Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jihad Watch Comments



For several days now, the comments feature on Jihad Watch has been incapacitated.  This new situation -- not due to hacking, as Robert Spencer tells the reader, but just due to a glitch in refining his burgeoning ad industry -- comes on the heels of a hacking situation a couple or few weeks ago, which for a few days also crippled the ability of readers to participate.

Update:

Spencer's latest update now indicates that what he thought was not a hack attack, is in fact one -- the second major one in recent months.

Spencer may not fully realize or appreciate how vital the comments fields are to the very life of his site.  They constitute not merely an appendage to each article there, but form a vibrant community of their own, where readers can come together to share their thoughts, provide sometimes important additional information on or off topic, vent their frustrations, and feel not so alone as they may well feel out in the mainstream where most of their fellow Westerners (including, all too often, neighbors, friends and even family) remain pleasantly myopic to the dangers of Islam -- if not positively bending over backwards to defend Muslims and thus add insult to our injury.

Not only do the comments fields of such a major website as Jihad Watch form such a community, they also may well serve to engage readers more than they otherwise would be wont to, thus providing a subtle, but perhaps not insignificant added incentive to linger a little longer, and read a little more -- not only enhancing their knowledge and participation, but also making it more likely that the ads with which Spencer has festooned his site of late will be noticed more.

I find myself reading the articles less closely than I used to.  When I knew I could impulsively, or perhaps after a little reflection upon my second or third swig of coffee, leap into the comments field and deposit my two cents, I felt more involved, and this in turn often induced me to re-read the article, or comb through it for passages pertinent to what I wanted to say.  And, of course, it was often a treat (and sometimes an aggravation!) to see what others were thinking.  Then the interactive participation began to carom as we Jihad Watchers sometimes commented not only on the article at hand, but also bounced off each other, even at times developing parallel discussions and/or debates -- which, by the way, would increase the traffic to the site that much more.

I.e., at the very least (if we must sink to the bottom line), Spencer may find that his readership dips whenever comments are incapacitated.  And is that not a lose/lose?

45 comments:

Traeh said...

Strange experience. When I try to go to jihadwatch.org, I get rerouted to google. I can't visit Jihad Watch. Do you find the same, Hesperado?

Anonymous said...

When I try to go to jihadwatch.org, I get to jihadwatch.org.

I almost never go to Jihadwatch. I only go when Hesperado directs my attention to his comments there.

Egghead

Hesperado said...

Traeh, see my "Update" I just added to this post.

Like Egghead above, I have had no problems getting to Jihad Watch -- just problems with the comments features.

Nobody said...

In the past, once one logged in, one would remain there for a good #hours, and only get logged out after days. Nowadays, logging in is a temporary affair, and even if the browser has been set to automatically log in, I've had to manually enter the e-mail and password each & every time.

I haven't noticed the ads, but some of the things I've seen, like Newsmax entries on the right, makes me wonder what the site is up to.

Always On Watch said...

You know what else is interesting about this hacking of Jihad Watch? I find few counter-jihad bloggers posting about this matter!

Anonymous said...

Hi Hesp, TS over at GoV has written an essay about your pet topic. You might want to comment over there, and refer people to your favorite essays over here.

Egghead

gravenimage said...

Hesperado, as of February 15, things are even more dire.

The last story posted at Jihad Watch was yesterday--an update on "technical problems". Robert Spencer mentioned in that article that it was not only impossible to comment, but was becoming more difficult for him to post stories, as well.

I think we can now assume that it has become impossible for him to post.

This malicious code was definitely a hack--and a very ugly one.

Pious Muslims and their Jihad-enabling allies hate freedom of speech--and they are proving it here.

Always On Watch said...

I've never know Jihad Watch to be down this long.

Whatever was done must have been very sophisticated.

Hesperado said...

Thanks Egghead, I'll check that out.

gravenimage and Always On Watch, it does seem unprecedented. I don't know much about computers and hacking, but I wonder if it's possible that the hack attack of a month or two ago was a kind of "dry run" to test out what was possible, or even to do stuff that paved the way for the current attack.

