Politicos won't forget, trust me. But the new resident to Carrboro may like to know how that candidate got elected or defeated. I think the blog of record will be Orange Politics.

Last year sometime I reminded the folks at STP that all that content would be remembered. If not by Google then by us. A great example of the fear mongering some STP posters facilitated is here in my post Political attack from the Squeeze the Pulp forum. In the end, most of me is happy the STP slander against people is off the web. But I'm sure there will be more.

Second, there is a new community site set up by George Entenman called Orange Citizens or Orange County, NC. (depending on how you look at it.) It's on the Ning software platform, a quality bit of social networking software. My first impressions are of the software mainly. I enjoy the look and feel of the theme but am not crazy about the threaded comments. It's easy to have several off-topic threads, but it's growing on me. It’ll be interesting to see how this site evolves. Especially from a usability standpoint. Already there are several local politicos there like Terri and MarkM, plus Chapel Hill Council Member Mark Kleinschmidt. Hopefully we’ll see lots of local elected officials participate in this new community.

Finally, we have a major upgrade to Orange Politics. At just over four years old Orange Politics has become the most-read local politics site in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. It started off using MovableType and then moved to the open source Wordpress blogging software in 2004. Now it's powered by Drupal, a complex and very powerful open source, PHP-based content management system. I was a bit concerned about the move at first, but now that its full speed ahead I'm way impressed. One reason is there are more ways for people to get involved. There is real power in letting people publish their own blogs a la community sites such as Daily Kos. We should have more viewpoints now. Plus there are new OP community guidelines. I think Ruby has done a great job of balancing lots of factors. I would still like to see all commenters have a real identity (ie: no anonymous posters). But I see where in some cases anonymity is valuable on OP.

[Cross-posted at]


I wasn't to crazy about having to ID my voting precinct to "re-up" here. I know it's public record...but it struck me as a little intrusive. Additionally, didn't recognise me as a former poster. Under either of my e-mail addresses. Really? I've not posted before? Coulda fooled me


Melanie See

As you might have noticed OP moved to new software. For lots of really good reasons. (wordpress, the old website software, and Drupal, the new website software, are very different inside.) Thus it required asking you to reset your password. But one great advantage is security. Changing your password on a regular basis is always a good practice. I am sorry for the inconvenience Melanie.
Hmm. I didn't have to identify my precinct for this site. My old OP login worked fine. 

I'll try this again...


Which begs the question...why didn't my former log-in work? As I said, (anonymously by accident) it's just as well I don't think much of conspiracy theories. I DO wonder why one's voter precinct is a required question. One's choices are either to identify one's precinct...or to claim one isn't registered.

Hey Melanie. A few responses to your questions.

1. Anyone who has trouble accessing their account should let me know at I have worked one-on-one with several people to get logged in.

2. Several of the folks who I helped didn't actually have accounts on the old site, or at least didn't post any comments while logged in (which means the new site has no record of the account). But if you did register before, you have to use the same e-mail address to recover that identity.

3. You don't have to enter your voting precinct unless you create a profile , ie: name, interests, etc. I thought that asking people for this information would help with the identity and trust problems on the old site and also serve as reminder of the focus here.

I really hope people will tak ethe time to log in and to us etheir existing accounts when possible. It adds a lot to the site to be able to look at a user's contributions over the long term. For example:

Melanie See


Ruby--Clearly I had an account in the past...

...but when I tried to log in under EITHER of my email addresses it returned "did not match any documents." Nor was I able to log in under my former user name "Melanie See." Perhaps it's user error on my part. If you can figure out a way to connect my former posts with my current...or help me re-activate my old account...that would be fine. I'm not blogging as much as I used to...but I may want to opine on occaision...and I've certainly been a "member" here for quite awhile. It might be good for people to be able to search my prior posts. As I always post under my full name, I'm not that worried about being "verified."


The old site did not require commenters to register, and even folks who did have accounts were not always logged in to them while commenting. I've searched the user database and the only place I find your name is on the account you recently created, Melanie.

I wish there was a way to link the old un-logged-in comments to current accounts. I'll add this to the list when I have some volunteer coders to help out with the site.



Well that explains it then.




I've used Ning to create several networks. A work-based network with videos,, and images. A family tree network that allows my wife's family from around NC to connect with videos, images, stories, etc. Her 80ish grandmother loves it.

One man with courage makes a majority.

- Andrew Jackson


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