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Saturday, 08 September 2018


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But I want you to get up and walk downstairs and clear off a table of balls every half hour.

That needs to become a "Rick And Morty" catchphrase.

I don't mind the delay. I realize you have a "letters to the editor" vibe going on. Makes a change to the pace and vitriol of the "normal" interwebs!

Are the comments so problematic that they need moderation at all?

[Haven't you noticed that you seldom if ever read a nasty or insulting comment here? I'm just sayin'....

One guy complained that I never let him fight with other commenters. I replied that I don't allow fighting. He said well, that's too bad, that's why I read comments sections, to fight with other people. And I said, well, too bad, you'll have to go somewhere else. Haven't seen him since.

Besides which, without moderation, you'd never be getting this reply. --Mike]

I'll patiently wait for the comments, please don't start replying with comments with your phone. That would dilute the the quality of the information. Besides I assume advertisers are looking at how many "hits" you are getting, and some days 3 or 4 to see them.....

Seems like the only suitbale Featured Comment is the default....

When I have my computer work days I sit in the living room and spin LPs. That way I have to get up every 18-24 minutes to flip the record. I’ve long thought I should be able to use my HSA card at the record store.

Get a standing up desk. Don't know myself since I did.

A doctor would probably advise you to take comments in moderation.

And AFAIK, as a blogger, you are legally responsible for what is published on your site; I would moderate all day!

Yeah, as one ages, with fewer options available, the sitting time increases like a silent curse. For me, much of it is because I lost my wife almost ten years ago; were she alive today, I wouldn't have got away with wasting so much time sitting on my ass. But then, I wouldn't have felt myself having to do that in the first place.


There is vitually no excuse for sitting hunched over a computer for hours at a time with the ergonomic solutions available today.

Get a Vari-Desk so you can both sit with your computer at eye level or stand and work with the computer at eye level. You can then change positions every 20-30 minutes, which is what you should be doing anyway. It will transform your life and you won't have problems with your neck anymore from hunching over the computer.

I got one back in 2012 and I love it.

So, no more excuses! :-)



Moderation is at the heart of what makes TOP good, in my opinion, but I'm sure we can all live with some moderating of the moderation. However, I'm probably not alone with concern that you find a replacement for your pool playing to keep you active. Putting in a half hour of photo taking, well, there's a half hour (even indoors). Perhaps a half hour dog walk (there's another). Then a half hour of bad yoga. Then something in the yard that needs doing. Finally, a walk with no tech, just trying to listen and look.

And what happened to the pool table in the garage project? I thought you were planning a pool hall/gallery of sorts.

The reason I read TOP every day is because our Editor-In-Chief doesn't allow the readership to fight with one another. I so tired of that behavior and the overall level of acrimoniousness on FB, social media, and photography forums I could scream. I've dialed my participation on social media way back as a result.

Instead, I've been hanging out a lot at TWiP Pro (TWiP: This Week in Photo); owned and moderated by Frederick Van Johnson. Its a subscription-based community but costs a whopping $5/momth. WELL worth it. The community there is adult, mature, considerate and concientious; many established working pros and other members that are advanced amateurs. There is virtually no bad behavior, fighting, arguing or acrimonious behavior. A very refreshing change. Very knowledgeable, friendly and fun gang of folks. TWiP Pro does a weekly photo critique that is excellent and fun.

Interested TOP readers can check TWiP Pro out here:

It's true, 30 minutes is the maximum stretch before a little movement is needed. Often I don't follow that rule myself, but as you said, it helps a lot to have a plan and to have something to do for the 5 minute break. And also agree about the thinking part; sitting at the keyboard it's easy to get too focused on some little detail rather than take a step back and look at the whole.

Now I feel more motivated to some up with little things to do for the breaks.

You can dramatically speed up communication and reduce the amount of effort/stress for yourself by using a blog that allows you to whitelist those folks you know from prior experience can be trusted to post their comments immediately.

I suspect the work load has only increased along with the traffic, and the way internet culture has evolved. Would it help to have the spam and outright trolling filtered out? Maybe it's time for an assistant moderator or two to perform at least rough triage. I'm sure you'd not lack volunteers.

Mike, I expect you'll attract a lot of comments like mine expressing appreciation for the space you've created on the Internet for us to come together and share ideas without the usual comment section nastiness and nonsense. TOP is an important gathering place. I'm grateful that you're so devoted to keeping it going.

"I miss my pool table. You scoff, but I needed it."

I do, too. And I've never even had one. In fact, it's one of two things that I always thought I wanted in my home...but never have had. (Poor me, eh?)

During my late high school and early collegiate years I played pool (straight pool) like a fiend at every chance. And I had become quite good. But I reached a point where I could no longer bend over a table and put my neck in that sharp angle for a shot. So I learned how to line-up shots quickly and then look straight down at the table during the shot. It became a personal trademark, but it was merely pain avoidance.

