Creating a CSS Menu Bar with Listamatic

I'm working on a relaunch of Wargames.Com, the wargaming site that attorney Wade Duchene and I successfully defended from a UDRP arbitration challenge by MGM Studios two years ago. The site began as a wargame store, but sales and traffic weren't enough to justify the aggravation of running an online storefront, so I retreated from ecommerce after 18 months. (I was the entire customer service department. You'd be surprised at the number of people who order from one web site, then call a ... (read more)

Customizing Apache Directory Listings with .htaccess

I was clearing off my desk today when I found an article I've been meaning to scan and send to somebody -- the story of how my friends almost elected a dalmatian and squirrel to the homecoming court of the University of North Texas in 1989. The alumni magazine wrote a feature on Hector the Eagle Dog and Agnes the Squirrel's campaign, which attracted national media and made a few of the human homecoming candidates very angry. I can never tell when a file's too big to send in email without ... (read more)

Adding ReCaptcha to a Weblog

I've added a ReCaptcha component to the comment form on Workbench to deter spammers. The ReCaptcha system presents two hard-to-read words that must be typed in successfully for a comment to be saved. Here's what the component looks like: I tried as long as possible to avoid using captchas, but the amount of spam hitting this blog continues to grow, particularly from foreign IP addresses. Workbench has received 16,000 comments and more than 260,000 spam since it began accepting comments in 2002. ... (read more)

SiteMeter Crashes Internet Explorer with 'Operation Aborted'

Last night several of my web sites, including the Drudge Retort, began crashing Internet Explorer with the error message "Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site ... Operation aborted." I've encountered this error before, and when it occurs out of the blue on a site you haven't changed, the culprit is usually a problem with third-party Javascript code, as CNet's Clientside blog explains: IE does this when you attempt to modify a DOM element before it is closed. This means that if you ... (read more)

Web Traffic Counts: Is Compete Any Good?

I occasionally cite web traffic stats from Alexa and Compete, two services that measure traffic across the entire web. It's probably worth pointing out that I have no idea at all whether they're accurate. Compete publishes a monthly count of site visitors based on data from two million U.S. Internet users, so I can compare its numbers directly to the stats I get from Google Analytics. Since the latter is based on actual traffic, it's a reliable metric. For the Drudge Retort, Google Analytics ... (read more)

Eleven Years as the Dark Humor Man

Exactly 4,200 days ago, I began Cruel Site of the Day, a demented parody of Cool Site of the Day and other award sites. I had just left an interactive TV startup in Denver that went broke the day our product launched and was starting my own web development company in Pekin, Illinois, a town outside of Peoria where the air smells like corn, marigolds and hopelessness. As Wall Street was making overnight dot-com millionaires out of a bunch of insufferably precocious twentysomethings like Marc ... (read more)

Running an Online Community's Better in Moderation

Robert Sayre has joined my comment moderation crusade: I try not to delete comments, really. But I don't feel sorry folks who've taken the time to write something like "What the ---- are you talking about?" and left it at that. That sort of thing will be deleted. A regular part of my life lately has been catching hell from Drudge Retort members who don't like the site's moderation policy, which has shifted over the years from non-existent to lax to capricious to hardass. I feel like it had to ... (read more)

Liberal Site Raw Story Frames News Articles from Other Sites

The liberal news site Raw Story makes a regular practice of framing articles from other media sites, displaying the pages at a Raw Story web address with additional advertising. This technique was the subject of a widely publicized copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit in the late '90s between a small news site and several media giants. Some examples from Raw Story's current front page: British to evacuate consulate in Basra after mortar attacks, The Telegraph Zoo celebrating rare dove ... (read more)

Creative Commons and the Eldred Decision

Lawrence Lessig quantifies how well Creative Commons is doing: Creative Commons launched the licensing project in December 2002. Within a year, there were more than 1,000,000 link-backs to our licenses (meaning at least a million places on the web where people were linking to our licenses, and presumptively licensing content under those licenses). Within two years, that number was 12,000,000. At the end of our last fundraising campaign, it had grown to about 45,000,000 link-backs to our ... (read more)

Help! Help! You're Being Repressed!

An excerpt from a recent comment to Workbench: Ha! I beg you to censor this! It will be the premier coup in my lodge, Rogers -- proving every single word I've written ... I granted his wish and deleted the comment. Fear of being called a censor used to work on me, because I believed that a commitment to free expression on the Internet meant giving wide latitude to readers who took the time to comment, even when they were hostile, abusive or obscene -- especially when I was the target of their ... (read more)