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The Final Con Part III

I'm finally getting back on my posting schedule, after multiple failures to stop the room from spinning, tomorrow. I posted a new Patreon comic yesterday, and I'll have another one tomorrow. Regular site comics will resume Wednesday. Thanks everyone.

209 thoughts on “The Final Con Part III

  1. I say no worries on the delay (we got a double strip out of it anyway)

    Where did that little girl get such a formidable knife? Wait, nevermind, it’s Florida :-P

      1. That was her backup knife. You don’t think she’d have left her primary weapon behind like that, do you?

        1. I live in Florida and was about to retort, but i went shooting for my 16th birthday so… yeah

        2. It’s been a while since I was in Florida, but 2 things that really stood out to me (being from California) were the fact that pedestrians were basically moving targets wether crossing the street legally, illegally, or standing on the sidewalk (though everywhere has bad drivers) and the fact that I saw a number of pawn shops that advertised their primary stock was guns & other weapons (with quick/no background checks!)

          That was many years ago, but some things just stick with you.

        3. I don’t think “no background check” would fly, but they don’t take that long if your store is well staffed (at least in Ohio, and I believe we only have the federally mandated bits). Generally wouldn’t expect it to add more than 15 minutes to the whole visit/purchase. I’m not sure how long ago it would’ve had to have been for no background checks.

        4. It may have been something that just seemed crazy short to my Californian sensibilities, as anything less than 2 weeks (unless you’re in law enforcement) is unheard of around here. That is just handguns though, rifles & shotguns can be a lot faster to purchase.

          I probably should have mentioned the pistol part initially, as those always have a bit of extra paperwork (being as concealable as they generally are)

        5. I’d chock it up to being from Cali, being originally from there I can attest, the gun laws and the hoops for all the stuff is ridiculous compared to a lot of other states.

        6. Heh, best part about being in Cali is that Nevada is RIGHT THERE, and they have as close to no regulations on firearms (compared to CA at least) so the various stories of fun things people try to bring back (especially from gun shows right on the border) are quite entertaining.

          To Mr. Blue (as we’ve reached the end of the reply capacity) you generally just bring it with you, as it should still be registered to its owner, and that’s a national registry. The only exceptions are the particular types of weapons/parts/accessories. I know shotguns have to be at least a certain barrel length (I think 18 or 22 inches, depending on the stock and if it’s pump or semi-auto) rifles have magazine size restrictions based on if it’s semi-auto or bolt (no full auto rifles in CA for civvies) 10 rounds max for semi, and pistols have the same magazine restriction of nothing over 10 unless military/law enforcement, and nothing that goes in burst or full-auto. Different ammo types are restricted too, and you can’t even own a bunch of types of knives either. If you push a button & it swings open, no longer than 2 inches; if you push a button & the blade comes straight out (stiletto) that’s right out; no daggers (double edged) no sword canes (concealed weapon laws) and probably more stuff I’m not remembering right this moment. Oh, no “gravity operated” knives either (butterfly knives)

          Yeah, we don’t get a lot of the exciting stuff that’s out there.

        7. I think your handgun thing is a California thing, along with all those restrictions. Exact same paperwork and whatnot for handgun, rifle, & shotgun in Ohio. The other thing is the paperwork is on a transfer, so it’s required for some types of maintenance too (including warranty-type maintenance). As for full auto, what I hear from people I know who care about such things, is in Ohio there’s a federal mandate that does allow a private citizen to own full auto if manufactured before a specific date (1986, I think), but they have to get special licenses/investigations/etc from BATFE and has periodic (yearly, I think) renewals and you’ll be paying in the tens of thousands of dollars for just that part, let alone the gun, which is pretty pricy as I understand too (especially since newly manufactured models aren’t eligible).

