Broke it. Blogjune 21/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

Part of a browser window displaying the conversation with tech support. It has two screenshots of a blog commenting interface. One prompts for input. The other shows the message “Nonce verification failed”

What I did today:

Broke my blog.

Good and proper.


“Nonce verification failure”.

If you self-host WordPress and cannot comment on your own posts due to a “nonce verification failure” error, try fiddling with a setting in the Jetpack plugin. There is a parameter under settings > security > login. “Allow users to log into this site using accounts” and “Match accounts using email address “. If you turn those off and on again, it may fix it.


A nonce is a once-off token that identifies my session. My blog was getting a different session token when I tried to write to it in comments. (You said you were Jan, but this token is from Lee! Go away.)

It was caused by Jetpack presuming I was Kathryn-with-the-Wordpress-account-that-is-linked-to-Jetpack, not Kathryn-who-is-logged-onto-her-own-site. Until I reset the comments prompt, it just couldn’t stop fixating.

I came up with a solution in the end, but not until I had:

  • Cleared all my browser histories
  • Installed and configured a good-enough new theme for my blog
  • Switched off all plugins except Jetpack (because it threatened to wipe all my site stats)
  • Tried to re-set my server cache with my usual brute-force kludge… changing the default format for post permalinks to something else, then back to the original
  • Halfway through the permalink reset, lost access to the admin screen and any other screen due to redirect errors.
  • Logged in to my web hosting account and checked my wp-config file.
  • Checked my .htaccess file while I was there
  • Saw something a bit odd in the .htaccess file, so started a live session with support because it was beyond my skills
  • Spent two hours on the phone to my hosting service, who were very nice., and I am pretty sure, human not AI. They solved the immediate problem (.htaccess had gone screwy so they rewrote it), but not the nonce error problem
  • Reinstalled my WordPress content and program files
  • FINALLY disabled Jetpack in case it was the issue, so deleted all my site statistics for the last few years.
  • Discovered that the nonce error was gone.
  • Made a very small, one minute change to a parameter in Jetpack, after 4-5 hours trying to solve this.

Somebody think of the psychosocial safety of council staff! Blogjune 19/23


… or … The logical fallacy “Somebody think of the CHILDREN/ Lovejoy’s Law” updated for 2023.

Let’s state right off that nobody should harm children. Workplaces are often unsafe and employers need to fix that. Nobody should harm children or place workers in unsafe conditions. Hurting children is bad. Hurting workers is bad.

An ethical scenario

I teach ethics to people who will become librarians. Every study period I grab a scenario from last week’s news and give it to students before our Zoom class about ethics. It is a back up because I invite the class to bring their own examples. Many students are in industry, or have been library/archives/records users, and we usually use their far meatier examples.

This study period I used the example of Rainbow Storytime being banned in Goulbourn library in early June. In my imaginary scenario, the chief executive did not cancel the event because they were “unable to guarantee the physical and psychosocial safety of council’s employees”. In the fictional example the CEO actually expressed concerns about council employee safety, and asked the student, as library manager, how their professional regulatory framework, competencies and ethics guided the situation.

And I added another twist. The real Goulbourn Library included real Reconciliation Storytime among other storytime sessions in the same event registration package as their real Rainbow Storytime. In my scenario, BOTH storytimes had objections from the same group. In my imaginary scenario protesters complained that the events were adult content being forced on children, and made similar threats to council staff. I asked students whether the professional framework would guide them to act differently for each storytime.

What happens when a library runs Drag Queen Storytime?

Turns out, sometimes there are real-life impacts of running Drag Queen Storytime in public libraries. Totally booked out attendance. Large community support. Like last Saturday, when around 200 people turned up at Maylands Library in Perth to show their support and provide a counterpoint to a very small number of picketers at an event now entering its sixth year. In April this year, an online petition to cancel a Drag Storytime in Victoria’s Oakleigh Library was reported to have only a quarter of the signatures of a different online petition supporting the event (Austin & O’Meara, 2023).

It even results in libraries carrying out what their funders pay them to do, which is to provide a community service open to all, with an ethical remit to remove barriers to free access to information.

When we briefly touched my ethical scenario in class, I pointed students to the Australian Library and Information Association’s 2022 Statement of support for Rainbow Storytimes, which states in part:

Enabling an inclusive environment where differences are valued and all individuals are treated fairly and with courtesy, dignity and respect is part of ALIA’s Professional Conduct Statement.  ALIA recognises that for some groups in our community, such as LGBTQIA+ people, collections, programs and services have not always been as inclusive and representative as they should have been. It is in this context, that we reiterate our commitment to ensuring that libraries provide inclusive and safe environments for all individuals, including LGBTQIA+ people.

