911blogger.com seeks to cover a broad spectrum of news, posts in the blogs section are the responsibility of the poster, readers are encouraged to check the facts and form their own conclusions.
Effective immediately I am no longer a team member of 911Blogger.com. This decision is of my own accord, and one which I have toiled over for many many months. Reprehensor is now the lead team member of 911Blogger.com, and I hope that the members of this site will greet him warmly to this position and know that he has my utmost respect and blessing in keeping this site at the forefront of 9/11 related alternative news. While I will continue to help the remaining team members of the site with the technical side of things on the site as needed, I will no longer be involved in the day to day maintenance and moderation as I have been for almost three years now. There will undoubtedly be changes made to the site in the coming weeks as part of this transition of the site, some won't mind them, others will write it into a larger conspiracy of how this was 'setup since the beginning of the site to somehow do X or do Y'. The reality is that the site has to go through changes to facilitate my retiring from the site, and to try and reign in this website into something that is both manageable by the remaining team members and useful to the community.
I think perhaps some see this site as what it could/should be instead of what it is - criticizing how things should be done and perhaps not factoring in the realities of those that run this site. I work a full time job, I have a family, I have friends, and I have responsibilities, and 911Blogger.com has made up a large part of what I consider my responsibilities for a long time now - the same goes for Reprehensor, Somebigguy, and GeorgeWashington. I don't have endless resources, I'm not online 24/7, this site can't be everything to everyone, and expecting perfection out of anything is unrealistic - there is no grand conspiracy in any perceived failures of this website, the site just is what it is. To those who have taken it upon themselves to contribute to this site and create others which have become so useful to the movement, thank you.
I must admit that I am growing increasingly frustrated at the direction in which some of the users of this site have been headed. Actions in the last few days have pushed the bounds of reasonable activity and have forced me into a position in which I do not wish to be. Egos and frustration mixed with low blows and antagonation have led what could and should be a positive focus into one of extremely negative vibes. In little position to find a solution it seems there are none in my hands, but only those who help make up this otherwise useful tool for the 9/11 truth movement. Disagreements and differences of opinions stretched out over an incredibly long period of hard work in fighting for what is right have led many to utter apathy and others to misdirected aggression.
Trying to stay on top of this website has grown outside of the bounds of reason, a double edged sword in many different ways. Cries for help for solutions mixed with intentional flamebaiting, name dropping, misunderstandings, and misinterpretation leaves little room for any single person to solve anything. Unimaginable progress over two years seems like so little in minute by minute postings, while time wastes away talking amongst ourselves our adversaries take the ears of what should be our intended audience. Tools abound to facilitate a growing progression mean little in the hands of distraction - is that what this site has become?
What is the direction this site is headed? Will another site without such problems emerge in time to replace this one, or are they already there but not being utilized? Is there any feasibility to having a large tent without being overcome in inner feuds and worthless battles? A big tent with few large actions or many small tents with many small actions? Can a site's users maintain it themselves to prevent self destruction or marginalization, or is such an effort a waste of time itself? At what point can this site go away to facilitate better actions by those who invest so much time in its survival? To what degree is the debt owed by its moderators and its users? Where should the line be drawn, and who gets to draw it? Do we end with a ban hammer bang, or bow out before the mess hits the fan?
I'll leave it up to you.
Last night President Bush gave a speech explaining why he vetoed the Iraq Accountability Act - not surprisingly he pulled out his old war drum - 9/11:
In Washington last week, General Petraeus explained it this way, "Iraq is, in fact, the central front of all al Qaeda's global campaign." Al Qaeda -- al Qaeda's role makes it -- the conflict in Iraq far more complex than a simple fight between Iraqis. It's true that not everyone taking innocent life in Iraq wants to attack America here at home, but many do. Many also belong to the same terrorist network that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001 and wants to attack us here at home again. We saw the death and destruction al Qaeda inflicted on our people when they were permitted a safe haven in Afghanistan. For the security of the American people, we must not allow al Qaeda to establish a new safe haven in Iraq.
While it has been common practice for this president and his administration to invoke 9/11 when it suits their political needs, the usage of 9/11 as a drum to garner support for the war had seemed to be on the decline - but apparently it is still in play when they are so far backed into a corner. Perhaps the main difference in using 9/11 as a war drum in the past and doing so today is that this same drum now makes an increasingly different noise.