Similarly, I wonder if Spencer's penchant during the past year -- unlike previous years -- for packing the JW site with advertisements may have rendered the site more vulnerable. (If that were the case, Debbie Schlussel's site would be the most vulnerable of all, as hers is more festooned with ads and cookies and widgets etc. than a shopping mall in Times Square on Christmas Eve...).

Always On Watch said...

Jihad Watch has an update today -- more details.

Hesperado said...

Fascinating -- and disturbing -- update.

gravenimage said...

This is the first day that Robert Spencer has been able to post a full compliment of articles for the day, so progress is being made.

Comments function is still down, though.

Like Hesperado, I cannot overstate the importance of JW comments.

I know that I have honed and fine-tuned my knowledge and resulting opinions based on what I have learned from erudite posters there--including, of course, Hesperado himself.

I have also come to respectfully disagree with some opinions that I respect but do not fully share.

I have also learned to respond to both decent but clueless and naive tyros, as well as to actual out-and-out Jihadists who pop up there from time to time.

The Jihad Watch comments section forms a community--and a school. I hope we see it back up soon.

Hesperado said...

Indeed, gravenimage. (And even the disagreements we find in JW comments now and then help us hone our learning curve.)

Always On Watch said...

Loss of comments at JW is a terrible blow. I wonder if Mr. Spencer will continue with JW if comments are no longer possible.

As far as I can tell, postings with comments made thereto still have those comments. At least, ALL comments from the past have not disappeared.

gravenimage said...

Always on Watch wrote:

I wonder if Mr. Spencer will continue with JW if comments are no longer possible.
.................................

Always on Watch, I believe that Jihad Watch would still be extremely useful even without the comments--I still believe it to be the best single compendium of both articles on Jihad from around the world, as well as original articles and commentary on Jihad in general.

None of that would change.

But I've been as frustrated as anyone over the loss of comments there--I comment there virtually every day, sometimes (time allowing!) on every story. I also try to follow on-going exchanges on older threads.

I believe that comments there enhance Jihad Watch immeasurably--but only because they add to the usefulness of an already supremely useful site.

I've heard from Robert Spencer, and his tech team is hard at work at trying to restore the comments function.

This attack was very nasty, and apparently works at the deepest level of code. The comments function was attacked first--so it appears it will be the last thing to be fixed.

Of course, attacking the comments function shows how desperate Jihadists are to shut down any discussion of Islam on the part of us "filthy Kuffars".

In fact, one article posted at JW today is about the OIC's attempts to criminalize criticism of Islam on a global basis. That's one way to shut down criticism of Islam--then there are threats of violence, and efforts like the ugly hacking of sites like Jihad Watch and Faith Freedom.

Always On Watch said...

When I said I wonder if Mr. Spencer will continue with JW if comments are no longer possible, I meant that I have been wondering if he'd set up a mirror site -- a mirror site where commenting is possible.

This attack was very nasty, and apparently works at the deepest level of code.

Well, ain't that just grand? NOT!

I always knew in my gut that counter-jihad attacks would come under serious attack. I don't put it past our own government to be behind such attacks. Islamophilia has run rampant!

Nobody said...

Ever since the IntenseDebate debacle, JW returned to the same old Typekey system of logging in, which had its own problems, which is why they changed in the first place.

Now, I don't know what takes place in their IT rooms, if they have one, but honestly, JW should have been exploring an easy but robust commenting system. All other similar sites - Atlas, HotAir, DebbieSchlussel, et al have commenting systems where logging in is a one step breeze. In JW, one has to go thru 2 screens, and is automatically timed out. JW had an array of different logins on the second page, but none of them, except TypePad, really worked.

I wonder - does JW come through a web hosting site? I'm sure that if it did, they'd be under pressure to censor them, so maybe JW goes through the necessary expense of having its IT in-house. In which case, they ought to, if they haven't been already, looking at a more flexible commenting system. Also, make the site IPv6 capable, while they are at it.

Nobody said...

Looks like they've fixed the comments - I just successfully posted something to the story about Hizbullah fighting for the Assad regime in Syria

Always On Watch said...