          Also there is no federal registry for firearms (legally, anyway, hard to say about illegal surveillance that’s done anyway). The records from background checks, at least successful ones, are required to be destroyed in 24 hours or something like that. Some states have registries, but when I asked about registration in a gun store a couple of years ago the sales people got a bit indignant and informed me that there was nothing like that. From what I’ve come to find out, the registration is actually through the gun store. Basically they do keep the paperwork for all those transfers, and manufacturer and whatever distributors/resellers presumably keep the paperwork transferring it to the stores. So the government can find out what FFL last had a specific gun if they have a warrant, but they don’t have an internal database to check themselves. Complicating that, however, is the fact that there is no legal requirement for paperwork for private transfers (news media and politicians advocating gun control like to call this the “gun show loophole”), but a lot of people I’ve spoken with consider it good practice (just handwritten sort of thing signed by both people with make/model/serial & date). Ditto for reporting firearms stolen as soon as humanly possible after noticing it, so that if the police track that gun to you if something illicit has happened, you have your paperwork in order (they still might suspect you, though).

          As for the background check on private transfers, it’s something that I’d consider a good idea in some ways, but I’ve never heard of an implementation that wouldn’t have more problems than it would solve. The primary problems come in with the legal definitions of “transfer” (which, if no exceptions are granted in the law, can be just allowing someone else to hold it with no ammunition for a couple of minutes and then they hand it back) and how you’d balance the cost/time burdens for it along with privacy (for example, a website available to the public to do the check wouldn’t be a cost/time burden for people involved in transfer, however you’d also probably have it abused from a privacy stance, including ways that would probably be illegal but untraceable, such as discrimination by employers using it to look up potential future employees).

        8. “Not with her fingerprints on it.”

          She burned those off with acid a long time ago.

        9. I don’t see why she’d have to do that. I heard that you can get Elvis’ fingerprints easier and with less pain (to yourself) somewhere.

        1. I thought switchblades just referred to the push-button operation, but stilettos were the ones that are always double edged (all dagger like with their stab-ability) and push button operated. There are quite a few style similarities between the two, and unless we see it open/close or a profile with the blade recess it could be either type.

          Funny thing being this all came from a classic movie quote.
          …THIS is a knife.

        2. Some definitions:
          Knife- single blade
          Dagger- two blades
          Switchblade- a blade that is spring loaded (usually illegal)
          Stiletto- a blade, usually a dagger, of narrow width, intended for stabbing.

          The blade depicted above looks to be a Stiletto Dagger, and may or may not be a Switchblade.

  2. Glad to see you’re still alive and kicking! Happy New Years, and thanks for the double-length strip, it’s cool to see Ellie starting to own up to her own nature. Character growth FTW! :D

      1. Yeah. Human resources had determined that you need some paid rest.

        Don’t come back till Monday.

        But you goes to tell us about any movies ya’ll watch, eh.

  3. Happy New Year Chris!
    Glad you’re alright. Life sucks sometimes. A bit of a delay is nothing. Keep it up brosky.

    1. It was not one of the Magpie’s (ERF Girls Scouts?); it was the red head from the last panel of “Versus Christus” from 5 strips ago.

        1. I think she’s kinda like Morn/Vorn or however his name is pronounced from Star Trek: Deep Space 9.

          It’s not so much that she cannot put her arms down, so much as it is that we, the audience, never get to see her with her arms down.

          (For those not familiar with DS9, Morn/Vorn is never seen or heard talking, but many other characters would talk of their conversations with him, and several times during scene changes we would cut to the end of a conversation going on between another character and Morn/Vorn, of course the other character is finishing up the conversation.)

        2. Well, there are hints of demonic origin from the strip title and skulls in her eyes, so she could’ve used telekinesis.

        3. After posting this I realized she also could’ve been walking on her hands or she might’ve trained herself with fairly good foot/toe dexterity (a bit of a must for someone who can’t put her hands below her shoulders).

        4. I don’t know, I’d say phone girl’s mom is more likely than phone girl. Mini-Atlas is still my favorite, though.

        1. Cinn’s a free form meyham kind of girl, so I’d suspect she complains that they don’t have enough dangerous projectile type objects for her to hand out (much easier to hit the wrong target and start more general meyham with projectiles than hand-to-hand).

        2. Are we talking about the girl who impersonated her sister while releasing a plague of biblical proportions upon a local small University town’s mall located in central Florida.