ALIA, 2022

Psychological safety and moral injury in the workplace

In the Goulbourn example, I thought “psychosocial safety” of council workers was an interesting turn of phrase. Especially in the context of the known psychological, social and health risks to workers placed in situations likely to cause moral injury. And the fact that library staff are council workers.

Moral injury is a psychological harm caused by the

strong cognitive and emotional response that can occur following events that violate a person’s moral or ethical code… [including]…a person’s own or other people’s acts of omission or commission, or betrayal by a trusted person in a high-stakes situation

Williamson et al., 2021

A recent example of moral injury is the impact on health care workers forced to compromise ethical standards of patient care and safety in circumstances of pandemic exhaustion and under-resourcing. Or, any academic who has to choose between using their finite time to mark all student assessments by a deadline, or to stop and spend several hours documenting a suspected academic integrity case for a single student, which is unlikely to result in more than the student name being entered in an internal database.

The “psychological harm” playbook extended

I am guessing that the Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Council, which runs Floreat Library, in Western Australia, also liked the phrase “psychological safety”. Because, you know, libraries are dangerous things. Causing harms. Harms that must be stamped out to fulfil legal duty of care to council staff.

So – no Drag Queen Storytimes for Goulbourn because we must think of the psychological safety of council workers. Well, SOME council workers.

In Floreat Library? The CEO ordered the library to stop stocking two local free newspapers that were politically critical of the council. Why? “criticism of Cambridge in the local press posed a psychological hazard to staff under the Work Health and Safety Act”.

I have a new backup ethics example for next study period.

I am interested to see where this playbook will further lead for libraries.


Austin, S., & O’Meara, J. G. (2023, April 28). Won’t somebody please think of the children? Their agency is ignored in the moral panic around drag storytime. The Conversation

Dickinson, B. (2023, June 17). “Dangerous” Post Banned from library. Mosman Cottesloe Post.

Williamson, V., Murphy, D., Phelps, A., Forbes, D., & Greenberg, N. (2021). Moral injury: The effect on mental health and implications for treatment. The Lancet Psychiatry, 8(6), 453–455.

Walking the winter spiral. Blogjune 18/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

What I did today:

Gathered outside with a group of women to share thoughts on winter, drink warm spiced juice, eat freshly cooked damper, sit around a fire and weave creations from sticks and shells and locally spun yarn.

In honour of the solstice this week, we each made a rolled wax candle, then walked a spiral of leaves and branches to light it from a large candle at the centre, leaving our candle in the pathway as we exited.

But, today’s pic is another view of a stage. It’s my last Cabaret Festival event, An Australian Songbook from Robyn Archer.

I considered travelling to Melbourne for a couple of days on my week off – now being so physically close and not having any pause to take advantage of it before. Instead, I vacationed at the festival.

Bamboo table. Blogjune 16/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

An image completely taken up by the pattern of bamboo from a tabletop.

What I did today:

Sat around my bamboo table with a couple of good friends eating cheese and drinking gin.

I am going to invite them over at 5pm every Friday just before I go on a week’s leave. The day was a flurry of tidying up loose ends and moving things from my to do list to my “when I get back from holidays” list.. but because I had visitors coming I didn’t have time to faff around and do just one more essential thing before my out-of-office email message went on. I just did what needed doing.

3am journalling. Blogjune 15/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

The pic is sunset over the city, a week out from Winter Solstice.

What I did today: Woke early. Warmed some milk and sat in my special reading nook journalling for an hour until I was sleepy again.

I usually sleep well. I am a great believer in solving problems by “sleeping on it”. My brain works really well at finding solutions overnight and laying them on my lap the next day.

Last night, all that subconscious processing had the volume up. I wasn’t worried. I didn’t feel like I was obsessing, it was just I had to watch all that processing while I was semi-awake, rather than it happening silently in the background while I snoozed.

I have a LOT to do as I finish marking for one study period and prepare my online sites and course outlines for the next one… all due to be made live this Friday so I can take a week of annual leave before plunging back into teaching.

I worked out some improvements for an assessment that is currently being marked. I created a list of tasks I needed to do before a meeting this morning. I thought up new material and changes to make for the first few weeks of a couple of courses next Study Period.