For many Americans admitting the Iraq war was a failure of this administration has been too taboo, much in the way that admitting 9/11 was a failure of this administration has been. But as the American people gradually come to the realization that the Iraq war is indeed a failure, the 9/11 drum itself rings with this same sound. While in the past the banging of the 9/11 drum might spark patriotism and pride gained through surviving adversity, its new sound rings true - the Bush administration failed at the Iraq war, and failed us on 9/11 - but that is just what the drum is starting to sound like at the moment.
The next step in this progression will come as the American public comes to see the Iraq war not as a failure, but instead as a treasonous war for the benefit of the largest players in the military industrial complex. Once this perception is more commonly held the 9/11 war drum will take that form as well. Perhaps Bush's frequent association of 9/11 with Iraq will come back to haunt him when the public ties the realities of Iraq in with the realities of 9/11? People will begin looking at 9/11 and wondering if perhaps it too was not a failure as they had once so innocently thought of the Iraq war.
So George, keep banging your 9/11 drum for the Iraq war - the American public is finally starting to hear what song you've really been playing.
What it Takes to Garner Media Attention (or how 911Blogger got offered their first nationally syndicated radio interview)
I got an email tonight from a "nationally syndicated" radio show which "broadcasts [..] to over 30 markets across the country", and has "a reach of 8-10 million listeners at any given time". I'm sure your thinking maybe they emailed me to talk about the leader of the Canadian Action Party commenting on the 9/11 truth movement, or the Jersey Girls push for 15,000 signatures for declassification of 9/11 documents, or maybe the ex-traffic controller's review of Dr. Griffin's new book, or perhaps Rosie hosting 9/11 first responders on The View or her tacit support of this website - or maybe any of the dozens of news items we cover each week - but you would be wrong.
My name is Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx, and I'm one of the Producers on the MANCOW SHOW-- a nationally syndicated morning radio show based in Chicago. I would like to invite you to be a guest on the show TOMORROW at 7:10 am Eastern/ 6:10 am central. The interview would be live over the phone, 5-10 minutes long, talking about your website and the possibility that the SAN FRANCISCO HIGHWAY COLLAPSE WAS A POSSIBLE TERRORIST ATTACK or INSIDE JOB.
Please call me ASAP at XXX-XXX-XXXX or e-mail me at your earliest convenience if you are interested in doing an interview.
No, the reason for the attention was the same as the reason this website was the #1 link on fark.com for a few hours today:
Panicky 9/11 truth nutjobs debate Oakland gas tanker incident, see their WTC conspiracy theories collapse as quickly as that highway did
Things like this only further my understanding of the current mindset of popular media. The only thing which is worth covering in their eyes anymore is that which draws anger and ire onto others - give the people someone they can hate - whether deserved or not. It is important for all of us to understand that we are 10x more likely to be covered for that which makes us look crazy, or which paints us as paranoid, than anything else - no matter the newsworthiness. The fact that such a small story (and one not related to 9/11 as well) could garner such a response, but the hundreds of other stories not so much as a glance, should paint a pretty clear picture.
These photos were sent to us probably around 2 years ago.. I don't know how much use they are, but I am sure some media collectors out there would be happy to have them.
The download is about 180mb:
http://www.911podcasts.com/files/images/8000 Photos World Trade Center 9-11.rar
If you are unfamiliar with .rar files they are just another method of compression like .zip, you can download winrar or other rar extraction tools freely on the web.
Also, once this torrent is done downloading we will be sure to host those as well.
Thanks again to everyone who chipped in on our server fundraiser. I will be sure to post details on when we will be making the switch, etc. once I have the details.
User Douglas took notes of the salient messages, they may need to be double checked as the audio is a bit hard to hear:
"Advise message about the remote-controlled plane."
"We need the bomb squad over here at King...[garbled]"
"Give an update on that plane."
"I got a message on that plane, it's a big truck with a mural painted of an airplane diving into NYC and exploding. No one is in the truck; the truck is in between 6th and 7th on King Street."
"Two men got out of the truck ran away from it, we got those two under. "
"Are you holding those two guys, K?"
"Listen beat the fucking shit out of 'em!"
"Both suspects under, K. We have the suspects who drove in the van, the van exploded. We have both of them under, let's get some help over here."
This seems like a very odd lead, but is definitely worth checking out and trying to figure out. Thanks to newtruther for the original heads up in this thread. The next step is to track down and verify the recording, hopefully some of our users can do some digging..