        3. Because, as sisters, they are almost indistinguishable. Practically twins. The fact that the sister in question had an unbreakable alibi, precisely because she was decidedly NOT wearing the cloths that Cin used to impersonate her, being beside the point.

        4. “No, officer. There’s no way I could’ve been there. I was cutting in line in front of a lot of children, flashing a mall Santa, and offering sexual favors at the time. Yes, there were a lot of witnesses, though many were underage. I’m on a first name basis with the security guards there, though.”

          Now that’s a defense you probably don’t hear very often.

        5. Well, in real life there would’ve been some parents in past years so upset that their child had the opportunity to see a nipple that Anise would’ve likely had other legal problems long before this year and probably wouldn’t be able to participate.

          But the defense would’ve worked for the Ratchantula thing (assuming anyone saw Cinn), would pinpoint Cinn as a suspect if they thought to ask about her coat, and would be unlikely to be harmful to Anise, as there were enough witnesses to what would’ve been a fairly memorable event that she couldn’t really deny doing it anyway.

        6. Well, I’m not saying that it should be Cinnamon and/or Anise. Just that it would be hilarious to see someone use and get away with that excuse in real life.

        7. All I’m reading are a bunch of defenses Cinn would need had she been dumb enough to leave witnesses. I’m pretty sure anyone close enough to see Cinnamon unleashing the plague would be blinded or dead. Hooray Ratchantulas!

        8. The ratchantulas weren’t thick enough to take out a whole Black Friday shopping crowd. How much anyone saw Cinn depends on the degree she tended towards dumb versus cunning. Her bag was leaking green slime fairly profusely by the time she let them out, so it might’ve been hard to avoid being a bit of a spectacle anyway.

        1. And one URL got my post hidden until it could be reviewed. Oh, well, I wasn’t the only one responding.

        2. Is the dog using the granola bar in it’s mouth, as a ski pole? And, it the dog wearing two skis, or four little ones, for each paw.

        3. Well, I was surprised to read that you were surprised things got weird. I didn’t expect you to be surprised.

        4. I’m surprised you can see to be surprised at That One Guy’s surprise. What with your Blind Guy avatar and all…

        5. You’re thinking of Ma-Ti, otherwise known as “the one with the stupidest power that actually has more evil applications than anything.”

        6. But Ma-Ti sacrificed himself during Knights of Suburbia!

          (and I was more refering to Saint-Exupéry)

    2. The problem with being Danny is anybody could have slashed his tires and it’d be believable. The only reason Ellie’s not a suspect is Danny himself is her alibi.

      1. She could’ve done it before walking over and getting his attention. Not that I think she did, but it could work.

  4. Personal matters are called that because they’re, well, personal. So don’t feel bad about not telling anything further. You certainly won’t get any hate from me for that, just an encouraging nod and a “Glad to see you back again. Hope it got resolved satisfactorily.”

    Also: Happy New Year, all of you!
    Don’t know about you, but I’ve overeaten myself quite a ways. Fortunately the Czech part of my bloodline shows in me always having some Becherovka in the liquor cabinet for just such a case.

      1. Not exactly the same cultural background. But I don’t know. That might actually go quite well together.

        But no. Especially not considering I had already overeaten myself. Baklava is not exactly helpful in such a case.

  5. Happy New Year everyone!

    And it’s bad form for the Girl Scout to slash his tires after he bought all the cookies.

    1. If you think it’s a faux pas now, think about when he looks up a little and notices that she carved, “You’re next!” in the fender. Danny’s a marked man.

  6. It was not one of the Magpie’s (ERF Girls Scouts?); it was the red head from the last panel of “Versus Christus” from 5 strips ago.

  7. …she didn’t take an interview at KK’s hotel? Oh MAN. She was practically begging for one when she called like three months ago.

      1. I interpreted Rusche’s statement about branching back at the Ratches comic (11 Oct 2013) as a strong suggestion that KK won’t be a large part of Ellie’s story.

        1. Strike that. That was where he announced the branch point, but the statement I’m thinking of was when he said that KK would be a major player in third arc and Ellie would be more cameo/background character. Need to get ready for some things so not looking up where that was just now.