I just tried to comment at JW. Timed out.

Anonymous said...

made a few comments last night and again this morning, and now the comments aren't working again ...

gravenimage said...

JW comments were working fine for a while yesterday, then they stalled again. At one point, you couldn't sign in at all, then it was so slow that you couldn't tell if stories had posted or not. I posted one comment at about six pm, checked it several times last night, gave up--then found that the comment had finally posted this morning.

So far, so good today--of course, JW commenting is still clunky, but now at least it seems to--fingers crossed--be functioning.

I had also meant to mention--kudos to Hesperado for covering this story.

I was surprised to find the story ignored by a lot of Anti-Jihadists. This seems odd, since any site could be a victim.

Always On Watch said...

Gravenimage,
I was surprised to find the story ignored by a lot of Anti-Jihadists. This seems odd, since any site could be a victim.

Self-censorship?

Fear?

Hesperado said...

Always on Watch and gravenimage,

Gates of Vienna had a report the first time JW was hacked a couple of months ago; but I don't recall them mentioning this second, and worse attack. Diana West also mentioned the first one, but not the more recent one.

Only the 1389 Counterjihad blog as far as I know (other than mine) mentioned both the first one, and the more recent one (I notice they thanked Always on Watch for the hat tip).

Perhaps the other bloggers just thought it was more of the same and felt they didn't have to bother. This second attack, however, as you guys know, was far worse and qualitatively different; and it's still going on in that JW is still not quite at 100% capacity.

Always On Watch said...

I did post about the recent hacking of JW -- over at Infidel Bloggers Alliance, a site that has more traffic than my own web site.

I also notified 1389.

I discussed the topic on the February 15, 2013 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show.

I didn't have the time to notify others -- work schedule, caregiving my husband, and all that.

I am still surprised that more counterjihad blogs have not even mentioned the recent hacking of JW.

What about Bare Naked Islam?

Atlas Shrugs?

Gates of Vienna?

Etc., etc.

I google searched the topic -- very, very little out there.

Hesperado said...

Atlas Shrugs surprises me the most.

Also, while Spencer posted a couple of updates during the attack, they were really only brief mentions. I find the lack of a formal essay on Jihad Watch about the whole affair rather curious. It's tempting to think it reflects a degree of indifference in Spencer to his community of followers, who without a doubt would be extremely interested to read, or hear, a detailed summary of the events (with, of course, any information that might help future hackers bracketed out).

The best format for this would be a staged interview, with someone like Glazov chucking him friendly softball questions to get the ball rolling, where each question is just a rhetorical prompt to frame Spencer's replies in a discursive way, thus making it more conversationally entertaining than a dry report.

Anonymous said...

Meh. Gellar and Spencer do NOT play well with friends - unless Gellar can publicity by associating with them.

Egghead

Anonymous said...

Do Over: Meh. Gellar and Spencer do NOT play well with friends - unless Gellar can get publicity by associating with them.

Egghead

Hesperado said...

Sure Egghead, but my surprise was based on the apparent fact that Spencer & Geller seem, for several years now, to have been joined to the hip as fastly as Penn & Teller (though one never knows whether a week or two of non-mentions by the former of the latter will not augur yet another bridge burned on a long road littered with the forsook and forsworn bones of former colleagues once praised to the skies).

Always On Watch said...

Hesperado,
one never knows whether a week or two of non-mentions by the former of the latter

There's been a gap like that?

I haven't been keeping up.

Hesperado said...

That's my impression Always On Watch. To be sure, all you have to do is open up the full February page from the archives, and search for "Geller", and measure the distance from today to that mention.

I shouldn't have tried it just now. There's something about Jihad Watch archives that saps my computer. Every time I open up just one total month, my computer takes forever to get to a point where I can scroll or search. It just took me 60 minutes to search for Geller in February archives and get back here to be able to post this!!! (Of course, I did other things while my laptop was chugging away; I didn't just sit here staring at the screen...)

Anyway, the last mention of Geller was a hat tip just yesterday, and prior to that the day before yesterday a more extended mention. So the bridge is still running fine.

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Always On Watch said...

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