Freethoughtblogs has a Mastodon server!

HJ Hornbeck has been plugging away at the technical details of setting up a local Mastodon server, He describes the process at length in Part One, Part Two, and Part Three, and I’m already worn out and intimidated. It’s supposed to be easy, isn’t it? OK, William Brinkman distills it down to the minimal basics. It’s currently an invitation-only instance, but you can leave a request to join here.

Having trouble reading Pharyngula?

You aren’t alone — it seems to have developed an annoying allergy to Safari, which is the browser my wife uses, so I better get it fixed. It’s only Safari, and it seems to hang at some random point while loading the articles, which makes it hard to track down. I’ve suspected it might be something funky in the sidebar, so I’ve purged a lot of that stuff (some of it was ten years old, so about time), and I’ll continue to pick away at it.

One observation that led me to think it’s something about the main Pharyngula page is that there’s a workaround: if you go to the FtB main page, and go from there directly to individual articles, they load fine. Still very annoying.

Thanks to some advice from, I may have sort of fixed the problem. It was a mundane link to Twitter that was making Safari puke. Link now hidden, blog now seems to load on Safari. Why it didn’t like that link is a mystery.

The Atheist Community of Austin has drifted out of sync with FtB

Tracie Harris, Jen Peeples & Clare Wuellner got on YouTube to discuss the right-ward slide of the Atheist Community of Austin, and their experiences with the transphobic takeover of that organization.

You may have noticed that FtB hosts The Atheist Experience, the blog for the call-in show of the ACA. Although I’m sure the blog isn’t a major contributor to their popularity — it’s primarily driven by YouTube traffic — it does get a good number of comments each week.

We’re currently discussing dropping the blog from our network in our backchannel, because it has drifted into incompatibility with our mission statement, which I’ll remind you is:

Freethoughtblogs is an open platform for freethought writers. We are skeptics and critics of dogma and authoritarianism, and in addition, we recognize that the nonexistence of deities entails a greater commitment to human values, and in particular, an appreciation of human diversity and equality.

We are for feminism, against racism, for diversity, against inequity. Our network of blogs is designed to encourage independent thinking and individual autonomy — is a vehicle for giving vocal secularists a venue for discussion of their values and interests.

Transphobes do not belong here, since we stand for human diversity and equality, and the ACA has abandoned that principle. We’ve just begun the discussion with our bloggers, but we’d also welcome input from our readers, so leave comments here. Write fast because we’ll probably move fast!

Also, to Tracie, Jen, and Clare: it’s also been mentioned that you’d be fully compatible with our values, so if you were looking for a place to blog, let us know.

Are you still having problems with Freethoughtblogs?

People are still reporting that they can’t see current content on the new site. The reason for this is that there was a temporary error in the code which told the browser to cache and essentially never refresh the page from the web. This problem has been corrected, but you’ve still got a bad copy of the page cached on your local computer, and it doesn’t know that it’s been fixed.

I’m promoting a comment from David Marjanovic:

Rick, you have the well-known cache problem. Refresh. If that doesn’t
help, try Shift+F5 or Ctrl+F5. If that still doesn’t work, burrow
through the menu of your browser and look for how to clear your cache.

Cache bugginess

I’m getting reports that a lot of you haven’t seen anything new at Freethoughtblogs Pharyngula. I’ve been posting stuff there! Apparently, there’s a glitch somewhere in caching, and it’s not clear to me whether it’s a problem on our end, or on your end — for some reason, your browser is loading an old cached copy of the page rather than the latest.

Anyway, if you clear your cache (don’t ask me how), you get to see the latest content. I’m hoping someone here can say what we can do to make this a more permanent fix.

The pain will soon end

The new site is suffering — the poor thing is just dying and struggling and screaming, trying to cope with the traffic. Say goodbye, Ed Brayton is going to put a bullet in its brain tonight, and it’ll be dead.

But good news! A brand new dedicated server is being installed tonight as well! There will be a brief transition in which all commenting will be shut down, and then the existing content will be whisked out of the old, clunky server and transferred to the swift and gleaming hard drives of a brand new machine. Then there will be a period of confusion as a new IP address must propagate out over the network, but within hours for some lucky few and a day or two for others, we’ll be back in action, and hopefully not the limpy wimpy kind of action we’ve been getting lately.

I broke it

I was afraid this would happen. Trying to shift the bulk of the traffic from here to freethoughtblogs has not gone well: the server can’t handle the load, so it’s currently grinding away glacially to serve everyone and serving no one in the process.

Everything will be moved to a sniny new server by this weekend, though, which should fix things. I hope.

The Molly of May

Howdy all! This is MG Myers.

Pharyngula is known for its vibrant community of commenters, and May was no exception. The May Mollies have been tabulated and the winner is <drum roll>

Audley Z. Darkheart!

Audley is hereby inducted in the distinguished Order of the Molly. Virtual champagne all around!

As you are celebrating with the new inductee, be sure to leave the names of your June Molly nominations and the reasons for their selection in the comments.

Hang on a moment…we can’t be accumulating votes in two threads! Comments are closed here. Leave your votes at the new site.


We’ve discovered the problem that has flattened our hosting company can’t do it, despite what they told us. What we need is something that can handle hundreds of thousands of page loads per day and a good chunk of storage space, and these guys are throttling our bandwidth and strangling access right now…and they don’t offer a more capacious option.

What you can do to help is give us concrete recommendations for a better situation, either a Virtual Private Server or a dedicated host. Leave info, links, phone numbers, whatever in the comments, or email me so we can work out a deal fast. We want professional hosting, and we’re willing to pay for it, so don’t bother telling us about the el-cheapo deal through your brother-in-law, OK?