        2. Web search attempt got a comment by me saying the same thing. However, it was linked on the wiki. It was a comment from Rusche (shotgunshuffle.com/comic/the-day-we-were-all-fired/#comment-9197).

        3. I’ll enjoy seeing more of KK too, but I believe the second major arc is still Ellie’s story and I believe we’re still in the first major arc. I seem to recall the Black Friday story line being mentioned as a third to a half way through the first major arc. So I don’t think third major arc qualifies as “soon.”

    1. We’ll see if those fix themselves or not. I have a suspicion that it might because I think I’ve figured out the cause. Not sure about a solution, but we’ve seen it enough that the cause is discernable.

  8. Rusche – Glad to see you’re back and all is going along reasonably. Take care of yourself before worrying too much about the comic. Travel (and the exposure to germs from people from other areas of the country) and holiday stress aren’t helpful for avoiding getting sick. When your kids go back to school next week or the week after, you’ll also get the exposure to a sampling of the germs from where their classmates travelled. Don’t add sleep deprivation on top of that if you can help it. LEDs, which are the backlights for most monitors nowdays and in more and more room lights due to recent efficiency standard change, generally emit a frequency of light that your body interprets as sunshine. While that’s helpful for people with seasonal affective disorder to some extent, it also tends to set our body to assume it’s day and make sleep harder. So take a deep breath and relax. We were more concerned that no text blurb about additional delay might’ve meant something bad happened to you.

    Glad to see you got the domain registration back too (when I checked just after waking up it’d expired), sometimes registrars are a bit bastardly about that, and I seem to recall GoDaddy being one of the ones that seemed to ask their lawyers just how far they can go without it being extortion in a legal sense.

  9. Nice to see that Danny is starting to actually think about what’s good for Ellie in panel 6 there. I mean, yeah, he probably just wants to spend more time with her and keep looking at her, but the thing he’s offering to do is actually a good thing for once. NOW people can start sympathizing with him as a character.

    If… if only a little..?

    Also, Rusche, glad to hear you’re looking into creating a buffer now, I don’t know why you didn’t do that before.

    1. Okay, so there would be that aspect to his altruism. But if he really did mean to help her out. Instead of driving her around to fill out applications, wait.

      I was just thinking about what Ellie was saying, allowing her to let her looks be used to help her get by and that she was being lazy by doing that. Would that mean that she would be discounting the possibility of a job in modeling? Because, that was what I was going to suggest that Danny try to do for Ellie.

      But, if he is supposed to be as savvy at business as he has been at getting Ellie to continue to showcase for his exploits (personal and business), why doesn’t he try to figure out her strengths and talents and help her to find a job based on those, as well as her looks. Ellie can analyze quickly, and can apply decent solutions. On the negative side, she may force people into a position by shoving the thimble in places that some would consider to be extremely private. . . .

      1. Or he could stick to the only skills he’s demonstrated and just drive Ellie around town like he offered. Even if it is in an ice cream murder van.

        Trusting Danny as a career placement consultant would be… a mistake. To say the least.

        1. I think it might be more appropriate to say you don’t think she SHOULD take his advice. If his advice was easier and seemed feasible, would she? Maybe. A moment of clarity after two months doesn’t mean it’s more than a moment of clarity.

      2. Ellie does not exactly have the body for modeling, I’m afraid. Unless it’s posing for a certain kind of pictures.

        1. T-shirts might be involved. As well as a certain chemical compound of hydrogen and oxygen. Or customer advice in terms of demonstrating the ease of removal of the clothing items in question.

        2. Certain pink and frilly establishments, frequently found in indoor malls, and famous for their catalogs, are known to use models for there wares in store. As I understand it, gentlemen who are, purportedly, shopping for romantic garments to give to their spouses, seem to make more purchases, when given live demonstrations of the effectiveness of said garments.

        3. You have a point, there are some modeling opportunities for ladies of Ellie’s build, just not as many or as “prestigious” as for a less curvy build.

          (I used quotes for prestigious because I don’t think that’s quite the right word, but I can’t think of a better one.)

    2. Well, as far as Danny’s motivations go, it should be noted that we’re still in “The Final Con #” titled comics, so I think we may still be waiting for the final reveal of what he’s been up to that hasn’t been obvious.

