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 — freethoughtblogs.com 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>

i-04c948c78f767caad42e88cf9ad3c8ad-drum.jpeg
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.

Help freethoughtblogs.com!

We’ve discovered the problem that has flattened freethoughtblogs.com: 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?

Selling out?

Hey, gang! You may have seen a few hints that there will be some changes around here, semi-imminently. Any interruptions in service should be brief to non-existent, but I have some concerns that if the blog goes a-wandering or falls under new management, there will be some drop-off in traffic…and some drop-off in my revenues, which wouldn’t break me — I have a day job! — but might negatively impact my payments on the secret nuclear submarine and my remote island lair. I talked to a few people this past weekend about merchandising, you know, succumbing to capitalism and peddling branded geegaws that might help with a potential shortfall.

The only catch: I don’t have anything recognizably brandable. I dabble in walls of text, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to a catchy coffee mug design. I don’t have a unique logo. I’m not known for my fashion sense. I’m at a loss to know what I could put out here.

So I’m looking for suggestions. What would be amusing and interesting? What would you wear on a t-shirt? Are there entertaining catch phrases I could slap on a widget and make a profit from? Do you want t-shirts, action figures, exotic sex toys, Pharyngula rifle-range targets (wait, no, let’s not go there — we don’t want to encourage them), coffee cups, party favors, what? Designs and ideas would be nice, because I haven’t got any. Some idea of the one thing lots of people would like to have would be useful.

Leave comments here, or perhaps an even better place would be the Pharyngula wiki, which is a growing compendium of site-specific strangeness. It might even provide some inspiration.

Working blue

Stop writing to me about Mairson and Grossman. I have no respect for their opinions at all.

Grossman is the religion columnist at USA Today; Mairson is some disgruntled ex-employee of National Geographic who has appointed himself guardian of all propriety of anyone associated with NatGeo. Grossman is wondering “if the august Society would try to rein in Myers, just let him quietly bear the coveted NGS brand or whether Myers would high tail it out from under editorial control.” Mairson is concerned about my “profanity-laced diatribes and my lack of “civil discourse about religion”.

Bugger ’em.

My policy has been and always will be to write as I will, to say without reservation what I think, and to have a damn good time while doing it. I will not mute the way I express myself because a couple of delicate little flowers wilt when a blog does not have the same formal tone as a long-established magazine, and I will categorically reject the criticisms of idiots who look at what I say and see only shrill, rabid, militant, screaming, hysterical, obscenities — that is a slanderous mischaracterization that immediately calls into question their capacity for critical thought. It is also the very same clumsy character assassination that we atheists are entirely familiar with — every one of us seems to get accused of savagery and barbarous abuse of the mores of decorous civilization, when we’re not the ones bombing abortion clinics, raping children, or moronically believing in an invisible telepathic superman in the sky.

So to all of you who’ve been pestering me with Grossman and Mairson’s ginned-up non-controversies and bluenosed fussings, don’t worry. Nothing is changing for me. Web servers might change, blog software can shift, different paymasters might try to borrow my pages, but I am completely free: I write what I write because it is what I want to write, not because I am obligated to put myself in a straitjacket to please an advertiser. And I am especially not constrained by a pair of prissy, shallow whiners who have no association with me, no input into what I say, and absolutely no relevance.

I have a simpler solution for those two. Don’t read my blog. Is that so hard to comprehend?