I think my brain just had so much banked up that it forgot to turn out the lights.

BY THE WAY… I need to fix my blog template before I can respond to comments people have made in the last little while. It is stopping me from posting responses and I need to tweak. That may happen next week.

Up in the gods. Blogjune 14/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

In the very back balcony row, waiting for the show to start. It’s all Elvis. Not the good one (Costello), but the other one (Presley).

I am here for the performers – Deborah Conway, Joe Camilleri and Paul Grabowsky. I think I would see any collaboration between them.

I was freezing cold when I saw a show waaaaaay down there on Saturday, so I rugged up with several layers. Turns out all the hot air in the building rises to this level. Phew!

Commenting. Blogjune 13/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

Livestreamed, after work yoga. (Or… yes, I forgot to take pics again today..)

A purple patterned sarong on a blue towel covering a yoga mat on a wooden floor near a cream curtain.

What I did today:

Commented on other blogjune people’s posts about:

  • Whether the time for blogging was many years ago, but maybe there is room for conversation again at Con’s Flexnib
  • Whether blogging is a way to take conversation back from wall builders at Genevieve’s Reloaded
  • The way people are disconnected by having so many platforms to choose from at snail’s snail.
  • Adding library details to Yelp, Google and Bing at Stephen’s Beating the Bounds
  • A history of personal blogging and being comfortable with not sharing deliberately at Andrew’s Bibliotheque Bound.
  • A visit to Miss Marple’s tearooms in Olinda by Graeme at GraemeO28 Librarian and Biker.

… because I think many people in the conversation are on to something. Maybe we CAN build community, chat more, if we play on each other’s blogs, now that commercial platforms are crumbling. While I think it is worth playing, I suspect I would not have stamina to keep it up. Maybe?

I know I should ALSO get back into personalised replies to people who comment here. I would never have left a comment go unacknowledged once upon a time (you came! you chatted! THANK YOU!!).. but I think so much time being overwhelmed by the stream of information on Twitter has numbed me a bit to etiquette of reciprocated conversation.

Computer power and human reason. Blogjune. 12/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

It’s a public holiday for the pretend birthday of some bloke in England. I could even hear a 12 gun salute for it at midday.

What I did today:

I sat in the sunshine and caught up on reading for an AI Ethics bookclub I accidentally joined last month.

Looking over many of the earlier books the group had discussed, I saw several from which I had set readings for students (like Weapons of Math Destruction , Invisible Women and Made by Humans ), so it seemed like a good idea.

This month’s book is from 1976, written over a two year sabbatical by MIT computer scientist, Joseph Weizenbaum. Between 1964 and 1966, he created ELIZA, a very simple chatbot style program that used pattern matching to respond to typed enquiries. The DOCTOR routine imitated a Rogerian therapist, almost as a parody of this style of reflective questioning, where the therapist prompted the patient to speak using a rather scripted set of responses, mainly using the patient’s own words.

So, a session with ELIZA, or with a real Rogerian therapist, would start something like this:

PATIENT: Hello, can you help me with my problems?

DOCTOR: You want me to help you with your problems?

PATIENT: Yes, I am having problems with my mother.

DOCTOR: What about your mother is troubling you?

PATIENT: She doesn’t listen to me.

DOCTOR: Why do you think she doesn’t listen to you?

You can play with it for yourself on many sites like this ELIZA emulation at New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The program was demo-ed to many visitors to MIT to show what was possible. This use was relatable and understandable, while many other early computing uses required higher-level maths or computing to appreciate. But …. people bonded with ELIZA. They asked for privacy when they chatted with it. They were outraged that Weizenbaum suggested recording the data that was being input when many, many people used it overnight. Something a little different was happening. Even scientists who KNEW that this was a prediction tool following a script attributed far more humanity and effectiveness than was reasonable.

The book, Computer Power and Human Reason is Weizenbaum’s attempt to make sense of how we should progress into a world where people may have a tendency to ascribe wisdom or humanity to a set of probabilistic scripts. I am not far in, but this quote from his introduction has already jumped out and shaken me by the lapels:

The reaction to ELIZA showed me more vividly than anything I had seen hitherto the enormously exaggerated attributions an even well-educated audience is capable of making, even strives to make, to a technology it does not understand. Surely, I thought, decisions made by the general public about emergent technologies depends much more on what that public attributes to such technologies than on what they actually are or can or cannot do.

p. 7 Weizenbaum, J. (1976) Computer Power and Human Reason. W.H. Freeman and Company