      On the other hand, he’s seemed crude and a bit slimy, but he never evoked the “must kill it with fire” reaction from me that some other people seem to have for him.

      1. Whatever the final reveal of what he’s been up to that hasn’t been obvious is, offering to drive Ellie around to apply for real jobs is a good thing is all I’m saying. I could have clarified that I meant ON ITS FACE it’s a good thing, that it could just as easily be something nefarious in disguise, but I didn’t think that would be necessary. And not just because I knew others would point it out. ;)

        And with the bit about him being a sympathetic character now, I just meant that he didn’t have any real redeeming behaviors before. Nobody said anything about killing or fire.

        1. I was overstating the anti-Danny attitude, primarily because I like the phrase “kill it with fire” and haven’t had a good opportunity to use it for a while. I didn’t explain well, but my statment was meant to say that I didn’t really see this as anything different from the usual for Danny. Which might be due to my perception of him, which is more that he kinda’ drifts and that he seems like someone to whom the right thing doesn’t occur to him more than someone who’s actively against it.

          My only real guess on potential nefarious activities for Danny is secretly recording Ellie while she’s changing, which would probably generally take place in the back of his his ice cream truck where she can verify that he’s somewhere that he can’t see her (at that instant, anyway). I’m betting he’s making money off of her somehow, and that’s the only method I can think of that’s feasible.

          Regardless, whatever he’s doing, keeping contact and time with her is apparently part of it, so even if my guess for what he’s doing is way off, offering himself as a free taxi service seems like it’s got at least even odds to help him keep doing whatever it is he’s doing.

  10. Yay, you’re back and you’re good! Happy new year~
    I’m gonna guess the kid who did that was the red haired raging girl from sometime ago. I knew she was the type to kill a man.

  11. Happy New Year, Rusche! Here’s wishes for a prosperous,fun, and healthy new year for you and your loved ones. Cheers!

    I really like Ellie’s facial expression in panels 3 and 4.

      1. A picture of something that looks like lettuce but they very carefully never describe as lettuce to avoid breaking truth-in-advertising laws? I’m not personally aware of an artificial lettuce-like-substance that’d be cheaper than the real thing, but if McDonalds found something like that, I’d bet they’d use the hell out of it.

        1. Now that’s just unfair. Give them a little credit. They wouldn’t use artificial lettuce, they’d save money importing lettuce grown by child labor. Kids have no sense of market value!

        2. That sort of reasoning is a big part of why I think it’d be hard to get artificial lettuce down to McDonalds’ price point.

        1. The ad was just on, and it referred to crunchy lettuce.

          CRUNCHY? !?!!??!*&_/##!!/\&**?
          ,,;\/#! $××=%\€&£¥(¥) ₩((&&\:/#!

        2. What’s maddening is that they are not even paying attention to movies based on advertising. Crunchy is not a word that associates well with lettuce. And I’m wondering what type of drugs these people were on, because I don’t think that the advertisers were in a pot legalized area. (Colorado, Washington, Denmark, etc. )

          I don’t even think that LSD would be in that category either. And I just want to stay away from it so that I know that I won’t sound stupid on a national stage because of a drug.

        3. Well what about their grainy salad dressing, fresh pickles, and doughy onions? Those are still okay, right?

        4. After seeing that super size me guy with his let’s see what decomposes decently YouTube video, I’ve gone there less and less often. I don’t think that I’ll use the ones in my town for ice water.

          Hell, they don’t clean the dead flies from the top of the soda machines.

        5. Morgan Spurlock is an incompetent propagandist. That video made me more comfortable eating at McDonalds and left me baffled at what they must do to make their fries weaponized against microbes.
          Also, human beings don’t digest food whole using airborne mold. True story. On a semi-related topic, watch Fat Head, the debunking of the unfacts, omissions, and vegan nonsense in Supersize Me.

        6. Seriously. I think they must coat their fries with a thin layer of boot. The bacterial world covers their head analogs and hide under the table analog.

        7. I’m not saying that his food decomposition video is entirely scientific. It’s disgustingly entertaining, and even if his proverbial thumb is on the scale, what is the thumb trying to do? I don’t rightly know.

