Comment (im)moderation

It has come to my attention that sometimes over the years the comment moderation function has been overly aggressive. It is not always clear why some comments get held in the queue. Sometimes it is due to having over some limited number of hyperlinks (no, I am not sure what that limit is). Other times it is completely mysterious.

Aside from the spam filter, comment moderation is almost never on, other than whatever level the default is for my blogging software.

I recently cleared a bunch of comments that I noticed in the queue. Some of these were rather recent, and some were up to five years old. So if a comment you posted some time ago never appeared, maybe it has now. Sorry it took so long!

If you ever post a comment and it does not appear, contact me and I will try to locate the comment and clear it. (See the “About” page of this blog for contact info if you do not otherwise know how to reach me.)

I am happy to report that I finally got around to having the old domain map to this one. From now, it should work to use and get here. For the past however long, using the old URL would take you to an error page.

The old post-specific links still won’t work, because of the difference in how URLs form the old hosted site (numbers) and the current Word Press site (title words). But at least it no longer will look as if the blog is dead, as must have been the case to many folks stumbling upon an old URL and trying it out.

The Fruits and Votes readership survey

I’d like to thank everyone who filled in the survey of the Fruits and Votes readership. We got a total of eighty responses, which, given the amount of views this blog receives on a regular basis, seems like enough to draw inferences from.


The United States, with roughly 4-5% of world population, represents 33% of this blog’s viewership. Australia and New Zealand, with just 0.4% of world population, represent nearly 20% of readership. It’s Asia (60% of world population, 2.5% of responses), as well as Africa (no responses whatsoever) where Fruits and Votes is disproportionally less viewed.


For reasons that should be relatively obvious to fellow readers, those under 18 are under-represented, with those over 30 being over-represented (given the Western-centric tilt of the readership, this presumably makes some sense).

85% of you come here for the votes: the remaining 15% are here for fruits and votes, while no one wants fruit only.

The most popular region, with 54% of readers enjoying posts from it (this is approval voting), is Canada, Australia and New Zealand-only 24% of readers enjoy posts from South Asia. 99% of readers enjoy reading about electoral systems (a practically Soviet figure!), while executive formats and federalism secured the approval of 55of readers.


We asked what sort of electoral system you most liked for a country with unicameral parliaments and parliaments. A third of you went for MMP, while about a quarter opted for STV: the most popular system overall was some form of list PR, which received the support of nearly 40% of you, although division over list types split the pro-list vote. No one opted for first-past-the-post, and only four readers opted for any form of non-PR system.


Interestingly enough, by far the most popular electoral system for an elected President is probably the rarest-a majority of you opted for preferential voting, used only in Ireland and (sort of) Sri Lanka. The more popular two-round system came in a strong second, while the other options (FPTP+variations of the two-round system) made little impact. Note that the one entry for “presidents should not be politically powerful” was written in before I closed that option.


Reader survey

Are you ever curious about who reads F&V, how often, and what the readers like? I am. At the suggestion of JD Mussel and Henry Schlechta (whose names many readers will recognize due to their frequent posts here), there is now a Readership Survey on line. It is anonymous and will not take much time to complete. So please consider completing it.

(This post is a “sticky” and will remain up front for a while; please scroll for new content.)

Theme change

You get what you pay for. At this point, I am working with the selection of free “themes” that Word Press offers. There were several things about the previous theme that I had been using since moving to that I did not like. So here is another one to try out. While I was at it, I decided to upload an image of the Sierra as seen from the outer portion of the Plainfield finca, looking over the neighboring vineyard, olive grove and goat dairy.

Let me know if this does (or does not) work well for you.


This is the new home of Fruits & Votes.

Things should look the same. Only different.

All old comments should have come over, along with posts. Please note that this URL has wordpress in it. The old “” will no longer host the blog.

Old links within the blog will not work. Links to content at should be OK, but blog-post URLs will all be different. Please use the search function or browse the categories to find old posts. They are all here!

A big THANK YOU to Steven Taylor for doing the heavy lifting. And thanks, as always, to my readers and commenters!

Site issues

This website was suspended for a while this weekend. The hosing company, PowWeb, says that spam was being sent from it, that there is a corrupted script, and that I need to change my FTP password and update all applications running on the site. I did all of that within the last few weeks, and yet an attack on the site’s integrity has occurred again.

The PowWeb compliance department says that the password must have been stolen. If so, it was not stolen from me, but rather off the site. I don’t know much about web hosting, but I wonder if readers who do have any solutions in mind. A different, less vulnerable, hosting service? Some other fix?

The user should not have to be a security expert. And I certainly do not have time to fix problems on the site every few weeks. The password I changed to a few weeks ago is so complex–to comply with the host’s security recommendations–that there is no way I could remember it, and yet I am supposed to come up with a new variant every few weeks.

Suggestions welcome, or else this blog will just go away–an outcome I really do not want. Yes, I am frustrated.

You might want to send suggestions via email (either at the “contact” link on the left, or at my personal email if you have it), in case the site gets suspended again between the time you read this and I check back.

I’m back

Well, sort of. Challenges of internet access out in the countryside will make appearances on line somewhat limited for a while.

In the meantime, here’s a view from the new finca.

(It actually looks much nicer than that. See, I said some internet issues were yet to be worked out…)

Thanks to those who have kept things active during my absence.


Blogging–by me, anyway–will be almost non-existant till the very end of March or early April. The move to the Davis area is upon us at last!

Those who have the keys to the virtual orchard are invited to plant (as Alan did earlier today). I will be checking comment threads now and then; if your comment lands in the moderation queue, it may take longer than usual for me to spot it and clear it.

Gremlins again

Twice this week, we have had the return of orchard gremlins. It had not happened for a while, but now and then the blog software automatically re-sets all comments to off, and tells readers they must be “registered and logged in to comment”.

This is not a setting I am doing ((First time commenters will have their comment put in the moderation queue until I can confirm it.)); I have no idea why it happens, and no one ever needs to register or log-in to comment at F&V. Whenever I catch this having happened, I will reopen comments.

I also never close old threads. F&V works best when readers remember and locate an old thread and post a comment when something new has happened that is relevant to the thread.

There will be times now and then when I am unable to check for a day or two to make sure that comments are, in fact, open.

Thank you for you patience and for your comments.

Comments are open

Not that I ever closed them.

Somehow the comment forms automatically close–now for a third consecutive weekend. I have to manually reopen them (using a Batch Status plug-in, fortunately).


Once again, the setting requiring users to be registered and logged in to comment was auto-checked over the weekend. I have no idea why this happens. I have manually unchecked it. Again.

Back on

The blog seems to have taken Shabbat off. And why not?

For some reason, readers could not post comments yesterday. When I went into the Word Press “dashboard” this morning, I found that the option “users must be logged in to comment” was checked. I had never checked it.

We’ve had this problem before, and I have no idea how to prevent it. But I was able to uncheck the setting, and everything should be open for business again.