About the comment system

How it works

This site uses a 'hidentity' system for comments. You don't need to register- when you post using a handle (nickname), the password you give is converted into a phrase which prevents anyone else from pretending to be you.

When you post a comment, the password is immediately hashed into a number, parts of which are used to look up individual words of the phrase. The password itself is discarded (but see below regarding security). If you want you can post completely anonymously by leaving both fields blank.

No non-visible information is stored. The comments for a page are held as a single file, which is incorporated using server-side includes - there is no database behind the scenes.

Your comment will (hopefully) be posted exactly as you see it in the text-box. All special html characters are escaped, so don't bother trying to mark it up or add links.


The handle and password are transmitted in clear.
You should NOT reuse an important password - such as one for a financial account or email.
If you have a password that you use for accounts on websites you don't particularly trust, this is a good time to use it. If you don't, it's a good time to pick one.
Since forgotten passwords cannot be replaced, and misspelling a password or handle produces a different hidentity, the design is weighted towards memorability rather than security:

While general advice is to use a secure password including numbers and punctuation, you probably don't need to do that here - only a few bits are used for the hidentity anyway. Just pick something people won't guess too easily.

Site rules

If any of these rules are broken by a post I will delete it.
These are not intended to be totalitarian, rather to create a pleasant environment. I also need to protect myself from legal issues.

Be polite

That should go without saying, but I thought I'd say it anyway.

No personal information

Don't reveal anything which could be used to identify you. For example:

This is so I don't have to register under the Data Protection Act (a UK law), which would cause expense and hassle.

No Gibberish

Don't post anything which looks like random data. Rot13 is acceptable, provided you state that.

No Spam of any sort

Don't make lots of posts. Every comment you make should include a new point, or be part of the discussion.
Don't try to use the comments to advertise your business. There is some leeway; if something is relevant to an article or discussion you can mention it.

I hope that covers most things. If you have a suggestion or find a bug please email me - my address is on the contact page.


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