          If he’s getting people to think about their food choices, that’s one thing. However, there were a few things about that decomp video that bugs me a bit.

          1. The jars were not sealed completely.
          2. Was there a continuous video feed available before editing? Was it recorded?
          3. Why wasn’t a time compression video of 24 frames every half hour shot being shown super imposed on the video itself in a corner of the screen?
          4. How is this supposed to be reproduced/reproduceable so other crazy bored people can repeat said experiment and discuss said results on a webcomic?

        8. @Gravatarless – I suspect Anise sometimes digests some of her food whole. Granted not all of it, and probably with more than airborne mold.

          Actually reading that statement made me immediately want to put a smartass [citation required] on it.

  12. I don’t remember giving you Christmas and New Year’s Eve off, Rusche Cratchit! Seriously, though, why are you apologizing for not working when everyone else had off? I can’t think of anyone who kills themselves to deliver like you do. Having high personal standards is admirable, but there’s a point where you’re going to start to sabotage yourself and feel overwhelmed again. Reassurances and unsolicited advice aside, I hope you had a good holiday week.
    In other news, it’s looking like I was completely wrong about where the plot was going. I thought for sure it was going to turn out Ellie was (secretly) the website’s poster girl and the reason Danny wasn’t murdered by elite Canadian assassins was she was the main draw of the site. All the cons would be excuses to put her in different outfits. Though it would have been hard to explain where Danny was hiding the camera unless all of the shots wound up from a slightly overhead, hat-oriented angle…

      1. If my guess is right, they’ll fix themselves for this comic. I sent Jessica my guess as to the root cause through the tech support link. I’m not sure that there’s much to be done about the root cause, though (other than changing some of the WordPress plugins for comments, which is a bigger redesign). I’ve never worked with WordPress, so I haven’t the foggiest clue if it’s an easy fix or something with a few occasional mitigations but generally not fixable. We’ll see.

        There’s still room for Ellie to be on the site somehow that she doesn’t realize/expect. Though for that, I’d alsmost wonder if there are two sites and she’s posted on the one she’s not aware of (i.e. not the site on the fliers for the first con).

        1. All things considered, it doesn’t really hurt anything or break comments that aren’t an attempt to reply to a broken comment.

  13. Can you please stop trying to make comics while sick?

    Geez, man. We’ll live with a silly delay while you get better, ya silly nut!

  14. Welcome back Chris. Take your time, get better, then worry about updating the site. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. …btw, Happy New Year to all. I am a day late, but, not a dollar short!

  15. That’s some pretty bad suckages. Food poisoning is the worst. Hope it stops and feels better sooner rather than later bud.

  16. Geez, and I was being accused of beating a dead horse. I switched from The Frantics to Mel Brooks. No one picked up on that.

    (Hell, I bet no one figured out my Christmas message either. Where ate my boots )

  17. While I was hoping he’d find a successful persuasion, that wasn’t quite the one I’d imagined would work. Glad there was more than precisely one workable option, in any case…

  18. Speedy recovery! Reminds me of a writeup for the common anime-girl failing of epic bad cooking, wherein the girl is given Poisoning skill coupled to the mild Delusion that it is in fact Cooking skill…

  19. I read in the local paper that apparently Ohio has a flu epidemic, and a lot of other states do too. Local hospitals have explicitly told people not to come in with flu-like symptoms to ERs unless something’s seriously life threatening and have put some visitation bans in place too. Apparently the flu shot this year wasn’t as effective against the strain that’s going around (and it hit during holiday travel). So flu is possible too.

    Good to hear that you’re fine and simply indisposed with a normal non-serious ailment. From a personal stance, I sometimes like to describe my normal minor illnesses as plague, primarily because I have an odd sense of humor and think plague is an underused word.

  20. Take it from someone who has a container of rice in the kitchen just to dry out electronics that fell into the toilet (fresh bowl of water) and half a can of disinfectant. . .

    Electrical contrivances do not abate well in adventures with water closets when less then complete faculties are involved.

