Chit chat and things about building the site.
I have been remiss in enforcing the rules on this blog, and this has led to significant discord among the commenting community. Here are rules 13 and 15 from the site Editorial Policy.
13. Personal attacks directed against other commenters are prohibited. This includes any threat explicit, veiled, ambiguous or implied. Any comment advocating violence against anyone is prohibited. Things like that will get you banned. Commenters whose sole purpose is to pick a fight will be banned.
15. The unlicensed practice of psychiatry is prohibited. It is off limits to say or imply that another commenter suffering from a mental illness (even if they are) or should be on medication (even if they should). Words like “crazy” or “nutty” are OK in reference to statements, but not people.
Violators will be put in moderation.
If police come upon a mentally ill homeless man lying on the street surrounded by people kicking the crap out of him, whom should they arrest? ‘Nuff said.
Visitors to Obama Conspiracy Theories last night may have experienced a blank screen when they tried to access the home page. Most other pages worked, but access to the latest articles didn’t.
When I learned about the problem today, I started researching the problem and found that by turning the site cache off, users could see all the pages. When I access the site, I am logged in and don’t get cached pages, and I was unaware of the problem.
This evening I tried to upload an image, and it failed. That gave me a clue that perhaps the site was out of disk space. I tried to use the web host’s control panel to check the disk space, but it gave an error.
I tried to FTP to the site, but that failed—it turns out that was an issue with a new version of FileZilla. Eventually I got in and deleted some files, enough that the Control Panel could be used and I found that I was a gigabyte over the limit! I only get 5 GB with this hosting plan.
I thought that since I wasn’t using the cache, I could delete those files – static versions of the pages that don’t have to be generated by WordPress. I started deleting, and deleting. It looked like not only every page on the site was cached, but every page in lists of pages, and every page in lists of categories, and then every list of results from every search term ever entered on the site. I saw the same page deleted a hundred times. I deleted tens of thousands of cached pages, around 2 GB before I was done. The last page go to was a zero-length index.html file – the blank page users were seeing last night.
The caching software I was using is called W3 Total Cache, which I installed because of problems with the former caching program WP Super Cache conflicting with the mobile theme. Now I am only using the browser cache feature of W3 Total Cache which doesn’t use any disk space on the site, but does seem to significantly speed things up. In any case, if you find something isn’t updated, try the browser’s refresh function.
Then digging around I found 1 GB of backup files created by a automatic backup program I once used, that apparently didn’t clean up after itself. Anyway, I have lots of disk space now, certainly enough for 2 years and 7 days.
I have always wanted this site to be the way I envisioned that it should be, and I didn’t want advertising. This means that some of the easy solutions like WordPress.com were out and I had to install my own WordPress software and do the maintenance myself. I got what I wanted, but sometimes it has been a pain.
I started a big technical project here at the beginning of 2015, the ultimate goal of which is to identify whether or not my congressman Trey Gowdy posts at Gerbil Report™ just for the heck of it. Gowdy is, all of the sudden, not too big on the Tea Party circuit since he decided to support Boehner for Speaker. I don’t have any conclusive results yet, but I have learned a great deal about the birther community as participants on web sites. One thing I found was a lot of sock puppets among birthers, so many in fact that I stopped looking. One birther had around 30 I know of. I also found a tiny number of Obot multiple-identities, so here’s a shout out to DARPAmontor_52 from your old pal, Dr. Conspiracy.
One concern I have is that information is being lost as birther web sites shut down, and the Wayback Machine hasn’t archived all of the pages. I have the technology to test pages for copies in the Web Archive and add them. It’s a possible project for 2015.
The whole Arpaio/Zullo universe-shattering announcement is technically still pending, but the close proximity between the newspaper revelations that Sheriff Joe had paid $100,000 to a con artist and the sudden stop in hints about Sheriff Joe’s second criminal investigation, suggests that the two were the same source, and that this particular conspiracy theory will never see the light of day.
I think debunking birther claims about Obama’s long form being a forgery is pretty much wrapped up with the excellent work done by NBC and others with the Xerox MRC results. I don’t anticipate much there.
I left a comment at the Above the Law blog:
I learned long ago that on a slow news day, you can always go to Orly Taitz’ web site, find something inane she said, and write an article making fun out of it. After a while, I also learned that there are better things to do.
So that’s unfinished business, but probably not business worth doing. There is the one big Taitz case in Mississippi that I sincerely hope gets some action in 2015, and when it gets dismissed, I can cover the “penalty phase.”
Finding gold coins in a bucket of mud is really not difficult because gold is heavier than mud. The coins sink to the bottom and can be retrieved efficiently in any number of simple ways. Just as the coins collect at the bottom of the bucket, so do the more unsavory birthers collect at the Birther Report™ web site and on other forums and blogs.
Those sometimes angry, sometimes vulgar, and sometimes racist birthers are not a cross section of people who check YES on polls about having doubts on where Obama was born. No, those responses are from people who are active on the issue, and in the case of Birther Report™ they are truly what has sunk to the bottom of the barrel.
The present stance of Obama Conspiracy Theories focuses on reporting stories about birthers. Just as “dog bites man” is not news, neither is “birther doubts Obama.” To make the news here, a birther has to behave badly, or in a laughably stupid manner. So just as I have to keep reminding myself that what I read at Orly Taitz Esq. is not representative of all birthers, I remind you too.