And so the year ends. 2018 is a closed book. The final sentence dotted, a new chapter started. It was a bleak year, politically, for many of us – but not entirely without hope.
Our long-promised upgrade is going to be happening in the next week or two. During the transfer there will inevitably be downtimes so patience is requested. Our URL will remain the same, so don’t worry about losing track of us. We will, however, be hosted on a different, non-Wordpress, server and we will have a couple of additional URLs as well, which we’ll provide closer to the time. This is a major overhaul, involving a complete rebuilding of our code, so there will almost certainly be teething troubles and glitches. We’ll be inviting people to test the Beta version soon and would appreciate feedback from that. We’re intending this will resolve some of the chronic problems you have been experiencing and improve and enrich your experience of using the site. More info in due course.
As you may know we are in the midst of a rebuild and redevelopment of OffG from the ground up. It’s taking a while, due to lack of time and shortage of resources. All of the work is currently being done on our beta site hosted elsewhere, but today – huzzah – we have launched a tiny change on here. The main menu has been rationalised, updated and is now linked to the front page. Click on any of the categories and it should take you to the relevant subsection. If that doesn’t happen for you – let us know. And please tell us about any other issues you may find with it.
OffG is in the throes of being re-coded and updated, so there may be some glitches and temporary downtimes over the next few weeks. This especially applies to the comments, which may be a bit glitchy be slow to register new comments. We’ll try to keep the inconvenience to a minimum and apologise in advance for any inconvenience. We hope you’ll bear with us Admin
Following our major “problem” last Saturday, when, for unknown reasons, our site was comprehensively disrupted, we are getting reports of issues with commenting and/or contacting us. If you can, leave a comment here about any issues you are having, OR email us at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than any of those provided on the Contact page. Thanks Admin
This afternoon around 6pm BST the site was compromised in some way. The entire front page vanished and a lot of links and media went down. We’ve managed to restore things to the point the site is usable, but there’s still a few glitches and missing material. We currently don’t know why it happened so it may well happen again. Apologies for the inconvenience OffG Admin
We’re pleased to announce, thanks to our monthly donations and one-off contributions, we are at last in a position to do some of the improvements we’ve been wanting to achieve for some time. In the next few weeks/months we’ll be implementing a complete redesign and upgrade, improving accessibility and adding some new features. A priority will be overhauling the comment system and installing new software to (hopefully) eradicate some of the glitches and make discussions much easier to follow and more fluid. We’d also like to take this opportunity to hear from you about how you would like to see the site improve or grow. Add any suggestions or thoughts below and we’ll take them under advisement.
Next month OffGuardian will be three years old. In that pretty short time we have reached an audience many times larger than we ever anticipated. We have 19,000 regular followers and daily visitors in the thousands. We want to say thank you today to the small number who donate to us, either as a one-off or through regular contributions. It’s an enormous help, in fact without you OffG may have been forced to quit or drastically cut back its output this year. So – thank you. All of you. From all of us. Currently less than 1% of our monthly visitors support us with a donation. So, if you come here regularly and/or value the work we do please consider becoming a supporter!
At the moment, particularly since we had to abandon our Paypal account, we don’t get enough income to cover our running costs, let alone allow us to develop the site as we’d like to do. We don’t want to put up paywalls or charge a subscription, because we want our content to get out to as many people as possible. If you come here regularly and/or value the work we do please consider a very small mark of appreciation.
This is an experimental open thread for anyone to post links, comments or questions on any topic.
Following the freezing of our PayPal account we have decided to move to Patreon. The URL is https://www.patreon.com/offguardian Please note that even if we regain access to our PayPal account we won’t be opening it for donations again as we don’t think it’s a reasonable risk to take with our supporters’ money, since PayPal have made it clear they can at any time take possession of funds in any account without redress. Unfortunately this does mean we are starting from scratch. So, if you were kind enough to set up a recurring donation with PayPal, as well as canceling that donation ASAP please consider pledging to us on Patreon instead. And for those who haven’t made that step yet, maybe this could be the moment to do so? We are a team of four, which in practical reality is often three, two or even just one. We don’t accept advertising or sponsored content. We have no large financial backers. Donations from our readers is our only means of survival. We aren’t currently offering incentives, because …
OffG’s PayPal account has been frozen for what are described as “security” reasons. We have no access to the funds you have donated and – given PayPal’s history with other alternative news sites – it’s possible we may not be able to regain access. Please do NOT make any more donations to this account and cancel any recurring donations you may have set up. If PayPal closes the account, they will retain the funds and WILL NOT return them to the people who donated. So be warned. Many of our followers have suggested we move to a Patreon account, and this might be an opportune moment to do this. We’ll be posting more information about this soon. UPDATE: We have now set up a Patreon account at http://patreon.com/offguardian.
