Dress rehearsal

I’m finally getting around to considering what might happen here on election night. New server arrangements seem to have put an end to the heavy demand problems experienced by my WordPress database last week, but there’s no guarantee it would be able to handle the load on election night. In any case, chat rooms are probably a superior option, so I am giving this here Meebo feature a workout to see how it copes. At 10.30 EST (UPDATE: Not going to have my act together before than. Stay tuned – WB), blog comments will be closed for half-an-hour and the Poll Bludger faithful asked to carry on their normal discussion on Meebo. If all goes well I’ll have a couple of these running on election night, one being general and the other state-specific. My apologies to anyone who has firewall/proxy/software issues with this – hopefully I am allowing enough warning in advance so you can resolve these beforehand.

My other big idea is to have a separate chatroom on which only invitees can comment, but which anyone can view, to serve as a “news ticker”. At the risk of turning this into Studio 54, access will be limited to intelligence sources I deem to be high value. However, I am also putting out a call for volunteers so we can have a person monitoring each of the various election broadcasts on Saturday night so that any little nuggets that come to light on a particular broadcast are shared among all. If you’re up for this, please drop me a line at pollbludger – AT – bigpond – DOT – com.

In the meantime, feel free to familiarise yourselves with Meebo by stuffing around with it beforehand. It’s very easy to use: click on “edit nickname” to, like, edit your nickname (otherwise you’ll get a generic Meebo handle), type whatever you like in the small window immediately above, hit return, and bob’s your uncle.

NOTE: If this isn’t working at all, please let me know in comments.

NOTE 2: Seems I’ve got something basic wrong here. Am looking into it.

NOTE 3: Turning it off for the time being until I work out what to do.

NOTE 4: After a sort-of-successful experiment with Meebo, more chat room fun is scheduled for this evening.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

92 comments on “Dress rehearsal”

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  1. Billbowe, if you sign into Meebo, you’ll see a “create new room” option toward the bottom of the page.Once you’ve gone through that process of creating a new room , visit the room and click on “embed in your site” . That will give you the code you need to paste into your wordpress system

  2. ESJ – whether or not we agree on preferred or predicted outcomes can we think for a minute (and then, if necessary, another minute, and so on) before criticising William who makes this blog happen at all? You have seen what happens even on newspoll nights after all, and William is the host and we are guests, let’s all behave accordingly. Your namesake was a model of civility as I recall.

  3. #36

    I am told that: “Real IRC involves running an actual server and everyone needing their own special MIRC software”. Does anyone disagree? If so, could they lend their assistance in setting it up?

    IRC is not difficult to setup. For the channel we should be able to setup something like #pollbluger on an existing server (someone has already mentioned Austnet which I’ve never had experience with – but asside from that an IRC server is an IRC server so it should be the same as other servers I’ve player around with). I can provide a hand with this if you need it. On the client side there are solutions for all platforms – Mac, Windows, Linux – and transcripts from IRC can be logger and made available after the event.

  4. Thanks PC, but I did get that far before. The problem was that it doesn’t do what I thought I did – apparently it’s not a “shoutbox where every visitor can see each other”. From what I hear, a Shoutbox would place huge demands on my server. I’m now told Bravenet can’t be embedded in the site Meebo style. I guess I’ll look at the CGI option now.

  5. William, why not a decent forum tool instead? Like say phpbb? You can setup your various boards, restrict posting rights and visibility on a per forum basis etc. It is backed with Mysql but as long as your host is half decent, Mysql is more than capable of dealing with more traffic than you are likely to see, even on election night. Might pay to check does your host have failover load balancing or clustered mysql servers?? For that matter wordpress should be capable just that it’s permission structure is not very fine grained. IMHO chat format is dodgy.

  6. Lol, I just saw Lateline here in QLD, another Lib scandal with more dirty tricks (extremely offensive to the Bali dead IMO).

    Thought Robb could have easily caught out the Lib spokesperson for lying, the guy was crapping on about them being expelled yet he couldn’t name who they were, give me a break. He seemed none to chuffed, however when Andrew signed off and talked about this ’emerging story’, lol.

  7. The meebo thing has such a small font you need an electron microscope to see it

    Not a big fan of chatrooms, it’s too random, hope we can have some sort of forum/message board system instead.

  8. seems like a lot of random noise – like the USA political chat rooms on Yahoo. Bigger fonts would make it much easier to follow. But I don’t think we will get much coherent discussion going due to the constant flow.

  9. can *someone* please do a search and see if they can find a way to configure meebo to show large fonts.. that is show *everyones* font as larger.

    gotta be in the stylesheet somewhere.


  10. Might be saying nothing useful, William.

    On the Reuters Poll thread.

    I have page 10 up.

    To refresh, I go History, back. Mozilla.

    Displayed in bold is page 9.

    Then I need to click on 10, to get it up.

    Something wrong with the code?

    Should not the most recent page display first?

  11. #
    Crikey Whitey Says:
    November 22nd, 2007 at 3:17 am

    Might be saying nothing useful, William.

    On the Reuters Poll thread.

    A little more clarity may assist.

    I have page 10 up.

    To refresh, I go History, back. Mozilla.

    Displayed are all the page numbers, from one to ten, as they currently exist.

    Page 9 is bold, bracket, highlighted.

    Given that Page 10 is the most recent, according to the coding suggested to you, it is 10 which should be bold, highlighted.

    I think.

  12. William, you should try Twitter (twitter.com) for some of your election night updates. Users won’t need to sign up, but if they do they can receive your messages via SMS for no extra cost. Great for people like me who might not be near a TV on Saturday.

    As for chat rooms, in the past I’ve found Meebo to be a little unreliable. By far the best way to go will be to use IRC. Your talking about potentially having 1000’s of users in there, which no purely web based solution will be able to handle properly.

  13. I don’t think IRC is a realistic option.

    Everyone will need to download MIRC, and then learn commands like:
    /join #pollbludger

    If there is some sort of java/activex version the bludger can stick on his front page, then great.

  14. Meebo is a very easy IM to use once you get used to it.

    Use your msn/yahoo/aim or just create a meebo account.

    Now you can join/add chatrooms.

    William should just create a chatroom like ‘The Poll Bludger Election 2007’

    Then everyone can join it anytime anywhere for ever.

    You could also create a forum using free forum software like invisionfree for more intense discussion.


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