Sometime shortly after 6AM this morning, my blog site and home page were defaced, replaced with a message reading “Happy 9/11 LOL” and a very ugly image.
I happened to be up and working and discovered the damage quickly, probably within minutes of the attack. Less than ten minutes later I had received three pieces of email and a phone call alerting me; apparently, I have enough friendly readers that even if I had not been on line I would have been informed of such vandalism within a half hour.
I have undone the damage, taken some appropriate security measures, and reported full details of the crack to the ibiblio site admins. The pinhead behind this attack is very likely to be tracked down, and had better hope the ibiblio site people find him before I do.
Blogging (and my responses to comments) will be light for the next two weeks. I’m on the road in Michigan, attending a week-long swordfighting intensive that starts tomorrow, then I’ll be at the World Boardgaming Championships for a week after that.
Due to a fat-finger error on my part, the comments for several posts back were deleted a few minutes ago. Apologies to all commenters; those threads were of rather high quality and I’m sorry to lose them.
As part of reactivating my blog, I’ve had to grovel through over 160,000 back comments over 99% of which were blog spam. I’ve been doing this by skimming 500-comment chunks of the back list (it’s normally 20, but I know where to hack the WordPress code to change that). In the process, I have almost certainly made some errors.
So if you submitted a comment recently and have not seen it published, don’t assume that you’ve hit a mechanical spam filter or that I’m purposely deleting your posts. I may have deleted some by accident while skimming. I apologize, and devoutly hope you will never find yourself having to filter that much spam by eyeball.
(And before you ask: Yes, WordPress’s tools for the job are both weak when they work and buggy in crucial spots. WordPress looks nice but the more I get to know the PHP codebase the less I like what I see.)
I have extremely strong convictions about free speech and robust debate. Thus, I was rather unhappy the first time that I decided it was necessary to delete a comment on this blog. The rule I published at that time was that comments that were both (a) anonymous, and (b) content-free vitriol, would be subject to deletion.
Unfortunately, as this blog has become more popular, some semi-regular commenters have descended to the level of monkeys throwing feces. Often the feces are flung in my direction, but that bothers me very little. What concerns me more is that an increasing percentage of comments are not about ideas but solely about the personalities and motives of other commenters. That is not a useful direction for the blog, even when the accusations being hurled are justified ones originating from sensible people. The entire tone of the blog is being lowered.
Therefore, with great regret, I must announce that I am considering banning commenters who are persistently and virulently disruptive. This would not be from any particular desire to control the wrongdoers’ behavior, rather it would be to relieve more civilized persons from the temptation to get into slanging matches with the wrongdoers. I hope not to have to actually take this step; I hope this announcement will serve as a warning to those who need it that they must moderate their behavior or begone.
Bannings, if any, will not take place in the dark of night; my notion of honor forbids this. Should I ban anyone, I will do so publicly with an accounting of my reasons in each case, and accept any criticism that ensues.
I deleted a coment this morning.
This is not something I normally do, except for comments that are both anonymous and content-free — abuse and invective do not count as ‘content’ for this purpose. The comment I deleted this morning was not anonymous, and it could be argued that there was some content in it.
However, the content (if any) was drowned in a sewer-main’s worth of crude insults hurled by one respondent at another. I will not tolerate this, even when the insult-hurler is nominally on ‘my’ side of an issue.
Armed And Dangerous is not a public square and “free speech” standards do not apply here. If you have nothing to contribute to debate over the things I write about, I can and will cut you off at the knees. This applies to those who broadly agree with me as well as those who disagree. (If anything, I give my opponents a little more leeway than my allies.)
In my own small way, I’m trying to defend civilization here. So keep it civil. Or else.
OK, the site theme no longer completely sucks. I’m using Jim Vanderveen’s modified version of Steam, with my own custom header and the CSS brutally simplified to get rid of margins and excess whitespace.
I’m extremely relieved to have got rid of the default “Kubrick” WP theme.
Fixed-width, heavy whitespace, gratuitous images — what were the WP developers thinking?
(Grrr. Designers who change the browser-default color and decorations for hyperlinks are depriving readers of valuable navigational cues and should be killed in some horrible way.)
I may make some minor changes to improve the look a little over the next few days.
My WordPress instance was just upgraded from 1.2 to 1.5. The visual presentation may have a glitch or two until I edit the template.
UPDATE: Aaargh. It looks like the special magic in the templates has been changed enough that I will have to rebuild my look and feel from scratch. This may take a while…
The WordPress update is now complete. Unfortunately, I deleted some recent comments while clearing out comment spam. Comment spam is now blocked using
a simple and clever method which I will not disclose in public.
I removed a comment from my blog today. This is only the second time
I have done so, and the first was just cleaning up an accidental double
To whoever left the original comment #6 on Lessons of
Libya: I won’t suppress a coment for being mindless, formulaic
ranting. Nor will I suppress a comment for being anonymous. But
the combination of both those traits is a crash landing.
We now return you to your regularly-scheduled bloggage…
The good folks at ibiblio.org are about to upgrade me from b2 to WordPress. There might be a short outage involved, and it’s possible the
new CSS will garble my pages. Any problems should be transient and fixed
within a few hours.
This is the new home of Armed and Dangerous, formerly located at Blogspot.