I have decided to take up the offer to move to Freethought Blogs. The change will take effect immediately and my new site is already up here. I reposted yesterday’s Santorum post over there to get a feel of how to use the new platform. I will continue to maintain this site with all its archives and will monitor it to clear up the spam and respond to any questions and comments that warrant them but new posts will only appear over at the new site.
Thanks to all who responded to my request for comments on the move. It was gratifying to hear the messages of support and that most of you felt that you would go to the new site. I was surprised at the number of people who said that the present site had a sense of intimacy and coziness that they feared might get lost at FTB. One does not immediately think of the internet as an intimate place but I understand what they are saying. Over time, a community of people gets created and I feel that I ‘know’ many people who comment here though I have never met them and all that I know about them is the name and URL they choose to provide.
People have warned me about possible trolls at the new location. I think of internet trolls as commenters who deliberately try to deflect a discussion to irrelevant issues or start a flame war or otherwise disrupt a discussion. I have not had to deal with that problem here, mainly because the readers here seem to be able to keep things on track and ignore irrelevancies. It will be interesting to see what the new site will bring.
What I have had to spend a lot of time on is spam. Every day I get hundreds of spam comments, a few of which get past the system’s filters and appear on the site. Several times I day I go in and clean them out, so that the real comments don’t get lost in the clutter. More time consuming is going into the spam folder and rescuing and publishing real comments that the filter has mistakenly identified as spam. In the new system, you can freely post comments as here except that I have chosen the option that the first time someone posts a comment, I will need to authorize it but after that there is no restriction and your comments should appear immediately. Sorry about that inconvenience but that should reduce the spam problem.
I would like to express my special thanks to Norm Nason, editor of the excellent web magazine Machines Like Us, and a person of many artistic talents whose wide variety of work can be seen here, for designing the nifty new banner that graces my new site.
I must also give a lot of thanks to Jeremy Smith, the system administrator here, who has been immensely supportive in keeping the system going and helping me out when necessary when I have done something stupid, such as banning myself from my own site, if you can believe it. (I have never banned anyone but the system has filters that identify most spam and can ban the more egregious offenders and on occasion I have accidentally triggered it.) I must thank Jeremy, Heidi Cool, and Vincenzo who commented on my first few posts and encouraged me to keep going. But they should not be blamed for the quality of the roughly two million words that have subsequently emerged!
I also have to thank Case Western Reserve University for creating this blogging platform without which I might never have had the nerve to start blogging. This platform made it so easy that I took the plunge on January 26th, 2005 and I will mark the seventh anniversary of blogging this month. The university has never once interfered with anything that I have posted, although I have taken some pretty controversial positions on occasion. Colleagues have on occasion asked me if I received any push back from the university administration for things I said and have been surprised when I reply that no one has given even the remotest suggestion that I tone things down. Universities should be the most dedicated defenders of free speech but we know that in these days, with so much pressure from external sources such as alumni and funders, many are wary of stepping on toes. Hence it reflects great credit to CWRU that they have left me completely alone to write what I wish. It is not that they don’t know this blog exists because I know that I am read quite widely on campus.
So onward and upward to the new frontier!