First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last night's blog entry regarding comment throttling. I am very happy to say that the changes made last night to the server made a big difference and that comment throttling was able to be cut off this afternoon. While there are still hiccups which may occur, overall the site is running a good bit better today than it has been.
I would also like to say thank you to everyone who offered to help us afford a dedicated server. I have setup a 'group action' over on fundable.org to raise $700 to help fund a dedicated server for the next 6 months. The way this works is that you pledge an amount, and then if we receive enough pledges to cover the entire amount then you make good on your pledge. This will last at most 14 days, and once we have the funds I will get the ball rolling on making the switch ASAP. Please just chip in a few bucks, don't go overboard, hopefully we all can cover our own little part of this.
6 Months of Dedicated Server Hosting for 911Blogger.com
Thanks to everyone who contributes to this site and helps keep it productive!
Note: As of Friday, 3/23, at 10pm we hit the needed $700. Thank you to everyone who chipped in! I will start the ball rolling on getting the server switch done ASAP!
Last weekend I spent about an hour writing a blog entry about how comments on this site were going away. This decision was made for a number of reasons including the overall tone in the comments lately, the server overhead involved in having such an active comments section, and an overall desire to somehow slow down the site just a bit to better match with our abilities to work on it. After doing some local testing I found that removing our commenting (and related up/down voting) abilities would cut our server load to less than 30% of our current usage. In other words, the site would be faster and able to handle getting slammed. Obviously removing the comments section would make many unhappy, but if it becomes more of a burden (either through server overhead, or being more detracting than beneficial) than it is worth then obviously we will have to make changes. After emailing a few people asking for their help in improving the candor of commenting here we left the commenting system in place for now.
As a sort of compromise between having commenting and not allowing commenting to bring the server to its knees - commenting has been 'throttled'. Basically what that means is that when the server gets busy (20+ logged in users or 40+ anonymous users) the comments section will disappear temporarily. If the server load goes back down in 2-3 minutes then a quick refresh will show the comments section again. Temporarily disabling these commenting abilities cuts our server load to a 1/3rd of normal - and facilitates the site staying running well and not locking up.
Beyond this comment throttling, I made a number of changes to the server tonight - which will definitely have an affect on the site - hopefully a good effect. If things go wrong then there may be issues again tomorrow (Wednesday), but hopefully these changes will add up to a more responsive site, and if they have a large effect perhaps we won't need the comment throttling.
The site has been getting a good bit of traffic this week.. Luckily it has stayed up, but it is starting to choke when we have 80-100+ concurrent users.. Our next step is to move up to a fully dedicated server, most notably to one with 2GB of ram as our 768MB is not cutting it during these high traffic times. To help keep the server running smooth please log out if your not posting comments and are just browsing the site. This way the pages you get are cached (5 minutes tops) and the server load is dramatically less.
We have never made a penny running this site, and we have never asked for money for anything but running ads, raising money for first responders, etc. but we may have to soon if we are going to stay ahead of the growth rate.
One option is to start using the blogads revenue which we take in for server costs instead of rolling them into our ad fund raising, another option is taking donations to pay for the dedicated server, and another option is finding a handful of people willing to 'sponsor' the site via monthly contributions.
I've been fighting against doing this for a number of months, but we have had to disable anonymous commenting due to recent attacks on the site - specifically in the form of flooding out comments with attack pieces including posting photos of bowls of human feces (left up only as an example for why anonymous commenting had to be removed).
In any event, anonymous users must register to post comments, all it takes is an email address. On a side note, the poll which was run last month ended up with 5x more users wanting to remove anonymous commenting than continue to allow them.
Making this change is not something I wanted to do, but unfortunately there are those whose focus is on anything but being constructive.
I just wanted to post a quick note of support for the fund raiser that Jon Gold has been putting together. This fund raiser is based on nothing but good intentions and a desire to try to help out those directly affected by the tragedy of 9/11. I intend to post something more formal about the fund raiser soon, but in the mean time I would encourage people to chip in a few bucks, and I hope that other 9/11 sites will join in this effort once we have something a bit more formal put together.
I had to switch out the comment viewing this evening so now the comments are forced to be shown 30 per page. This was necessary due to some of the threads reaching 100+ comments, which when viewed would bog down the entire server. Now each page loaded will have at most 30 comments to load, and hopefully will keep the server from being totally unresponsive as it has been at times this week. I know this will be a pain as for being able to stay on top of a discussion, but it is necessary for now. Put simply, this site is not geared towards being a discussion forum, or having massive amounts of comments - discussion boards and forums are better suited for this type of thing (which is why discussion forums don't show all comments on one page).