    1. You can wash a surprising amount of electronics in water and be fine as long as there is no power connected. The circuit boards generally don’t care (I know people who routinely wash keyboards and let them dry for a week or two and they’ve had no troubles).

      Now used toilets and even just being in the bathroom very long is something I generally don’t trust for anything not disposable. Urine tends to contain ammonia, which, fun fact, is a copper solvent. It’s not like it’d eat through a wire THAT quickly, but for integrated circuits they do talk about the wire traces in the nanometer range, so that’s where I start wondering how much would have to dissolve to cause problems. Also the humidity from showers can be problematic at times too.

      So yes, electronics that aren’t cheap/easily replaced and aren’t specifically designed for the bathroom are better off staying out of the bathroom.

  21. For those not on Patreon and curious about the comic (#4) there, unlike this comic there were no knives used or even pictured in any of the panels.

    Just trying to be helpful.

        1. Happened sometime earlier today. I’m pretty confident the fix for this one was what I expected. Not that others would be fixed in quite the same way. I think a database command or two could be used to un-bork a comment tree, but the same commands could also bork things otherwise, so not sure what makes sense. Also I’ve never set up or admined WordPress, so I’m just guessing here based on how I expect it works based on other web apps.

        2. Thanks guys but I haven’t really fixed it. I do know what is causing it thanks to That one guy’s insight and testing/researching yesterday.

          The problem occurs when the comment replied to doesn’t appear on the page. This can happen if:
          Your comment is awaiting moderation (it has at least one URL in it) and you reply to your own comment.
          Your comment is marked as trash, spam or pending by Chris (I rarely moderate comments. I think I did it like… once >.< ).
          Your comment is on a different page in the pagination (comments paginate if there are more than 60 top level comments on a post/comic).
          You reply to a comment that has reached the max number of levels (10 levels including the first comment are allowed). This can happen if you have no refreshed the page and someone has already commented on the 10th level.

          I have searched for a solution and so far have not come across one.

          There are a few things we can do to make it a little less confusing though:
          I will work on a conditional statement that if the Parent comment is marked as spam, trash or pending, the child comment will not say Replied to: [Name].
          Don't reply to comments pending moderation (you only see pending comments that you made yourself.)

        3. I’d expect the comments to be stored in a database. The database will have all the various info that gets formatted out to the page (comment text, identiy info, comment replied to, comic it’s on, presumably page of comments on the comic it’s on, etc). A SQL statement should be doable to alter the comment in the database to correct it (either move to previous comic, change page it comments on, or if to a comment that was moderated out, set as new top level comment or lower level of another if obvious). How irritating the statement would be to figure out depends on the database structure. I don’t mind helping with that, but I’d need a sample databse to poke around in to figure it out. From that point, there are various ways to turn that into something easy for you or Rusche to modify.

          As a note, I don’t check any of my personal e-mail accounts much so if you send me an e-mail with any info, let me know with a comment on the current comic here to check.

          I’m a little surprised that WordPress doesn’t have some of that functionality built into the admin interface, or an admin plugin. Seems like it wouldn’t be that uncommon of a scenario, though maybe not enough people do the hierarchical comment plugins to notice (or other hierarchical comment plugins chose silent as opposed to obvious for failing gracefully).

          Also it’s not as if it really hurts anything, and if someone purposefully breaks things to be a troll, the comments would just be not replied to and moderated away anyway so problem solved there.

        4. The issue is just a developer choice in how to fail gracefully in case of inconsistent data. Sometimes a developer chooses to fail in a way that tries to hide that any failure happened, other times they try to make it obvious (this one makes it obvious without completely bombing out). The page renderer, presumably, queries for comments on the specific comic & page of comments, then it builds the tree by laying out all the ones that are top level comments, and then puts replies under the top levels in chronological order (with alphabetical avatar name, and then comment text for the event of a tie probably). If it has comments it couldn’t place, it appears to lay them out as the weird/borked top level comments that sit below the ones it knew where they belonged, and replies to them end up in the same boat.