As most of you know we have an open comment policy on OffG. No one is ever pre-modded and no comments are censored unless they are content-free trolling, grossly abusive, overtly threatening or incitements to violence against individuals or groups. We’ve had upwards of 20,000 comments posted here since April 2015 when we launched. Probably less than fifty of these have had to be removed for above reasons. The decision to remove a comment is never taken lightly and it’s a vanishingly rare event here. So we are very troubled to be told that many of you are finding your comments failing to appear, or even disappearing after posting. Understandably you suspect you are being silently censored. We can assure you this is not true. We do not and never will remove comments because we don’t agree with the opinions expressed. So unless you are posting racist incitements to violence or long screeds of content-free personal abuse of another commenter you will not be censored here. If you comment goes missing and it doesn’t fall …
OffG is two years old this month! It’s been an interesting and eventful 24 months. We had no idea when we began that we would be reaching a readership of thousands on a daily basis. It’s been an immense privilege, but also, of course, quite a workload. It’s just the four of us here, and often in real terms that’s down to a staff of three, two, or even one, trying to provide content as well as manage the website. It can sometimes be daunting, but it’s also worthwhile. OffG’s only source of income is reader-support. We don’t run advertising (WordPress’s ads bring us no revenue), and we aren’t subsidised by any governments or institutions. So we are incredibly grateful to our loyal supporters for helping us to remain productive. Thanks to all of you this year we have been able to meet most of OffG’s running costs, domain registration, design expenses etc from your donations – which has helped us hugely. In 2017-18 – all being well – we are planning to move the …
from OffG Admin We’re getting complaints that people aren’t able to comment, or that when they enter their comment it disappears. If you’re having any such problems could you email us at: email@example.com Thank you
As our current feature points out, we are living in an age when free speech has come under overt threat. In the name of protecting a range of alleged special interest groups (women, ethnic minorities, gay people – even “the planet”), censorship is being re-packaged as a tool of social justice. “Hate speech is not free speech” is the slogan, devised, we can imagine, by some ad-agency under contract. The implicit assumption gaining ground is that some opinions, maybe even some facts, have no right to be heard. We think this is potentially one of the most dangerous developments of our time. We don’t have to agree with the “deniers” or the proponents of alternative therapies or minority opinions in order to recognise their innate right to be heard, or to recognise that if they are successfully silenced, we may be next. So, in order to do our own bit to redress the balance and resist the creeping censorship, we’re inviting submissions on one of the most polarised and overtly censored subjects in the modern …
Obviously we get a lot of hits from search engines every day and some of them are fun to read. But today we got what is probably our favourite up to this point…. “complete and utter shit from the mainstream media…” We feel their pain. Let’s hope they found a little solace here.
We also want to take the opportunity to thank those of you who have donated some of your hard-earned cash. It means a great deal to us.
Many people have been expressing a wish to support our work here. We have been a little reluctant to jump on the funding bandwagon, because we didn’t see ourselves as anything but a small group of people giving themselves a forum for expressing their own thoughts. But we have to admit OffG has grown beyond that original remit and now has a readership and output that does require a lot of hours and dedication. In addition we are fast outgrowing our original WordPress home and are planning to move to our own webspace, which will bring with it increased costs of hosting and maintenance. We figure the time may be right to listen to our readers. So, if any of you would like to send us some pennies in support of what we are doing, you can visit our new “support us” page. Your assistance would be very much appreciated at this time and would certainly help us in keeping this project moving forward.
by Catte The 9/11 series here has proved interesting in a number of ways. The scientific contributions have been thought-provoking, as has the BTL discussion, the level of which remains(with a few exceptions), consistently high. One thing it has made even more clear than it was before is the chasm between real skepticism and pseudoskepticism. Real skepticism is solidly sourced in analysis, probabilities and data. Pseudoskepticism is sourced in prejudice, a priori claims of certitude and arguments from authority. Real skepticism embraces debate, is concerned with ongoing research and avoids certitude. Pseudoskepticism has no interest in debate, eschews research, and wears certitude like a badge of office. Real skepticism has no need of ad hom. Pseudoskepticism uses ad hom as its one and only weapon. It’s easy to mistake one for the other, particularly in areas of specialty where we, as laypeople, have limited knowledge. If a scientist claims he has found thermite residue in the WTC dust, how easily do non-scientists evaluate that claim? And if websites emerge full of voices mocking the claim …