I also worked on a glitch related to user sessions, so you will probably have to log back in on your first visit back to the site.
I would highly encourage users who have found a home here to likewise find a home at a discussion forum as well. Here are a few forums which I know off the top of my head, if you have a discussion forum which you would suggest please feel free to post them in the comments:
Bah. Ran into a brick wall on the site changes. Rather than keep the site down all night I've put it back up for now. If/when I get over this hurdle the site will go back down again for the changes - which may or may not be tonight.
Sorry for the downtime.
I am still working out some of the unforeseen details I ran into today. My guess is I will give this a try in another two or three days. In the mean time, there are about 50 users who are not using the default '911bloggerV2' theme. Please take a second and click on 'my account', then 'edit', and see which theme you are using. If you are on a theme other than '911bloggerV2' then please change it. If you have any issues please contact me with details on the issue(s) - some of these outdated themes may be removed soon.
Jeez. Just checking out my blog I see it has been about a month since the changes to blog entry submissions. I had not intended it to take as long as it has, nor did I intend for us to be in the position of approving/rejecting blog entries this long either. I am sure that we have pushed some buttons in playing this role, or for making people feel rejected, etc. - so to anyone who has had a blog entry not approved I would like to apologize. I have probably upset quite a large cross section of users across a gamut of reasons so again, I am sorry. As I stated a little over a month ago it is my intention to put the blog moderation into the hands of the community, and not the team members of this site alone. Putting the moderators of this site into the process of blog submissions was unfortunately necessary given a number of shortcomings to the initial implementation. I'd like to say thank you to the majority of users who have given us the benefit of the doubt, and to those that didn't, well I'm sure I'll hear your complaints over the new system as well ;)
In any event, tonight I laid out the steps necessary for deployment of the new site changes as related to blog entry moderation. The test run of implementing these changes took somewhere around 4 hours tonight on my local test machine so I would expect at least that long as well for when the changes are implemented on the live server. In other words, expect some downtime once these changes roll out. I had hoped to get enough done to roll out these changes tomorrow (Tuesday) night, but I will probably end up holding off another night or two so that I can figure out a few more issues related to the changes before I commit.
We have been getting more and more trolls on the site the last few days. By 'troll' I mean someone who is only here to attack or instigate arguments. So, I just added the community based comment moderation stuff I have been working on. Basically if a comment is rated poorly it will be defaultly hidden (ala digg.com, but without the fancy animations). The scale of what is considered 'poor' will be fine tuned as we go along, but hopefully this will help the community moderate against some of these trolls. If you don't know, you can vote a comment up or down by clicking on the up or down arrows next to a comment - you must be logged in for this to work.
As for blog moderation, I am still working on it. I made some pretty good progress the other night, but I still have a little ways to go. Thanks for everyone's patience.
Also, I have only gotten one email with submissions for our new Activism section. If your looking for something to do we could use some help building it out!
I have been throwing together an activism page for the site in my fleeting spare time the last week or so. It is still very much in the works, but it would be a lot easier to build with some help from the community. The intention of the page is to list a wide variety of forms of activism, include related resources for doing them, and provide examples of others who have done this type of activism in the past.
You can find the page which is currently in the works here:
Please, please, please, keep in mind that this is just a first swipe. I am sharing it for the purposes of having others chip in on the effort. Eventually this section will replace the 'quotes' tab at the top of the site. At the top of the activism page there is a link to contact us with submissions and suggestions for the page. If you would like to chip in please contact us via the link at the top of the page!
On a side note, I am still working on the new form of blog ratings/moderation. It is still my top priority, but it is going to take a bit longer. In the mean time the team members of the site may turn down some blog entries. It is not my intention for us to always be in charge of what is and what is not published to the blog page, but that is how it has to be for now. I hope to have something in place within the coming weeks, but that will depend on how things go.
Best wishes all!