So it gives me a smile to see you tell how that position actually helps your pain!

You need a barn with a pool table/ print table. Get on good terms with those Amish and have a good ol' pool-hall raising!

When I first read the headline I thought you said The Comintern Rocks

Mike, you obviously really NEED that pool table. Now, here's an idea: I heard on Fresh Air an interview of Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul, about his experiences as a driver for a moving company. One of the four *items most often offered to the movers, and ultimately left behind, is ... pool tables! He thought that people tended to over-price them on Craigslist and the like. So, you could haunt Craigslist over a period, and perhaps one would eventually pop up, at a good price.

* the other three are hot tubs, outdoor trampolines, and pianos**

** I myself haunted Craigslist for many months, looking for a small Yamaha Clavinova for my wife, she having grown up with at least one piano in the house (grandparents were concert pianists), and in the houses of parents and siblings.

[Alas, my problem is not so easily solved. I *HAVE* a pool table; it's in storage. My much worse problem is that I don't have a place to PUT it.

Woe is me! :-(


Are you not surrounded by Amish folk who build really excellent small buildings and garages quite inexpensively .
You could start with just a shell. Didn't you used to do carpentry work? Finishing the inside is great exercise.
You only need a space about the size of a large 1 car garage
A little wood stove in one corner and 'Bob's your Uncle'
It could also be a lean-to extension off a room of your house.
You are already paying for storage.
You have a new printer, you haven't had a print sale in a long time. I really thought the TOP method made sense. I even bought one of yours. I might buy another (but it needs to be a different picture ;-))
Where there is a will there is a way......

PS try an inversion table, it is the exact opposite of bending over a computer. I find it most helpful.

I'm showing signs of osteoporosis. Now I walk for 5 minuets every half-hour. That makes my doctors happy. I exercise my mind by reading, writing and planning new projects. This makes me happy.

If I ever did a blog, there would be no comment section. From my POV it's best not to hide the gold among the dross. But I'd answer pertinent e-mail in future blog posts.

From time to time a break is important.

But get up every 1/2 hour? I thought that disruption affect your productivity a lot. May be different in blog work.

Mike, how much would an insulated and lit shed cost to build?

I used to play a fair bit of billiards in my misspent youth, and sympathise with you. BTW, that's a terrific photograph of your long-abandoned pool table -- a really nice shot if I may say so. GX1?

I’m tempted to quote Ctein and say “nobody cares how hard you work, (. http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2011/05/no-one-cares-how-hard-you-worked.html )but I won’t.
Your writings are great and the comments are full of insightful stuff, but the structure of the commenting is horrendous :-( and there has to be a better way that would be less arduous for you and easier for us.
This is outside my area of expertise but I’ve always thought you need some sort of subscription model to control the comments. Most of the comments you post are from repeat commenters and you have 500+ Patreon supporters and I guess there is a big overlap there, so how difficult could it be?
Having dipped into the Typepad instructions I see that they recommend using Disqus and Disqus allows you to set trusted commenters, banned commenters and I think some sort of ‘pending moderation commenters’. You can also have featured comments and so on.

A dart board might be a good substitute until the room for a pool table materializes. I have a bristle board set up in our outdoor play space (the second garage) and I shoot a game of cricket and then a game 301 two or three times a day as a break from the home office servitude.

Hey Mike,

I'm sure it's being mentioned by others as well; I know it has been suggested before: you really need a couple of helping hands with this site. Especially as it is your livelyhood (is that the word) and it would free you up for getting this site better. I notice that you have a lot of good and great ideas that usually get stranded because of time and/or energy constraints.

The way you moderateis good, in that comments are usually a pleasure to read, much better then many places on the 'net, but as was said, the flow needs to stay there, and you cannot afford to have it all depend on you alone.

I've been reading your blog almost daily now for, well, a very very long time, and I'd hate to see it fade away.


" I'm back to sitting hunched over at the computer for hours on end"

Mike, this is NOT good for you!

Even without a pool table you can surely find *something* physical to occupy yourself with every half hour. It's good for your brain, your eyesight, your back, your neck, your heart, your gut, your legs...

Conversely, failing to do it is bad for all those things and more.

TOP blog comments are uncommonly good but your health - and by extension your productivity - is far more important.

Make it happen.

Understanding is better than knowledge.

My new postgrads start at the medical school next week, and I shall learn so much from them.

BTW: the novel which has been my guide is "Das Glasperlenspiel"

Mike, Didn't you buy a standing desk ???
Did I dream that, or did you buy one and hate it ?

I recently had the fortune to get a divorce and move to an apartment a block away from The House of Billiard. I practice just about every day. My back pain is gone and spirit is high- though not completely sure about the cause. I suggest off hand practice to restore a certain balance.

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