Site Notes

Site Meter data

FYI, I had to switch off the "Site Meter" (bottom left of screen) for a while because the blog tool was stopping the page from loading. Therefore, March, 2008 shows a drastic dip in page views. Please bear in mind that the counter was switched off for most of the month.

Real-Time Comments Return

After much trial and error, we have re-introduced real-time comments. This is due to the massive amount of feedback from site users.

However, we do have some favors to ask:

If you find a back-and-forth comment exchange extending to the full length of the page, start a new thread at the 911blogger section at www.truthaction.org . Invite the user you are trading comments with to the thread. Otherwise, I or one of the other team members will ask you to do so.

Refrain from proselytizing about specific theories that time and again, the majority of users at 911blogger.com have rejected. This includes: TV Fakery, DEW theories and Holocaust Revisionism. For nearly two years, when these topics are raised at this site, the users who post the topics are shouted down, and voted down. The theories are attacked. Whether the users posting the topics are zealous or just curious, the reaction is the same. We can't control this. We can't force people to moderate their tone on these topics either. The internet is a big place, find a message board with a community that wants to talk about these topics rather than trying to change the community at 911blogger, because advised by our experience, this is not likely to happen. Posting about those three topics will get your real-time posting ability "pulled".

Don't attack other users. Just don't do it. If you are offended by a post, vote it down and appeal to a Team Member to moderate. You are not the 911blogger police. If you feel a need to debate a user about one of their posts, resolve it via email (users are recommended to enable the Personal Contact Form in their profiles for this purpose), or invite the user to a debate at www.truthaction.org or another message board of your choice. Again, constantly picking fights with other users will land you in the drunk tank (Moderation Queue).

Sorry this took so long.

reprehensor
Somebigguy
George Washington

Dear 911blogger community...

We have read every single one of your comments regarding the comments change, and we are working on a solution to help relieve the tension created by this change.

reprehensor
GeorgeWashington
SomeBigGuy

Significant Change to Comments at 911blogger.com

SITE USERS AND VISITORS, PLEASE READ

dz has decided to step back from the site and allow me to tweak a few knobs here at 911blogger.com

911blogger.com has been many things to many people. For quite a few, (including me), the site has been the first stop to check for the latest news on 9/11-related information. For others, it has been a rallying point and a place to meet other 9/11 researchers, skeptics, and Truthers.

For still others, unfortunately, 911blogger.com has been used as a tool to identify and amplify wedge issues that divide 9/11 skeptics and researchers, and this has occurred primarily in the comments area.

The first editorial change that you will notice is that all comments now go into a moderation queue, just like blog entries. Comments that start off with an ad hominem subject line will simply be deleted. Comments that are low on content and high on snark shall meet the same fate. This is necessarily going to slow down the pace at which comments appear, so please put some thought into your comment, but don't be surprised if you spend an hour attacking another user or researcher who you don't agree with, and the comment doesn't show up.

(Continued after the jump.)

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.

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.

Mid Week Open Thread

It has been really busy the last week or so, with a lot of good stuff flying off the front pages quicker than perhaps they should. Hopefully everyone is staying on top of the news as it is posted, and here is a chance to bring up anything that might have been glossed over.

Likewise, there have been a couple of new movies released on the web and on DVD recently which may have been glossed over as well, so here is a list of recent releases you might have missed:

If there are other new films we've missed which are worth checking out be sure to mention them in the comments. Also, for anyone who missed the news a month or so back, both 9/11: Press for Truth and Terrorstorm are on Netflix, so encourage people you know to check these out and help boost their circulation. Also, I got one of the first copies of Dr. Griffin's speech in NYC from Oct. 2005 entirely focused on the demolition of the twin towers and on the oral histories released by the NYTimes. This DVD should be out soon as well, and we will be sure to give a heads up once it is. Finally, thanks to DBLS we now have both MP4 and WMV versions of the recent BBC hit-peice available here.

Also, I have noticed that a bunch of emails which have been sent in via the website have not actually reached us. So, if you have tried to email myself or any of our team members, submit news, etc. in the last few weeks there is a chance we never got it. I have updated each of our feedback pages linked to from the Contact Us page to include a note about this and a link to where you can get an email address to use directly. Please resend your emails via this route if you think we might have missed them.

Thanks to everyone who is helping us out! Open thread, have at it!

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.

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!