I sense a disturbance in the force.

So...I've removed IlliniPundit (now ChampaignPundit) from my blog roll. First, a little background. IlliniPundit was a local, conservative, Daily Kos-style group blog initially run by an anonymous owner, IlliniPundit. After a while, IlliniPundit outed himself because he began to work on Republican political campaigns and wanted to make full and complete disclosure. Recently, Gordy was appointed to the Champaign City Council and he took down IlliniPundit. After a time, he apparently sold or gave it to unknown individual(s).

I used to post there and I used to read a lot of the posts there even if I rarely commented. For a while, I posted anonymously and signed my posts "-gamera" because I was locked out. The former owner/administrator (and now city council member) Gordy Hulten saw that I was locked out and fixed the problem for me.

Now...it is unknown at this time who runs ChampaignPundit (as it is now known) and the problems with spam are not just a CP problem. Spam can get through captcha and any other security so keeping out spammers requires some work. In the past few weeks, no person or group stepped forward to state who to contact when problems occur. It is also unknown who can help with login issues or who can delete spam posts.

This is simply a lack of leadership. There was a whiny post about "Gordy kept his identity secret" recently but the *actual* identity of CPs owners isn't the issue. I could care less if the owner used the name Lazlo Toth. (Note to the administrator at CP: the original post stays in the feed reader.) What people wanted was a stated username/admin to contact when there were issues. What we got was attitude.

I also noticed Arvid put up a post to consolidate all the whining and it disappeared. I finally met Arvid at a party last weekend. He said he never deleted that post. Later, another more generic post that contained basically the same thing as Arvid's showed up but it had a reference to Laszlo Toth as a pseudonym for the new admin...and then it was modified to remove the Laszlo Toth reference...and then a bunch of comments from the new post were deleted.

The final straw for me was when no one had stepped forward to take responsibility for the site publicly and spam posts were all over the board, yet the admin was busy removing anonymous posting privileges rather than removing the spam. Way to prioritize. So...since I have no idea who is even at the helm at that site nor do I know what the stated purpose of the site is anymore, I'm just going to stay away and part of that is removing it from my blogroll.

Of course, you all are free to frequent whatever websites you'd like, but just know that at the current incarnation of ChampaignPundit.com, your comments can be deleted without warning, your blog entries can be deleted without warning, and you have no idea who to contact if you are attacked or if you need tech support with login. Did I mention someone posted a generic Yahoo! email address to contact for support? It was promptly removed either because (a) the admin didn't want it out there in the open or (b) it was a fake. Hard to know since there's *no one to ask.* And don't get me started on the rampant homophobia all over the CP. It's disgusting.

At the very least, who ever is running the show is technologically incompetent. And that's the kindest thing I can say. To me, it's kinda pathetic. The latest "big story" on CP is some business-muckity-muck bemoaning a bill that would prevent *potential* employers from obtaining your credit report. Why someone I don't even work for yet should have access to my personal information is beyond me anyway, but hey, my private information is apparently something I should be selling in a job interview. You know, rather than previous work history, competence, skill, education, etc. or other facts that would be pertinent to the job.


Glock21 said...

It's been frustrating and weird to say the least there. Not sure if they'll get it straightened out or not... generally your criticisms are right on. Nobody knows whats going on and if they ask they get ambiguous or non-responses... and sometimes those just disappear anyways.

At least they figured out to re-ban Terga... that guy is a raging homophobic troll from hell.

Arvid said...

I say fuck this and let's go start a new blog. With blackjack and hookers! In fact, forget the blog!

I'm annoyed as hell about the new changes. Given B-for-Business and Champaign Dweller's penchant for overly pro-business things, I'm pretty confident they are the new owners. At the minimum, Halfway Interesting is B, due to the arguments being exactly the same.

I'm disappointed that Gordy sold to them. Wayward and I offered to take over administration of the site, but he said he was already in the works to transition to a new admin.

Gamera said...

@Glock21: I've been chewing on this post for some time but finally had to post it. That is good news that Terga was finally banned. Just wish someone would step forward and let everyone know who is truly the owner and who is running the site. Somehow, I doubt that will happen.

@Arvid: I'm fairly certain you are right about B for Business being the new owner. I guess CP will be focused on pro-business legislation. Not something I'm particularly interested in, frankly. But...maybe that will be successful for...well, whoever owns the site.

Also, as a sidenote, I got a tweet from Gordy saying it's been hard to stay away. I can only imagine. It has to be incredibly difficult to see something you worked so hard to create fall apart. :(

Gordy Hulten said...

It has been incredibly difficult to stay away.

IP.com was a labor of love for me for over five years, and it was worthwhile because of the discussions we could have, the people I met and the reinforcement that it gave to the quaint notion that people who disagree about something, even in politics, can still talk to each other. I miss the site tremendously, but I never would have had the time to work on after being appointed to Council, so it was going to suffer regardless.

I do appreciate Arvid, wayward, Glock, et al who offered to help, but accepting that offer of assistance would have necessitated my continued involvement, and I couldn't have done that. I still hope the site can flourish, but Gamera is right in that the new owner needs to lead.

Thanks again, guys, for your friendship over the years. I hope that never changes, at least.

Glock21 said...

Oh captain, my captain.

Narc said...

So what would it take to start a similar blog? Just out-of-the-box Drupal?

Gamera said...

Well, I feel like I'm talking over a still-warm body, but I've always thought that with the level of discussion on IP that a messageboard/forum would work well as opposed to a blog. But...those present challenges as well. I admin one board and moderate another and still need people with more technical expertise than I to fix things when hackers screw things up. Or updates go bad.

Also, I'm glad Gordy chimed in. I felt like I was being disloyal when writing and publishing this post, but I know he had to let it go. And I knew, eventually, someone had to point out the elephant in the living.

Also...Glock21's post about the professor at the U of I has been pulled:


And...they've added Google Ads to their feed.


So, at least they are working on the important things. :\

wayward said...

Yeah, I haven't been thrilled either. Haven't decided whether to give them a little bit more time to work things out, or whether to look for another venue. Any interest in putting something together? I have OK tech skills.

- Wayward

Halfway Interesting said...

I wish CP would have provided everyone with a clear set of guidelines. It is annoying, but I obviously still post there.

I'm starting a new blog that is launching August 15. It will have more business muckity muck that some here would like to see, but you are all welcome to contribute and comment. HalfwayInteresting.com will be the address, but halfwayinteresting.wordpress.com will be the temp site to learn more about the project.

While we have differences of opinion and have different interests, please think of me as a resource if you plan to start your own blog. If it means I get to read another interesting blog, we might be able to supply the technical capabilities so you can focus on your content.

Then again, maybe with less business content you'll want to focus your collective efforts on making CP more reflective of your style and interests.

It would be very cool if you were serious about starting your own blog. You guys collectively would certainly know how to run it. I'm not sure the CP has it figured out yet, but hopefully s/he'll get it figured out.

Either way, good luck.

Gamera said...

Thanks for the offer to use your newest blog, HalfwayInteresting. I'll probably just use...this blog. ;)

DaveM said...

I agree with you all -- it's depressing to see IP/CP fall apart. It was my go-to source for local and extra-local news -- the DI and N-G just really don't do it for me.
And while I may have disagreed with Gordy from time to time, he at least approached the site with an even hand. I don't think the same can be said for CP, especially given the dearth of moderation information. (and for some reason, my account still has "unpublish" privileges on other people's posts. I don't know why that is, and champundit at yahoo doesn't respond.)

If there's a new blog in the works, and it is contentfull and competently administered -- I'll see you there.