          So that’s what it appears to be doing. If you view the page as source and search for the text in one of your comments you can see the comment ID for your comment and the one you replied to in there (you can also see the labels for the comments which is how I used to get the link to direct comments for the wiki before Jessica upgraded the system to include the Link link in each comment). It has to store that in some way to have any way to determine what you replied ot, as there are too many different comment threads for time alone to be able to figure it out later. Additionally, look at the URL when you reply to a comment. You’ll see ?replytocom=######## , that’s presumably used by the post function to know what to put into the database (and populate who you’re replying to, where in the page to draw the reply box if you have JavaScript on, etc).

        5. How about, “this comment is in line to be Dysoned by Mr. Fatty McFatFat pending skit approval by the Sistercon Sister’s Council Comment Committee.”

        6. Even if you had a rotating pool of a hundred or two of those, it could still get pretty old/distracting if there were enough spammers.

          While more disgusting, the quip that comes to mind for me with a comment pending moderation if you wanted to include McFatFat vacuuming, would be “Ellie’s cat swallowed this comment. We’ll see if it comes back. I mean it might, but don’t hold your breath.”

        7. What about having a comment awaiting moderation appear as a placeholder? No name, no text, no link– just something visual with a DOM instance so the code has something to link the messages to. This unfriendly looking grey blob of a placeholder could be left in place even if the original comment is rejected. I’d normally just say tie replies to an earlier message, but if the moderation message was the first one it could break up conversations to make multiple replies into entirely new threads.

        8. Problem with that is spam volume, if high, would make the page difficult to read. For that reason, I’d actually be a little surprised if the developers even added it as an option, so it’d probably require re-coding a bit. If re-coding the comment renderer, I’d think adjusting the method of “failing obviously” would be more user friendly (so instead of tossing all at bottom top level in order of tree, build the tree in the place it would seem to go for someone reading (so it’d move once the top level comment appeared) but put a gray background for the comment bubbles or something like that).

          That, and the fact that it’s rare, is why I would suggest a manual method of tweaking the database. I considered the idea of an automated method to search and do that, but that could break things if there’s a mistake in the detection portion. Also since comment moderation, which requires admin interaction, is a potential cause (as it was on this page), seems like it’s best to tie them together somehow. There’s also a bit of a judgement call for a comment that was meant for the previous comic as to if you want to move it to show up on the previous comic or make it appear as a top-level comment on the current comic (i.e. depends on the number and nature of replies), and that’s something you couldn’t realistically code into an automated script.

        9. Thanks for the suggestion. Since this would be a visual difference with the possibility of several blank comment placeholders, it might make the page scroll even more than it currently does. But maybe a message saying “This comment is pending, deleted or spam) might work…

      1. URLs require Rusche to moderate. Set that way for an easy first pass to filter out spammers. That’s the reason why I’ll generally reference old comics by title and date instead of the URL (that way Rusche doesn’t have to moderate me).

        Frequently (all the times I’ve tried anyway) if you leave out the protocol identifier bit (the colon slash slash and letters before it), it’ll post without requring moderation. Depending on how complex the expression matching is, a sufficiently complex URL without protocol identifier might still get flagged, but YouTube links and shortened URLs generally pass through.

        1. Jessica pointed out above that doing what you did will cause the comment borking. For that, I bequeath to you youtube.com/watch?v=J5kGUW6M7W0 .

        2. It was for the rest of us, just not you. If you went to a different browser without the identification cookie it would’ve been broken from there.

          But if you look at the difference in yours and mine, you’ll see what I was saying about removing the first part. I don’t think I needed to remove the www. part, but did since I had thought perhaps that’d hit the filter.

          Rusche also mentioned that there are spammer filters with other sorts of wording issues. He let one through as a demonstration on one of the comics, but I don’t recall which at the moment.

        3. HEY. You left that little tidbit out of the proposed experimental methodology. Your premise was borke from the very get go because you presumed that others had the same working knowledge that you do.

          And I’m not talking about the voodoo, that yooouuu doo, so well.

        4. Yeah, I wasn’t sure what triggered the filters, which is why I tried describing it as “the colon slash slash and letters before it”. That doesn’t technically require any domain knowledge, but it’s also not immensely clear.

        5. I was amused (and not entirely surprised) once your comment popped up that you picked the exact same YouTube video I did.

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