Got the following email tonight:
I was just in Atlanta last weekend for business and stayed at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel. While there I realized that the hotel went as highas the 47th floor which is the same height as building 7. I rode to the top and bottom take a few pictures as a reference to show people just how large of a building 47 floors is. I thought that maybe these could be posted on 911blogger for folks to see for themselves. Actually, the pics don't do it justice b/c when you're on the top floor (47) and look all the down, you can't help but wonder how a building that massive could "just collapse" without any help. These pics are from the inside and one pic that I got off the web of the outside. Marriott's website list the building at 50 floors but that is taking the sub floors into account. The lobby is floor 1 and the last floor at the top literally stops at 47. I even took a picture next to the elevator as proof that I was on floor 47 and you can also see in that same picture the glass ceiling in the background. I hope that these give people a little better perspective of just how large 47 floors really is. Thanks!
(see the pics after the jump..)
Blog entries submitted will no longer instantly appear in the blog section. Blog entries must now be approved or rejected by the Team+Members of this site.
There are numerous reasons why this change had to be made. In simplest terms this change had to be made to preserve the integrity of this site. Before this change anyone could setup an account and post whatever they wish instantly. While this is great in terms of free-speech, it is bad in that this type of system is open to abuse. While we have been relatively lucky in that no one has gone to the extremity of posting pornography, viruses, etc., we cannot continue to leave this door open and wait for even worse abuses of the system to occur.
Obviously this will put the team members of this site into the position of deciding what blog entries will and won't be posted. Until we have such a system that this moderation can be put into the hands of the community instead, we will make the decisions as to what is and what isn't published. Please keep in mind that there may be times in which blog entries go hours before being approved.
We fully expect these changes to spawn a wave of comments regarding our 'covering up' this, or 'being CIA' that, but I trust that users of this site over the last 2 years would understand that these steps are necessary to ensure that the intentions of the blog section are not abused.
For further information on the intent of the blog entry section please see: Misuse of User Blogs and Commenting Abilities.
Sorry for taking so long to replace the poll. It doesn't take but a second.. You should see the question on the left hand panel, or find it here:
When did you first get involved with 9/11 activism? (Activism, not questioning)
Here were the results of the last poll:
When was the last time you handed out flyers, DVDs, etc.?
Created 2006-06-18 16:25
47% (81 votes) - Last 48 Hours
16% (27 votes) - Last Week
10% (17 votes) - Last 2 Weeks
9% (16 votes) - Last Month
1% (2 votes) - Last 3 Months
17% (30 votes) - Longer than 3 Months
Total votes: 173
Also, here is a question that can't be a poll:
How can this site be made more productive for activism?
Right now all we have is the 'action items' panel on the left, and the 'events' tab at the top. What could we do to help facilitate group activism, or is it really up to the users?
I just added two new features to the site. Neither of these are major, but were requested by a number of users and should come in handy for some.
User Contact Forms
User's can now contact other users privately. To allow someone to contact you privately click 'my account' on the left hand panel, and edit your settings to have 'Personal contact form' checked. To contact another user view their profile (click their name), and click the 'contact' tab. If the user allows private messages then you will see a contact form, otherwise you will be notified that the user does not allow private messages. Anonymous users are not allowed to contact you. These private messages are sent via email, and are not archived on this site. Please note that your email address is NOT made public by doing this. However, if you contact a user your message will be listed as coming from your email address. So in other words, if you contact someone they will see your email address, but if someone contacts you they won't see your email address (unless you reply to the email obviously).
Printer Friendly Pages
Now when you view a blog entry or news story you will see a 'printer friendly version' link at the bottom of the post. If you click on this link you will be taken to a page which removes all of the site themeing, ads, etc. and will get a 'printer friendly' page to print. This will take all of the links in the article, insert appropriate notations next to the text that is linked, and provide a listing of web references at the bottom of the page. This feature should be pretty handy. You can get an idea of how it works by checking out this article and then see how it appears when it is printer friendly.
If there are any obvious issues with these new features please let me know. Also, please be sure to update your profile if you would like to allow other users to send you private messages.
We have received a number of new users in the past few days. New users are encouraged to visit the site, review our site's posts throughout the last 2 years, and get a feel for the site. Likewise, users are encouraged to review the stated rules of this site as well.
It is apparent that someone has sent out word that this site is the '#1 debating forum' for 9/11 theories. This is flatly untrue. This is a community site for people to stay on top of 9/11 related news, it is not a website devoted to endless arguments and bitter rivalries. To some degree we all here have to agree to look past our differences and work together for a greater cause. This site is NOT a 'debate forum'. In fact it is NOT a 'forum' at all. It is a NEWS website, which ALLOWS users to post blog entries related to 9/11 related news and information.
