dz's blog

dz Retires from 911Blogger.com

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.

The Direction We Are Headed

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.

Bush Continues to Beat the War Drum of 9/11 Despite its Changing Sound

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.

8000 9/11 Photos

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.

Youtube Video Pops Up With Odd Recording from Firefighter Tapes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL-g_kKgDgE

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..

Fundraiser for 6 Months of Dedicated Server for 911Blogger.com

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
https://www.fundable.org/groupactions/911Blogger20070315

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!

Ongoing Site Changes and How They Affect Comments

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.

Server Issues

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.

Anonymous Commenting Disabled

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.

Quick Note on Fund Raiser for First Responders

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.

If You Want Something Done Right...

Comment Changes

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:

YBBS Forum
Loose Change Forum
British 9/11 Truth Campaign Forum
Randi Rhodes Show 9/11 Forum
DemocraticUnderground
Mike Malloy Truthseekers Forum
UnfilteredNewsNetwork
ColbertNation

Site Changes Temporarily Postponed

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.

Update:
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.

Upcoming Site Changes and Downtime

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.

Community Comment Moderation

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!