Tuesday, 24 November 2020


We’re sure you have plenty of questions about the blog. We’ll try to anticipate some of the main ones here, in time-worn honored question-and-answer format. You can post others, along with helpful hints and serendipitous discoveries, on the “Getting the Hang of the New MuseBlog” thread. First, though, a few words of explanation:

Q. Why did you have to replace the old, beloved MuseBlog?

A. It got hacked. Somebody broke into our Website and inserted code into the files for both MuseBlog and the subdirectory that holds the Muse Fan Page. As a result, we had to take both the MFP and MB offline, delete all the files, and start from scratch. For MuseBlog, that involved upgrading to the latest, most secure version of WordPress, our blog software. The Muse Fan Page was more severely messed up and will take longer to resurrect, but we’re working on it.

Q. Yikes! What did the hacked files do?

A. We think there were two kinds. One batch of code, apparently planted on February 25, looks as if it just tried to put ads in MuseBlog’s sidebar. The other hack created an invisible pop-up menu leading to a site that appears designed to download programs, probably spyware, to people’s personal computers. That’s potentially more serious. We don’t have any evidence that it actually did download anything, but you should definitely have your computers checked for viruses. Please let us know if you find anything, so we can warn others.

Q. Why does the blog look and act so funny?

A. When we upgraded WordPress, a lot of the blog software we had been using didn’t work with the new version, so we had to change it, too. In many cases, that meant substituting a different theme or plug-in that did the same things in slightly different ways. As a result, the “look and feel” of the blog changed. In the transition, a few things changed for the worse, but most things work better than before, once you get used to them.

If the blog looks absolutely horrible — type where it shouldn’t be, pieces of Web page scattered all over the screen, etc. — it’s probably because your browser is outdated. Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh, for example, makes it look hideous. It looks all right on every up-to-date browser we’ve tried, however.

Q. So, what are the main things that have changed?

A. Let’s see…

  • On our home page, our new theme has room for more pages (Rules, HG2MB, Who’s Here, etc.) on the menu bar.
  • You can now comment on some pages the way you do on threads; that should come in handy for suggestions and updates.
  • Some of the pages have drop-down menus with links to subpages with even more information — whee!
  • The “Recent Comments” sidebar no longer has the option of cutting off after the first period in a post. So you’ll have to be more careful with spoilers.
  • The birthday calendar is different.
  • On the pages, your comments can now be nested and threaded, and you can reply directly to other people’s comments if you want to. The nesting on the Muse Academy blog annoyed some people, but note that our threads are properly numbered. Besides, nesting is optional; you can reply the old way (with numbers at the bottom of the thread) if you prefer.
  • And, of course, you can now have gravatars (little pictures) next to your comments.

Q. What can I, personally, do, to help make this bold new enterprise a success?

A. So glad you asked!