It is also apparent that some of these new users are intent on proving that this site is somehow 'covering up' whatever their pet subject may be. This point is solidly refuted time and time again by simply reviewing the history of this site and the blog entries which have been posted here. Users who may be moderated, have a blog entry removed, etc. are encountering this moderation because of a violation of our stated rules.
We welcome all new users regardless of their views, but we will not tolerate the abuse and misuse of this site's user blogs abilities.
Here are the details of the new ads we are running. It should be noted that all of the money for these ads came from the generous contributions from visitors like you, and that any money that is donated to this site will always be used for advertising such as this, and will NOT go into any of our pockets.
Period: 09/10/2006 - 10/15/2006
Total Raised: $1345.94
(From Donations: $1238.20)
(From Blogads: $104.74)
Ad Purchase: $1350.00
Please note that we have not received any funds from the google ads we are running yet, however these will most likely go towards offsetting the hosting costs once we do. Also, the funds from blogads we run are highly delayed, so the amount listed above does not reflect the blogad purchases during the period listed.
The new ads were purchased on bradblog.com for 1 month, and on newshounds.us for 1 week. I think from here on out we should try to do 1 month long ads as these types of ads may get people in the hang of checking out the site multiple times a week, and in turn build recurring visitors.
A big thanks to all of those who chipped in on this ad run, including multiple users who donated over $100. I hope that viewers here will continue to see the usefulness in these ads, and that users will continue to contribute to this effort knowing that all of the money donated goes towards helping spread the news of recent 9/11 related news and events.
On a side note, we have been getting some new visitors emailing us with questions. We will be encouraging these users to post blog entries about their questions, etc. and it would be most useful for people to respond with useful information!
Just submitted 2 new blogads to run. Hopefully these will be approved sometime tomorrow. I will post a new blog entry when they are up with details on how much was spent, where the ads will run, and for how long.
In the mean time, if you have a few bucks to throw our way please do. If we can get a decent amount of donations in the next 24 hours then I can go ahead and run this same ad on another blog(s) as well.
A big thanks to all those that have contributed to this project. While running these ads doesn't solve our problems, they do keep 9/11 questions on people's minds, and it does show that we have a growing presence and sparks awareness.
Here is the image for the new ads, I'll post the text and all the details tomorrow night once the ads are accepted:
We got 'dugg' today via the southpark video thread. The link was actually briefly #1 in the 'political news' section, and was on the front page of digg.com for a couple of hours. You can see from above that the site got the most hits since the 5th anniversary, and actually it was a lot more demanding since the majority of those hits came in within the 2-3 hours that we were prominently listed on digg.com. While the server did choke a little bit at the initial 4000 visitors in one hour, it did not go down, and even when it was hit hardest it did still respond, although taking about a minute to display at the very beginning. Simply put, the site was hit many times harder than it had been hit on our busiest day so far (9/11/2006), and it managed to stay up - unlike our last server which in turn went down for over 5 hours from the load. So, I must say I am incredibly glad that we switched to the new server, and it appears that it is able to handle a pretty impressive load, although there is room to upgrade if we ever need to.
I have been royally swamped trying to stay afloat on the site here this week. Quite simply the moderation of comments is getting out of hand. So far the +1/-1 system is working ok, and I will probably start assigning actions to those values at the beginning of the week. What this will mean is that the team members of this site will no longer be the primary control of what comments are removed, but rather that when a given threshold is hit the comment will be removed. So, if you see a comment and think 'that should be removed' then please just vote it down and move on, I am currently using these numbers to scan for the worst of the worst whenever I am around to moderate/cleanup the comments.
Please do not post blog entries which are not related to 9/11, and I don't mean 7 degrees of seperation either.
If it isn't related to 9/11 directly then please don't post it, it just serves to flood out the other blog entries which are. Non-9/11 related blog entries will be unpublished.
Just a quick note about the new CAPTCHA system I just enabled..
We got hit with about 35 or so spam comments today from spambots. In order to continue to allow anonymous comments we had to put something in place that would prevent these spambots from coming back more and more frequently. The CAPTCHA system we put in place will ask a simple math question to anonymous users before they can add a comment in order to show they are a real person and not an automated script. I went with the math question over the typical distorted image because frequently those can be a pain to work with.
Hopefully this won't cause anyone any issues, but should get rid of the spambots.
p.s. the content of this site is now 100% indexed (and updated every other hour), so the search abilities on the site are totally killer now, be sure to try it out next time your looking for something.
Update: I decided to switch to the image mode instead of the math questions since apparently some might think the math question was completely pointless and not realize what it is for.
It has become somewhat apparent that the blog section of the site has been misunderstood by some users. Likewise it has become equally as apparent that the comments from some users are directly against the Rules of this site. So far we have pretty much just let the blog section go on its own, and likewise have been very lenient on the comments as well, but as the site continues on it is becoming more obvious that we need to explain what the purpose of the blog section actually is, and what is actually an abuse of the system.
The purpose of user blogs is to facilitate users posting news entries on their own (without an immediate reliance on the team members), to facilitate users sharing personal stories related to 9/11 activism, and to post opinion pieces on current events and 9/11 related news. It is NOT the purpose of user blogs to facilitate continuing arguments on individual topics or opinions, to publicly question members of the community, or to post short pot-shots at other users.
Likewise, the purpose of the comments section is to facilitate users sharing their thoughts on the topic of the post, to link to further information related to the post, and to ask genuine questions about the subject matter. It is NOT the purpose of the comments section to facilitate personal attacks, post under-handed attacks, post profane images, confront other members of the community, or to facilitate user-to-user flame wars.
The server switch over the weekend went relatively well, although there was one hickup. If you tried to contact us via the feedback forms between Friday night and Monday at about 2PM EST then we probably did not get your submission. I had tested this functionality before the switch, but the new domain caused an issue that went unnoticed. Please contact us again if you submitted something that we might have missed.
Aside from that, you'll notice that there are a couple new features I turned on tonight.
One of them is blog entry rating. All blog entries now allow logged in users to rate a given entry, and will display the overall rating of the entry. Basically you choose between a 1 and 10 star rating based on the blog entry. Your rating should be some mixture of rating the quality of the post (profanity, spelling, well written, etc.) and your rating of the content itself. You should also note that you can go back and change your rating later. This would be useful if a user posts a great entry, but has bad spelling or grammer. In this example you could give it a mediocre rating and leave some helpful comments, and then later rate it higher once it is improved. This functionality eventually may be used to promote blog entries to the front page, or to a 'top rated' blog entries block, note exactly sure yet.
The other new thing that is added is the vote up/down abilities in the comments. At the moment this just shows the total number of points a comment has (+1 for positive, -1 for negative), but eventually this rating will be used to publish/un-publish comments so that the community as a whole can do the comment moderation and not rely on a Team Member catching the spam, trolls, etc. etc. I would ask that you not go through and vote up/down every single comment, that is NOT the point, and that may cause extra stress on the site. The point is to give credit for good comments with good sources and insight, and to moderate inappropriate comments.
Right now this new functionality is definitely just in test mode, it may turn out that we go with some other solution. Right now I am just trying to garner how it is used, and from there judge what actions should be associated with given votes/ratings.
If you have some comments on the new functionality feel free to post it here, but please keep in mind this is just a test, and we are somewhat limited with the currently available solutions. Likewise this functionality may be taken down if it doesn't work as desired.
(you'll note you can rate this entry since it is a blog entry, as I stated above news stories will not show rating stars)
We need a new poll question. These polls are only voted on by users of the system.
If you have any ideas, or can come up with some, for the new poll question please post your suggestion here.
I mentioned last week that we would be switching servers to better keep up with site traffic. I am going to begin that transition tomorrow afternoon (Friday Sept. 29th). I'm not sure of the exact time that the site will be taken down, it may be as early as 6PM or as late as midnight.
The site switch is going to require us moving to a new VPS host, and is going to require a DNS switch. Likewise the old site will have to be taken down and moved over to the new site, so the site will be unavailable for a period of time during which I move over the data and the DNS propagates. In other words, the site will be down Friday evening for a few hours.
The new site should provide us with a lot of room to grow, and should get rid of the 'CPU Quota' errors that currently occur whenever the site has 50+ people hitting the site concurrently. Likewise this switch should prevent the site from going down during periods in which our traffic greatly increases (like it did on the 5th anniversary). The switch to the new site may be somewhat bumpy, but I have done what I can to ensure that the downtime is as minimal as possible. I would really appreciate it if everyone could be patient with us during the transition this weekend.
Once the new site is up and running I will be getting back to some of the other pressing issues on the site, specifically the need for user based content moderation and promotion.
On a side note, we are going to be running a new bunch of ads once the site is back up. If you have any suggestions for what sites to run ads on, or what the focus of the ads should be feel free to post them.